Tassels were originally made by winding thread or string around a suspended strand until the desired shape was attained. Later, turned wooden moulds were used as the base of the shape and wrapped with thread. Tassel construction became an art form, and in France an apprenticeship of seven years was required to become a “Passementiere”.
Tassels have changed style throughout the years, starting from small and casual designs in the Renaissance, medium sizes and sedate designs of the Empire period, and the largest and most elaborate see in the Victorian Era. Today tassels are a popular trimming for soft goods in interior design.
19th century French tassel tie backs; linen velvet cushion, France 1880; two-tiered square pouf, France 1940:
(Images via 1st dibs)