An Uncut 18th Century Waistcoat

Two 18th century waistcoats are on display as part of the Fashion Timeline exhibit.  One is uncut (KSUM 1983.1.1302),  providing an opportunity to show how these garments were constructed.

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KSUM 1983.1.1302

This 21′ x 35″ embroidered silk panel has all the pieces required to construct a finished waistcoat. The left and right sides of the standing collar are at the top corners of the panel, the right front is in one piece, the left front is two. The lower portion of the left side would be stitched to the body of the waistcoat below the waist.  The embroidery to cover the buttons is found in the lower right corner. The pocket flaps have already been cut and basted into place. A  gentleman could purchase an embroidered panel and take it to his tailor for cutting and fitting.  The tailor would add lining and provide fabric for the back  of the waistcoat. The dark vertical line at each side of the panel is the selvedge. Below is a detail showing the reverse side of the embroidery.

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detail of reverse side KSUM 1983.001.1302

The long basting stitches below the embroidery secure the pocket flap to the embroidered panel.

Also on display is a complete 18th century suit consisting of coat, waistcoat, and breeches.

Joanne Arnett
Curatorial Assistant

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