Costume and Textiles
Woman's Quilted WaistcoatMade in England, Europe
Artist/maker unknown, English
Plain weave cotton with silk back stitched to cotton batting and backing; linen lining and twill tape
Currently not on view
1996-107-2Gift of the Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1996
LabelThis waistcoat would have been worn informally in lieu of a boned corset with a petticoat and bed gown. Quilting, the stitching together of two or more layers of fabric, made the waistcoat warmer and more supportive. Executed in minute back stitches—as many as forty per inch—its curling vine pattern is reminiscent of arabesques. Originally a word for repeating geometric forms evoking plant and animal shapes in Islamic art, arabesque refers to any pattern of scrolling intertwined lines. They frequently appear in European art, architecture, and decorative arts from the fifteenth through the eighteenth century.