Vintage Patchwork Jacket – Seminole Indian Tribal Arts
Extraordinary Classic Period patchwork jacket. The jacket features a collarless neck, balloon sleeves and densely pleated fall at the shoulders. The finely worked plaquet is secured by tiny snaps and has been sewn back into small flaps at the neck, perhaps to accommodate a scarf or stampede string of a cowboy hat. While I believe the jacket falls at around 1930 on the timeline – and feel free to weigh in if you think otherwise -there are intriguing clues that may make it harken further back in time.
First, bands of floral print calico-type fabric are used in two places: a pink band just above the top row of sawtooth patchwork on the upper chest, as well as a blue strip on the inside of the waist. Second, although the two bands of patchwork on the sleeves align with those on the chest, the supporting bands are different, a very interesting design twist even during periods when sleeves were constructed independently of the body of the jacket itself. It is so skillfully executed that the difference in the sleeves subtly adds visual excitement yet enhances the harmony of the whole. Curiosity got the better of me and a search of the literature and of the collection at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum turned up two shirts utilizing a similar sleeve design: a boy's big shirt (Catalogue No. 1996.55.2) and a transitional shirt (Catalogue No 2010.11.1).
The jacket is in good condition, noting fraying at the neck, cuffs and waist, a small tear on one sleeve and a bit rough at the snap cuff openings. The colors are simply amazing. Truly a superb piece.