This embroidered and quilted waistcoat was likely made from an imported English pattern that was subsequently cut, assembled, and lined by an American tailor. The cream silk satin front is quilted over cotton batting and embroidered in chain stitch with silk threads that were once shades of green, pink, and lavender. George Washington would have worn garments such as this one on formal occasions. Charles Wilson Peale's miniature portrait of Washington, painted in 1776, depicts him wearing a cream-colored waistcoat with similar embroidered borders.
See also W-460.
A man's sleeveless, collarless waistcoat made of embroidered cream silk satin. The back is cut from a twill worsted wool and lined with plain-weave linen. The front panels of the waistcoat are quilted to a plain-weave cotton and lined with a plain-weave linen. The lower fronts of the waistcoat also have a secondary lining of twill worsted wool. The right hand buttoning waistcoat closes with twelve buttons fashioned from circular pieces of cream silk embroidered with floral sprigs stretched over pasteboard discs. Each button has a corresponding button hole that is edged in faded silk. The waistcoat front panels are cut with a wide spread point and shallow skirt and tail. They also feature two scalloped pocket flaps, one on each side below the waist. A slit cut in the waistcoat front underneath the pocket flap allows access to the functioning pocket, formed from the linen lining.
The center front and front skirt edges of the waistcoat, the lower edges of each pocket flap, and the slit for the pocket are outlined in chain stitch with a double line in graduated shades of mauve silk and a border of a floral vine entwining a linked chain in colors of green, mauve, lavender, and cream. The ground of the front waistcoat panels and the pocket flaps is quilted in a chain stitched diamond pattern adorned with simple crosses over each crossing. The waistcoat has been shortened on each side about one and a half inches at the pockets, just below the last button and buttonhole. The hip vents extend to the waist.
1775 - 1785
Silk, cotton, wool, linen, pasteboard
Overall: 26 3/8 in. x 21 in. (67.01 cm x 53.34 cm)
Gift of Harriet Virginia Dykers, 1914
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