Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Amy Linker & Co., Paris

Date Created

c. 1902


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses




c. 1902. Two-piece purple taffeta dress with black silk geometric open weave overlay, with a front-opening bodice and full-length sleeves having triple cuffs, and a separate floor-length skirt flaring at the hem.

The purple silk lining forms the fitted, structural part of the bodice and is made in ten pieces: two front panels each with two boned darts and one at the right opening, two side panels, and a six-piece back constructed of two back panels with a center-back seam, flanked by two narrow curved panels on each side. All seams are boned, for a total of fifteen stays. The bodice lining comes to a slight point at the front and rises to the base of the neck. It closes at center front with fourteen hooks and eyes and has a waist stay ribbon.

The purple silk is flatlined to the black overlay at the side seams, shoulders, scye, and hem. The left edge, shoulder, and hem of the overlay are not attached to the lining. The main overlay has four pieces: one center-front panel that is sewn in only at the right side and shoulder and gathered at its hem into a pouched shape, two side-front panels with their front edge cut to resemble an opened-out collar and lapels decorated with three pairs of black thread-wrapped buttons joined with loops of cord joining the collar and lapel points, and one back panel lying smoothly on top of the lining. The pouched panel hooks in place at the left shoulder and beneath the left side-front. The collar is missing.

The sleeves are full-length, with a curved, snugly fitted two-seam construction, and have a small kick-up at top of the shoulder where the fabric has been gathered tightly to the scye. There is a purple silk-lined cuff at the elbow, 8.3 cm / 3.25 in. wide in front and 12.7 cm / 5 in. at the back. Beneath this, the hem of the sleeve is split into three square tabs about 5 cm / 2 in. deep. Three pairs of black thread-wrapped buttons joined with loops of cord hold two tabs together at the outside of the sleeve. Beneath the tabs, a curved panel, not quite a ruffle, is added in, measuring 5.7 cm / 2.25 in. at front and 8.9 cm / 3.5 in. in the back.

The skirt is constructed with a foundation layer of purple silk taffeta having the black silk overlay fabric as a ruffle at its hem, 14 cm / 5.5 in. deep in front and 27.9 cm / 11 in. deep in back. Over this, the black overlay falls in five gored panels cut shorter than the foundation layer, and with curved hems. This creates a scalloped hem above the ruffle. The overlay fits smoothly at the waist in front and at the sides, where the panel has a dart at the hips, and two panels in back are plated toward the center-back opening, which closes with hooks and eyes and snaps. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 91.4 cm / 36 in.
Waist: 73.7 cm / 29 in.
Shoulder: 12.7 cm / 5 in.
Sleeve: 63.5 cm / 25 in.
Hem: 330.2 cm / 130 in.
Length (skirt front): 108 cm / 42.5 in.
Length (skirt back): 127 cm / 50 in.


Gift of Mary Pepperrell Ffrost Sawyer, Margaret Hamilton Ffrost, and Elizabeth Rollins Ffrost

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License


The Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection digital catalog was produced by the UNH Library Digital Collection Initiative, supported in part by a grant from the Mooseplate program and New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the E. Ruth Buxton Stephenson Memorial Fund.
Photography copyright, Astrida Schaeffer.

Ffrost-Sawyer_history.pdf (75 kB)
Ffrost-Sawyer history


Dresses, c. 1902, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Two-piece dresses, Taffeta, Silk, Purple (color), Black (color), Front-opening, Geometric pattern, Boned darts, Stays, Hooks and eyes, Snaps, Waist stay ribbon, Pouched shape, Thread-wrapped buttons, Cord loops, Full-length sleeves, Cuffs, Floor-length skirt, Gores, Pleats, Scalloped hem, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Ffrost Sawyer (donor), Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin