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Though the fragment is faded, the original colors are evident on the reverse of the fabric. The ground was lavender with yellow and white warp stripes and white weft stripes, forming a plaid pattern with a small repeat. The white stripes in the weft direction are made with a thicker yarn, causing them to have a slightly raised effect. The ground fabric is composed of 4/1 satin weave, as are the warp stripes, since they are not supplementary. All yarns are S-spun. The weft stripes are secured in a 6/1 twill. The small repeat most likely dates the fabric to the 1780s-1790s.

A seam remains along the bottom edge of the fragment. The attached fabric is a bit of the linen lining. The linen is a balanced plain weave with Z-spun yarns. The seam is held with widely-spaced back stitches that are spaced to appear to be running stitches on the face, but overlap on the reverse. This technique added more reinforcement strength than did running stitches, but was faster than regular backstitches. The thread used is undyed 2-plyS linen. The seam allowance is 3/8". There is an additional seam running diagonally through the seam allowance where the allowance was caught in another seam.

The differences between this seam and that in W-2981 (a fragment from the same garment) suggest that while the seam on W-2981 was from the center opening of a waistcoat, this seam is from the bottom edge of the waistcoat. But the 1780s, waistcoats had become to show straight hems and had shortened in length from their predecessors. There is evidence of the same type of seam as W-2981 in this fragment along the right edge: the edge was pressed under and sewn 1/8" from the crease. This could indicate that the right edge was oriented to the center opening of the waistcoat.




Silk, linen


Overall (H x W): 6 1/8 in. x 5 3/4 in. (15.56 cm x 14.61 cm)

Credit Line

Purchased by the A. Alfred Taubman Acquisition Endowment Fund and partial gift of an anonymous donor, 2004

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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