Every year at Mount Vernon in late spring, slaves and servants aired the house, washed bedsteads, and put covers - or cases, as they were known - on the upholstered furniture. Such cases would have protected the expensive upholstery from increased dust and exposure to sunlight in the summer months. This dimity chair cover entered Mount Vernon's collection with one of the scallop-shell chair cushions worked by Martha Washington. Whether the cushion and cover would have been used together, and where in the house they would have been placed, is the subject of ongoing research.

See also W-1533/A.


White striped cotton dimity slip cover shaped to fit a D-shaped chair cushion with long, gathered skirt attached to front; cushion cover is composed of a dimity top and sides and a plain-weave, linen backing; eight twill tapes surround the back pocket opening of the cushion cover, with four sewn at equal intervals on the top edge of the finished opening and four sewn at equal intervals on the bottom edge of the finished opening; on the reverse of the cushion cover at its upper corners are two oval, finished openings; the one on the proper left side is larger than the other; both openings have been covered from the inside with pieces of linen; the skirt is formed of two pieces of dimity, seamed down the center; all edges of the cushion and skirt are bound in woven tape; a woven and hand-knotted fringe is sewn to the binding along the lower edge of the skirt.


1790 -1800



Cotton, linen


Overall: 33 3/8 in. x 40 in. (84.79 cm x 101.6 cm)
Other (chair cover): 2 in. (5.08 cm)
Other (chair cover, top panel): 19 1/2 in. x 15 1/2 in. (49.53 cm x 39.37 cm)
Other (chair cover, lower panel): 18 1/8 in. x 15 5/8 in. (46.05 cm x 39.7 cm)
Other (skirt): 17 3/4 in. x 40 in. (45.09 cm x 101.6 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. R. H. Plant McCaw, 1949

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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