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Object Type
This vest represents a very practical garment in the Victorian woman's wardrobe and an advance in knitting technology. It was worn to provide additional warmth under conventional clothing and has been knitted to accommodate the bust, waist and hips of a female figure. By following the curvaceous outlines of the corset worn underneath, such shaping prevented the vest bunching around the waist in an uncomfortable manner.

Materials & Making
The advantage of knitting over woven fabric was the former's ability to stretch and cover a three-dimensional form smoothly. This capacity was further enhanced by shaping the knitted fabric through increasing and decreasing the number of knitted stitches. The small gauge of machine knitting allowed for very precise shaping, as this example demonstrates.

Historical Associations
Knitwear was a booming British industry and an important representation at the Great Exhibition. In addition to the well-established stocking production, companies were developing new forms of underwear, as well as informal jackets, headwear and gloves. The demand for knitted jumpers, jackets and cardigans would increase greatly in the second half of the century as the growing popularity of sports such as golf, boating, tennis and cycling required comfortable clothing appropriate to the activity.

Details

  • Title: Vest
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1825/1875
  • Location: England
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 78 cm, Width: 68 cm with sleeves stretched out, Circumference: 29 in waist, Length: 31 in
  • Medium: Machine-knitted wool, mother of pearl

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