INTRO – Ribbons Widths

ÔÇťOrdinarily ribbons are made of widths varying from one-fourth of an inch to seven or eight inches, though sash ribbons are occasionally made of much greater widths. The different widths or numbers of ribbons were formerly denoted by the thickness of so many penny pieces. The old English penny was nearly the size of our silver dollar [end 19th century], and a ribbon the width of one of these pennies set up edgewise was called No. 1; a ribbon the width of two pennies set up edgewise was a No. 2; a ribbon as wide as seven of them was a No. 7; and so on. Thus the custom of numbering originated and is still retained. Ribbons all measure ten yards to the bolt and never exceed nine inches in width. (Cole, George S.. A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods and History of Silk, Cotton, Linen, Wool and other Fibrous Substances. Chicago: W. B. Conney,1892)

Survey – Distribution of Bonnet Ribbon Widths

Less than 1 inch 1%
1 to 1.9 inches 3%
2 to 2.9 inches 12%
3 to 3.9 inches 31%
4 to 4.9 inches 29%
5 to 5.9 inches 20%
6 to 6.9 inches 1%
7 to 7.9 inches 1%
Greater than 8 inches 2%