Hem Circumference Resource

This blog post is a continually-updated resource. I do a significant amount of research on historical garments, both for personal sewing and academic work, and all too often find myself Googling “hem circumference 18__?” to help date extant gowns.

Go ahead, guess how big these hems are. (Your guess is as good as mine, because they’re not listed! But you might be able to get an idea via the list below.)

As an example, in 2018 I worked on conserving a gown that could feasibly date from 1850-1860. Its bertha and skirt decorations weren’t being particularly useful, but its skirt circumference was! Only 120″ (305cm) at the hem, it would have been a spectacularly tiny skirt for an 1860s evening gown. An everyday outfit would have been different, but for something that was supposedly Parisian high fashion, that would not have made the cut. That pushed it earlier, before the introduction of the crinoline. (Yes, there are always exceptions, but we needed an approximate date, so I had to make do with educated assumptions. Other information contributed; I’m just mentioning the hem as an example.)

So that I do not have to constantly re-search the same queries, I’m putting together a big ol’ resource on this post of hem circumferences throughout the era (and of what kind of dress they were from). Please message me if there is a dress, hoops, or petticoat that you’d like to add to the list!

Things that this list can help with:

  • measuring/planning your own projects
  • dating extant garments
  • visual guide of what various circumferences look like over different kinds of supports, or flat vs. ruffled, and so forth.

I am working on an Excel spreadsheet for this resource, to enable graphing by era, occasion, garment, and so on. Visible here. Please drop me a line if you have advice on how to create a page widget using the data!


PLEASE NOTE:

-> “Day dress” only means that it is not an evening gown (the distinction being that evening wear has low necklines and/or short sleeves and/or a train.) ‘Day dress’ can encapsulate walking dresses, fancy afternoon tea, and some that are suitable for dinner. I will distinguish between day dresses and wrappers.
-> It is also worth pointing out that mid-century, dresses were often made with more than one bodice so that they could be used for both day and evening. Please do not make serious assumptions based on what I have labeled them.
-> I have included garments like petticoats, coats, and cloaks on this list because they can help determine how large or small the skirt has to be in order to go over or under. Such items are specified; anything not bolded is a dress or skirt. (Some floor length menswear is on here too.)
-> Many of these dresses were altered after they were first worn. In such cases, I have tried to discern whether the skirt appears changed or not, and assigned the dress to the era of the hem. In most cases, it is likely that re-made gowns did not have enough original fabric to widen the skirt (i.e. for 1850s->60s, I generally put them in the 1850s category), but this is not always the case. I have indicated remakes where I was aware of them; please take such gowns with a grain of salt.

And now, what you were waiting for….

Before 1600

c. 1225-1250 blue velvet man’s dalmatic: 135″ (343cm) | Kunsthistorische Museum #?
c. 1400 cloth of gold: 163″ (420 cm) | Uppsala Cathedral #?
c. 1522 green silk damask: 307″ (780cm) | Hungarian National Museum #?

1600-1699

1600-1618 linen smock: 87″ (220cm) | MoL A21968
1603-1610 linen smock: 71″ (180cm) | MoL 28.83
Early 17th c. red silk man’s robe: 103.5″ (262.8cm) | MMA 1975.1.1814
c. 1610 brown velvet skirt: 138″ (350cm) (Hungarian) | MAA 52.2854.1
1620s embroidered fustian gown: 82″ (209cm) (English) | Museum of London 59.77b
Mid 17th c. blue velvet skirt: 149.6″ (380cm) (Hungarian) | MAA 52.2855.1
c. 1665 beige figured silk man’s caftan: 94″ (239cm) (Italian) |MAA 52.2768.1

1700-1799 

Open front:
1750-65 yellow/cream silk/wool: 121″ (307cm) | CW 1988-223
c. 1755 blue silk: 94″ (238cm) | MoL 57.106/8
1756 cream silk: 149″ (378cm) (wedding dress) | CW 1985-117,1
c. 1760-70 red figured silk: 96″ (244cm) (française – petticoat?) | Mint Museum 2003.58A-B
1765-1770 blue silk: 132″ (335cm) (6 widths 22″, matching petti below) | HD F.508
c. 1770 white silk: 105″ (266cm) | CW 1968-646,1
1770-80 burgundy floral silk: dress: 117″ (297cm), matching petticoat: 97.5″ (247.5cm) TPT PC000071
1770-85 lavender silk: 117.5″ (298.5cm) | CW 1983-233
1775-80 gold and red silk: 97″ (247.5cm) (5 panels of 19.5″ silk) | TPT PC001873
1780-90 India chintz: 119.25″ (303cm) | CW 1947-511
1780-90 white cotton: 85″ (216cm) | MoL 35.59

Closed front (’round’):
1700-1750 knitted cream petticoat: 120″ (305cm) | VAM T.177-1926
1700-1750 white embroidered linen petticoat: 82″ (208cm) | HD F.597
1740-60 yellow silk petticoat: 112″ (284cm)| CW 1951-150,2
1743-50 yellow silk: 114.5″ (291cm) | MoL A7567
1745-55 white quilted satin petticoat: 160″ (406cm) – CiD p.22
1750 pink silk petticoat: 118″ (299cm) | CW  2014-175,A&B
c. 1750 pink quilted wool petticoat: 101″ (256.5cm) | HD F.316
1750-70 ivory silk: 141″ (358cm) | IBC 47a,b
1750-75 ivory silk petticoat: 102″ (259cm) (5 panels 20.5″ wide) | HD 2014.1
1752-53 ivory figured silk: 172″ (436cm) (formal mantua) | MoL 83.531
1758 red quilted satin petticoat: 116″ (295cm) | CHS 1959.54.2
1750-80 blue silk petticoat: 106.5″ (270cm) | CHS 1975.10.1
1765-1770 blue floral silk petticoat:  132″ (335cm) (6 widths 22″, matching robe above) |HD F.508
1770-75 embroidered linen petticoat band: 83″ (211cm) | HD F.273
c. 1780 yellow silk petticoat: 108″ (274cm) | IBC 69
1750-1800 small child’s cotton dress: 81″ (206cm) | CiD p. 71
Late 18th c. blue silk damask skirt: 120″ (305cm) (Hungarian) | MAA 13758
c. 1770 chintz gown: 129″ (328cm) | IBC 117a,b
1770-80 white silk petticoat: 108.5″ (276cm) | CW 1991-472,B
c. 1790s green chintz: 114″ (290cm) | MoL 63.130/2
c. 1795 gray silk: 92″ (234cm) | OSV 26.33.177

1750-1800 red wool cloak: 162″ (411cm) | IBC 58

1800-1825

c. 1800 blue/white striped linen: 99″ (251cm) (loose gown/workwear), IBC 140
1800-1802 pink silk: 90″ (228cm) (evening gown? suspect) | CHS 1986.22.1
1800-1804 white cotton: 86″ (218cm) (work dress) | DAR 82.138.2
1800-1806 white cotton: 94.5″ (240cm) (evening dress)| DAR 78.65.1
1800-1806 white cotton: 82″ (208cm) (evening dress, not including train) | DAR 76.103
1804 olive-tan silk: 85″ (216cm) (Quaker wedding dress) | DAR 82.138.1
1805-1810 white cotton: 67″ (170cm) (evening dress)| CHS 1959.11.2
1806-1810 white cotton: 76″ (193cm) (day dress) CiD 374 | Collection of Nancy Bradfield
1807-1810 white cotton: 92″ (234cm) (day/evening dress) | DAR 57.5
c. 1810 brown damask silk: 92″ (234cm) (day dress; remade from c.1705 on) | DAR 2528
1810-1815 white/red spotted cotton: 84″ (213cm)  (day dress)| Private collection
1811-1815 white cotton: 87″ (221cm) (day dress) | MoL 46.33/3
1812 white cotton: 69″ (175cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 66.179
1812-16 white cotton: 75″ (191cm) (evening gown?)| IBC 160
c. 1814 cream silk: 73″ (185cm) (day dress) | DAR 76.92
c. 1814 white cotton: 84″ (213cm) (evening dress) | DAR 93.25
c.1815 white & purple check cotton: 62″ (157.5cm) (day dress) CiD 99
1815-1819 blue silk: 70″ (178cm) (day dress) | DAR 76.91
1815-20 gold-brown silk: 105″ (267cm) (Qkr wedding dress?) | DAR 76.90
1817-22 gold silk: 92.5″ (235cm) (evening dress) | DAR 2013.26.1
1819 green/pink silk: 94″ (239cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 63.191
c.1820 green silk: 68″ (173cm) (day dress)
c.1820 cream silk for young teen: 80″ (203cm) (evening dress?)
1822-27 cream silk/wool: 76″ (93cm) (day dress? could be evening) CiD 123
1824 white cotton: 85″ (216cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 62.18
c. 1825 gold silk: 132″ (335cm) (Qkr? fancy day dress) | OSV 26.33.203a-b
1825-28 printed floral white cotton: 80″ (203cm) (day dress) CiD 129

1824-30 white cotton pelisse: 90.5″ (230cm) | MoL 65.113

1825-1836

1827-28 purple plaid silk: 88″ (223.5cm) (day dress) CiD 141
1825-29 purple silk and gauze: 90″ (229cm) (evening gown) CiD 143
1826-28 buff cotton: 93″ (236cm) (redingote) | MoL 33.5/2
1828-30 yellow silk over-dress: 96″ (244cm) (evening gown) CiD 147
1828-30 white cotton: 94.5″ (240cm) (day dress) | MoL 66.42/3
1829-31 purple & white printed silk?: 110″ (279cm) (evening gown) CiD 149
1830-33 purple-black silk: overdress 96″ (244cm), underdress 116″ (295cm) (evening gown; I double checked the numbers & it makes no sense) CiD 151 | Chastleton House
1829-33 white checked cotton: 136″ (345cm) (day dress) CiD 156
**1830s-40s brown striped silk: 108″ (274cm) (working woman’s fancy dress)
c. 1830 olive-brown silk: 92″ (234cm) (Qkr day dress) | DAR 82.138.16
c. 1830 gold-tan silk: 90″ (229cm) (Qkr day dress) | DAR 82.138.15
1830-35 cream printed cotton: 104″ (264cm) (day dress) | DAR 76.94
1830-35 red/white/blue cotton: 95″ (241cm) (day/work dress) | DAR 2002.21
1832 ivory satin: 99″ (251cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 77.6
1834 ivory cotton: 130″ (330cm) | VAM T.63-1973
1834-1836 brown taffeta: 101″ (256cm) (wedding dress) | HD 1999.4.1

1826-28 grey-brown silk cloak: 81″ (206cm), CiD 126
1825-30 red wool cloak: 89″ (226cm) CiD 131
1830-35 grey-brown silk mantle: 119″ (302cm) CiD 160
1831-40 red printed cotton man’s dressing gown: 98″ (250cm) | MoL 60.96
c. 1830 black silk petticoat: 92″ (233cm) | OSV

1836-1845

1836-37 cream silk: 144″ (366cm) (evening gown) CiD 163
1836-39 ivory floral printed cotton: 100″ (254cm) (day dress) | DAR 2007.29
1836-40 green/brown silk: 121″ (307cm) (day dress) | CHS 1984.71.1a,b
1836-1840 cream floral printed cotton: 114″ (289.5cm) (day dress) | HD 92.038
1837 cream floral wool/silk: 107″  (272cm) (day dress) | DAR 62.72.2
1837 ivory silk: 124″ (315cm) (wedding dress) |DAR 62.72.1.B
c. 1837 ivory silk: 114″ (290cm) (evening dress) | PMA 1935-13-71
1837-39 printed black cotton: 140″ (356cm) (day dress) CiD 165
1837-40 printed white cotton: 125″ (317.5cm) (day dress) CiD 169
1837-40 printed brown cotton: 89″ (226cm) (day dress) | DAR 2007.26
1837-38 cream floral silk: 128″ (325cm) (day dress) CiD 171
1837-40 green silk: 96″ (244cm) (day dress) | NHS 1905.0010.001a
1837-41 green silk: 103.5″ (263cm) (day dress) | DAR 76.104
c. 1839 cream silk: 116″ (295cm) (evening dress) |26.33.230a-c OSV
1840 green figured silk: 100″ (254cm) (wedding dress!)
c. 1840 yellow floral silk: 139″ (353cm) (evening gown??; remade)
c. 1840 green silk: 114″ (290cm) (evening gown) | OSV 26.33.231a-b
c. 1840 yellow wool/silk: 104″ (264cm) (day or evening) | CHS 1962.24.2
1840-45 dark printed cotton: 126″ (320cm) (less formal day dress) | DAR 98.2.1
1840-45 white cotton: 130″ (330cm) (day dress, nursing) | DAR 98.77
c. 1840-45 blue silk: 105″ (267cm) (evening & dinner gown; dinner bodice is 1890s)
c.1840-45 gold/black striped silk: 126″ (320cm) (dinner/evening dress?)
1841 orange print cotton/wool: 152″ (386cm) (day dress) | Auckland Museum 1965.78.692
1841 cream striped silk/wool: 124″ (315cm) (day/evening) CiD 175
c. 1842 white floral print silk(?): 125″ (317.5cm) (less formal day dress)
1843 brown silk: 117″ (298cm) (day dress) | OSV 26.33.202
c. 1844 grey plaid silk: 115″ (292cm) (day dress) | MMA (possibly deaccessioned)
c. 1844 green silk: 126″ (320cm) (day/evening)
c. 1845 green silk: 96″ (244cm) day dress)
c. 1845 pink floral silk: 139″ (353cm) (evening gown)
c. 1845 black silk: 147″ (day dress; second mourning?; remade in 1850s)
c. 1845 green/cream/lavender print wool: 140″ (355cm) (day dress) IBC 10a,b
c. 1845 gray/white printed cotton: 160″ (406cm) (day dress)

1830s? black silk petticoat: 109″ (277cm)
c. 1840 brown wool petticoat: 102″ (259cm) | OSV 26.35.30
1840s house dress: 102″ (259cm) | IBC 118

1846-1855

1845-50 cream/tan printed cotton: 119″ (302cm) (day dress) | DAR 2009.19.1.A
c. 1848 pale silk: 150″ (381cm) (day dress)
c. 1848 blue/copper silk: 149.5″ (380cm) (day dress) | IBC 27
c. 1848 brown silk: 154″ (391cm) (day/evening dress)
1848-52 purple/orange plaid silk: 116.5″ (296cm) (day dress) | QU C48-470.1
1848-55 ivory silk: 107″ (271cm) (evening dress, tiered with ruffles) | QU C53-489.1a-b
1848-1860 blue/white striped silk: 157″ (399cm) (day dress) | HD 1998.22.1
1849-50 purple printed plaid wool: 132″ (335cm) (day dress; tiered with ruffles)
c. 1850 brown printed cotton: 120″ (305cm) (work dress)
c. 1850 blue/green/gold plaid silk: 140″ (356cm) (day dress)
c. 1850 ivory silk tulle: 160″ (406cm) (evening gown; tiered w ruffles)
1850-55 paisley printed wool: 140″ (356cm) (wrapper) | DAR 2009.19.2
1851-54 cream/brown/pink printed wool: 125″ (317.5cm) (day dress) CiD 189
1851-52 cream wool/silk: 176″ (447cm) (day dress) | CHS 1960.21.2a,b
c. 1852 green silk: 148″ (376cm) (day or dinner dress)
c. 1852 green silk: 128″ (325cm) (day dress; remade from 1840s)
c. 1852 brown plaid silk/wool: 132″ (335cm) (day dress – remade in 1860s)
1852 green/cream printed cotton: 96″ (day/wedding? dress) | DAR 2009.19.3
1853 blue/pink silk: 167″ (424cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 3213
c. 1855? printed cotton: 79.5″ (202cm) (wrapper)
c. 1855 brown printed cotton: 99″ (251cm) (Qkr? work dress) | DAR 84.12
c. 1855 black silk: 144″ (366cm) (day dress; late mourning?)
c. 1855 white printed cotton: 156″ (396cm) (day dress)| IBC 100
c. 1855 red figured silk: 120″ (305cm) (day dress; later altered)
1855-57 blue and gold silk: 112.5″ (286cm) (day dress, tiered w ruffles) | DAR 2014.21.20
c. 1855-58 green/brown figured silk: 126.25″ (321cm) | DAR S.81.29
c. 1855-58 cream printed wool: 110″ (279cm) skirt under ruffles (day dress) | IBC 682
c. 1855-58 cream printed cotton: 124.5″ (316cm) (tiered, ruffled day dress)| IBC 12a,b
c. 1855-58 yellow silk: 120″ (305cm) (evening gown; tiered w ruffles; def pre-crin (has wood in hem)) | Coll. of Longfellow House LONG 13493
c. 1855 brown/blue figured silk: 137″ (348cm) (day dress; remade c. 1860) | DAR 49.76.1
c. 1855 green plaid silk: 136″ (345cm) (day dress) | IBC 30
c. 1855 black/brown/green printed silk: 166″ (422cm) (day dress; remade c. 1863) | DAR 73.127.1
c. 1855 cream/red printed cotton:  151.5″ (389cm) (evening dress) | IBC 116
1855-60 red/white silk/wool: 160″ (406cm) (day dress) | CHS 1981.26.17a,b

Quilted petti: 120″ (305cm) (probably 1830-50 or so, just putting it here)
Quilted petti: 84″ (213cm) (1825-50) | HD F.076
1852-68 white cashmere cloak: 120″ (305cm) | CiD 194

+ 1850-65 girl’s cotton dress: 104.5″ (265cm) (day dress) | DAR 81.91

1856-68 (crinoline era)

