Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing: Main garments; Coats


Silk velvet, rayon charmeuse


1930s. Ankle-length opera or evening coat of black silk velvet with dolman sleeves and a wide, stand-up collar.

The coat has a slim silhouette and closes at the collar with a loop and a large velvet-covered button, overlapping from right to left by 12.7 cm / 5 in. The only other point of closure is a waist-level tie, sewn to the right interior side seam, which threads through a loop on the edge of the left front panel and secures the coat closely to the body. The black silk velvet of the coat is loosely draped over the foundation provided by a fitted cream rayon charmeuse lining, to which it is attached only at the edges. This lining is made with three full-length pieces: two front panels and one back panel, sewn together at the shoulders and with 114.3 cm / 45 in. long side seams. There are no shaping darts, but the sleeves are fitted; the scyes are cut close to the underarm. At the bustline, the back panel is 44.5 cm / 17.5 in. wide and the front panels are 34.3 cm / 13.5 in. wide (including the fabric needed for the overlap).

The velvet has a more complex construction. There are two full-length front panels, each with a 11.4 cm / 4.5 in. long vertical dart from the shoulder seam to control fabric width. The back of the coat has an upper and a lower panel joined by a waist seam, which allows the fabric in the skirt to remain narrow while the upper back is voluminous, gathered to the seam and draping over it and into the coat’s dolman sleeves. In the lining the sleeves are fitted to the entire arm and have a 35.6 cm / 14 in. circumference scye, but in the velvet they are fitted only along the forearm; the velvet is cut with a deep 87.6 cm / 34.5 in. scye reaching from the shoulder to the waist, and five-sided godets are added for even more fullness above the elbow. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 100.3 cm / 39.5 in.
Shoulder: 14 cm / 5.5 in.
Sleeve: 53.3 cm / 21 in.
Waist: minimum of 83.8 cm / 33 in., maximum 129.5 cm / 51 in.
Hem: 162.6 cm / 64 in.
Length (overall): 144.8 cm / 57 in.


Gift of M. Elizabeth Rand, Associate Professor of Home Economics, University of New Hampshire. Worn by the donor, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, in 1930. She earned her Master of Education at Boston University in 1946, and began teaching at the University of New Hampshire in 1948, remaining at least through 1966.

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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.


Women's coats, 1930s, Opera coats, Evening coats, Silk velvet, Black (color), Dolman sleeves, Stand-up collar, Fitted sleeves, Ankle-length, Velvet-covered button, Waist tie, Rayon charmeuse, Cream (color), Darts, Godets, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Rand (donor)