Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Antique Theatrical Vests

 I was in Maine about fifteen years ago and bought a box of costume vests at an antique shop. They are exquisitely made with velvets, silks, and Victorian metal lace trims. Some of them look like gypsy vests and some seem more Shakespearean. 

There was a manufacturer's tag on the vests. I researched the company and found out that it was a New York theatrical costume company that went out of business in the Great Depression. Think what plays these might have been in and what actors may have worn them I love that sense of history.

I thought you'd like to see some of them. This one has terrible staining under the arms unfortunately. All the trim around the edges is antique metal trim. Absolutely gorgeous!
green antique theatrical vest

 You can see where the velvet on this one is beginning to lose some of its nap. This one has more metal trim and brass hoops. And some stamped tin disks that are dyed.
black velvet antique vest

Here's a closer look at the metal trim.
metal lace trim

metal lace trim and sequins

  See the metal trim.
Another velvet one. This combines metal trim with embroidered ribbon and hand sewn sequins.
red velvet antique vest

And the back - isn't it beautiful?
back of red velvet antique vest

 Royal blue velvet with still more metal trim. And hand sewn sequins.
velvet antique clothing - vest

 I love this one. It looks Shakespearean to me.
antique vest costume

 Here's a closer look at the sleeve. It has ribbon and yarn trim. The bodice has hand sewn sequins and ribbon trim.
antique vest clothing

This is a detail of the bead work on the back of one of the vests.
beaded flower on antique vest

This is the decoration on one side of a black velvet vest. Still more metal trim work, hand sewn sequins, brass hoops, and fabric that appears to be silk.
closeup of silk and antique metal lace trim

 It looks like the fabric was stunning in its day. I also love the scrollwork in the metal trim.
antique vest

Aren't they gorgeous? My daughter has claimed one of them and wears it occasionally. I have already salvaged pieces off one of the vests that was in terrible condition. I've used some of the hoops to make earrings. I love the feeling of history when I wear them. Maybe that will be tomorrow's post.

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