Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A Short History of Tassels by So Sew Easy

This article was posted on the So Sew Easy board and gives us a good insight into the evolution of a popular decoration during the Victorian times.

A Short History of Tassels

history of tasslesIntroduction

As promised, I wanted to go into a little more detail for you on the fascinating history of tassels and how tassels and their use has evolved over time.  In a previous article, we talked about how tassels have been made as embellishments, ornaments, and decorations dating back to ancient Rome and up until the present time.  Starting with a simple knot and evolving into a decorative addition, the tassel has certainly come a long, long way. Not many people know that the history of tassel goes back to ancient Egypt and the biblical times, finding its way on garments, blankets, rugs, carriages, chandeliers, canopies, draperies and pillows, in various cultures from all over the world!
history of tassels

Tassels During the Ancient and Biblical Times

According to the Hebrew bible, the Lord instructed Moses to tell the people of Israel to attach tassels on the corners of their garments. This should be done to help them follow the Lord's commandments. Known in Hebrew as the “Tzitzit”, tassels are specially knotted ritual ornaments worn by Israelis since Antiquity. Deuteronomy also wrote that tassels should be attached to the four corners of daily clothes. Later, many believed, however, that there is no need not wear the tassels any more because it is the the Holy Spirit that reminds them of God's commandments citing one of John's scriptures. At present, it is the devout Jews and Samaritans who continue wearing the tzitzit, attaching them to the four corners of their prayer shawls and daily undergarments.
history of tassels
In ancient Rome, tassels, which comes from the Latin word tassau meaning a clasp at a garment's neck, became popular in 330 AD when Byzantine Roman emperor Constantine issued a decree that all Christians should be properly clothed. This led to a high demand for tassels but it was not until 540 AD when Emperor Justinian and two Persian monks made the tassel a symbol of power for the royal and aristocratic families of the West by smuggling silk worms from China. The evolution of tassels as a weaving knot for garments into a  talisman and symbol of power is on the way.
Elsewhere in the world, the tassel also made its impact in fashion. The young Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen was unearthed wearing tassels around his neck. In the Middle East, tassels were used as talismans and were commonly seen in head wears. Throughout the Arab world especially Egypt and Mesopotamia, tassels were used and attached to a child's head gear to protect the young one's from bad spirits as well as drive away demons.
The Catholic church also played an important part in the history of tassel when they used it to signify the differences in hierarchy in its clergy members. And in 17th century France, King Louis XIV commissioned tassels to embellish the costumes of royalties and their residences. Now used as status symbol, the tassel was also used by the French army to distinguish rank on a uniform.
history of tassels

Establishment of the Guild of the Passementiers

It was around the 16th century, when the Guild of the Passementiers established the art of passementerie (the making of trims and braids), that entailed a seven-year of apprenticeship. By this time, a single tassel, made from silk or gold and silver thread, could cost the equivalent of today's a thousands of dollars.
history of tassels
In the 1800's, a new merchant class had emerged in Europe and they had enough money to spend on home decorations. Flaunting their wealth, they trimmed their footmen, horses, carriages, cushions, curtains, keys, and anything that caught their fancies. And at the end of the century, French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte adorned his throne and bed chamber with elaborate gold tassels and trims.

The Decline and Revival of the Tassel

Approaching the Victorian Era, popular magazines began to create trends and this includes decorating the ladies' shoes, sashes and parasols, with miniature tassels. The trend did not continue very long since in the early 20th Century during the Victorian era, the excesses of the past was shunned. Simple and unadorned aesthetic became fashionable and the use of tassels declined.
During the emergence of the Art Deco Period, new geometric shapes and colors became popular, thanks to the introduction of synthetic materials like Rayon and tassels again became widely used. Oxford and Cambridge scholars started affixing tassels to their graduation caps as a sign of intellectual superiority. The rest of the Western world followed by adding tassels to everything and anything.
history of tassels


Indeed, today you find tassels everywhere like in your handbags, jackets, boots, curtains, pillows, lampshades and well, just about everything and anything. But what is emerging to be a popular trend is using tassels as jewelry. So if you still haven't got a set of tassel earrings, be a part of the history of tassels make one for yourself!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Food Preparation in South Texas

Here is an article with some great pictures of food preparation of various cultures in Texas.  Check out this article from the San Antonio Express-News.  http://www.expressnews.com/news/local/article/Early-South-Texas-diet-staples-differed-greatly-11214813.php?t=b9b868d418#photo-13074450

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Using Shank Buttons on Historical Costumes

This website has a wonderful trick for using buttons with shanks.  These buttons often dangle and look strange on 18th and 19th century dresses and coats.  This trick is worth knowing when you make heavy garments and men's wear.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book of Interest...Unvanquished: How the Women of the South Survived

(Kindle Edition)by Pippa Pralen

This digital book is available on Amazon and can be downloaded to be read on your tablet, phone, or computer for $1.99. It sounds like it would be an interesting read.

To purchase book.

