Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Main garments for the lower body; Skirts


Silk, wool, flax


18th century. Yellow silk quilted petticoat, lined with homespun white and yellow check wool, interlined with flax and wool.

The petticoat is made with a canary yellow plain-woven or China silk that is 39.4 cm / 15.5 in. wide, in panels 83.2 cm / 32.75 in. long. There are eight straight panels in all, five using the full width of the silk and three that are cut narrower, and a yoke at the waist. Before quilting, two large rectangles of silk were assembled: one with three of the full-width panels sewn together selvedge to selvedge, adding on a cut piece 28.6 cm / 11.25 in. wide, and a second with two full-width panels sewn selvedge to selvedge, adding on 20.3 cm / 8 in. and 27.9 cm / 11 in. cut panels on either end. Similarly, six panels of the 72.4 cm / 28.5 in. wide homespun wool were sewn together into two rectangles to match the silk’s dimensions, with each rectangle having one full width of wool and two pieces cut narrower. A mixed flax and wool interlining was sandwiched between the pair of silk and woven wool rectangles, which were then each hand-quilted together in yellow silk thread with eight running stitches per inch. The main quilting pattern consists of eight horizontal rows of nested bands of five zig-zags, with an additional repeating design worked at the hem of six four-petaled flowers arranged within a triangle that has scalloped shapes and cross-hatching filling in the background.

The quilted panels of the skirt have been sewn together into a tube with one seam at the left front side and another at the right back side. The skirt is gathered at its top edge to the yoke. It is likely that one of the panels was originally wider during the quilting process and cut down before assembly into a skirt in order to make the quilted yoke, which has a circumference at its seam with the skirt of 134.3 cm / 52.875 in., and is 12.7 cm / 5 in. wide in back, 6.7 cm / 2.625 in. wide in front, and 10.5 cm / 4.125 in. wide at the sides. The yoke is made in two halves with a seam at center front and an opening at center back. Its top edge is lightly gathered to fit the waist and is bound with silk. The hem of the petticoat is also bound with silk. The oval shape of the finished yoke, with its narrow front and wider sides, indicates that the petticoat was worn with small panniers or pocket hoops.

Both the quilted petticoat and the printed cotton dress (Museum # 117) were owned by the same person and could well have been worn together. Hand-sewn.


Waist: 76.2 cm / 30 in.
Hem: 274.3 cm / 108 in.
Length (from waist, front): 88.3 cm / 34.75 in.
Length (from waist, sides): 94 cm / 37 in.
Length (from waist, back): 95.3 cm / 37.5 in.


Gift of the Coe family. Descended through the family, owned and worn by Temperance Pickering Knight (1732-1821) of Dover Point, New Hampshire.

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.

Pickering_and_Coe_History.pdf (60 kB)
Pickering and Coe history


Petticoats, 18th century, Dover, New Hampshire, United States, Quilted, Silk, Yellow (color), Canary yellow (color), Homespun wool, White (color), Checker pattern, Flax (fiber), Plain-woven silk, China silk, Zigzags, Floral design, Scalloping, Cross-hatching, Triangles, Panniers, Pocket hoops, Hand-sewn, Temperance Pickering Knight, Janet Coe Stearns, Margaret Coe Ninde, Sarah T. Coe, Anne Coe Curry, Coe family, Coe (donor)


item origin