Cultivation of silkworms and manufacture of silk thread was touted as a new agricultural boon for Maine in the early 19th century. However, only small-scale silk production followed. In 1874, the Haskell Silk Co. of Westbrook changed that, importing raw silk, and producing silk machine twist threat, then fabrics, until its demise in 1930.
Maine residents kept pace with the dramatic shift in women’s dress that occurred during the short number of years preceding and immediately following World War I. The long restrictive skirts, stiff collars, body molding corsets and formal behavior of earlier decades quickly faded away and the new straight, dropped waist easy-to-wear clothing gave mobility and freedom of movement in tune with the young independent women of the casual, post-war jazz age generation.
Settlers' clothing had to be durable and practical to hold up against hard work and winters. From the 1700s to the mid 1800s, the women of Maine learned to sew by making samplers.
Gauze evening dress with silk sash, ca. 1865 Contributed by Maine Historical Society Description An 1867 issue of Peterson's Magazine…
… quality turquoise silk pigeon bodice gown with a silk chiffon neckpiece; a white figured silk dress, with a standing collar and spreading cape-like…