Costume; Childrenswear; Boys’ wear
Silk velvet, cotton, braid, glass beads
Late 19th century. Blue velvet young boy’s suit with breeches and a matching jacket with a round collar; white linen pleated-front shirt with long sleeves.
The blue silk velvet of this suit is woven on a red ground, so that the color shifts as the fabric moves.
The suit jacket has two front panels and two back panels, which have 2.54 cm / 1 in. high vents at the hem at each of its three seams. It is open in front, closing only at the neck with one hook below a round collar. It has long sleeves cut without extra fullness, but with two curved seams for elbow room and an 8.3 cm / 3.25 in. wide cuff. Black braid binds the edges of the cuffs, front, hem including the vents, collar, and pocket opening. Four red glass bead ball buttons flank each side of the opening but are purely decorative, as are the three on each cuff. The jacket is fully lined with black silk twill.
The breeches are knee-length and have four pieces, sewn together at the outseams and inseams. Side pockets double as the two openings for the breeches, each closed with one red glass bead ball button. The front and the back of the breeches have a waistband 4.4 cm / 1.75 in. wide overall, though slightly wider at center back, with interior cotton bands having three buttonholes each and a maker’s stamp, mostly worn away except for the words “Band” and “Brooklyn, NY”. These buttonholes do not go through to the velvet layer and do not have associated buttons anywhere on the suit as it currently exists. Black braid binds the side openings and continues in a stripe down the outseam. The breeches are unlined, except for a small striped cotton placket at a 5.7 cm / 2.25 in. long opening in the front rise above the crotch point.
The shirt is in museum records as belonging with the suit, however its sleeves are much shorter and its collar much smaller in circumference so this may not be correct. It has a tab collar and a pleated panel flanking a placket at center front; there are buttonholes but no buttons. Machine-sewn.
Jacket hem: 54.6 cm / 21.5 in.
Jacket length (front): 30.2 cm / 11.875 in.
Jacket length (back): 31.1 cm / 12.25 in.
Shoulders: 10.2 cm / 4 in.
Sleeves: 38.1 cm / 15 in.
Waist (breeches): 62.2 cm / 24.5 in.
Inseam: 15.9 cm / 6.25 in.
Outseam: 35.6 cm / 14 in.
University of New Hampshire Library
Astrida Schaeffer, photographer/curator
Creative Commons License
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Boys' wear, Suits, Late 19th century, Brookyln, New York, United States, Silk velvet, Blue (color), Jacket, Pleated-front shirt, Long-sleeve shirt, White (color), Round collar, Tab collar, Linen, Red (color), Braids, Black (color), Glass bead ball buttons, Silk twill lining, Black (color), Breeches, Side pockets, Waistband, Cotton bands, Maker's stamp, Machine-sewn