Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created

c. 1898


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Wool, silk, velvet, chiffon, lace


c. 1898. Three piece mauve and cream striped wool dress, with the bodice having a concealed front opening, dove gray velvet accents, embroidered cream chiffon center, and full-length curved-seam sleeves, a separate high collar, and a separate floor-length gored skirt with fullness in back.

The tan polished cotton lining forms the fitted, structural part of the bodice and is made in eight pieces: two front panels each with two boned darts and one at the right opening, and a six-piece back constructed of two back panels with a center-back seam, flanked by two narrow curved panels on each side. All seams are boned, for a total of twelve stays. The bodice extends slightly past the waist, ending in a curved dip at the front and straight at the back. The lining comes to the base of the neck and closes at center front with eighteen hooks and eyes.

The cotton is flatlined to the striped mauve and cream wool primary fabric at the side seams, shoulders, scye, and hem. The front edge of the wool is not attached to the lining. This striped wool layer has three pieces: two narrow front panels gathered from the side front to the center to create a pouched/pigeon-breast silhouette, and one back panel fitted at the waist by two knife pleats. The wool front panels are not wide enough to complete the shoulder seams or meet at center, and have dove gray velvet scalloped lapels sewn to their edges from shoulder seam to hem, with the lapels widest at the shoulder and narrowing toward the curved front dip. The center of the front is covered with a yoke of the same velvet above the bust, sewn in at the right lapel and shoulder seam and hooking closed at the left with five hooks and eyes. The yoke is trimmed with appliqués of white flowers, vines, and leaves embroidered with satin stitch and padded satin stitch, cut from their net ground. Beneath the yoke, the rest of the bodice front is filled in with a cream silk satin panel overlaid with deeply pleated cream silk chiffon embroidered with cream flowers. This is sewn beneath the lapel on the right side and hooks closed beneath the lapel at the left with seven hooks. At its top, extending from the lapels, each side of the panel has a square velvet tab sewn to it, made to seem buttoned on with three small rhinestone buttons each. The same gray velvet covers a separate 5.7 cm / 2.25 in. high collar, stiffened with canvas and glue and trimmed in the same manner as the yoke. Thread remnants indicate it was once partially sewn to the bodice, and it closes with three hooks in back.

The sleeves are full length, with a curved two-seam construction. They have a small puff at the shoulder where fullness is gathered at the scye and are fitted tightly to the rest of the arm. On the outer seam at the elbow, extra fabric from the back panel is gathered to fit the front panel for ease and shaping. The outside of each sleeve also has a patch of the gray velvet appliquéd with the embroidered flowers added on to resemble a cuff. These patches come to a point up the sleeve and are rounded over the hands. The sleeve hems also have a lace frill.

Two hooks at the back of the bodice attach to the separate skirt to prevent gapping between the garments. The skirt is missing its waistband and is constructed with seven gored panels flaring from waist to floor, closing in back with hooks and snaps. At the front and sides the fabric fits smoothly at the waist, and four of the panels are pleated in back to create fullness. The skirt is longer in back for a slight train. The top is lined with polished gray cotton, the rest has a gray silk lining with ruffles at the hem, which is not attached to the wool layer. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 82.6 cm / 32.5 in.
Waist: 55.9 cm / 22 in.
Shoulder: 12.7 cm / 5 in.
Sleeve: 63.5 cm / 25 in.
Hem: 362 cm / 142.5 in.
Length (skirt front): 102.9 cm / 40.5 in.
Length (skirt back): 114.3 cm / 45 in.


Gift of Philip Marston

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.

Marston.pdf (1128 kB)
Marston history


Dresses, c. 1898, Three-piece dresses, Wool, Mauve (color), Cream (color), Stripes, Velvet, Dove gray (color), Chiffon, Silk satin, Boned darts, Hooks and eyes, Pouched silhouette, Pigeon-breast silhouette, Knife pleats, Scalloping, Lapels, Yoke, Appliqués, Flowers, Vines, Leaves, Satin stitch, Padded satin stitch, Embroidery, Full-length sleeves, Curved-seam sleeves, High collar, Canvas, Glue, Floor-length skirt, Gored skirt, Hooks and snaps, Polished cotton, Glazed cotton, Silk lining, Ruffles, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Marston (donor)