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  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (made)

  • Date:

    1740-1749 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered cotton with woollen threads, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Miss K. A. Sauvary

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This sleeved cotton waistcoat is embroidered with coloured wool yarn in buttonhole and chain stitch. It was probably made in India for export to Europe and its bold floral design shows a mixture of Indian and European influence.

The areas of the pattern worked in chain stitch were done with a tambour hook, instead of a needle. Similar to a modern crochet hook, the tambour hook was inserted through the cotton to pull a loop of embroidery thread through. Chain-stitch worked with a hook could be done much more quickly than with a needle. The technique developed in India and was introduced in Britain in the mid-18th century and further adapted. Instead of holding the fabric in the hands, British embroiderers preferred to stretch it tightly on a circular frame resembling a drum or ‘tambour’.

Physical description

Waistcoat with sleeves and made of hand-embroidered white cotton with coloured wool threads. Falling to just below hip length with vents at the back and sides from the waist. At the hips are two deep flap pockets which are embroidered. With twelve buttons covered with green wool and buttonholes worked in the same green wool to match. Down the centre front from the neck to the waist is a band of flowers, leaves and tendrils worked in chain and buttonhole stitches in wools in black, red and green. The cuffs on the sleeves, the pockets and the lower half of the front of the jacket are similarly worked. The back is completely unadorned.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (made)


1740-1749 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered cotton with woollen threads, hand-sewn and hand-embroidered


Length: 30 in, Width: 15 in across shoulders

Descriptive line

A man's sleeved waistcoat, 1740s, British; cotton embroidered with crewel (wool) threads, Indian-inspired design

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Avril Hart and Susan North, Historical Fashion in Detail: the 17th and 18th centuries, London: V&A, 1998, p. 160

Production Note

made in India for European market


Cotton; Wool yarn


Hand sewing


Fashion; Men's clothes; Textiles; Embroidery; Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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