Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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M. Elizabeth Rand

Date Created



Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Rayon taffeta


1928-1930. Sleeveless cream rayon taffeta one-piece dress, unlined, with ruching at the waist, large constructed bow at the left hip, and a diagonal hem made with two rows of flounces.

The dress is made of two main pieces: one front panel and one back panel which extend from the bodice past the waist and into the skirt, ending on a diagonal across the hips. The right side seam is 53.3 cm / 21 in. long and the left side is 34.3 cm / 13.5 in. long, with 25.4 cm / 10 in. of it finished as the opening for the dress, with five snaps. The panels are actually 22.9 cm / 9 in. longer than their final measurements, with their extra length taken up by vertical shirring at the sides and centers at the natural waist. The panels are cut on the straight grain but curve at the sides to fit the waist and hips. Further fit is achieved with the shirring. The neckline is scooped, with the back lower than the front.

At its diagonal hem, the upper portion of the dress has a 104.1 cm / 41 in. circumference. A decorative 30.5 cm / 12 in. wide bias-cut flounce, which has a 292.2 cm / 115 in. hem, is sewn to it. A strip of bias-cut fabric is added in at the same seam, extending the structural length of the skirt by 18.4 cm / 7.25 in., and another flounce is sewn to the bottom edge of this piece. This second flounce is 35.6 cm / 14 in. wide, and forms the actual hem of the dress, with a measurement of 350.5 cm / 138 in.

A large constructed bow shape is sewn at the left hip, made from a flat oval panel trimmed with a double row of ruffles, pinched in the middle by pleated fabric, and backed with two pleated streamers long enough to reach past the hem of the skirt. Homemade. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 80 cm / 31.5 in.
Waist: 71.1 cm / 28 in.
Shoulder: 5.1 cm / 2 in.
Hem: 350.5 cm / 138 in.
Length (overall, longest): 124.5 cm / 49 in.
Length (overall, shortest): 104.1 cm / 41 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, 1928-1930, Norton, Massachusetts, United States, One-piece dresses, Home Economics, Sleeveless, Rayon, Viscose, Taffeta, Cream (color), Scooped neckline, Ruching, Bows (costume components), Flounces, Pleats, Snaps, Homemade, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Rand (donor)


item origin