Apr 06, 2020

Petersham or Grosgrain??

In this post, I will tell you what I have found whilst researching however the end decision is yours...As with any research, there is varying stories. This is the case here. Let me tell you both:

Story 1: Petersham is named after the eighteenth century English lord Viscount Petersham who invented an overcoat and breeches made of a special heavy woolen cloth with a round nap surface. (erf: Wikipedia)

Story 2: The original Petersham, was manufactured by a company called Panda. The ribbon took on the name of the town it originated in, rather than the product that it was. Therefor, 'Petersham' was born.

You can chose either story you like but the real debate is how the two differ.

  • Petersham: has a scalloped edge.
  • It has a ridge like texture due to its weaving process.
  • It tends to be softer than Grosgrain but strong.
  • It can be curved and manipulated, unlike grosgrain.
  • Typically it is made from Rayon, Cotton, or Viscose.

It is woven so that once steamed, it will take on and support a particular curve of fabric. This makes it useful for obtaining a smooth edge on the brim of a hat, for example, without forming puckers or wrinkles which would result from the use of traditional flat ribbon or other flat fabric.

I have also found this piece, from a fabric house in the United States. "Petersham ribbon, when used as a facing or support, is like a gift from the sewing gods! It kind of looks like regular grosgrain ribbon but its flexible picot edge allows you to shape it with an iron to curve and conform to your project, which grosgrain will not do."

Grosgrain ˈɡrɡrn/ fr. It is referred to as  a "corded" fabric since the weft resembles a fine cord.

  • It is usually stiff, and works well with stiffer fabrics.
  • It has a finished straight edge
  • Commonly Polyester or Nylon, or a blend of both
  • Often has a shine to it, due to the Polyester/ Nylon content.
  • Cannot curve like Petersham.

Just to add to this, I have read about a ribbon called 'Millinery Grosgrain'. A corded ribbon of cotton/rayon with edges that allow it to be swirled in a circle with a steam iron. Used for sweatbands, headbands, edging hats and making trims such as cockades. Made from 50% Cotton/50 %Rayon.
Another Millinery Grosgrain is made in the USA. Made from Acetate and is not good for Millinery.  It wrinkles when one tries to swirl it to fit it into or on a hat.

Despite my findings, many people will argue that the two are the same thing. I would suggest that if you have found what works for you, then run with it despite what it may be called.