The John Bright Collection owns a number of fine waistcoats dating from the 1830s to the 1850s, made from a great variety of fabrics variously ornamented to provide colour and interest to increasingly subdued masculine outfits. Black satin waistcoats embroidered with vivid naturalistic flowers were a fashion of choice for many who could afford hand-worked waistcoats. Flowers were also embroidered on to black silk grounds of women’s decorative aprons and other accessories. The waistcoat fronts, known as foreparts, were embroidered as flat pieces before being made up. The placing of the design, generally bordering the front and bottom edges and covering the collar and pocket welts, was key to success of the finished garment.
The waistcoat is lined in glazed twill, and is backed in black silk with a pair of black tape ties for adjustment.