|Our original mid-century Marseilles vest with later alteration||to front|
A few years back, I was chatting with my friend Ian McWherter, who is a fellow devotee of Historical Fashion and a fine period tailor. We were wondering about the possibility of a modern substitute for the original Marseilles. Ian went so far as to purchase samples of various cotton goods and sent them to me to aid in the discussion. I seem to remember that they were Dimity or Diaper or something similar but not quite a match for us picky types. One of my problems was that I actually own an original Marseilles Vest and have studied several others, so I was holding out for something closer. That serendipitous moment of discovery happened quite unexpectedly with the arrival of a modern home furnishings catalog, in the mail.
Restoration Hardware is a higher end home furnishing company that puts out a beautiful catalog full of cool stuff you wish you could afford. The last place you would ever expect to find historic fabric but there it was, just what I had been hoping for in the guise of a Matelasse 100% Cotton Shower Curtain from Portugal. It even came in colors but white is what I wanted and white they had. Matelasse is very similar to the old Marseilles in that it has the bold quilted effect in the way it is woven. This particular Matelasse was woven in a small simple diamond pattern and I was in love. After searching around for a source of the fabric itself, it became apparent that it was not available to the public.
|My recreation with Mother of Pearl buttons|
|Close up of my recreation, showing Matelasse weave and embroidery|