Symposium Session – Passementerie in the Victorian Era

Passementerie in the Victorian Era

Presented by Richard Harper

Passementerie is the art of applying ornament such as cords, laces, soutache, tassels, fringes, galloons, pompoms, rosettes, beads and gimps to articles of clothing, furnishings and decorative items.

Its use as clothing ornament has existed since mankind created the first tassel, but at no time in history was it more utilized than the Victorian Era. In this panel we will look at copies of examples of the use of passementerie in the late 19th century, focusing primarily on clothing. Attention will be paid to the types and styles of ornament, what makes a suitable ornament, the materials used, methods of application, and a demo of applying decorative cording by machine, with a few contemporary tips and tricks to simplify the process.

Richard HarperRichard Harper was lucky enough to learn how to sew from his grandmother, a brilliant seamstress and his first teacher. Although a curious hobby for a young boy in small-town Iowa, the die was cast at a very young age and he was making much of his own clothing from middle school onwards. After a sewing hiatus during college, he discovered the Society for Creative Anachronism and a resurgence of the desire to study clothing construction and history. Richard attended many types of garment classes, culminating in his study of tailoring and dressmaking in the Haute Couture Certificate Program at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He has created clothing and costumes for Renaissance Faires, historical re-enactment and stage work, as well as accepting commissions for historical and contemporary wedding and concert attire.


To learn more about other sessions, workshops, and special events please visit the International Steampunk Symposium Schedule . . . your invaluable guide to the topsy turvy realm of Wonderland!

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