Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


image preview



Date Created

c. 1865


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses




c. 1865. One-piece dress in green, pink, and brown plaid silk, closing in front, with full-length curved-seam sleeves and floor-length skirt pleated to the bodice with slightly more fullness to the back.

The bodice is made of three pieces: two front panels with two boned darts each, and a single center-back panel with curved tucks at side back. It opens in front with eleven brown shell buttons. The neck has a 1.6 cm / 0.625 in. high standing band collar and the waistline is round. The bodice is flat lined with brown polished cotton.

The shoulders are dropped and the sleeves are full-length, with a curved two-seam construction first introduced between 1884-1868. They are smoothly inserted into the scye with no gathers, bell toward the elbow, and narrow back down at the wrist. The sleeves are carefully pieced at the bicep and behind the wrist with attempts to match the fabric pattern, necessary due to the narrow fabric width used.

The skirt is floor-length and full, slightly longer in back than in front, and has slightly more fullness in back than in front. It is made of seven straight 49.5 cm / 19.5 in. wide panels sewn selvedge to selvedge and is pleated to the bodice in a pattern of seven wide box pleats flanked by two knife pleats, except in center back where extra fullness is controlled with twelve knife pleats. There is no lining.

There is piping at the scyes, cuffs, and at the waist.

The dress has either been let out or made over; stitch marks parallel the bodice side-back seams, and at the waist in back fabric has been added to the top of the skirt in many small pieces. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 81.3 cm / 32 in.
Waist: 55.9 cm / 22 in.
Sleeve: 55.9 cm / 22 in.
Shoulder seam: 21.6 cm / 8.5 in.
Hem: 340 cm / 133.858 in.
Length (skirt front): 108.6 cm / 42.75 in.
Length (skirt back): 113.7 cm / 44.75 in.

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. 1865, One-piece dresses, Silk, Plaid (pattern), Green (color), Pink (color), Brown (color), Polished cotton, Glazed cotton, Front-opening, Boned darts, Tucks, Shell buttons, Polished cotton lining, Dropped shoulders, Full-length sleeves, Curved-seam sleeves, Round waistline, Floor-length skirt, Full skirt, Box pleats, Knife pleats, Piping, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn