Ladies Fancy Shawl Dancing (the newest form of women's dance) is often called Northern Shawl, as it does come form the Northern tribes along the US-Canadian border. This dance style is similar in dancing and the bright colors to the Men's Fancy Dance. The ladies wear their shawls over their shoulders, and dance by jumping and spinning with the music. Though the fancy shawl invloves more motion and agility than other styles of dance, the grace of the woman is always expressed.
As the name of the dance-style would imply, particular emphasis is paid to the shawls, with elaborate designs, appliqué, ribbon work, and painting. Long fringe hangs from the edges of the shawl, and flies round the dancer as she moves to the music.
Women's Traditional is the oldest type of women's dance. It is sometimes referred to as Straight or Buckskin Dancing, and like Men's Traditional there are many tribal variations, including wearing a buckskin, cloth or wool dress.
Regardless of the tribal variations, there are two important items used by Traditional Dancers. One, is the fan. This fan is usually beaded and is raised to the drum, in honor, during the "honor" beats of the songs. The second item, is the shawl. This colorful, fringed shawl is carried over one arm. The fringe of the shawl sways with the movement of the dancer.
Other Uses: Shawls are a very popular give-away item. Also, whenever a woman enters the dance arena without her dance outfit or regalia, she will most likely stop long enough to wrap a shawl around her shoulders.
Regardless of the type shawl you wish to make, we have tried to assemble all the available online links and resources to help with the task. As additional information is found or created, we will add it in order to keep this reference current (if you haven't noticed, several more links have been added to the Moccasin page since it was created). In addition to the Web resources, we also highlight related products offered by Crazy Crow to make your dance shawl craft project easier and the results more assured.
I must admit that it was much more difficult than I thought it would be to find information regarding making shawls on the web. It almost made me turn in my web connection -and I definitely have less hair (that's happening anyway). If anyone knows of articles ON THE WEB that provide the 'how-to' diagrams online, please forward it to Craft Focus. Besides commercial sources which are listed, the best information I could get was in discussion forums at Powwows.com. This looks like a great place to ask questions and get help from craftworkers from all parts of the country. Try it out!
Craft-Ribbonwork-Part One - Canku Ota
Many shawls are decorated with ribbonwork applique. Part one of this 2-part article will help you use this beautiful means of adornment: What is Ribbonwork, Terms used in Ribbonwork, What kind of ribbons are used today, Making Ribbons using material, What fabric to use and The important aspects of ribbonwork.
Craft-Ribbonwork-Part Two - Canku Ota
In Part Two, the different styles of ribbonwork are discussed, providing examples of how to prepare your ribbons for the technique. Shows some templates you can use. Features three appliqué ribbonwork techniques: Plains ribbonwork, Osage ribbonwork and Woodlands ribbonwork. The Plains and Osage Style Ribbonwork are mostly the same style only the how the ribbon is put on the material is different.
The pictures and descriptions in this section were provided by a reader the day after the Novemeber eNews issue was sent. Quality contributions such as this are very appreciated. Click to enlarge.
(Right) Fancy shawl outfit made by Marie J.Martin (Cherokee) for Shochaytah Martin-Goodeagle.
(Left-Top) Little girl's shawl w/ ribbonwork design. Shawl is gabardine backed w/ light pink cotton (on the inside of shawl, not seen in photo). Design is tafetta ribbonwork (machine stitched, my own pattern). Fringe is satin ribbons around the 3 edges. Ribbons are all sewn on by machine. This shawl is currently on display at Cherokee Heritage Art Show in Tahlequah,OK - show runs thru end of Dec. Shawl made by Marie J.Martin (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma).
(Left-Bottom) Lady's fancy dance shawl - custom made for Melonie Mathews (Albq.,NM) to match her beaded cape and rest of her outfit. Shawl is white gabardine backed w/ green tissue lame' (on inside of shawl). Front of shawl is all cloth applique (machine sewn). Appliques are done in satin, tissue lame' and metallic gold ric-rac. Half-star design w/ sawtooth (or triangle) design across the bottom edge. Fringe is satin ribbons machine stitched onto the shawl. Made by Marie J.Martin (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma).
Contemporary Shawl Photo Gallery
These links are high quality closeup photos of some very nice shawls that are decorated with applique ribbonwork.
Woman in ribbonwork outfit carrying ribbon applique ribbon fringed shawl
Ribbonwork on shawl from Ponca City OK
Chainette fringe shawl decorated with applique ribbon panels (1)
Chainette fringe shawl decorated with applique ribbon panel (2)
Gallery of Applique Ribbonwork - Powwows.com
Shawl & Shawl-Related Online Discussion Forums
These links will take you to specific discussion forums on Powwows.com related to shawls and shawl-making. While you're there, join some of these groups yourself and take share in the experience.
I like to use shoestring (flat with ridges)fringe on shawls. It flows really nice and is heavy so that it moves on its own. Regular fringe, use a hook and awl, that's how my mom does it. Don't put it too far apart or you get that hobbyist look again. Don't sew it on, that looks fake. Put your time into it. I use the awl and hook with my flat fringe too.
The easiest way that I've found to fringe a shawl is to poke holes aoubt 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch around your hemmed shawl and then using a #6 crochet hook (sometimes it helps to sharpen the end by rubbing it back and forth on concrete a few times), pull 2 pieces of 28" long fringe (cut from the spool), through the hole, even the ends and tie the knot. I like my fringe to be thick and on an average sized shawl I'll use about a spool and a half. The great thing about using a sharp awl to set your holes is that you can really shorten the time it takes to fringe a shawl -- the holes are already in place, you don't have to struggle with a needle or poking the crochet hook through the material.
Since there are many different ways, depending on your preference, I'll share my design.... Once the material is hemmed all around, I take a disappearing ink pen and make dots 3/4" apart all the way around on three sides. Then I take a small knife and make a small slice at each dot. Then using a crochet needle take 27" or 34" strips of ribbon (2 at a time) and feed through the bottom of the hole and pull up through the top and then loop and tie into a knot, while keeping the ribbon even. This allows for a fuller and more beautiful shawl, in a shorter amount of time. I prefer and use 1/16" ribbon on short spools, it is a little more expensive than chainette, but well worth it!
Cloth Dancing: Shawls: What kind of shawl do you like to carry?
Will a ribbon shawl look too fancy for a Southern cloth dress?
How do you fringe a shawl?Many comments about the best needle to use.
Scalloped edges on shawls . .
Fancy Shawl - Tying or sewing ribbons on, instead of chainette fringe
The following items are used in the above-article, or may provide added reference and helpful information.
Click the product link for product detail, quantity price breaks & a larger image.