This is a rare example of an informal woman's jacket from the early 17th century. It would have been worn over a petticoat and stays, with a linen or lace collar and cuffs and a decorative coif.
Materials & Making
Unlike most surviving early 17th-century jackets, the decoration of this one is unusually simple. The linen has been left unadorned, but for the very fine piping of the seams. An additional weft of silver thread in the weave of the fabric is the only touch of luxury. The jacket is hand-sewn and lined with plain linen, with padding in the shoulder wings. The full, loose cut, achieved by piecing the narrow fabric, was an alternative style to the fitted shape of waistcoats worn during this period.
The date of the object can be detected through the cut of the garment. The tight curving sleeves are typical of the period 1605-1620. At the back, a small semi-circular collar is pierced with two holes to hold in place the starched lace or plain linen ruff popular at this time.