Alaska transported to 1790



P.K. Reynolds McKnight

(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

modeled by Jack McKnight at the Cyrano's Theatre and Title Wave Books

Outline the story …

The flowers and wildlife of Alaska are amazing, resilient and beautiful. In my four-year adventure here I have recorded them in photographs and sketches and watercolors. I wanted to use the competition to challenge myself to record some of the natural beauty, I witness daily, in embroidery.
I love the Regency period, being a Jane Austen fan since introduced in late elementary school. I have helped my home theater in NC build a Regency costume bank with commercial patterns and “good-enough-for-outdoor -theatre” faked embroidery. I wanted this project to stand up to closer looks, be wearable in the NC summers we are headed back to soon and fit into a budget preparing for retirement. I spent a lot of time looking at the V&A on line collection of garments from the Regency period and watching Pinsent Tailoring videos. Annemieke Mein and Michele Carragher inspired my embroidery designs.
With those design restraints and inspirations I decided on a 1790s ensemble that would have been worn by an older gentleman in the fashion transition that happened during King George’s first lapses of health. (My “want/nice” was the whole outfit, but the cutaway coat and britches will have to happen after the competition.) I settled on a waistcoat that includes flowers and wildlife that a Regency gentleman would never have seen. I combed through my photos and sketches and experimented before settling on fireweed, forget-me-nots, salmon, raven, magpies, a mosquito and dragonflies with an otter as a shirt pin.

Outline the construction…

Given my budget constraints, my project started with a trip to my local thrift stores. Luckily I found a 100% cotton sheet with a pattern that was inspired by suit-wear. I also found lots of cotton embroidery floss jumbled into zip lock bags and a linen tablecloth for the shirt.
I used the instructions in Bernadette Banners “Pirate Shirt” video for making the shirt. Having made one for myself with the same instructions earlier this year, I already knew how and that a linen tablecloth shirt is a joy to wear in any weather!
I used Gordon’s Work on Cutting Men’s Garments to draft the pattern and made mock ups until I got the fit right for my husband who agreed to be my model and the future owner of this ensemble. In the method of the time, I hand embroidered the pieces before cutting them out. Most of the embroidery is short/long satin stitch and stem stitch. I used my trusty 70’s Kenmore to put the pieces together. My hands were too tired after all that embroidery to hand stitch the rest!
Keeping with my budget, the inside of my embroidered buttons is made from plastic take out containers that are not recyclable here in Alaska. I was inspired by Constance Mackenzie’s use of vacation coins in her button video, but did not have enough of any size coin. While I like the look of the buttons, their bendy texture feels a little weird while buttoning.




  1. Avatar Y'hanna Perez-Ortiz on May 1, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    I am just learning to embroider. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken you to complete all of the embroidery in the vest. I think it looks amazing!

  2. PK Reynolds McKnight P.K. Reynolds McKnight PK Reynolds McKnight P.K. Reynolds McKnight on May 2, 2023 at 3:07 am

    Thank you. It was a lot of hours a few minutes at a time. Hope you are enjoying your embroidery.

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