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Inside a Splendid Embroidered Vest

This post is purely eye candy – no “how-to” here, just a chance to revel in some really spectacular embroidery.

I found this child-sized embroidered vest at a flea market. It’s Mongolian (I think) embroidered lambskin. This means the fur on the inside is the wrong side of the embroidery, and the tail ends of the embroidery is hidden in the fur on the inside. Sadly, this piece is in fragile condition: It’s dried out and can only serve as inspiration.

Launch Gallery to view more of the vest!

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing this vest!

Do you own any flea market or thrift store finds whose sole purpose is to serve as sewing inspiration? If so, share them below!

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  1. WendiSS | | #1

    Lovely. Could also be Romanian, Hungarian-Transylvanian or Croatian...

  2. user-205654 | | #2

    Thanks for sharing. Any idea when this was done?

  3. user-2099260 | | #3

    This is a stunning piece of work! Do you have any idea how old it is? As an embroiderer, I am fascinated by the stitching work and threads. They seem to be woollen thread, and mainly buttonhole stitch, but I can see chain stitch and straight stitch as well. Is there any chance of the design being published?

    There is tremendous scope for adapting parts of the design to embellish clothes. Boy, could I have fun with it! Many thanks for putting out the pictures.

  4. BlueWisteria | | #4

    Similar vests hail from Persia, Turkey, the Balkans, and Czechloslovakia, but the embroidery seems Hungarian, Magyar, or Romanian.

    The typical Mongolian vest opens diagonally, with the garment opening running from neck to underarm. See Max Tilke's book on line at Indiana University.

  5. user-1135690 | | #5

    Somebody must have been pretty special to receive such a lovely article of clothing.

  6. User avater
    CKsews | | #6

    Wow!! Thank you very much for sharing such a unique and fabulous clothing item. The hand embellishments and threads are inspiring to all who see. Kind regards, in Dallas

  7. User avater
    kennethdking | | #7

    Thanks for the information as to the origins of this piece--I was guessing where it came from, but more exact information is always appreciated.

    As to age, that's a big question mark. A friend who studies costume history thinks the colors are early to mid-twentieth century, but if someone among you, Dear Readers, has more accurate information, I'm all ears.

    As for publishing the design, it hadn't occurred to me to do that. The photos, though, are detailed, and I'm sure some enterprising person could figure that one out? The motifs are primarily blanket stitch, with chain stitch and some stem stitch. Some of the cords are couched as well.

    All in all a magnificent piece, and this is why I wanted to share it with you all!

  8. Oumsie | | #8

    Really awe inspiring, might give something like this a go.

  9. Ikebana152 | | #9

    Womderful craftsmanhip! I can blanket stitch, fell stitch, etc. and it is never going to look like this vest. Thanks for sharing.

  10. ayp | | #10

    When studying the side panels I wonder if those(and even the bottom petaled pieces) may have been added on at a later date to extend the size and wear of the piece. It looks like the bottom panels' fuzzy wool backing is of possibly a different piece of sheepskin. With that amount of handwork, the maker would certainly be willing to extend it's life by adding on to it.
    Regardless, it's an amazing piece of clothing and I thank you for sharing the eye candy.

  11. user-2044575 | | #11

    quite amazing.so much work in it.sort of thing you see in a museum.don,t think its mongolian.

  12. designs | | #12

    This is spectacular! The work is exquisite and detailed. I love seeing these fabulous pieces and playing detective. It really helps to raise your own work, maybe never to this level, but higher. It is inspiring to use the elements in my future work. Thank you so much and keep up the fantastic work.

  13. User avater
    kennethdking | | #13

    To Designs:

    You're so right--getting to see these pieces makes me want to make something as wonderful. I may not directly copy the piece, but there are elements (in this case the petal edge, and woven-leather trim) that will eventually show up elsewhere.

    And besides, it's so pretty to look at--I have it hanging over my work table right now.

  14. User avater
    LuvThreadsMagazine | | #14

    Senor King,

    Enjoyed your travelogue, and hope you showcase and dissect more garments. You capture the details in words and pictures so well.

    Sign me,

    Hungry for eye candy

  15. Nitewindz | | #15

    WOw this vest is so yummy!! What a find!!

  16. preachit | | #16

    Looks to me, the thread is made from the wool from the same sheep and was hand dyed, very nice thank you for showing it to us, Wow thats all I can say thanks again Lyle

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