Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


1910-1915. Black ribbed double-faced silk satin one-piece dress, using the reverse side of the fabric as trim, closing in front with full-length sleeves and gored ankle-length skirt.

The fabric has a woven weft stripe with the reverse appearing glossier because of its float threads. The effect is of a lustrous yet subdued textured shine for most of the garment with a deeper, shinier black in the contrast panels.

The bodice is made of three pieces: two front panels meeting only at the waist with a triangular placket using the reverse filling the gap at center, and one back panel. The front and back are joined at the shoulders and with 15.8 cm / 6.24 in. long side seams. Each front panel has a small, short pleat flanking center and a deeper pleat toward the side, which is sewn into a 6.24 cm / 0.625 in. wide permanent tuck at the arm that is 40.6 cm / 16 in. long and runs all the way over the shoulder seam and to the back waist. The bodice closes at the front edge of the left panel, securing to the placket with eight snaps. Seven tiny satin-covered decorative buttons are sewn down the center of the placket, which is framed on each side by three decorative cord-wrapped buttons. A wide flat collar begins at the top of the placket, 10.2 cm / 4 in. wide in front and increasing to 11.4 cm / 4.5 in. in back. The sleeves are made with one curved seam and are further shaped with a dart at the back of the wrist. They are fitted to the arm and are decorated with five cord-wrapped buttons, and have braided trim at the hem over a short fall of black lace.

The skirt is sewn to a tape and then to the finished bodice hem, and is made with four gored panels smooth at the front and sides and with three double-stacked inverted box pleats in back. The panels meeting at center front have their edges turned back and are top-stitched to a narrow fifth panel made with the reversed fabric; at the top left the skirt has a hidden slit, closed with ten snaps. Toward the hem the sides curve away to reveal a 22.9 cm / 9 in. wide and 50.8 cm / 20 in. high triangle, trimmed with three cord-wrapped buttons on each side, each placed above a short tuck of fabric.

A matching belt is made with a bias-cut strip of the reverse fabric framed by the main straight-grain fabric. It has two parts; in back the belt has rounded ends with two large fabric-covered buttons each, and the front is made with a straight length. All but the left front side is sewn to the dress. The straight length is sewn beneath the rounded belt at the left side and hooks beneath the other end of it at the right side. The dress is unlined, but all seams bound with black silk ribbon. Machine sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 81.3 cm / 32 in.
Waist: 63.5 cm / 25 in.
Shoulder: 12.7 cm / 5 in.
Sleeve: 55.9 cm / 22 in.
Length (overall): 129.5 cm / 51 in.

Museum Number



University of New Hampshire Library


Silk satin


Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator

Date Digitized


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International 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.


Dresses, 1910-1915, One-piece dresses, Front-closing, Full-length sleeves, Curved seam sleeves, Wide collar, Gored skirt, Ankle-length skirt, Double-faced silk satin, Black (color), Ribbed, Weft, Pleats, Tucks, Darts, Snaps, Satin-covered buttons, Cord-wrapped buttons, Lace, Braided trim, Topstitching, Belts (costume accessories), Silk ribbon, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn