Dressing Gown



Dressing Gown




ca. 1900


Helena Monson Rossing


Argyle, WI


Gift of Elizabeth Forell


Silk, Cotton
Dimensions: length, 59 inches


Norwegian-American Needlework
Dressing Gown
Crazy Quilt


This woman's full length robe is comprised of crazy quilt blocks in many colors of velvets and satins. A large variety of embroidery stitches cover the seams. A machine quilted black satin band runs down the center front opening and around the pointed collar. Two sets of three large velvet covered shank buttons close the robe at waist and neck. Deep flounces of crazy patchwork edge the sleeves and the bottom edge of the skirt.Bible verses and sayings, in Norwegian and English, are embroidered on many patches. There is a black satin lining, with gold chrysanthemum print, on the main portion of robe.

The gown was made by the donor's Norwegian immigrant grandmother, Helena Monson Rossing, a milliner by trade. Helena was born in Drammen, Norway, 1851, just before the family emigrated to Wiota, Wisconsin. Helena married Lars/Lewis Rossing in 1869. She ran a millinery shop in her husband's dry good store in Argyle, Wisconsin, from the early 1870's until the 1920's. Helena died 1931.

The Bible verses on the robe are the type assigned to, or chosen by, confirmands. The dressing gown may have been a gift from Helena to her daughter Viola (b. 1889) in encouragement and celebration of this important personal and religious event. Viola attended Lutheran Ladies Seminary in Red Wing, Minnesota, for a year before returning home to work in the family business.

Dimensions: length, 59 inches



Helena Monson Rossing, “Dressing Gown,” Virtual Galleries, accessed October 16, 2018, http://collections.vesterheim.org/items/show/365.