Sleeveless coat (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

At first glance the decoration on this woman's coat seems extremely simple. Woven braid runs around the edges and covers most of the upper back. It sweeps down and around the hips and encircles the slit that gives access to a pocket in the underlying garment. Apart from several rows of silver cord that follow the same contours and are sandwiched between the braid, there is no further decoration.

But look closely at the braid and how it is attached. It has a weft in which a flat silver strip has been closely wound around a yellow silk core. While this creates the pattern and the glitter, it also makes the braid stiff and relatively inflexible. It would have been easy to stitch it along straight edges but on this coat the maker also applied it around the neck and armholes and, more dramatically, allowed it to follow the natural curves of the body. This required mitred joints at the corners and tight, secure gathering along the inner curves. These are both fairly complex techniques that have been achieved with great skill.

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  • Title: Sleeveless coat (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1850/1899
  • Location: Bosnia
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 114 cm, Width: 22.5 cm shoulders, Width: 134 cm skirt
  • Provenance: Given by H. C. Game
  • Medium: Woven silk, with brocaded details, trimmed with applied metal braid and cord

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