One of my favourite topics to cover in my costume talks is how the Georgians had a pretty sustainable attitude when it came to fabric, and who can blame them? Fabric could be so expensive back then!
Its not uncommon to see dresses in museums and collections with two date labels. One records the age of the gown, and the other, the age of the fabric. The Georgians were very good at repurposing and remaking their old gowns. It was common for fabric weaved in the early 18th century to be reused well into the Victorian period.
This was because fabric was an investment. Styles changed and often quite drastically over the 18th century, but rather than throw away outdated gowns, the Georgians would often alter them to fit the new fashions. In 1767 Lady Mary Coke spent in todays money over £5000 on fabric alone for a gown. While in 1790, The Duke of Bedford spent the equivelant of £28,000 on an embroidered court suit 🙀!! At those prices no wonder they were reluctant to throw things out 😂
This red 1840s ball gown from The Met is made of fabric dating back to the 1740s ❤