Irma G. Bowen Historic Clothing Collection


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Date Created



Costume; Clothing; Main garments; Dresses




1860s. Everyday cotton dress, printed with lavender and tiny black, white, and tan floral motifs, one piece, open in front, with a lined bodice, dropped shoulders, long, full sleeves gathered to a cuff, and floor-length skirt.

The bodice is made of two front panels and one back panel, smooth-fitting at the sides and gathered to the waist at center front and center back. Aside from the gathers there is no shaping to the bodice on the outer fabric, but the heavy twill cotton lining once had darts in front (now removed) and in back, making it closely fitted, closing in front with eleven hooks and eyes. The bodice front edge is not sewn to the lining and closes with three buttons. The seam joining the front and back panels is positioned toward the back, and there are curved tucks flanking center back. The neck is high and the waist is round and cut slightly high. The shoulders are dropped and long sleeves are tightly gathered at the shoulders and to a narrow cuff, which closes with one button. One 12.4 cm / 4.875 in. long belt piece is sewn to the left front and 16.2 cm / 6.375 in. on the right. Both are 2.54 cm / 1 in. wide and would likely have been buckled closed. There is piping made of the same fabric at the neck, arm scyes, and waist.

The skirt is floor-length, slightly longer and fuller in back, and is comprised of six panels of 63.5 cm / 25 in. wide fabric seamed selvedge to selvedge. The center front is set in without fullness, and the majority is tightly gathered evenly at sides and back. The front opening of the bodice extends into the skirt and is closed with one button.

The dress is altered to accommodate a larger waist. In addition to the release of the lining darts, most of the hook and eye and closures are moved to the front edge of the lining. Homemade. Hand-sewn.


Bust: 92.7 cm / 36.5 in.
Original waist: 69.9 cm / 27.5 in.
Current waist: 80 cm / 31.5 in.
Sleeve: 53.3 cm / 21 in.
Shoulder seam: 20.3 cm / 8 in.
Hem: 381 cm / 150 in.
Length of skirt (front): 91.4 cm / 36 in.
Length of skirt (back): 99.1 cm / 39 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, One-piece dresses, Printed cotton, High neck, Floral motifs, Lavender (color), Black (color), White (color), Tan (color), Front-opening, Buttons, Gathers, Darts, Hooks and eyes, Twill cotton lining, Dropped shoulders, Full sleeves, Long sleeves, Sleeve cuff, Floor-length skirt, Belt piece, Piping, Home made, Hand-sewn