Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1926


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Silk chiffon, glass beads, rhinestones


c. 1926. Sleeveless one-piece knee-length sheath dress made with unlined lavender silk chiffon and skirt godets, trimmed with silver and white beads and rhinestones.

The dress bodice has no shaping and is cut from two pieces of sheer lavender silk chiffon, one front and one back, sewn together at the 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. wide shoulder seams and with 50.2 cm / 19.75 in. long side seams. Both panels are 55.2 cm / 21.75 in. wide. The bodice has a scooped neckline in front and reaches the base of the neck in back. The dress fabric extends past the dropped waistline to the skirt hem in 43.2 cm / 17 in. long and 3.2 cm / 1.25 in. wide strips, three each in front and in back. The strips are evenly spaced and are joined by round arches, and are filled with semi-circular godets of the same fabric.

The dress is heavily embellished with white and silvered glass seed beads, silvered bugle beads, and rhinestones. The design is a crossover between Art Nouveau and Art Deco, with architectural columns, arches, and grids filled with meanders, flowers, flowing ribbons, butterflies, and possibly bats. The strips between each skirt godet are weighted down, completely filled with beads and rhinestones, while the gores themselves are unembellished and left free to flutter with movement. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 55.2 cm / 21.75 in.
Waist (dropped): 55.2 cm / 21.75 in.
Length: 109.2 cm / 43 in.
Hem: 464.8 cm / 183 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


Dresses, c. 1926, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, One-piece dresses, Sheath dresses, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Silk chiffon, Lavender (color), Scooped neckline, Dropped waistline, Skirt godets, Beads, Seed beads, Bugle beads, Silvered beads, Rhinestones, Silver (color), White (color), Columns, Arches, Grids, Meanders (patterns), Flowers, Butterflies, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Ffrost Sawyer (donor), Hamilton Ffrost (donor), Rollins Ffrost (donor), Ffrost (donor), Frost (donor)


item origin