Extreme manufacturing challenge: The jacket

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Photo used with permission from Plimoth Plantation.

This article from the Boston Globe talks about a crazy project to recreate a fancy embroidered jacket from the 1600s undertaken by Plimoth Plantation, a living colonial museum in Massachusetts. The challenges – figure out how to create jacket materials whose manufacturing processes have been long forgotten and find people to learn and do centuries-old, now uncommon embroidery stitches.

While not my style, I appreciate the jacket and the extreme effort to make it. The jacket is nothing short of amazing. To do it right required a deep investigation of 17th century jackets, from patterns and stitches to the sequins, silk and other raw materials used. Striving to be authentic, the Plimoth Plantation team found ways to make these materials today in a manner that could have been accomplished during the 1600s. The details on the various processes and techniques used can be found in the Plimoth Plantation – The Embroiderer’s Story blog.

Apparently, the manufacturers in Europe who created the gilt silk thread have now even put it back into production!

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