Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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M. Elizabeth Rand

Date Created

c. 1930


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses




c. 1930. Burgundy velvet one-piece knee-length dress, unlined, with a standing shawl collar, full-length sleeves ending in semi-circular flounces, and a skirt cut on the bias.

The dress bodice is made with four main pieces: two front panels and two back panels with a center-back seam. The front and back are sewn together at the side and shoulder seams. The front panels meet only at the waist seam and flank a triangular placket at center which is 21.6 cm / 8.5 in. high and 11.4 cm / 4.5 in. wide; this is sewn in place and creates a low squared neckline. In back, the dress comes to the nape of the neck. A shawl collar is added in along the full length of the front panel edges, defining the placket and framing the wearer’s face as it goes around the neckline at the back. It is designed to be standing or popped, supported by a stiff interlining quilted to the surface velvet and wire stays at the back. It is lined with a burgundy taffeta and reveals a velvet bow at its base in back. Its entire length is 96.5 cm / 38 in. and at the back it is 9.5 cm / 3.75 in. wide. The two-part sleeves are made with one seam. The upper sleeves are fairly fitted to the arm and are very slightly gathered to the scyes. At the elbow each has a semi-circular flounce sewn in to cover the forearm; in back the flounce is 25.4 cm / 10 in. wide and in front it is 21.6 cm / 8.5 in. wide.

The waistline is at the natural level at the sides, but this curves up beneath the placket in front and comes to a point at center back so high that the back seam is only 26.7 cm / 10.5 in. long. The skirt is made of four panels cut on the bias, one at the front and back and for each side, with the center-front and center-back panels cut to fit their respective waist seam shapes. The skirt is slightly gathered to the seam. A 4.1 cm / 1.625 in. wide belt made of the same velvet, with a velvet-covered buckle, rides at the natural waist level and cuts across the high waist lines in front and back. The dress has no closures and pulls on over the head. The dress is clearly homemade, with crooked seams that interrupt the flow of the fabric. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 88.9 cm / 35 in.
Waist: 76.2 cm / 30 in.
Sleeve: 52.1 cm / 20.5 in.
Hem: 208.3 cm / 82 in.
Length (overall): 101.6 cm / 40 in.


Gift of M. Elizabeth Rand, Associate Professor of Home Economics, University of New Hampshire. Worn and likely made by the donor during her final years at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree 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.

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.


Dresses, c. 1930, Norton, Massachusetts, United States, One-piece dresses, Home Economics, Velvet, Burgundy (color), Knee-length, Shawl collar, Full-length sleeves, Square neckline, Flounces, Wire stays, Taffeta lining, Bows (costume accessories), Belts (costume accessories), Homemade, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Rand (donor)


item origin