In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Historic Clothing Collection

Fabric Adaptive Reuse

In the past, when silk textiles were so expensive and new dresses required many yards of fabric, women were familiar with the custom of either themselves or their dressmakers altering and updating existing garments to keep up with constantly changing fashion. At the minimum, seams were discretely let out, or new trimmings applied, but sometimes the job was much more extensive as this informative and unusual group of surviving items from the Maine Historical Society collection illustrates.