Waistcoat thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Waistcoat

1630 -1640 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

The high waist and full sleeves set into the back of this jacket are characteristic of women’s dress of the 1630s. Such richly embroidered linen garments had been part of informal fashion for women since the late 16th century. The pattern of ornate and complex floral shapes was probably inspired by Italian woven silks of the same decade featuring similar designs. Chain stitch, satin stitch, back stitch and speckling stitch have been used in the embroidery.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Linen, wool thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn
Brief Description
Woman's waistcoat, 1630s, English; Linen embroidered with red wool crewelwork, bobbin lace trimming
Physical Description
The waistcoat is made of linen and unlined. It is embroidered linen in deep red crewel wool, with some twisted with white linen thread (chain satin, spaced satin, overcast, back and speckling stitches with raised interlaced knots). The neck, front edges, hem and cuffs are trimmed with a scalloped bobbin lace also of crewel wool and linen thread. It is patterned with large floral sprigs of four different exotic flowers arranged in alternating rows (two per row). The neck is round with curved front edges to give fullness at the bust, closing edge to edge, a triangular gore in each front to give fullness over the hips. Gores at either side of the side-back panels and in the centre of the back panel provide fullness below the waist at the back. The full sleeves are deeply inset in the back panel and gathered into wrist bands at the bottom. there is a narrow shoulder wing at the head of each sleeve.



The waistcoat probably originally fastened with ribbons. A hook and eye at the centre front are probably a later addition. A very small fragment of wool ribbon on the left front at the top may be a remnant of the original fastening. The waistcoat narrowly escaped recycling; the skirts on the right side below the waist have been cut away.
Dimensions
  • Centre back, plus lace length: 51.5cm (approx)
  • Across shoulders width: 32cm (approx)
  • Waist circumference: 63cm
  • Lace width: 3cm
Production typeUnique
Credit line
Purchased by public subscription
Object history
Purchased from Miss Mary Materface in 1974 by public subscription. Registered file 1974/2558.
Summary
The high waist and full sleeves set into the back of this jacket are characteristic of women’s dress of the 1630s. Such richly embroidered linen garments had been part of informal fashion for women since the late 16th century. The pattern of ornate and complex floral shapes was probably inspired by Italian woven silks of the same decade featuring similar designs. Chain stitch, satin stitch, back stitch and speckling stitch have been used in the embroidery.
Collection
Accession Number
T.843-1974

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record createdAugust 25, 2005
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