16th Annual Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference

16th Annual Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860s Conference

I will be presenting:

Narrow Strands of Silk: Mid-Nineteenth Century Ribbons Used for Millinery

Period literature abounds with young women excited by the purchase of gifting of a new ribbon. What excited them so much about a narrow strand of silk? What, as Mary Davidson’s Silk says, held the public favor for three centuries? In this presentation we will examine the many various ribbons used in millinery including their weaves, designs, texture, and width along with where and how they were used.

We will begin by looking at the manufacture of ribbons, where they were made both domestically and foreign, and where we imported them from. We will learn about the regional manufacturing centers in Coventry, England and the Canton of Bále, Switzerland and the ribbons they produced. We will also see how the onset of war drastically shifted the levels of importation and production of silk ribbons.

Next we will look at the types of ribbons produced and used in the mid-century. This will include examples of the different size ribbons, the weaves, and designs. When looking at the types of ribbons, we will see a much greater variety of ribbons available in the 19th century then is available today. Exhibition catalogs show ribbons from as simple as plain, fancy, or plain fancy to some we may recognize such as numerous velvets, printed, and embroidered, to some we may not yet recognize such as figured lutestring and cut-edged ribbon.  We will discuss which ribbons were more often used for different pieces of headwear; bonnets, caps, nets, etc.

Lastly, we will also look at techniques for achieving the look of period ribbons through textual descriptions and illustrations as well as some original images including how to make bows following period directions. “

Published in: on September 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm  Comments (2)  

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Anna, I was so pleased to see that you’re a presenter at the Conference (is there any other?!), and have a question regarding the green bonnet, the one with the lovely “puffings” on it. Do you have it? Any idea how one would make it?
    I’m looking forward to meeting you in Harrisburg. For one so young, you are a font of knowledge – congratulations!!

  2. Thank you Carol. I look forward to meeting you as well. The images on the Conference site are actually Carolann’s. I don’t own it. I would consider that a wadded bonnet. I’ve studied a few made that way including a favorite owned by a merchant in Caledonia. If you would like to know how I would make it, let me know.

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