On June 26 & 27 2021, I had the pleasure to follow Elizabeth Ashdowns Masterclass of Passementerie. 

What is passementerie ? 

Passementerie is an endangered craft. It is the art of making elaborate trimmings for clothing or furnishing. According to Wikipedia it’s :

Passementerie (/pæsˈmɛntri/, French pronunciation: ​[pɑsmɑ̃tri]) or passementarie is the art of making elaborate trimmings or edgings (in French, passements) of applied braidgold or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beads for clothing or furnishings. Styles of passementerie include the tasselfringes (applied, as opposed to integral), ornamental cords, galloonspomponsrosettes, and gimps, as well as other forms. 

Source : From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Passementerie comes in different shapes and sizes. Normally, passementerie is small so you can sew it onto dresses, jackets, curtains and upholstery.

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One of the most famous passementerie companies is Verrier in Paris. They make the most gorgeous passementerie you can imagine.

Passementerie of Verrier

Because it’s a very time-consuming craft, it has become­ endangered. 

I am autodidact and I tried learning passementerie by viewing the photos on the internet. But that didn’t get me much further. 

I came across Elizabeth’s website and subscribed for her online zoom Passementerie Masterclass. Elizabeth Ashdown MA RCA is an artist based in South East England. She creates contemporary, hand woven artworks using the endangered craft of Passementerie. You should definitely check-out her website and Instagramaccount. It’s a burst of great design and gorgeous colors.

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Passementerie Masterclass – Elizabeth Ashdown

What did I learn ?

Elizabeth starts her course with explaining what passementerie is. How you can give it a personal twist and how to set up your weaving. You can use a frame loom, or as I did, my large 16-shaft Ashford loom.

The sett you use for your warp is very dense. So you don’t see the weft threads for the basic ribbon.

She explains what a picot, scallop and crete is. You weave together with her (and all the other participants) live, your first design. In between you can ask questions and she explains the do’s and don’ts very clearly.

I have woven 2 different designs on a single warp/ribbon.

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Single ribbon sample from IlsePhilips during the Masterclass Passementerie

You can go crazy when you work with different wefts and with 2 warps/ribbons. Is it as complicated as it looks? Well, you certainly need to be very focused on which weft, ribbon, color you will use to make your design look great.

In my left warp/ribbon I used a wider sett then the warp/ribbon on the right. As you can see the right ribbon looks better because there are no ‘gaps’.
Ofcourse, gaps can be a design feature if you plan it carefully.

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Double ribbon sample from IlsePhilips during the Masterclass Passementerie
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Double ribbon sample with a bead from IlsePhilips during the Masterclass Passementerie

Let’s get crazy

With passementerie you can get as crazy as you like. There are no limits to what you can use. Below are a few examples of try-outs. I made them with recycled household-stuff.

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ilsephilips.nl – test samples made with strips of a bag of chips and sanitary napkins.
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Samples made with additional macramé woven in using broken headphone cables – IlsePhilips
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Black & white – made with garbage bag strips and ear-sticks – IlsePhilips

Learn an endangered craft

Bring passementerie back to live. If you like to know more about how to weave it, I can highly recommend Elizabeth’s Masterclass. She’s a fantastic and brilliant weaver, a good teacher and a very nice and helpful person.

Thank you Elizabeth, it was really fun learning passementerie !