In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

1900-1910

(Page 2 of 3) Print Version 

Many fashionable silk dresses from this period deteriorate beyond saving because the linings supporting the delicate fabrics fell apart. Linings were often made of less costly weighted silk. Weighting was a treatment that helped reduce the price of silk, but caused it to quickly flake and split. Fortunately, the MHS collection includes a group of early 1900s gowns in very good condition, among them Sarah E. Thomas’ brown printed silk, shown at the left. With its bloused bodice and back thrust hips this dress illustrates what is called the “S” bend silhouette fashionable at that time.

The group includes Mrs. Scrimgeour’s very fine quality turquoise silk pigeon bodice gown with a silk chiffon neckpiece; a white figured silk dress, with a standing collar and spreading cape-like detachable collar of crochet and tape lace, and a tan flowered cream dress with a chiffon yoke, shoulder-wide mock collar, and flounced hem skirt with an inner waist tie labeled "S.E. Thomas, Portland." Two more pouched bodice gowns, one silk and one cotton, feature the almost cape-like lace collars characteristic of the period. One is a combination of crochet and machine lace medallions, and the second a darned filet-type cotton lace.