Follow the Thread

a textile & costume history blog from the Design Center at Thomas Jefferson University

A Look Into the Trims & Ribbons Collection


Silk ribbon samples from our collection (late 19th century), with a coordinating Pantone palette

by Gabrielle Ramos

One of my favorite activities at the Design Center is discovering how much inventory we have and viewing all of the beautiful objects in the collection. Recently, I’ve worked to bring to light hundreds of trims and ribbons that have been stored away in the collection. As I went through the boxes and boxes of these pieces, the vibrant colors and patterns instantly caught my eye. For this blog post, I wanted to highlight and share with you the use of colors in these pieces.

Some of the trim and ribbon samples show a variety of vibrant, saturated colors:

On the other hand, some of the samples have more dark, muted colors, but there’s still great variety!

Here are some photos of the ribbons and trims with a more muted color palette:

Ribbons and trims, late 19th-early 20th century

Lastly, I wanted to highlight some of the intricate and interesting patterns of the trim and ribbon samples. I decided to include a section for patterns due to the range of colors in the samples from vibrant to pastels.

Silk ribbons, late 19th century

The above were some of my favorite trims and ribbons from the collection that I wanted to share with you all. As a fashion design major, I personally love to find the color palettes within garments. Finding a color palette allows my inspiration to flow and helps me understand which colors complement each other. Color palettes are also great for projecting emotion and can allow a viewer to feel a certain way when they look at a garment. I hope that seeing these trims and ribbons alongside their color palettes sparks some interest and inspiration.  Maybe they stir up some emotion, too. 

Collection Intern, Textile & Costume Collection, The Design Center, Thomas Jefferson University

Images of objects in our collection are copyrighted by Thomas Jefferson University. For inquiries regarding permissions and use fees, please contact: