Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have a Swanky Solstice!

Ribbon Art, c. 1920

Ribbon Art: How to make Hundreds of Dainty and Practical things of Ribbons Illustrated in Colors with detailed instructions
Detailed instructions -- that’s very promising. Just imagine all the authentically Dainty and Practical 1920s accessories we can make! We’ll be the cat’s meow!
Fashion and Ribbon

MORE and more, the important costume designers and smart interior decorators employ the ever adaptable and colorful ribbon.

TO the return of simple classic lines in dress, we may attribute the increasing appearance of ribbon in fashion.”
1920s fashion was much more than just a return to simple classic lines. Dames divested themselves of their confining costumes and flung themselves into blatantly pagan partying.

Notice how the gentleman in the second picture can’t take his eyes off her arrow-shaped, bawdy bow. 1920s gold diggers were well aware of the hypnotic properties of ribbon, using its satiny sheen to ensnare unwary men and bind them to their will.

In fact, see the doll face on Ribbon Art’s cover? Not the kid, I mean the full-grown tomato. Sure, she’s sitting demurely in her wicker chair, sorting her craft supplies. But get an eyeful of her strappy heels and her plunging neckline. She’s no matronly Mrs. Grundy. This Sheba’s a sorceress, wrapping men around her finger with as much ease as she wraps that ribbon.

I bet we’ll discover all her pagan beauty secrets inside...

For more ribbony magic:

In accessories to the costume – by way of adding a necessary color note and hint of frivolity, ribbon fills a most important need.”
You better believe that ribbon fills the most important needs of life. Why without ribbon, life is just not worth living.

But ditch the beret and don some ribbon with a note of colour and a hint of frivolity, and you’ll soon turn that bow-like frown upside down.
You will find in this book, over a dozen pages of cocardes and trimmings – easily and inexpensively made – which will lend a picturesque quality to the smart gown. And of girdles and corsages there is a wide variety. With a few, simple dark dresses and a half dozen or so of these new accessories, the clever woman can make her costume seem always interesting and different.
Are you a clever woman or a dumb Dora?

Actually the real question is: Do you have a clue what a cocarde is?

Cocardes are those ribbony things at the bottom of the page. You stick these things on other things, and your crown is instantly glorified. Or something.

Suffice to say, your friends will think you’re the cat’s pajamas if you go to the Solstice party with a giant cocarde stuck to your hat.

Yes, that’s a good thing! Would I lie to you?
For hat trimmings, we are picturing a host of ideas featured by the advance models just now shown in Paris.

These trimmings are essentially simple and therein lies their charm. For a woman with but a slight knack with the needle can make them successfully. And many women will make several trimmings for the one hat – each trimming entirely changing its character.

On page 29 are shown five ways to trim one hat. And you could multiply the five ways five times without exhausting the ribbon trimming possibilities.

The last design is called The Princess Leia.
Purses – bandeaus – hair ornaments – scarfs – shoe cocardes – all have been executed for costume effect.
As opposed to executed for comedic effect.
We have endeavored in this book to feature only those that can be made without difficulty and that have definite claims to lasting smartness. It is by such accessories as these that the widely dressed woman wins and holds her reputation for smartness.

In baby things...

Babies in the 1920s were made of sterner stuff than today’s tots. Mothers back then didn’t have to worry about choking hazards, and could safely drape them in ribbon and tiny cocardes from head to toe.

Whereas, babies today have to be watched constantly as they’re apparently determined to kill themselves with anything they can get their hands on, even dog hair!
... in boudoir luxuries, and in lingerie, ribbon is more than a fashion. The newest ideas which the exclusive ships are continually originating – the clever, unusual thoughts – we are illustrating here in great profusion. They make charming gifts and proud possessions.

For the lamp shades and cushions and various articles of home decoration features in the following pages, we sought out the smartest interior decorators. It is their opinion that ribbon because of its color value and texture sympathy is the most artistic medium in which to develop the accessories which give a personal touch to the home.
While ribbon certainly has its place in pagan celebrations, I believe it makes for very impractical home decorations.

Plus dancing around a maypole indoors is clearly as much fun as a stock market crash.
To women who want color and interest in their apparel and clothing, who wish to influence their children’s lives by tasteful surroundings, this book is dedicated.”
But never mind the dust. Never mind the strangling hazards inherent in hanging ribbons around your house. If you don’t buy this book you are a BAD MOTHER and your children will grow up to be uncultured BARBARIANS.
“It is published with the hope that it may prove to be a practical help and inspiration to those in the quest of beauty.”
That, and they hoped to get very rich by starting a ribbon publishing empire.

But let’s take a look at what actual ribbon art patterns we can make.

OMG, it’s a BRA made of RIBBON! I want one! I want one now!

Now let’s read the detailed instructions we were promised...
The brassiere illustrated above is essentially practical and one can easily afford several if one makes them at home of ribbon. The yardage depends on the bust measure. For the shoulder straps and the binding on the top and bottom edges 1-inch satin ribbon is used.
Well, that was... less than enlightening.

There is no indication what the bottom strap of the bra attaches to. Although from the illustrations on the next page we can deduce that a 1920s woman’s boudoir was the place where she played dress-up. So I suspect the strap attaches to something salacious.

Oh look, I’ve finally found a page of instructions!

None of which apply to bra-making.

Oh well, it’s not as if a 1920s flapper needed a well-engineered bra – or any bra at all.

Is she wearing a bra? Only one thing is certain, this hotsy-totsy isn’t wearing a corset.

So, there will not be a printable pattern this time around as there are NO ACTUAL PATTERNS.

Not that I’m bitter, or anything... But if the saps who created this flat tire of a book were still around, I’d ask my hard-boiled pals to give them the bum’s rush.

I mean, Happy Solstice!


  1. Hey, nice post-cool to see some vintage crafts other than the usual crochet and knit. May be looking into ribbons to accent my crochet if I ever get around to doing more household items...or even if I don't I suppose.


  2. Jenny - If you make ANY of the patterns on this site, with or without the addition of ribbon, I'd love to see them!