c. 1855-60 blue/brown printed plaid silk: 130″ (330cm) (day dress)
c. 1856-8 blue silk: 170″ (432cm) (day dress; def crinoline)
1856-59 blue figured silk: 122.5″ (311cm) (day dress) | DAR 2010.34.2.B
c. 1857 brown/white printed plaid silk: 164″ (416.5cm) (day dress)
c. 1857 blue/white printed silk: 160″ (406cm) (fancy day or dinner dress)
c. 1858 brown silk: 127″ (322.5cm) (day dress)
c. 1858 brown and green silk: 131″ (333cm) (day dress, remade c. 1865) | HD 2000.60.2
c. 1858 green/tan striped silk: 148″ (376cm) (day dress, refashioned 1860s) | IBC 683
c. 1858 green/red printed challis: 134″ (340cm) (day dress)
c. 1858 blue/white plaid silk: 139″ (353cm) (day dress; remade in the 1860s)
c. 1858 green plaid silk: 144″ (366cm) (day dress) | IBC 681
c. 1858 black/green plaid silk: 110″ (279cm) (day dress)
c. 1858 brown silk: 136″ (345cm) (day dress, constructed oddly)| IBC 28
1858 brown/orange plaid silk: 152″ (387cm) (wedding dress) | HD 96.007.1
1858-60 black silk: 132″ (335cm) (day dress; tiered w ruffles)
c. 1859 brown/green ikat silk: 134″ (340cm) (day dress)
c. 1859 brown figured silk: 140″ (356cm) (day dress)
c. 1859-60 black silk: 150″ (381cm) (day dress; part mourning?)
c. 1860 black/purple silk: 128″ (325cm) (day dress) | CHS 1950.16.25
c. 1860 tan & purple plaid silk: 138″ (350.5 cm) (day dress; remade from 1850s)
c. 1860 blue/yellow plaid: 152″ (387cm) (day/evening; both bodices survive) | IBC 74a,c
c. 1860 golden brown silk: 160″ (408cm) (day dress)| TPT PC003380
c. 1860 grey-brown wool/silk: 170″ (432cm) (day dress) | Old Sacramento Living History
c. 1860 blue and tan plaid silk: 143″ (363cm) (day dress; possibly made in 1850s & altered)
c. 1860 blue and tan striped silk skirt: 163″ (414cm) (probably day)
c. 1860 black silk: 150″ (381cm) (day, probably mourning)
c. 1860 sheer brown/white paisley silk: 164″ (416.5cm) (day dress)
c. 1860 beige wool: 157.5″ (400cm) (day dress) | IBC 131a,b,c
1860-66 tan/brown printed cotton: ???** (work dress) | DAR 2010.14.1
c. 1860-63 green silk: 107″ (272cm) (fancy day dress) | IBC 55
1861 ivory silk: 168″ (427cm) (wedding dress) | DAR 96.10.1.B
1861 yellow silk: 182″ (462cm) (ball gown provenance) | CHS 1972.3.5a-c
1862 yellow cotton: 152″ (386cm) (bridesmaid dress) | CHS 2001.49.3a,b
c. 1862 yellow silk: 128″ (325cm) (day dress)
c. 1862 brown & white cotton: 108″ (275cm) (day dress)
c. 1862 purple wool/silk: 112″ (284cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1862 lilac/white cotton: 180″ (457cm) (wrapper)
c. 1862 white cotton: 164″ (416.5com) (wrapper)
c. 1862 brown/black silk: 153″ (389cm) (day dress) | IBC 679a,b
c. 1862 sheer ivory printed cotton?: 150″ (381cm) (day dress)
c. 1862-3 brown plaid silk: 162″ (411.5cm) (wrapper)
c. 1863 lavender printed cotton: 150″ (381cm) (day dress) | IBC 63
c. 1863 grey silk: 156″ (397cm) (day or dinner dress)
c. 1863 grey silk: 140″ (356cm) (day/dinner dress w train)
c. 1863 brown plaid silk: 142″ (360cm) (day dress)
c. 1863 purple wool: 136″ (345cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1863 green silk: 130″ (330cm) (evening dress)
c. 1863 cream floral silk: 140″ (356cm) (day dress – remade from late ’30s/early ’40s fabric)
c. 1863 brown/blue striped silk: 140″ (356cm) (day dress)
c. 1863 gold/blue silk: 176″ (447cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1863 blue silk: 179″ (455cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1863 brown (purple) silk: 195″ (495cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1863 brown, white, & red plaid silk: 255″ (648cm) 155″ (394cm) typo?? (Evening & day)
c. 1864 tan silk: 122″ (310cm) (day dress)
c. 1864 pink striped silk: 120″ (305cm) (evening gown)
c. 1864 ivory silk: 126″ (320cm) (day dress – seaside?)
c. 1864 aqua silk: 146″ (371cm) (day/dinner dress)
c. 1864 yellow plaid floral silk: 160″ (406cm) (day dress; fabric 1850s)
c. 1864 red/blue/purple silk: 164″ (416.5cm) (day dress)
c. 1864 cream printed silk: 180″ (457cm) (evening dress)
c. 1864 cotton print: 180″ (457cm) (day dress)
c. 1864 cotton print: 150″ (381cm) (day dress – possibly remade)
1864-65 white/red sheer checked wool/silk: 186″ (472cm) (fancy day dress) CiD 214
c. 1865 white/gray printed muslin: 152″ (386cm) (fancy day dress)
1865 taupe silk: 138″ (350cm) (day dress)
c. 1865 gold silk: 132″ (335cm) (day dress)
c. 1865 bronze plaid silk: 135″ (347cm) (day dress)
c. 1865 green/pink/brown plaid silk: 134″ (340cm) (day dress) | IBC 678
c. 1865 red and white striped cotton: 120″ (305cm) (wrapper)
c. 1865 brown plaid silk: 116″ (295cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1865 brown and cream windowpane silk/wool: 130″ (330cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1865 brown printed wool: 164.5″ (418cm) (day dress)| IBC 52
c. 1865 brown/green plaid silk?: 137″ (348cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1865 brown silk: 137″ (348cm) (day dress) CHS 1950.16.26
c. 1865 purple striped silk: 148.5″ (377cm) (day dress) | IBC 677
c. 1865 brown plaid silk: 148″ (376cm) (day dress)
c. 1865 blue/white striped cotton: 156″ (397 cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1865 blue silk: 196″ (498cm) (evening gown – remade from 1840s)
c. 1865 white & grey printed muslin: 152″ (386cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1865 pink cotton: 154″ (391cm) (summer day dress)
1865-67 pink alpaca: 156″ (396cm) (evening dress) CiD 220
c. 1865 gold silk: 168″ (427cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1865 sage silk: 235″ (597cm) (fancy dress) | IBC 29a,b   ***largest circ found!
c. 1866 blue silk: 180″ (457cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1866 ivory-grey silk: 205″ (521 cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1866 taupe silk: 132″ (335cm) (day dress)
c. 1866 blue printed silk: 130″ (330cm) (day dress)
1867 green silk faille: 180″ (457cm) (day dress w train)
c. 1867 pink silk: 180″ (457cm) (evening dress w train)
1867 green/blue plaid silk: 143″ (363cm) (wrapper)
c. 1867 green/white plaid cotton: 130″ (330cm) (day dress)
c. 1867 mauve/pink striped cotton/wool: 126″ (320cm) (day dress)
c. 1867 brown/blue striped silk: 102″ (day dress; fabric looks 1850s)
c. 1868 yellow and blue wool/cotton: 168.5″ (428cm) (wrapper)
c.1868 green silk: 132″ (335cm) (day dress?)
c. 1868 taupe silk: 136″ (345cm) (day dress)
c. 1868 blue silk: 152″ (386cm) (evening dress)
1868 lilac silk: 180″ (457cm) (wedding dress w train)

