Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1912


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Suits




c. 1912. Two-piece white linen suit with a single-breasted cutaway jacket having notched lapels and long fitted sleeves, over an ankle-length flared skirt, tailored with an Art Deco-inspired use of geometric shapes.

The jacket is not lined and is made of eight pieces: two narrow front panels, two side-front panels, two side panels, and a back with an upper and a lower panel joined with a horizontal seam. The center and side-front panels are sewn together with a shaped seam beginning at the shoulder seam, curving over the bust, narrowing at the waist, and finishing at the jacket hem. The seam joining the front to the side panels is likewise shaped, curved to nip the waist and flow over the hips, but the shape of the side panel and the seam joining it to the back is more complex, reflecting the sharply geometric design of the back. Though the back’s overall length is 71.8 cm / 28.25 in., its upper and lower panels do not simply divide this between them: at the scyes, the upper panel is cut into a sharp point or triangle 61.3 cm / 24.125 in. long, overlapping a 34.3 cm / 13.5 in. long rectangular lower panel at the waistline and ending 11.7 cm / 4.625 in. shy of the hem at center. The long sides of the rectangle are sewn in place with what appear to be vents but which are 2.9 cm / 1.125 in. wide topstitched tucks. The seams joining the side panels to the back follow the stepped shape created by the combined back panels, and the effect is very architectural.

The jacket has a collar with notched lapels, with the lapel facing extending only to the first seam in the front. There are two pockets on either side, curved to match the line of the cutaway jacket hem, and one small breast pocket on the left. The sleeves are full-length and tailored to the arm with two seams and have vents at the wrist in back which are missing their three buttons. The jacket has three large buttonholes on the right side near the waist, but these buttons are also missing.

The ankle-length skirt is sewn to a grosgrain waistband and has an opening at the left hip, with six snaps. There are six gored panels and a complex center-back panel. The front is smoothly fitted to the waist and is made with two pieces: a wide panel whose edges are finished as wide top-stitched tucks, and a narrower panel sewn beneath it. The overlapping side of the wider panel conceals the skirt opening at the waist and is curved at the hem, behind which the narrower panel fills in the shape to keep the hem straight. The center back is also smoothly fitted to the waist and is made the same way as the back of the jacket, with a long triangular upper piece overlapping with and sewn onto a rectangular lower piece, ending 12.7 cm / 5 in. shy of the hem. This lower piece has both bottom corners curved, and like the front, fabric from a neighboring panel completes the straight hem shape beneath it. The center front and center back are flanked on each side by two panels knife pleated toward the hips for a total of four pleats at each hip. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 96.5 cm / 38 in.
Waist: 69.2 cm / 27.25 in.
Shoulder: 13.3 cm / 5.25 in.
Sleeve: 61.1 cm / 24.25 in.
Hem: 236.2 cm / 93 in.
Length (jacket): 73.7 cm / 29 in.
Length (skirt): 105.4 cm / 41.5 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


Women's suits, c. 1912, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Two-piece suits, Single-breasted jacket, Cutaway jacket, Notched lapels, Long sleeves, Fitted sleeves, Ankle-length skirt, Flared skirt, Art Deco, Linen, White (color), Vents, Tucks, Topstitching, Breast pocket, Butttons, Grosgrain waistband, Snaps, Gores, Knife pleats, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Ffrost Sawyer (donor), Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin