at Harrisburg

 (Formerly Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860's Conference)

March 5th to March 8th, 2015

Radisson Convention Center & Hotel, Camp Hill, PA

Click for 2015 Symposium information

Click for 2015 Symposium registration form

Right click the above links allows downloading the Adobe Acrobat PDF file

of the information, choose "Save Target as" and pick the disk you would like the file saved to.

Register early as many of the workshops fill quickly!


New to the Symposium and would like an idea what it is about? Check the links below for information from the previous two conferences.

Click here to view archived information for the March 2014 conference             Click here to view archived information for the March 2013 conference


- Recent Updates -

* 2015 Civilian Symposium Schedule & Registration

* 2014 - 2015 Traveling Schedule

Genteel Arts Site Menu

  • Contact Information

  • Class & Seminar schedule for Genteel Arts Academy

  • Class & Seminar Location

  • Class & Registration Information

  • Traveling Schedule for Genteel Arts Academy

  • Partial Listing of Lectures & Seminars

  • Information about the Senior Staff

  • Recommended web links


    Website revised September 12, 2014


    - OUR 26th YEAR -

    The Genteel Arts Academy was founded in 1988 to encourage interest in the clothing worn during the Civil War era; concentrating on historically accurate sewing techniques. The Academy offers a continuing series of lectures and hands-on seminars on all aspects of Civil War clothing and needlework. Students select from over 100 topics which are offered on a rotating schedule based on popularity.

    While the majority of the classes are held in the Gettysburg area, classes can be scheduled in your area of the country. Please contact the Academy for further details concerning scheduling seminars and classes in your area.

    PO Box # 3014
    Gettysburg, PA 17325
    (717) 337-0283, evenings & weekends
    FAX (717) 337-0314

    For information email:  info<at>

    (IMPORTANT: Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

    Proprietor: Carolann Schmitt

    Business Manager: Don Schmitt

    Member of the Costume Society of America

    "The Genteel Arts Academy", "The Civilian Symposium" & "The Ladies & Gentlemen of the 1860's Conference" are subsidiaries of GENTEEL ARTS, LLC

    Please note that Genteel Arts, LLC does NOT manufacture Civil War period clothing for resale. The company focus is instruction on the history of period clothing and teaching students how to accurately reproduce it via hands-on workshops, seminars and lectures.

    [Top of Page]

    Hit Counter by Digits

    Counter by


    GENTEEL ARTS ACADEMY is pleased to announce its 2014 schedule of workshops and seminars on Victorian period clothing. Anyone interested in Victorian fashion, history, sewing or needlework will find these seminars very educational.

    All hands-on classes include a review of the history of the garment and a study of specific design characteristics used during the period. Students then sew the garment using period fitting and construction techniques. A workbook including historical information, a suggested reading list and sewing instructions is included with the registration fee.

    We suggest registering for workshops and seminars well in advance of the activity date as many fill up quickly.

    Download the workshop and seminar flyers in PDF format by clicking on these links:  

    2014 Genteel Arts Academy Seminar Flyer - Adobe PDF format

    (If you do not have an Adobe Acrobat reader, you may download it here free.)

    2014 Class Schedule

    Become a Frequent Student and Earn a Discount on Future Classes.
    Take five classes in a 12-month period and earn a $25.00 discount off your next class;
    take seven classes and get $50.00 off; nine classes and get $75.00 off.
    Discounts, when awarded, must be used within the following twelve months.


    The Genteel Arts Academy is celebrating 2014 as The Year of the Dress. Each of the steps used in making a mid-19th century dress was done for a reason, and each one interacts with the others to make the garment functional and fashionable. Period dressmakers understood there may be several ways to complete a section of a dress; they also knew which one worked best for that particular fabric, garment and its intended use.

