Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Antique ribbon work...a love story

Hello friends,

As I have mentioned before, I am a collector.  I have many objects that call my name, but none is as dear to me as my antique ribbon work.  If  I had a chance to gather up only one collection, you know, before the meteor hits or something,  it would be my ribbon work without a doubt.  Do you know what ribbon work is?  Well, if you don't mind indulging the scholar in me, refill your coffee and let me tell you a little bit.

Women have been adorning themselves and their clothing since time began.  I have no doubt that Eve, shortly after donning those well placed fig leaves, set out to jazz them up with some additional petals or leaves somehow.  During the first quarter of the 20th century, women had more time than in previous decades to spend making their world lovely (thanks Industrial Revolution), and pretty it up they did.  They began making intricate flowers out of silk ribbon and adorning garments and all manner of boudoir items with them.  Entire books and magazines were devoted to the art and craft of ribbon work, showing housewives how to adorn everyday items with ribbon. The craft became so popular, studios in France employed women to make rather ornate silk ribbon bouquets.   They would generally be put on a background of crinoline or buckram which could then be basted on garments after market, if you will.  It allowed the flowers to be removed if the garment needed to be cleaned.  Many of the leading department stores in the teens and 1920's carried the exquisite French imports which could then be added to your own garment if you didn't wish to make your own.  I presume that these stores probably carried some of the beautiful French vanity items which were also adorned with ribbon work.

While I am sure this is an exaggeration, it sometimes seems as though anything that didn't move got fancied up with ribbons and ribbon work.  It is these items that make my heart skip a beat.  Since being introduced to these 1920's treasures by a dear friend over 15 years ago, it has become my obsession quest to find and collect examples of it.  I shared some of my collection of powder patters a while back.  You can read about it here.  This morning, I took advantage of the nice light in my bedroom and shot photos of my collection of 1920's hats bearing ribbon designs.  In my next post, I will show them to you up close and personal, lots of pictures, not so much text, so come back and visit again.

Until next time,
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  1. Hi Judy,
    Absolutely gorgeous ribbon work and your lace collection in your last post was just stunning!!~
    Thank you for a little history on ribbon work as well, very interesting! They just don't make things like they use to do they?!!
    Hope you have a lovely night.

  2. I certainly will be back to see more. I love ribbon work and sometimes fiddle around making things from ribbon myself. I just made a basketful of roses.
    Love the colours on this ribbon work you posted.
    x jeanetteann

  3. I am looking forward to seeing your hat photos. There is something so special about vintage ribbon work - so detailed and lovely.

  4. Thank you for the info! You have a drop dead gorgeous collection of powder patters! I'm glad you added the link because I hadn't seen them yet. I'd grab them first too if a meteor was about to hit. My friend introduced me to the 1920's ribbonwork about 2 years ago and it has me obsessed. I can't quite afford to collect too much of it. I did accidentally find the 1920's wedding dress with the silk ribbon roses (I bought it for the flowers and didn't even look to see if the dress was in good condition, but the dress was perfect!) and also a beautiful little cluster of flowers that were pinned onto another under garment. (I was shaking as I was unearthing these things at a garage sale!) I managed to grab a powder puff and mirror set on Etsy a few months ago for a steal...not nearly as pretty as yours but still, it's pretty. That's the extend of my collection and I don't dare look at yours too much or I'll cave in and buy more! Love it! Thanks so much for sharing your treasures! I'll be anxiously waiting to see more of your collection.
    xo Faye

  5. I simply love vintag ribbon roses, thank you so much for sharing, Maureen.

  6. Judy look forward to seeing more of your lovely hat collection!xoxo
    Art by Karena

  7. Wow!!!. I love all. You're so creative and talented. Awesome work<3:):):).


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