1857-60 crinoline: 90″ (229cm) CiD 197 | Chastleton
1857-60 crinoline: 70″ (178cm) CiD 198 | Personal collection of F. Norris
1857-60 crinoline: 77″ (196cm) CiD 198 | F. Norris
c. 1857-60 crinoline: 71″ (180cm)
1857-65 down-quilted petticoat: 80″ (203cm) CiD 200
1860s cotton petticoat: 138″ (350.5cm)
1864-67 red flannel crinoline: 81″ (206cm) CiD 201 | F. Norris
1864-67 cage crinoline: 116″ (295cm) CiD 202
1866-69 crinoline: 96″ (244cm) | HD 85.099.4
c. 1865 quilted petticoat: 72″ (183cm)
1863-8 black silk coat: 138″ (350cm)

1869-75 (early bustle/EB)

EB brown and black silk: 115″ (292cm) (wrapper)
1867-70 green silk: 164″ (417cm) (day dress) | CHS 1962.32.1a-c
1869 blue silk: 129″ (327.2cm) (day dress) | QU C68-590.14a-e
1869 brown/cream gingham cotton: 150″ (381cm) (work dress; worn 1869, probably made earlier) DAR Museum 96.59
c. 1870 brown silk: 120″ (305cm) (less formal day dress)
c. 1870 black silk: 141″ (358cm) (day dress) | IBC 103
c. 1870 cream silk: 160″ (406cm) (dinner or evening dress; trained)
c. 1870 bronze silk: 175″ (444cm) (day or dinner dress, trained)
1871 ivory silk: 180″ (457cm) (wedding dress; long train)
c. 1871 brown silk: 118″ (300cm) (day dress)
c. 1872 blue wool/cotton: 120″ (305cm) (day dress)
c. 1872-4 grey & burgundy silk: 120″ (305cm) (evening dress; missing its overskirt)
c. 1873 brown wool/cotton: 95.5″ (243cm) (day dress) | CHS 1967.36.6a-c
c. 1874 blue & white silk: 157.5″ (400cm) (dinner dress) | PMA 1938-18-12a,b
c. 1874 brown & gold silk: 148″ (376cm) (day/dinner dress)
c. 1875 white and pink cotton or wool: 137″ (348cm)
c. 1875 brown printed cotton: Hem (dress): 323.9 cm / 127.5 in.
Hem (skirt): 309.9 cm / 122 in. (housedress) | IBC 128a,b

1867-69 crinoline: 95″ (241cm) | HD 2011.26
1868-73 crinolette: 81.7″ (207.5cm) | IBC 480
1868-73 crinolette: 58″ (147.3cm) | IBC 479
1873-75 crinolette: 86″ (218cm) (evening dress) CiD 234 | Chastleton

1876-1883 (natural form/NF)

c. 1876 black silk & velvet: 102″ (259cm) (day dress)
1877-1882 yellow and blue silk: Hem (including train): 320 cm / 126″.
Hem (train alone): 157.5 cm / 62″ (evening dress) | IBC 46
c. 1877 gray silk: Hem (underskirt): 104.5″ (265cm) (dinner dress) | IBC 114a,b,c,d
c. 1878 grey and yellow silk: 112″ (284cm) (not including separate train; day dress)
c. 1878 green plaid ikat silk: 116″ (295cm) (wrapper, made of late 1850s fabric)
1878-82 navy silk: 155″ (393cm) (trained, day/dinner dress) | MoL 38.295
c. 1880 white/blue/tan cotton: 84″ (213cm) (day dress) | CHS 2001.49.18a-c
c. 1880 red wool: 117.5″ (299cm) (day dress) | IBC 31
c. 1880 brown silk: 126.5″ (321cm) (day dress, underskirt) | IBC 57a,b
c. 1880 amber silk: 76″ (193cm) (day dress, underskirt)| IBC 105a,b
1881-2 red printed silk: 82″ (208cm) (day dress) | MoL 34.114/1b
c. 1883 black silk: 82″ (208cm) (day dress)
c. 1883 brown and tan silk: 113.5″ (288cm) (day dress) | IBC 73a,b,c

NF black silk coat: 78″ (198cm)
NF cream silk coat: 93″ (236) | IBC 126
NF salmon silk girl’s dress: 64″ (163cm) (fancy) | IBC 53a,b,c
late NF quilted petti: 78″ (198cm)
early NF crinolette: 115″ (292cm)
NF hoops: 71″ (180cm)
NF hoops: 69″ (175cm) | PMA 1994-35-2
NF? hoops: 55″ (140cm)

1884-1889 (late bustle/LB)

c. 1885 brown silk: lining 82.5″ (209.5cm); skirt 95″ (241cm) (day dress)
c. 1885 yellow: 81″ (206cm) (day dress)
c. 1887 red velvet: 74″ (188cm) (dinner dress)

