Remodeling Aunt’s Cast-off Dress

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, February 24, 1912:  I fixed over a dress for myself this afternoon. It was one of my Aunt Annie’s cast-offs. I had one trying time a getting the waist and skirt together. I have it fixed now and tried it on to see the result. I’m not so much pleased with my sewing. It seems rather short in the back.

Click on photo to make larger.

Annie Van Sant is the woman in white in the center of the photo.

John and Sarah Derr Family. Taken about 1900. L to R. Front Row: John, Annie Van Sant, Sarah. Back Row: Miles, Fuller, Alice Krumm, Elmer, Phoebe Muffly, Judson, Homer. Phoebe (Derr) Muffly was the mother of Helen (Muffly) Swartz.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Thirty-five year-old Annie Van Sant was Grandma’s mother’s youngest sister. She was married to Benjamin Van Sant who was a physician in nearby Turbotville. The Van Sant’s visited the Muffly’s the previous week.

I suppose that Annie was relatively well-to –do since she was a doctor’s wife—and had some relatively nice cast-offs to give her niece.

It’s amazing how people often remodeled clothes a hundred years ago. Clothing was much more expensive back then—and people often remodeled outfits instead of buying new items.

A hundred years ago, women’s shirts were called waists. Based upon the wording of this diary entry the top part of a dress apparently was also called waists.

An aside–I apologize for using this photo several times over the past year or so. I wish that I had more photos of my ancestors–but I have very few so sometimes need to use the same photo a couple times to illustrate entries.

6 Responses

  1. I don’t mind seeing the same photo more than once. I hope she could still wear the dress without feeling funny since it was a bit short in the back.

  2. I have a short memory. Love to see the old photo, from time to time. ;-)

  3. Kristin and Bill-
    Thanks for the comments regarding the re-use of photos. It’s really helpful to know that readers are okay with it.

  4. [...] else’s? In February, 1912 Grandma mentioned that her Aunt Annie, who was married to a doctor, gave her an old dress. Maybe Aunt Annie also handed down shoes. Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  5. [...] else’s? In February, 1912 Grandma mentioned that her Aunt Annie, who was married to a doctor, gave her an old dress. Maybe Aunt Annie also handed down shoes. Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  6. [...] on February 24, 1912 she wrote: I fixed over a dress for myself this afternoon. It was one of my Aunt Annie’s [...]

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