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February 08, 2010


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Wonderful examples! I've been actively refashioning clothes now for a couple of years and it's creatively challenging in addition to being better for the environment (and making me a more responsible consumer). Thanks for the post!

FIDM Museum

Hi Antoinette,

Glad you enjoyed the post! I agree that it's a creative challenge to look at a garment and then think of how you can reconfigure it to make something new. Given widespread interest in both second-hand shopping and crafting/sewing, it seems like the logical next step. Let's hope that refashioning grows in popularity!

Kristina Sullivan

Wonderful post; thank you for affirming an old tradition. I have sewn most of my own clothes and many of my husband's for many years, especially enjoying gorgeous fabrics my mother bought during many years of residence in Asia. Besides plain old mending, it gives me confidence in better fit and more original designs--handmade, beautifully, and a joy to wear. The wastefulness of "throwaways" is wasteful on so many counts: poor washability, no longevity, sloppy fit, careless construction, not much beauty. Most recently I made a soft, lovely baby quilt out of old blouses, a fitting end to one cycle and beginning another.

FIDM Museum

Kristina, your baby quilt sounds fantastic and is such a great use of items that no longer fit their original purpose. Some baby is going to be very happy!

Caitlin at Backlinks Checker

These are really gorgeous pieces! I'm loving that Balenciaga suit. So perfect for business meetings!


I realize it's been a few years, but I just came across this post. The lovely dress at the top is not at all strange - just a nice example of an alternative style of day body popular circa 1850. The low-V neckline was always filled in with a chemisette; with that missing, of course, it doesn't look right at all.

The low-V style is one of several alternative day necklines of the 1840s, and it starts being combined with narrow funnel sleeves in 1848:

By 1850 there are many examples of this combination - here are a couple:


It lasted until about 1853. By 1854 this neckline was on its way out and was pretty much only seen on basque bodies:

The fashion for short *fitted* sleeves for evening bodies also did not survive past the early '50s, so I would definitely place the two bodies contemporaneously.

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