Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Wool barege


1860s. Three part walking dress with separate bodice, skirt, and sash, made of beige wool barege woven in lavender stripes and leaves, closing in front, with a corded yoke, bishop sleeves, and a two-tiered skirt gathered to a waistband.

The bodice is lined in the torso with white cotton to provide support and shaping for the delicate sheer barege fashion fabric, but has a wide scooped neckline beneath the high barege neck. This scooped neckline has cord in its hem to tighten the fit to the body. The lining has three fitted pieces, two in front with two boned darts on each side, and one panel in back with a center boned dart and curved side back tucks. The side seams are boned as well, as is the front opening on the right side. The barege layer has a false yoke in front and back with corded vertical shirring. The bottom edge is marked with a continuous line of fabric pleated into a trim. Beneath this, in the front and back the fabric released from the shirring is knife pleated all the way to the waistband. At the sides below the scyes, the fabric lies smoothly. The bodice closes at center front from the high neck to the waist with an overlap secured with thirteen hooks and eyes. The waistline is round.

The shoulders are deeply dropped. Full bishop sleeves are gathered to a buttoned cuff at the wrist.

The separate skirt is made of seven 57.2 cm / 22.5 in. wide panels gathered evenly to a waistband. It is hemmed slightly short for wear in outdoor activities. There are two box-pleated flounces at the hem, using a decorative band within the fabric containing purple and lavender stripes and embroidered purple and lavender leaves. A separate sash made of the same decorative band with embroidery shows it is a repeated element within the fabric; its attached bow and streamers repeat the motif four times within the length of the streamers. Pink silk is used to bind the edges of the bow and streamers.

The bodice shows little sign of alteration however the skirt is less clear. The skirt waistband is not original and it is possible the skirt was cut shorter at some point from the waist, easier to do there than at the flounces. Unhemmed panels of plain cotton muslin have been tacked to the skirt at intervals to form a sort of lining; these are not even sewn together into a single unit.

There is piping at the neck, shoulder seams, and bodice waist. The box pleated fabric running all the way around bodice at the bottom of the false yoke and over the shoulders is a typical trim placement for the 1860s. It is made from a section of the fabric with purple stripes and is embroidered with small purple and lavender leaf motifs; it consists of groupings of three box pleats flanked with knife pleats, spaced across the trim. The cuff is similarly trimmed. The skirt flounces also use a pattern of groups of three box pleats spaced across the flounces; these have been opened at the top into frog-mouth folds. The pleats are positioned to alternate between top and bottom flounces. Hand-sewn.


Bust: 86.4 cm / 34 in.
Waist: 61 cm / 24 in.
Sleeve: 53.3 cm / 21 in.
Shoulder seam: 25.4 cm / 10 in.
Hem: 400.1 cm / 157.5 in.
Skirt length (front): 88.3 cm / 34.75 in.
Skirt length (back): 91.4 cm / 36 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, 1860s, Three-part dresses, Wool barege, Beige (color), Lavender (color), Purple (color), Stripes, Leaves, Bodice, Front-closing, Corded yoke, Cotton lining, White (color), High neck, Boned darts, Curved tucks, False yoke, Corded vertical shirring, Knife pleats, Hooks and eyes, Dropped shoulders, Bishop sleeves, Buttoned cuff, Two-tiered skirt, Flounces, Embroidery, Sash, Bow, Streamers, Silk, Pink (color), Cotton muslin, Piping, Box pleats, Frog-mouth folds, Hand-sewn