October 26, 2013

Historic use of scallop edged ribbons

I've been a bit obsessed with jewels lately, but I haven't forgotten my first love- Ribbon!

First, take a look at this awesome painting from the Yale Center for British Art.  It isn't really related to this post, but it is fantastic!:

"Soldier with Country Women Selling Ribbons" Sir Francis Wheatley, 1788
How fun would it be to do a ribbon seller impression at a reenactment?  And gosh, this is just a generally awesome camp photo- see the lady in the far back on the horse?  I also want to do THAT at a reenactment!

Anywho!  One thing I've noticed in my research is how often you see ribbon with some sort of treatment around the edges.  Of course the had the regular straight edge ribbon, but you also see awesome variations like these (click on the picture to be taken to the source):

Unknown Daguerrotype (stupid dead Pinterst link!)
18th Century Silk Ribbon, The Met
19th Century Bonnet, MFA Boston

1840s-1850s bonnet, The Henry Ford Collection (Ribbon has been preserved with overlay)
1770s-1780s Swiss Ribbon Pattern Book,  Basel Historical Museum
 Gorgeous, no?  Especially that last one.  Man, I really, really want to own those ribbons.  I kept seeing things like this, but I wasn't really able to tell how common they were.  There is so little ribbon from the 18th and early 19th centuries that has survived.

Then, this summer, I went to upstate New York to Genesee Country Village Museum, which is a magical historic fairyland and you should GO THERE NOW.   We were able to arrange a special tour of their surprisingly awesome collections and saw some of the loveliest pieces of costume I have ever seen!

They have A LOT of headwear, too, and I was shoving people out of the way to get closer looks at stuff.  One thing that that surprised and delighted me was how frequently these scalloped ribbons showed up.  I am not exaggerating when I say that 75-80% of the 40 or so extant bonnets and hats (ranging from the 18-teens to the 1850s) had some sort of ribbon with a figured edge.  It was thrilling!

And I did take pictures, but they are not great quality (low lighting, no flash!) and I don't have permission to post them anyway.  Just take my word for it, please!

This all wraps up to say that I was equally excited when I discovered a source for modern ribbon that has this scalloped edge!  I am really excited have this for my own creations, and to have available in my Etsy shop. Click on the links to be taken to the shop!

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