Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Silk, cotton


1853-1863. One-piece dress made of green, black, and white plaid silk taffeta trimmed with black silk box pleats, opening in front, with wide full-length sleeves and a floor-length skirt pleated evenly to the bodice.

The bodice is made with three panels: two in front with two darts on each side and whalebone reinforcing the center-front opening, and one back panel with curved tucks. The lining is made the same way but without the tucks. The neck is high and the waist is round and at the natural level. The dress closes with concealed hooks and eyes.

The shoulders are dropped. The sleeves are cut on the diagonal and are fitted at the shoulder, flaring to the hem at the wrist. Perspiration guards are still sewn into the underarms.

The skirt is slightly longer in back than in front, and is made of nine panels 47 cm / 18.5 in. wide. The lengths are pleated evenly to the bodice all around with box and knife pleats. A small piece has been added in at the waist on the right back side. Needle holes at the waist suggest alterations. A tuck is taken in the skirt above the pleat trim.

Piping finishes the neck, scyes, and bodice waist. The dress is trimmed with pinked black silk box pleated strips, 3.18 cm / 1.5 in. wide, in a yoke configuration on the bodice with two additional rows beneath it across the front; the sleeves with same trim running vertically along the outside edge, and cuff; and a 10.8 cm / 4.25 in. wide hemmed box pleated band 10.16 cm / 4 in. above the hem.

The dress is lined with cotton in the bodice and skirt. The sleeve is lined with a printed cotton of red, tan, and blue in floral bands. Hand-sewn.


Bust: 69.9 cm / 27.5 in.
Waist: 58.4 cm / 23 in.
Sleeve: 50.8 cm / 20 in.
Shoulder seam: 21 cm / 8.25 in.
Hem: 365.8 cm / 144 in.
Length of skirt (front): 91.4 cm / 36 in.
Length of skirt (back): 95.3 cm / 37.5 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, 1853-1863, One-piece dresses, Silk taffeta, Plaid, Green (color), Black (color), White (color), Silk box pleated trim, High neck, Dropped shoulders, Full-length sleeves, Floor-length skirt, Natural waistline, Darts, Whalebone, Tucks, Hooks and eyes, Perspiration guards, Box pleats, Knife pleats, Piping, Cotton lining, Printed cotton lining, Hand-sewn