    Our 2014 schedule includes a series of classes that will teach the participant how to make a dress c.1855-1865 from start to finish as it would have been made during the period. The instructions include fundamental information that every dressmaker would have known, detailed instructions on the various techniques, and when, where and why each technique would have been used. This is an excellent series for those with minimal or basic sewing skills, living history participants who are unfamiliar with the clothing of the era, or experienced seamstresses who may have forgotten or never learned some of the fundamentals of dressmaking - in any era.  You may register for individual sessions or the entire series.       


    Construction Details for Men’s and Women’s Clothing - Every project has that one step that’s challenging. This class focuses on six of those steps.  Students will refer to original garments as they use period construction methods for each technique, making a sample of each step for future reference.  On Saturday, we’ll focus on techniques used on men’s clothing: Welt Pockets, Trouser Fly and Sleeve Gussets. The sleeve gusset is also used on women’s chemises. On Sunday, we’ll work on Concealed Hook-and-Eye Bodice Closure, Skirt Pocket, and Side-Front Skirt Opening. A bonus technique may be added each day if time permits. January 18-19, 2014. Registration Fees: $60/single day, $119.00/both days, plus materials.

    Fitting the Basic Darted Bodice, Creating a Paper Pattern from your Muslin and Altering the Pattern for Style - The Year of the Dress: Part I – This class begins with an illustrated discussion of the characteristics of a fitted bodice c.1855-1865. Participants will learn how to recognize their individual fitting problems, how to take accurate measurements, and how to select the correct size commercial pattern. Instructions for common adjustments to necklines, shoulders, armscyes, waistline, wide or narrow backs, bodice length, generous or slight proportions and lopsided bodies will be included and discussed. After individual fittings, patternmaker Maggie Halberg will guide students on making a paper pattern from their custom-fitted muslin. Students will use patternmaking tools as they learn the techniques of “walking” and “truing” patterns. Students will then learn how to alter their base pattern to create a variety of styles including gathered, pleated or tucked bodices, sheer bodices with half-high linings, asymmetrical or back closures, wide, square or V-necklines, pointed waistlines, yokes of varying shapes, basques and peplums. Participants are encouraged to bring original garments, fashion engravings and photographs of period styles for inspiration. You will leave the workshop with a portfolio of patterns that can be used for future projects by the student or their dressmaker. April 5-6, 2014. $119 plus materials.

    Stockings and Slippers in Spartanburg, SC – Do your stockings sag? Are your feet cold? Can’t find stockings that fit? It doesn’t matter if your legs are long or short, thin or curvaceous, or if your feet are large or small, these stockings will fit and your feet will be toasty warm! Learn how to make custom-fitted stockings from cotton knit fabric for warm weather, lightweight wool knit fabric for cold weather. Add embroidered clockwork embroidery if you wish. Show off your stockings with new slippers for dancing and indoor wear.  These slippers have a square toe, flat sole and no heel. They may be made from a variety of fabrics, are lined, have a leather sole, a padded insole and are custom-fitted to your feet. You can have your local cobbler attach firm leather soles for outdoor wear. June 7-8, 2014. Contact us for registration information.  

    Fitted Bodice: Laying Out, Cutting, Construction - The Year of the Dress: Part II - Period dressmaking and sewing manuals extensively discuss methods for planning a garment and cutting the fabric economically. Participants will use their custom fitted pattern as they learn how to work with a finite amount of fabric, how to cut their bodice efficiently, and when and where to use piecing for maximum use of the available fabric. Learn how to match patterns so the piecing is invisible and how to work with scraps of fabric to create yardage for a garment. Students will then assemble their bodice using period construction techniques, including concealed closures, curved back tucks and seams, when and where to use boning, and how to make and apply tiny piping. Participants must have a darted bodice pattern that has already been fitted to their figure. The class schedule includes time to fine-tune the fit to the fabric but not for a full custom-fitting session. June 21-22, 2014. $119 plus materials

    Sewing Camp: Wrapper – Enjoy a week in Gettysburg while making an ensemble from start to finish – with a few days off for fun! A wrapper was one of the most practical garments in a lady’s wardrobe. Wrappers were worn for informal “at home” wear, for breakfast at inns, lodging houses and resort areas, as maternity garments, and as house robes. They were made from a variety of fabrics ranging from simple printed cotton to wool or silk.  The wrapper made in this class is based on an original wrapper in the author’s collections. It features a bodice with front and back yokes, fitted lining, a floating front panel with full length opening, contrasting hem facing, coat sleeves with a half-lining, and self-fabric ruffle trim. The fit is adjusted with drawstrings and a sash belt. When fastened, this wrapper can masquerade as a dress with a gathered yoked bodice. Prerequisites: Students must have a pattern that has already been custom fitted; the class schedule permits fine-tuning the fit but not a full custom-fitting session. Students should have attended one of our bodice classes or be experienced at period bodice construction techniques, including front closures and making and attaching piping. Schedule: August 2-3: Review original photographs, engravings, descriptions and the original wrapper. Begin construction of the wrapper bodice, front panel and trimming.  August 5-6: Construct sleeves; begin skirt construction. August 9-10: Finish skirt and final finishing touches. August 4, 7 and 8 are free days; use them for ‘homework’, optional field trips, sightseeing or relaxing. August 2-10, 2014. $359.00 plus materials; counts as three classes for frequent student discount.  

    Sleeves and Undersleeves - The Year of the Dress: Part III Mid-19th century sleeves came in a wide variety of sizes and shapes: long, short, open, closed, narrow, wide, pagoda, coat, bishop, tight, and combinations thereof. They are accented with jockeys, epaulettes, straps, cuffs, pleats, puffs and ruching. Undersleeves were more than just a simple cloth tube; they also came in a wide variety of shapes with an infinite variety of trimming.  Participants will discuss fabrics and trimmings, learn how to analyze the construction of sleeves and undersleeves in period images, how to alter basic sleeve shapes for style, how to select the appropriate undersleeve for a dress, and use period construction techniques to make sleeves and undersleeves for the dress. Patterns for various sleeves and undersleeves will be available for sale. September 13-14, 2014. $119.00 plus materials.

    Cage Crinoline – Mid-nineteenth century crinolines varied in style, size and shape depending on the prevailing fashion. Unfortunately most modern crinolines bear little resemblance to original crinolines in any of these areas. Cage crinolines are lighter and more flexible than a covered crinoline, making them easy and comfortable to wear. They are relatively easy to construct and only basic sewing skills are necessary. Instructions are provided for several different sizes and shapes. A kit containing fabric, choice of crinoline wire, woven tape and all findings will be available for purchase at the class. You will need a dress form (does not need to be your size), heavy-duty wire cutters and needle-nose pliers to use during the class. You’ll be amazed at the difference a properly sized and shaped crinoline makes in the overall appearance of your dress. October 11-12, 2014. $119.00 plus materials.

    Skirts and Skirt Lifters - The Year of the Dress: Part IV – The skirts on mid-19th century dresses are graceful, flowing and elegant, with practical features – pockets, hem facings, hem braids, skirt lifters – included in their construction. Participants in the class will learn about each of these features, plus how to calculate cutting lengths, pleating, gauging, offset front openings, and how to attach the skirt to the bodice of the dress. An added bonus will include instructions on making three different types of skirt lifters. Participants who are comfortable making a skirt may register for Sunday only when skirt lifters will be taught. November 1-2, 2014. $119.00 both days, $60.00 Sunday only; plus materials.

    Class and Seminar Location

    Unless otherwise noted all classes and seminars are held in the historic Gettysburg area. Class and seminar locations are noted via confirmation letter mailed prior to each activity. We recommend making reservations at any hotel, motel or bed & breakfast in or near Gettysburg in advance of the activity. Feel free to contact us for suggestions.

    Registration Information

    Please contact the Academy via phone, FAX or email and request a flyer containing complete class and registration information. Gift certificates are available! Payment can be by check, money order, VISA and MasterCard. Genteel Arts Academy reserves the right to cancel any class due to insufficient enrollment. Registration fees for any class cancelled by the Academy will be refunded in full.

    Download the workshop and seminar flyers in PDF format by clicking on these links:

    2014 Genteel Arts Academy Seminar Flyer - Adobe PDF format

    (If you do not have an Adobe Acrobat reader, you may download it here free.)

    [Top of Page]

    Take advantage of GENTEEL ARTS ACADEMY "ON THE ROAD"

    Check this space often for additions, updates and details... We could have a workshop or class near you!

    2014 - 2015 TRAVELING SCHEDULE

    May 24-26, 2014 – Dearborn, MI.  Civil War Remembrance Weekend at Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum. Lectures on period attire and extensive display of original garments.  For more information:

    June 7-8, 2014. Spartanburg, SC. Stockings and Slippers. Do your stockings sag? Are your feet cold? It doesn’t matter if your legs are long or short, thin or curvaceous, or if your feet are large or small, these stockings will fit and your feet will be toasty warm! Learn how to make custom-fitted stockings from cotton knit fabric for warm weather, lightweight wool knit fabric for cold weather. Add embroidered clockwork embroidery if you wish. Show off your stockings with new slippers for dancing and indoor wear.  These slippers have a square toe, flat sole and no heel. They may be made from a variety of fabrics, are lined, have a leather sole, a padded insole and are custom-fitted to your feet. You can have your local cobbler attach firm leather soles for outdoor wear. Contact us for registration information.

    November 22-23, 2014 – Hamden, CT.  Lightweight Wool Jacket This pretty and functional accessory can change the look of a dress and keep you warm when it’s cool indoors or out.  You can customize your jacket by selecting from several sleeve styles, adding cuffs, or using a variety of trimmings. The jacket may be lined or unlined. . Contact us for information about enrolling in this workshop.

    March 5-8, 2015 – Camp Hill, PA  The Civilian Symposium The premier conference on clothing, customs and material culture of the mid-nineteenth century. Click: 2015 Symposium information and 2015 Symposium registration form

    Can’t come to Gettysburg for a class or one on our traveling schedule? We can come to you!

    Your group or historical site can sponsor a Genteel Arts Academy class, or series of classes, in YOUR area. Contact us at  info<at> or call 717-337-0283 for details and available dates. (IMPORTANT: Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

    [Top of Page]


    If you see a topic you would like to see scheduled or have a topic you would like to have added please contact us.

