I've shared an 18th c. wedding dress embroidered by the bride (Elizabeth Bull's gown here and here), and now here's a waistcoat (vest) that a 19th c. bride likely made for her bridegroom. This handsome silk waistcoat, embroidered with silk, must have made a stylish statement coming down the aisle. I especially like the combination of stitches - all those French knots! - to bring texture to the monochrome silk, right.
In the 1840s it was fashionable for men to wear embroidered waistcoats at their weddings. This example is embroidered with cornucopia, a symbol of plenty, and was worn by Robert S. Hone on November 30, 1842, when he married Eliza Rodman Russell. Eliza may well have worked the embroidery herself. Both she and Robert were from prominent and wealthy families, so the hope for plenty was more or less a foregone conclusion.
With many brides today looking for ways to personalize their wedding-wear by making their headpieces, veils, and shawls (if not their entire gowns), perhaps there might be someone out there inspired to make something special for her groom, too.
On the other hand, one of the speakers (I think it was Marla Miller - if anyone else who was there can correct me, please do!) at Winterthur's Diligent Needle conference last month relayed an amusing story about one such modern creative bride.
A bride was proudly working on making her groom's vest into an elaborate personal statement, spending many hours on her embroidery. Showing the nearly-finished product to the groom, she happily declared, "When you wear this at our wedding, everyone will see how much I love you." To which her groom replied, "When I wear this at our wedding, everyone will see how much I love you, too."
Perhaps fancy waistcoats should be left to the past after all....
Embroidered waistcoat, worn by Robert S. Hone, Providence, RI or New York City; 1842. Silk. Winterthur Museum.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.