18th c. Embroidered Waistcoats

Without question, what most people ask me for are 18th c. embroidered waistcoats. It makes sense, since that was the first truly ambitious embroidery project I tackled, and to this day, it’s still my favorite.

Last year I made a second version of the same waistcoat, this time in much more muted grey tones on white linen, to match a linen suit my client was having made. Stitching it out again made me realize that even when the end result looks great, there are many technical details that make it difficult on the embroiderer. Copyright restrictions prevent me from ever selling that design as a product unto itself, so it doesn’t make much sense at this point to go back and clean it up.

C&B Waistcoat

However, I do want to have waistcoats in my product line, since so many people have expressed a desire for them. I was aiming for Summer 2016 as a release date, figuring that 2015 would focus on smaller borders and accessories. Luckily, I get to move that up a year, thanks to a couple nudges from the universe over the last couple weeks.

First up will be something a little simpler: a late 18th c. or early Regency style waistcoat based on this pink striped linen example in the Met. I’m so excited about this one, it went into development within a day of getting the nudge to do it! The nice part about this design is that the floral motifs would be just as well suited to women’s garments or heirloom sewing, in case a waistcoat isn’t your thing.

The second one will be a more traditional 18th c. embroidered waistcoat style with a slightly earlier cut, around 1770. This one is inspired by another example at the Met. This design will take a little longer to produce, since I will also be publishing a waistcoat pattern to go with it, so you can be confident that the pattern and the embroidery will match up.


I’m so excited to be tackling these projects sooner than anticipated. I really love menswear, and I love the challenge of making items like these come to life again. These will probably only be two of many waistcoat designs I will eventually offer, so that men can have some options when picking a design.  Even though the cut of 18th century embroidered waistcoats remained more or less the same, there is a lot of variety in how bold or delicate the actual embroidery was, and I want to be able to reflect that in the designs I produce.

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