    Lectures & Presentations

    • Introduction to Textiles

    • Textiles for Men’s Clothing

    • Fundamentals of Clothing for Women

    • Fundamentals of Clothing for Children

    • Fundamentals of Clothing for Men

    • Underpinnings

    • Outerwear

    • Accessories

    • More Than a Fashion Magazine

    • Altering a Pattern for Fit

    • Altering a Pattern for Style

    • Skirt Supports

    • Fur Garments and Accessories

    • The Artifice of Dressing Well

    • Sheer Accessories

    • Men’s Dressing Gowns, Caps and Slippers

    • Men’s Vests

    • Dressing for Inclement Weather

    • Sleuthing at the Seams

    • The Difference is in the Details

    Hands-on Seminars

    Period Construction Techniques

    • Essential Stitches and Seams I

    • Essential Stitches and Seams II

    • Essential Stitches and Seams III

    • Nitty-Gritty Details of Dress Construction

    • Gauging and Pleating

    • Trimmings and Embellishments

    • Introduction to Sewing for Children

    Hands-on Workshops


    • Chemise-Yoke

    • Chemise-Band

    • Corset

    • Drawers

    • Petticoats

    • Quilted Petticoat

    • Corded Petticoat

    • Wool Petticoat

    • Cage Crinoline

    • Covered Crinoline

    • Nightgown

    • Stockings

    • Garters


    • Altering a Bodice for Fit

    • Altering a Bodice for Style

    • Darted Bodice

    • Gathered/Tucked Bodice

    • Sheer Bodice

    • Yoked Bodice

    • Semi-Formal Bodice

    • Ball Gown Bodice

    • Basque Bodice - Two Versions

    • Fan-Front Bodice

    • Sleeves

    • Skirts

    • Make-a-Dress Series

    • Wrapper

    • Garibaldi Shirt

    • Sheer Overbodice

    • Bloomer/Gymnastics/Bathing  Costume


    • Fichus and Pelerines

    • Collar and Cuffs

    • Undersleeves

    • Chemisettes

    • Belts and Sashes

    • Medici and Other Shaped Waists

    • Pinner/Work Aprons

    • Fancy Aprons

    • Muffs

    • Mittens

    • Purses and Reticules

    • Covering a Fan

    • Quilted Sontag

    • Slippers

    • Lady’s Neckties and Cravats



    • Summer Mantles

    • Silk and Net Mantle

    • Winter Mantles

    • Paletot

    • Lady’s Sack Jacket

    • Spanish/Zouave Jacket

    • Fold-over Shawl


    • Drawn Bonnet

    • Quilted Bonnet

    • Marie Stuart Hood

    • Quilted Hood

    • Glengarry Cap

    • Day Caps

    • Dinner/Tea Caps

    • Headdresses

    • Decorative Nets


    • Broderie Anglaise

    • Berlin Work


    • Housewife

    • Sewing Basket

    • Needle Case

    • Scissors Sheath

    • Sewing Chatelaine

    • Thread Trolley


    Digital Media Series

    • From Wetplates to Megapixels: Digital Photography for the Historian

    • Microsoft Powerpoint for Historians


    Men's Clothing

    • Square-Cut Shirt

    • French-Cut Shirt with Bib

    • Vest

    • Unlined Summer Vest

    • Trousers

    • Sack Coat

    • Unlined Linen Sack Coat

    • Summer Paletot

    • Drawers

    • Dressing Gown

    • Smoking Cap

    • Cravats


    [Top of Page]

    Profile of the Senior Staff

    Clothing historian Carolann Schmitt has been studying the clothing and needlework of Civil War era since 1968. She is a featured lecturer at conferences, living history events and historic sites throughout the country. Carolann is a board member and past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Shippensburg University Fashion Archives and Museum (SUFAM) and has been a continuing education instructor for Harrisburg Area Community College. She is an active participant in many living history activities and is the past Chairperson of the Costume Committee of the North-South Skirmish Association. An accomplished seamstress and needlewoman, she and her students have won numerous awards for their authentic reproduction clothing in national and regional period costume competitions. Genteel Arts, LLC is a member of the Costume Society of America.  Carolann is the President of Genteel Arts, LLC. Her email address is: cschmitt<at> (IMPORTANT: Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

    Don Schmitt has been actively involved in 19th century living history since 1968. Don provides marketing, business management and technical solutions for Genteel Arts, LLC. His email address is: dschmitt<at>  (IMPORTANT: Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

    Carolann and Don are both members of the North-South Skirmish Association (N-SSA). Their member organization, Knap's Independent Battery E, Pa. Light Artillery, participates in live fire small arms, artillery and period costume competitions. They are also members of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) which portrays living history of the period 1860-1898.

    Carolann and Don are both fifth generation natives of Gettysburg and reside adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park.

    Carolann Schmitt, President - Genteel Arts, LLC

    Genteel Arts recommends these links:

    Follow Genteel Arts on Facebook

    Gettysburg National Military Park

    Adams County Historical Society

    Shippensburg University Fashion Archives & Museum

    National Civil War Museum - Harrisburg, PA

    North-South Skirmish Association