The Plimoth Jacket™

A Paradise in Silk and Gold


In 2009, Plimoth Plantation completed an ambitious project to re-create a woman's embroidered waistcoat of the early 1600s. These fashionable items of dress were popular in the first quarter of the 17th century for women of court, the nobility and those who had achieved a certain level of wealth.

The Plimoth Jacket™ is based on two pieces in the collection from the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, England. While the originals were worked in unknown professional workshops during the Stuart period, the reproduction process has unlocked many secrets of their manufacture previously unknown to textile historians.

In our modern workshop, more than 200 stitchers and 21 lace makers completed the jacket using more than 10,000 gilded spangles and 4,000 meters of silk thread. True to our mission of being a national resource on the 17th century and to reviving and perpetuating historic technologies, many of the garment's shimmering threads and spangles were brought back into production for the first time in hundreds of years. The jacket lining is handwoven, handdyed silk produced by a member of the Plimoth staff. An embroidered reproduction of this caliber had never been attempted and we are delighted with the results.

This project was made possible in part thanks to the generosity of the following individuals and organizations: 

  • The Martha R. & Susan I. Seger Foundation
  • The Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  • Thistle Threads