A courtier’s coat.

Well. The body of this “court vest” or “courtier’s coat” is finished — no buttons as yet, not braid, nor buttonholes. But a lot of progress in a single week. And it looks good with the hand sewn ruff.

It sort of points up the problems in the shirt, though — the neck and collar of this shirt need a bit of a refit, now that I understand the mechanisms of making this particular shirt-pattern (and I’m already dreaming up ways to modify it).

A number of larger gentlemen at the event I was at (the EarthSpirit Community’s annual winter gathering, a Feast of Lights) were admiring both the ruff and the coat… and I gave them a chance to try it on.

I still feel this coat needs buttons and buttonholes. My wife disagrees… she thinks it will make it too formal, too stuffy. My thought is that it can be informal when open, formal when buttoned up, or half-buttoned for a semi-formal look.

The event was in the Hotel Northampton in Northampton, Massachusetts. The main body of the modern building was built in the late 1800s and early 1900s; future US president Calvin Coolidge had a room here for when he worked late as a lawyer. The back rooms of their dining room are the relicts of the old Wiggins Tavern, which is where I was photographed — an early 18th century American taproom or tavern, back when this building was a wooden clapboard structure. Apparently the hotel was built around what remained of the tap rooms.

I heard a woman say at Feast of Lights this weekend that she never publishes self-criticism or self-deprecating words on social media. And there are pieces of this vest that are worth criticizing, because they could be done better next time than they were done in this iteration. But overall, I look good in this garment, and I think I’ll make another one or two of them for myself… and I will put the buttons and buttonholes in.

Liked it? Take a second to support Andrew on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!


  1. Looking sharp.

    I thought those ruffs went out close to the width of the shoulders—or am I thinking of characatures of those ruffs?

    • It’s certainly true of some of those ruffs. Basically, the wider the ruff, or the taller, or both — the richer you were. So a ruff out to the shoulders, plus a very tall ruff (say, a 1 1/2″ tall band around the neck, indicating several hundred inches of linen gathered and starched around your neck) is very wealthy and grand indeed. Mine is much more subdued, suggesting someone who is cautious about overshadowing the monarch.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.