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July 9, 2010

CW's Costume Design Center teaches re-creation of 18th-century accessories, garment

Colonial Williamsburg’s Costume Design Center is offering sewing workshops that teach adult guests how to put 18th-century touches on colonial costumes. All of the programs will take place at Bruton Heights School, 301 First St.

The Stomacher Embellishment Workshop explores a variety of ways to decorate a stomacher, an 18th-century lady’s accessory, at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 17. Ribbon and thread flowers, gathered and pinked ribbons, and lace trimmings will be taught. Knowledge of sewing and hand skills are helpful. All tools will be provided but attendees may bring their own sewing implements. Cost is $75.

Two programs will be offered on Saturday, Aug. 21. During Martha Washington Sewing Kit Workshop from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., attendees re-create their own sewing kit based on a pattern from Colonial Williamsburg collections from silks used on reproduction gowns in the Historic Area. Participants will be instructed in the making and decoration of the case which they will take home to complete. Basic sewing skills are a must. All materials and tools provided but participants may bring their own sewing implements. Cost is $75.

During the second program, Patterning Garments: From Antique to Bespoke at 10 a.m., participants will learn the process of patterning an intact garment, antique or reproduction, and adapting the pattern to a wearable garment for the modern body. Basic instruction in the care and protection of the antique garment will be addressed. Cost is $15.

These programs are not suitable for young children. Reservations for these programs are required and can be made through 1-800-HISTORY.

For more than 75 years, the Costume Design Center staff has outfitted most Historic Area staff, including exhibition building interpreters, Revolutionary City actor interpreters, theatrical interpretation, military programs interpreters and Fifes and Drums, as well as employees in coach and livestock, selected Historic Trades shops, Electronic Field Trips and Historic Area stores.

The nearly 144 types of garments -- from underwear to outerwear – dress both genders and all strata of colonial society. For women, the design center produces gowns, petticoats, stays, shifts, women’s jackets and bed gowns, caps, hats, kerchiefs, aprons, pockets, hoops, jewelry, mitts, gloves, cloaks and riding habits. For men, the design center makes shirts, socks, cravats, breeches, trousers, waistcoat, sleeved and sleeveless jackets, coats, great coats, cloaks, kerchiefs, caps, spats and hats.

For a timeline on how Colonial Williamsburg’s costumes have evolved thanks to ongoing research, resources for the reproduction of historic costumes and more, visit:

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121