Eyewitness accounts from over 50 diaries of southern women facing the hardships of the Civil War. Includes voices of slave women. As Yankee soldiers plundered, and starvation stalked the land, they hid food and heirlooms in wells and swamps. They watched Atlanta and Georgia burn and fed hungry children. Vivid accounts of women who witnessed the battles. Turned into food scavengers at the brink of starvation, southern women devised ways to feed their children. Genteel wives and southern aristocracy were catapulted out of their cozy worlds of privilege. They endured humiliation, terror and grief, yet prevailed. Authentic images and numerous diary entries. Includes frugal Civil War recipes: oatmeal pie, cabbage stew, "idiot's delight" cake, and Hoppin John. Their stories offer inspiration in resilience and determination.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quilts That Saved a Village

Quilts are known for giving warmth and comfort, but in one instance, at least, they helped save the lives of a whole village of people. Here is the story of seven brave men and the quilts that carried them over a mountain.
Once upon a time (in 1863), a group of pioneers decided to settle in a pretty area about 20 miles northwest of what is now Bryce Canyon National Park.  They named their new town Fairview.  Fairview sat at an elevation of 6600 feet. What these brave pioneers didn’t realize was that the high altitude would result in cooler year-round temperatures and good crops were going to be hard to grow.
By Fairview’s second winter, the lack of food was making life hard, indeed. The wheat that they planted had not matured and was almost impossible to grind. The people tried boiling the wheat but it was mostly inedible. They tried hunting and fishing, but early, deep snowfalls made it nearly impossible to provide enough food for the whole community.
Fairview’s leaders, realizing that the prospect for the community surviving the winter was grim, came up with a plan for getting food. They decided to send two groups out for supplies. One party was to go north about 110 miles to Gunnison.  The other group would head 45 miles toward Parowan. Although the distance was less, the western route was over a high mountain pass.
The Gunnison bound party returned almost immediately. The passages to Gunnison were completely blocked with snow. All hopes were now with the seven men trying to make it over the mountain pass for Parowan.
Traveling by a wagon with two oxen the Parowan party made good progress at first, however the snow began to gradually deepen. It soon became apparent that they would have to finish the mountain crossing on foot.  The men struggled to make any headway at all as their legs plunged into the deep drifts of snow.
With hope of going any further gone, the men laid a quilt on the snow and knelt on it to pray for guidance and assistance. As the men prayed they realized that the quilt was supporting their weight on the snow.
quiltmanThe men took all the quilts that they had packed for warmth and began laying one quilt after another on the snow-packed ground. They walked on the quilts to keep from falling through the snow all the way across the high mountain pass.
Eventually the men reached Parowan where they got as many  sacks of flour as they could carry. Parowan settlers helped the group as far back up the mountain as was possible. Then the men began walking on their quilts again, this time while carrying heavy sacks of flour.  The men finally made it back to Fairview and saved the town from starvation.The trip is estimated to have taken fourteen days.
One of the men on the trip was named Alexander Matheson. He left this recounting of the journey: “We decided that if we had faith as big as a mustard seed, we could make it and bring flour to our starving families. So we began the quilt-laying in prayerful earnestness. The return trip was harder with the weight of the flour, but we finally made it to our wagon and oxen and on home with thankfulness to the Lord for his goodness. The whole settlement welcomed us, because we had been gone longer than expected. There had been prayers, tears, and fears which turned to rejoicing and cheers.”
The residents of Fairview and other neighboring towns were evacuated from the region for several years during conflicts with the Native America population. When they returned to the area in 1871 the town was renamed Panguitch.
walkquiltThe people of Panguitch, Utah hold an annual celebration of this quilt walk event and a memorial now stands in the center of town to honor the efforts of these original settlers.
The 2016 Quilt Walk Festival will be held June 8-11. The theme of the festival will be “Pecking Up the Pieces.” There will be lots of fun events including a chocolate fest, dinner theatre, pioneer home tour, quilt walk race, quilt classes, and much more. For details contact www.quiltwalk.org

Monday, September 19, 2016

Talking Tejano History Webinar

These talks are worth your time and effort --- and they are a free history lesson! ________________________________________ Tuesday is our Texas Talks webinar! Title: Talking Tejano History Description: Learn more about Tejano history with Dr. Andrés Tijerina and Dr. Emilio Zamora during Hispanic Heritage Month Host: Dr. Andrés Tijerina, Austin Community College and Dr. Emilio Zamora, The University of Texas at Austin
Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016Time: 7:00PM (Central Time)In 2 hours, the webinar you registered for is going to start. Please, click on the link below to view the webinar stream. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mHvZ81keh8&feature=youtu.be This program is sponsored in part by the Texas Historical Foundation If you would like to chat with the moderator and other viewers during our live stream, you will need to log in to a Gmail account.
1. Click the "Watch and Interact" link below the TSHA video player 2. Click the "Sign in to chat" link on the right hand side of the page 3. Sign in to your Gmail account 4. If you do not have one, click "Add account" and then "Create account" 5. Once signed in, navigate back to the YouTube stream page to chat

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great Period Needle Work Resources

If you are interested in historical needlework of all kinds, the Interweave store has CDs of Piecework magazine for sale for $5. Piecework is a magazine of historical patterns. This is an excellent opportunity to find beautiful patterns at an unbelievable price.  Hurry before they are all gone.