Friday, January 21, 2011


About 13 years ago, I came across this very beautiful 19th century Turkish Ottoman child's vest at an antique fair in England.  It was amongst a pile of fabrics and it immediately caught my eye.  It was one of those moments when you think "I HAVE TO HAVE IT!" The bodice is black velvet with a silk lining.  Gold shimmering glass beads are applied to the beautiful  metallic braiding which is embroidered on the edges.   What I loved more than anything about this piece was the gold coins.  These small gold coins would make a chiming sound as the child wearing it would walk.

A few months later, I spotted another Turkish Ottoman child's vest.  It was so exquisite, I just couldn't resist.   Like the other, this vest was also in very good condition considering its age of 125+ years.  The bodice is a cream colored wool felt with a gold silk lining.  The vest has gold thread embroidery in a beautiful pattern along with gold tassels  finished with a turquoise bead.

These two vests sat in my closet for six years because I didn't know how to display them.  There was no perfect solution as the front and back of the vests are equally beautiful.  I decided to bring them to a great frame shop in town, and I worked with the framer to select the matting & frame.  The vests are hand stitched  to a silk matt and box framed with a simple thin gold frame.  (While the color of the matting appears different in these two photos, it is the same and more like the color of the background of the white vest.) We used museum glass because of its clarity and anti-reflective properties.  While I can no longer view the beautiful back sides of these vests, I  enjoy seeing them every day as they are displayed on the walls in our entrance and living room.

I recently came across another exquisite vest recently for sale online.  While it was not in the same fine condition as the others, I will get it restored.  The metallic thread is just beautiful against the black wool felt and I love the design.  I don't know what I will do with this one, but would love to have another way to display it.  Does anyone have any ideas?  


  1. Both vests are charming! Love the way you've framed them. I know you said they are childrens vest, so they are small. What is the size of the frame? I guess I'm trying to visualize how small they are?? Also love your staircase and table in the photo ( 3rd small photo down to the right).

  2. The frames are 23" W x 21" H 3" D.

    After posting this blog, I noticed that I had a small rectangular cream velvet pillow in my family room. I wrapped the vest around the pillow and it actually looks pretty nice. I am considering having a special pillow made to accommodate the angle of the shoulders. Having these vests framed was quite expensive, so this could be a good option. I would also be able to display either side which I haven't been able to do with the framed vests. I'm still looking for other suggestions.

  3. They are just beautiful, such intricate detail. Well worth framing. Rachaelxx

  4. Hi, They are very beautiful. Do you come up with a new solution as these posts are quite old:)
    I recently purchased a vest and looking for a solution as well. Thanks