Mother Remodeled Skirt

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

Saturday, September 21, 1912:  Ma made over a skirt for me. Got a pair of rubbers today.

From Bedell Company advertisement in November, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

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

I guess that Grandma’s mother was trying to save about $1.98 by making over the skirt. I can’t remember the last time I remodeled a skirt . . . or dress.  (Actually, I don’t think that I’ve ever remodeled one.) Yet, Grandma and her mother did it regularly.

On June 3, 1912, Grandma wrote:

I am trying to remodel a skirt which was once the property of the benevolent Ruthie. I’ll know whether I’ll wear it or not after it’s finished.

And, on February 24, 1912 she wrote:

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.

Grandma sounded like she wasn’t very satisfied with either of her remodeling efforts, but she didn’t express any similar qualms about the skirt her mother remodeled.  Apparently her mother was more proficient at sewing than she was.


On September 18, Grandma mentioned walking to school through the rain and mud—hopefully her new rubber overshoes made the trek slightly less arduous the next time it rained.

9 thoughts on “Mother Remodeled Skirt

    1. They probably were more common in areas where the roads weren’t very good–though I recently saw an article in the Wall Street Journal about how some men who work on Wall Street still wear them to protect their expensive shoes.

  1. we always got a pair of “goulashes” or “rubbers” when we were younger. I love to sew but am not a seamstress by a long shot, I admire anyone’s talent that can make over clothes.

    1. I won’t even know where to start when to comes to remodeling clothes. My sense is that people were much more skilled in this area a hundred years ago than what they are now.

  2. Can you imagine doing all that work by handle or maybe one of those old peddle machines, yoy. I love those designer rubber boots you see now, I’ve even seen them shaped like cowgirl

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