Tagged ‘jacket’


October 17th, 2008 by Tricia

The panel at the Embroiderers’ Guild has often been referred to in some texts as a coif. The confusion may have occurred because the dimensions (width and height) are similar to many coifs. But it is a panel. We took a look at the edges and it was obvious that the piece was in its entirety and not cut from something larger. The small amount of linen around it had either nail marks or holes from being stretched on a frame. There was an embroidered stem stitch outline around the four sides and the embroidery appropriately started or ended at the boundaries if the motif was cut by the boundary.

Other details that are different from the jacket: there are less flowers, only nine types instead of the 11 borage being repeated twice) of the jacket. (I had to read this twice, my brain doesn’t move as fast as Tricia’s. The jacket master repeat is 3 x 4, therefore 12 motifs, but there are two borage so only 11 different motifs.) The borage and strawberries are missing. The blue and red flowers (carnation, gillyflower, or cornflower?) on the pieces are different between the two pieces, but not much different in terms of tracing. Just embroidered differently.

The calyx of the foxglove is stitched in silk and not gold. There is a different technique used for the detached pea pod parts, detached buttonhole in silver strip wrapped silk on the jacket and silk buttonhole over a gold thread (return) for the panel. The roses have an extra set of detached petals. Some of the thistles have an extra layer of detached buttonhole. The coiling stem is also a different stitch. On the jacket it is plaited braid whereas on the panel the stitch is ladder with wheat sheath. This stitch is much slower to work than plaited braid and done in two passes. Overall, the panel has a higher level of detail work which is absent from the jacket.


What’s a Waistcoat?

July 4th, 2007 by Jill Hall

We’ve been calling the garment we’re making a “jacket.” But if you visit the 1627 English Village (and I hope you will) you’ll see women wearing garments of the same shape and calling them “waistcoats.”

Most of the time, we can’t be positive what name a person from the past would assign to which piece of clothing. Names could even be confusing to contemporaries. For example, see Anne Buck’s brief article (“The Baby under the Bush”, Costume, 1977) analyzing the records of a 17th century inquiry into the parentage of a foundling baby. The woman who unwrapped the baby described the child’s clothes; the mother, who had dressed and abandoned the baby, described the same set of clothes. In more than one instance, the same garment was given different names by the two women. Even in our own time names of garments can be ambiguous. Consider the word “jacket” in 2007. Jacket can mean a tuxedo jacket, a suit jacket, a windbreaker, a baseball jacket – and the different items aren’t interchangeable.

The earliest of the Plymouth Colony wills and inventories date from the early 1630s. Most of those are records of men’s possessions. In the couple of instances when women’s possessions are listed, the word “jacket” does not appear. There are, though, more than a couple of references to “waistcoat”, and at least once to “waistcoat and petticoat.” We know from other sources (including pictorial sources) that garments shaped like the jacket we’re reproducing were worn with a petticoat almost universally by working class women. Sweeping up all the bits of information, we’ve decided to call these garments “waistcoats.”

Since modern people usually think of a vest (sleeveless upper-body garment) when they hear “waistcoat,” we’ve decided to call our reproduction garment a “jacket.” This name conjures an image closer to the item we’re making, and has the added advantage of following the example of costume historian Janet Arnold, hardly a bad thing.

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