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Waistcoat panel

Waistcoat panel

  • Date:

    1775-1799 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    linen, silk and pierced work

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This delicate fabric is decorated with pierced work by which the technique is known.

Accessories made using the technique became fashionable during the late eighteenth century. Fine fabric, either linen or silk, was stiffened by starch so the threads would stick together. Then the fabric was punched using fine rounded metal teeth to push the threads aside rather than severing them, creating a lace-like pattern.

Examples of pierced work can be seen in waistcoats of the 1780s and 1790s, such as: 835-1907 and the present waistcoat panel T.110-1916, in the V&A collection.

Larger examples of pierced work such an apron: T.313-1920, and veil: T.314-1920 are included in the V&A Textile and Fashion collection.

Physical description

Right side of waistcoat, of linen, with embroidery in silver thread and in shades of blue silk, and perforated ornament resembling lace. The waistcoat panel cut straight down the front and square-cornered at the bottom edge. The pockets are outlined by straight bands. Pattern of vertical stitches enclosing wavy stems, and floral devices in openwork, from the former spring short leafy sprigs. Down the front edge is cable ornament in openwork with embroidered bows, and sequins (many missing).


1775-1799 (made)

Materials and Techniques

linen, silk and pierced work


Length: 2 ft 1 in in, Width: 9 3/4 in

Descriptive line

embroidered L, 1775-99, English; Pierced work

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

Levey, S. M.: ‘Lace – A History’, W. S. Maney & Son ltd., Leeds, 1983, page: 75

Hart, A. & North, S.: 'Historical Fashion in Detail - The 17th and 18th Centuries', V&A Publications, London, 1998, page: 180


Linen; Silk


Europeana Fashion Project


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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