c. 1885 cotton petticoat: 112″ (284cm) | HD 2013.31.1

1890-1907

1889 black silk: 118″ (300cm) (day dress) | UQ C53-491.3a-b
1890-95 brown wool: 136″ (345cm) (work/day dress)
c.1890? gold figured silk: 122″ (310cm) (day/dinner dress)
c. 1892 gold figured silk: 122″ (310cm) (evening gown) (different from above dress)
c. 1892 black/red silk: 137″ (348 cm) (day dress, possibly Aesthetic or Reform) | IBC 62
1892-3 yellow-green figured silk: 140″ (356cm) (evening gown) CiD 264 | Coll. of Nora Hawker
1893 maroon silk: 82″ (208cm) (wedding dress; foundation skirt) | IBC 2001.1a,b
c. 1893 white cotton: 180″ (457cm) (dressing gown)
c. 1893 striped silk: 224″ (569cm) (day dress)
1893-95 pink striped silk: 140″ (356cm) (evening gown)
1893-95 black silk: 118″ (300cm) (day/dinner) dress
1894 yellow printed cotton: 192″ (488cm) (possibly evening?) CiD 281 | Chastleton
c. 1894 black floral silk: 154″ (391cm) (day dress)
c. 1894 beige silk: 180″ (457cm) (presentation/dinner gown)
c. 1895 cream printed wool: 108″ (274cm) (dressing gown)
Late 1890s white cotton: 132″ (335cm) (tea gown/wrapper)
c. 1897 black/purple silk: 114″ (290cm) (day dress)
c. 1897 copper silk: 103″ (262cm) (day dress)
c. 1897 black silk: 160″ (406cm) (day/dinner dress)
c. 1898 green silk: 120″ (305cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 mint/white cotton: 144″ (366cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 ivory silk organza: 150″ (381cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 pink and black wool/cotton: 180″ (457cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 purple silk: 168″ (427cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 black silk & green cotton: 180″ (457cm) (day dress) | IBC 3a,b
c. 1898 burgundy silk: 129″ (328cm) (day dress)
c. 1898 cream floral printed silk: 158″ (401cm) (‘fancy dress’, alterations present)
c. 1899 black silk: 216″ (549cm) (day dress)
c. 1900 white linen petticoat & skirt: 104″ (264cm) & 192″ (488cm) (summer day wear)
c. 1900 black/blue wool: 129″ (328cm) (day dress)
c. 1901? pink floral printed cotton: 156″ (397cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1902 colorful wool: 116″ (295cm) (wrapper)
c. 1902 black & purple silk: 130″ (330cm) (day dress) | IBC 11a,b
1903 ivory silk: 180″ (457cm) (evening wear) | Hillwood 48.8.1-2
c. 1903 black/pink silk: 144″ (366cm) (day dress)
c. 1903 blue silk: 172″ (437cm) (day dress)
c. 1903 gold silk: 180″ (457cm) (day dress)
c. 1905 cream wool: 184″ (467cm) (afternoon dress) | IBC 13
c. 1905 copper silk: 186″ (472cm) (day dress)
c. 1905 white cotton skirt: 120″ (305cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1905 cream silk: 250″ (635cm) (wedding dress w train) | IBC 64
c. 1905 black silk: 160″ (406cm) (day dress
c.1905 white printed silk: 142″ (361cm) (day dress)
c. 1906 ivory silk: 120″ (305cm) (day dress)
c. 1906 gray silk: 126″ (320cm) (Aesthetic/tea dress) | IBC 77
c. 1907? striped cotton: 112″ (284cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1907 copper silk: 80″ (203cm) (evening gown?)
1907 green silk: 181.5″ (461cm) (wedding dress) | IBC 2019.2a,b

c.1890 blue silk cape: 105″ (267cm) (evening wear)
1893-8 figured silk cape: 162″ (412cm) (evening wear) | MoL 31.144
c. 1893 black printed petticoat: 96″ (244cm)
1890s red cotton petticoat: 104″ (264cm) (possibly an underskirt)
Early Edwardian cotton petticoat: 105″ (267cm)
c. 1900-1907 silk petticoat: 192″ (488cm) (fancy, pleated hem) | MoL 66.92/1
1900-1910 blue/white wool bathing suit: 58.25″ (148cm) | IBC 166a,b

1908-1915

1908 purple-blue silk: 212″ (538cm) (dinner dress) CiD 317 | Hawker
1908 cream wool: 176″ (447cm) (day dress) | IBC 2019.1a,b,c
c. 1908 grey silk: 80″ (203cm) (day dress; half mourning?)
c. 1908 white cotton: 122″ (310cm) (day dress)
c. 1908 brown silk/wool: 130″ (330cm) (day dress)
c. 1909 tan silk: 65″ (165cm) (day dress) CiD 326 | Coll. J. Procter
c. 1909 purple silk: 86″ (day dress)
c. 1910 black/white cotton: 88″ (223cm) (work dress) | CHS 1998.90.1
c. 1910 grey silk: 93″ (216 cm) (day dress)
c. 1910 cream silk: underskirt: 99″ (251cm) / overlay: 65″ (165cm) (evening dress) | IBC 121
c. 1910 red silk: 150″ (381cm) (dressing gown)
c. 1912 black silk: 74″ (188cm) (dinner dress)
c. 1912 ivory silk: 120″ (305cm) (dinner/evening dress)
1913 blue silk & cream lace: 65″ (165cm) underskirt, 52″ (132cm) hem (evening dress) CiD 379 | Bradfield
c.1913 black and pink silk: 78″ (198cm) (day dress? unsure)
c. 1913 white linen: 50″ (127cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1913-14 white silk and lace: 60″ (152cm) (evening? unsure)
c. 1914 green silk faille & chiffon: 120″ (305cm) (day dress)
1914 blue floral silk: 47″ (119cm) (evening dress; hobble skirt style) CiD 348
1914-18 black silk: 80.5″ (204.5 cm) (evening dress) | IBC 68
c. 1915 white net: 94″ (239cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1915? white/blue striped linen: 112″ (284cm) (leisure dress)

