grosgrain and petersham
Posted 15 April 2012 - 10:15 PM
Regarding a recent thread that mentioned finishing the inside of a waistband with petersham or grosgrain, here is a photo of the two items.
They are similar but not the same thing. The ribbon at the top is what I would call grosgrain (although it is labelled "milliner's petersham" ), and the one below is what I would call petersham.
The grosgrain can be shaped into curves with the iron, the petersham cannot. The edges are different as you can see.
Maybe retailers or manufacturers are calling it all by one name these days....
Posted 16 April 2012 - 02:49 AM
It's my understanding that "grosgrain", properly used, is a technical term describing the heavily-ribbed (gross-grained) appearance of fabrics (not just narrow ribbons) that comes from the different weights of the yarns used (heavy weft, light warp) in the weaving. Thus the term encompasses what is commonly called petersham, but in current regular use, esp. in the ribbon-craft world, grosgrain is more widely and loosely used to mean any ribbed-woven ribbon, as opposed to satin-woven, jacquard-woven, or non-woven types, and includes ribbons with stitched, reinforced or complex selvedged edges that preclude any possibility of shaping the ribbon. "Petersham" is used in various trades to specify gross-grained woven ribbon with a simple unstabilized selvedge that does allow the material to be shaped (it's the heavy uncovered weft that gives the "scalloped" look).
The material at the bottom in your photo is thus a complex type of grosgrain (since it's got a crosswise rib), but isn't petersham because it's got stabilized edges. I'd call it a type of "waistband stabilizer", since it appears to be specifically made for that purpose. I can imagine it being referred to as petersham in some shops or workrooms, and some general dictionaries simply define petersham as "a corded material for hatbands, the insides of belts, etc., or a narrow belting for the tops of skirts." But that's not really a precise enough definition for our needs…
However ill-informed my understanding of the history and manufacture of these items may be (I'm certainly no expert!), in practice and when searching out the stuff at the top in your photo, or any shapable ribbon for tailoring, millinery and other garment-related projects, I believe one will do best to use the term petersham. If they're looking for the stuff at the bottom, I'd say ask for neither petersham nor grosgrain; ask to see the waistband stabilizers.
Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:32 AM
We have always referred to it the other way around, and we are heavily influenced by the British techniques, and language in our shops.
Or it could just be an anomaly peculiar to the people I work with, including the milliners, who specifically refer to grosgrain ribbon as being shapable.
Anyway, depending on your desired stabilizing or shaping requirements, either could be used.
Posted 18 April 2012 - 04:18 AM
In France, "grosgrain" means the kind of ribbon on top of Terri's picture. It's what's used in hats as well as in waistbands. Originally, it was made of cotton but it's hard to come by. I've first seen it when learning how to to make couture skirt waistbands. We would shape the grosgrain and the fabric waistband with the iron and then catchstitch the grosgrain inside the fashion fabric to be completely covered, like an interfacing.
The fabric that looks like grosgrain would be called "ottoman" in french. Or "faille" when the ribbing is very very subtle.
Just to add to the confusion.
Cheers to you
Posted 18 April 2012 - 07:28 AM
Yet, pretty much everyone, to a person, at work, would say that grosgrain is shapeable, but if you asked for waistband petersham, they would go for the rigid style pictured above, and if I ask someone to get petersham they won't bring me grosgrain...!!
As an aside, does anyone know the history of the word Petersham, it is a place, maybe where the ribbon was manufactured?
I wouldn't be confused by Ottoman or faille, because we use those terms exactly as you describe, David.
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