A little history ...

What are silk ribbons ? Once used only by the nobility of the French society in the 17th century, are now experiencing renewed interest and adoration.

They are not only beautiful to behold, wonderful to use as embellishments, and sensuous to the touch, ribbons are also used to express emotions and feelings and provide opportunities for hours of creative expression.

With the many colors, patterns, textures, and sizes of ribbons available today, it is no wonder that they are often used to decorate our homes, our clothing, our crafts and hobbies, our gifts and packages.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery has a surprisingly long history, going back to the 17th century, where you see it first as huge rosettes on men’s coats and women’s gowns. During the time of the English Commonwealth, it fell somewhat out of favour, due to the various laws passed by the Puritan government.

In the meantime, the art was flourishing still on the Continent, and it was brought back to England with the restoration. During that time, the stitching became smaller and shoes were embroidered to match coats and gowns. Naturally, the fashion and technique travelled to the Americas and also became popular there.

During the later part of the 18th and early 19th century, it lost a little popularity, as other forms of embellishment became popular. It revived somewhat with the success of the couturier Charles Worth, who transformed the fashion industry.

Women’s wardrobes expanded, as they sometimes changed their gowns up to seven times per day. For those of the highest fashion, that included changing their shoes, which, harking back to earlier fashion, had started to again be embroidered to match their gowns.

With the rise of the amateur embroiderer again in the 19th century and later, Silk Ribbon Embroidery became fashionable not only on clothes, but on small handbags, caps and gloves. Ladies also used it to embellish plain shawls and blankets, as well as other home wares.

It fell out of favour in the early 20th century, only to (again) revive in the 1990’s as embroiderers once again took out their ribbons and started to stitch with them.