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

Click here to view archived information for the March 2018 Symposium  (PDF)

Check the link below for an overview of the 2016 Symposium

Click here to view archived information for the March 2016 Symposium (PDF)

Right click any of the above links allows downloading the Adobe Acrobat file  to your computer , then choose "Save Link as" and pick the disk you would like to save the file to and then "Save"

Genteel Arts Main Menu


Website revised March 9, 2018


- OUR 30th 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.

Classes are held both in the Gettysburg area and locations across the US. Future 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) 624-5694

For additional information email:  info<at>

(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 & ALHFAM

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

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.

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GENTEEL ARTS ACADEMY is please to announce the 2018 schedule of workshops and seminars on Victorian period clothing. Anyone interested in Victorian fashion, history, sewing or needlework will find these workshops and seminars very educational.

All hands-on workshops 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.



* Check location carefully, the 2018 schedule includes classes both in the Gettysburg area and many other locations across the US *

Download the class schedule in PDF format by clicking on this link:  2018 Genteel Arts Academy Class Schedule

White Basque Bodice, Gettysburg area (New Oxford), PA, April 21-22, 2018 A white basque bodice worn with a fine silk, cotton, or lightweight wool skirt is a simple and refined look for casual warm weather activities. They appear frequently in period genre paintings, including “Lovers under a Blossom Tree” and “Showing a Preference”, both by John Callcott Horsley. Participants will make a custom-fitted basque based on original white basques in the instructor’s and other private collections. Appropriate fabrics include dimity, cross-barred muslin, Swiss dot, lawn, voile, cotton organza, and very fine sheer wools. Trimmings are simple include self-fabric ruffles and broderie anglaise edgings. Intermediate sewing skills are required; participants must have a properly-fitted darted bodice pattern or muslin. $119 plus materials.          

An Introduction to Broderie Anglaise, Surratt House Museum, Clinton, MD, May 12, 2018. Broderie anglaise is a form of whitework embroidery that was very popular in the mid-nineteenth century, primarily used to ornament collars, cuffs, undersleeves, children’s dresses, christening gowns, and nightclothes for women and children. The designs are created by a series of overcast holes in the fabric – circles, ovals, tear drops. There are few, if any, lines of connecting stitches between the holes. While it looks complicated, broderie anglaise is very easy to work using three basic stitches; and the designs work up fairly quickly. We will use original patterns to create a piece of broderie anglaise embroidery that can be used in the 19th or the 21st century. Original garments with broderie anglaise embellishments will be available for examination. Basic sewing skills required. Register directly with the Surratt House Museum, contact Susan Proctor (301) 868-1121.

Collars, Cuffs & Undersleeves, Spartanburg, SC, June 9-10, 2018. Enhance or completely change the look of your dress with new collars, cuffs and undersleeves. Have your collar(s) custom fitted to your neckline and your dresses. Participants will select styles from a wide variety of patterns taken from period publications and original garments. Extensive illustrations and a display of original undersleeves accompany the lecture. Students may make as many items as time permits. Contact us for registration information.

Capeline: A Sheer Drawn Slat Sun Bonnet, Hot Springs, AR, July 14-15, 2018. This bonnet, copied from an original in the instructor’s collection, is pretty and practical. It is made of sheer cotton drawn over canes or over spaced strips of cardboard, creating a light and airy look. The stiffening runs from ear to ear, so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a mailbox on your head. The long curtain protects your neck from sun but allows air to circulate.  Self-fabric ruching and ties complete the bonnet. This class is full and has a wait list. Contact us if you would like to schedule this or any class in your area.   

Corsets and Cravats, An exciting new educational event in Newberry, SC, August 3-5, 2018. Registration opens Spring 2018. Follow the Corsets & Cravats Facebook page for more information and to register.

An Introduction to Berlin Wool Work, Surratt House Museum, Clinton, MD, August 18, 2018. Berlin wool work, aka needlepoint, was very popular in the mid-nineteenth century. Learn more about Queen Victoria’s favorite needle art, and the patterns and yarns used to create a multitude of items. We will use original mid-nineteenth century patterns as you learn the basic stitches and create a small item of your choice. Original examples will be available for viewing; illustrated instructions and all materials will be provided. Register directly with the Surratt House Museum, contact Susan Proctor (301) 868-1121.

“…a Fine White Body…”, Wallingford, CT, November 3-4, 2018. Bodies or waists are fashionable garments worn with skirts, often with a jacket and/or, occasionally, a shaped belt. Made from fine fabrics, they can be simple or embellished with tucks or puffings, cut full or more-closely fitted, and are usually constructed with a high neck, long sleeves, and gathered into a waistband. Contact us for registration information.


Also check the ‘On the Road’ section for other events where Genteel Arts will be participating


Please review each listing carefully for workshop location. 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 advance of the activity. Feel free to contact us for lodging suggestions for those workshops in the Gettysburg area.

Class & Seminar Registration Information

Please contact the Academy via phone 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.

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

Gettysburg, PA, March 2, 3 & 4, 2018, The Civilian Symposium at Gettysburg. The 23rd year!

Dearborn, MI, May 26-28, 2018 - Civil War Remembrance at Greenfield Village - The Henry Ford Museum. We will be presenting seminars and exhibit an extensive display of original period clothing throughout the three day period of the event. Check this link for details:

Can’t attend a class or wish it could be in your area? 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 717-624-5694 for details and available dates. (Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

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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


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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> (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. In 1970 he was one of the three founding members of the 11th Pennsylvania Vol. Inf Regt. This unit remains active today in the Gettysburg area as a fife and drum corps and color guard. Prior to retirement at the end of 2013 Don was in the business information technology field for 30 years. Today he is active in the Gettysburg National Military Park volunteer program and also coordinates the auxiliary communications program at the Adams County Department of Emergency Services & 911 Center. Don provides marketing, business management and technical solutions for Genteel Arts, LLC. His email address is: dschmitt<at>  (Please be sure to replace the  <at>  with  @  in email addresses before sending.)

Carolann and Don participated in North-South Skirmish Association (N-SSA) events for over 40 years. Their member organization, Knap's Independent Battery E, Pa. Light Artillery, participates in live fire small arms, artillery and period costume competitions. They have also participated in Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) events which portrays Old West living history and competitive shooting of the period 1860-1898.

Carolann and Don are both fifth generation natives of Gettysburg and reside in the Gettysburg area.

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