18th century quilted waistcoat, all hand-sewn. Fabric is a heavy printed cotton, linen lining, and cotton/bamboo for padding. The stitching was done in diamonds around the printed pattern. Outside is bound in linen tape.
Lovely! I always think of these quilted waistcoats and jumps as the 18th century equivalent of leggings and a hoodie. For once they get comfort over looks, except being 18th century costume, they still look amazing haha!
It's a good question! I have seen a portrait of a young woman in undress lounging in her house clearly wearing one in lieu of stays (sorry I can't find it at the moment). I wear mine as an added layer of warmth during the winter either below or above a gown (depending on how snug the gown is). Sharon Ann Burnston has a good, short article online about them along with a study of an extant.