Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


image preview



Date Created

c. 1904


Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses


Silk, cotton


c. 1904. Two-piece silk dress densely printed with purple mottled scalloped shapes on a white ground, with a bloused front bodice, dickey, high collar, and long sleeves, and a floor-length gored skirt fitted at the hips and flaring at the hem.

The bodice’s silk layer is cut in the fashionable mono-bosom, pouched/bloused style, and has two draped panels in front which are sewn in only at the side seams and shoulders and have no shaping, and one panel in back. The polished lilac cotton lining forms the fitted, structural part of the bodice and is made in six pieces: two front panels with two steel-boned darts each and one piece of boning at the right front edge, two side-back panels, and two back panels with a center-back seam. All the seams have steel boning. The assembled lining back is flatlined to the silk back panel at the side seams, shoulders, scye, hem, and collar. The front of the lining is sewn to the silk front panel only at the side seams, shoulders, and scye, and closes snugly at center with seventeen hooks and eyes. Further structural support is provided by a grosgrain waist stay ribbon. The lining is hidden by a white silk false blouse or dickey with a high neck and a pouched structure reaching the waist. It has an openwork overlay of stylized black flowers edged in white and is sewn in at the left shoulder and is tacked to the lining in a few places at its left side. It secures to the right side of the lining and right shoulder of the silk with eight hooks. In front, the purple printed silk layer drapes over the dickey, hiding its edges as though it were a jacket over a blouse. Its neckline first forms a low scooped U shape 31.8 cm / 12.5 in. long, then frames the dickey to the waist with a 21.6 cm / 8.5 in. long straight opening hooked closed only at the center-front hem. The entire neckline is framed with a strip of white silk banded with individual strips of the 0.5 cm / 0.1875 in. wide black and white trim that decorates the rest of the dress, and is further embellished with three ruffles made of the same trim topped with a strip of the dickey overlay’s flowers. The purple silk fabric pouches at the front and sides, adding to the overall pouter-pigeon effect. In back, the fabric rests on top of the shaped lining layer. All the purple silk of the bodice is vertically pintucked throughout.

The bodice has a 6.4 cm / 2.5 in. high standing collar, which supported by wires at its bottom and top edges and has eight vertical wire stays holding it up. It has a white silk layer covered with seven rows of the narrow trim topped with one ruffled row and scattered with the black flowers. It is partially attached to the bodice and hooks closed in back with three hooks and eyes. A pom-pom made with loops of the black and white trim is sewn to the top of the collar at center back.

The sleeves are pintucked at the upper arm and gathered to the scye with some fullness for a slightly puffed effect. Just above the elbow, three rows of the black and white trim encircle the arm with one flat row flanked by two ruffled rows. The sleeve widens beneath this, forming a pouched effect at the back of the wrist below elaborate cuffs, which are themselves edged in two rows of the trim, one sewn on straight and the other ruffled. The sleeve lining conforms to the actual shape of the arm, leaving the silk to drape.

The bodice waist is pointed in front and has a slight point at center back, but this is occluded by the skirt which is worn over the bodice hem, where three hooks in back secure it and prevent gaps between the bodice and waistband. Five gored panels cling to the hips before flowing to the floor, flaring from the knee to the hem. Tiny pin-tucks help mold the hips before excess fabric is pleated at center back, with the folds disguising the center back opening of the skirt. Each panel of the silk is flatlined to blue polished cotton, and at the bottom a strip of fabric is added in to help flare the hem, more in back than in front; a ruffled double row of the trim disguises the join. At the hem, two ruffles of the silk edged with the trim are topped with a third row of ruffles which is sewn down along its center with a long pin-tuck, creating a double ruffle. Machine-sewn and hand-sewn.


Bust: 87.6 cm / 34.5 in.
Waist: 62.2 cm / 24.5 in.
Shoulder: 10.2 cm / 4 in.
Sleeve: 61 cm / 24 in.
Hem: 434.3 cm / 171 in.
Length (skirt front): 99.1 cm / 39 in.
Length (skirt back): 114.3 cm / 45 in.


Gift of Sir Charles Jameson

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. 1904, Two-piece dresses, Purple (color), Silk, Printed, Bloused front bodice, Steel-boned darts, Boning, Hooks and eyes, Dickey, High collar, Standing collar, Wire stays, Long sleeves, Pin-tucks, Grosgrain ribbon, Floor-length skirt, Gored skirt, Polished cotton lining, Trim, Black (color), White (color), Ruffles, Flowers, Pom-pom, Pouter-pigeon effect, Machine-sewn, Hand-sewn, Jameson (donor)