1915-1924

c. 1918 white linen: 43″ (109cm) (summer day dress)
c. 1919 yellow silk?: 146″ (371cm) (day dress; tiered w ruffles; nfl)
1919 cream lace and silk: 62″ (157.5cm) (afternoon/evening dress) CiD 352
1921 purple silk for a young girl: 56″ (142cm) (afternoon dress)
1920s pink silk chiffon: 42″ (107cm) lining, 74″ (188cm) outer (robe de style, nfl)
1920s pale pink chiffon: 158″ (401cm) (evening dress, nfl)
1920s beige silk: 78″ (198cm) (evening dress)
1920s black & pink silk: 69″ (175cm) (evening dress?, nfl)
1920s ivory silk: 64″ (162.5cm) (evening dress, nfl)
1920s blue silk: 66″ (168cm) (evening dress)
1920s ivory silk?: 190″ (483cm) (day dress, pleated, nfl)
c. 1924 black and silver net: 45″ (114cm) (evening?; tunic-style, nfl) CiD 362 | Bradfield

1925-1930

1925 pink silk: 40″ (102cm) (evening, nfl) | Museum of London 55.68a
1925-28 black silk: 70″ (178cm) (evening?, nfl) | Australian Dress Register 360
1926-7 yellow-green silk: 78″ (198cm) (evening dress, nfl) CiD 365| Coll. of Mrs. M. J. King
1926-7 pink silk: 55″ (140cm) (evening dress, nfl) CiD 365 | King
1927-28 tan silk: 46″ (117cm) (evening dress underskirt, nfl) CiD 367 | Bradfield
1927-1932 yellow velvet: 89″ (226cm) (day dress, nfl) | Hillwood 48.59
c. 1928 black silk: 54″ (137cm) (evening dress) | IBC 33
1930 green silk: 150″ (381cm) (evening dress) CiD 367 | Bradfield
c. 1930 black silk: 155″ (394cm) (evening dress) | Museums Victoria SH 880854
c. 1932 pink silk chiffon: 52″ (evening dress)

 

Notations:

‘c.’ means ‘circa’. It is used here to mean both “approximately” and “within five years of”. (i.e. “c. 1830” could be “probably 1830 or 31” or “between 1825-35”.) I would have liked to be more specific, but there’s only so much I can do in this format! I did my best to narrow it down. In several cases, I dated dresses differently than they had been described on eBay listings, etc., so don’t be confused if they differ. Please feel free to contact me if you disagree with the proposed date or want to know why I dated it as such. Anything without a ‘c.’ is either an official museum date (that I saw nothing wrong with) or a garment with known provenance. However, if a museum gave a 10 year span, I often gave it a ‘c.’ date right in the middle.

CiD = Costume in Detail by Nancy Bradfield. Dresses are held in the Snowshill collection of the UK National Trust unless otherwise stated.
CHS = Connecticut Historical Society, CT, USA.
CW
= Colonial Williamsburg, VA, USA. Database here.
DAR = Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, DC, USA. Database here.
HD = Historic Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA. Database here.
IBC = Irma Bowen Collection, University of New Hampshire, NH, USA.
MAA = Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum), Budapest, Hungary
MMA = Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA
MoL = Museum of London, UK
OSV = Old Sturbridge Village, MA, USA
PMA = Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, USA
QU = Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queens University,  Ontario, Canada
TPT = Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand)

Qkr = Quaker. American Quaker dress was restrained in certain ways in the 19th century, and may not be an indication of what was generally considered fashionable
nfl = not floor length
???** = the numbers are listed, but I can’t puzzle my head around what they equal. Valuable as an extant work dress though.

Other resources:

Jennifer Rosbrugh has written a helpful guide on sizing one’s petticoats in relation to hem length and circumference here!

I’ve also compiled a resource listing extant dresses with waist measurements larger than 25″.

 

Updated:
23 April 2019 – 
DAR collections added
10 June 2019
24 July 2019 –
CHS collections added
31 July 2019 – OSV & CW collections added
13 Sept 2019 – MAA & MoL collections added
26 Nov 2019 – HD & TPT collections added

3 thoughts on “Hem Circumference Resource

  1. I’m the curator of costume and textiles at the DAR Museum in Washington DC–we are in the process of putting our collection online, and I try to always include hem circumference and other construction details (how many panels in skirt, how many are selvage to selvage vs gores etc). if you search Object Name = dress in our advanced search you can see what’s up so far. I’m mostly through our 1800-30 dresses and over half way through 1830-70 and am trying to get to earlier and later as time allows. collections.dar.org is the website or go to dar.org and go to museum dropdown menu and go to Collection/Search the collection.–

    Like

    • Fantastic! Thank you for letting me know. I will go through the collection over the next day or two and add in everything that you have. Is there a specific way that you would prefer I cite within my list, or will “DAR Museum, [accession number]” do?

      Like

  2. Pingback: Waist Measurements Resource (25″/64cm+) | Sewing with Kenna

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