1. The Refined Art of 18th Century Basic Sewing

Skill level: Beginner to Advanced
Class size: limited to 6

Exquisite plain sewing is an art form all its own!

Are you a beginning sewer hoping to learn how to "do it right"?
Are you an experienced seamstress looking to improve your techniques in fine hand-sewing?
Are you a re-enactor seeking the skills to replicate 18th century garments in their smallest details?

Then this class is for you!

Sharon has spent thirty years learning the fine points of 18th century hand-sewing and perfecting her technique by studying original garments and by experimenting how to replicate them. Now she'll share with you what she's learned---the tools, tips and techniques which will enable you to reproduce 18th century 'plain sewing', or fine hand-sewing, in the smallest details.

In this class you'll learn how to choose and use the right needles, thread, and other necessities. You'll learn the basic stitches: running-stitch, back-stitch, whip-stitch, hemming and gathering, in the correct period manner. No previous experience is necessary, but whatever your skill level, you'll learn some new strategies. All materials will be provided. You'll leave with a completed (or nearly!) 18th century linen apron, and the confidence to apply your new skills to more complex projects.

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Skill level-Intermediate
Class size: maximum of 5
Come prepared with your choice of cap pattern already cut out in fine linen (3.5 oz or less) or 100% cotton organdy. Examine an antique original cap and learn to construct your own using period correct stitches and construction methods. The class assumes basic sewing skills on the part of participants, and we’ll work on refining your techniques. We’ll review the “best tools for the job”, but bring your own needles, pins, thimble, thread and scissors.

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Skill level- Intermediate to advanced
Class size: maximum of 5
Examine an actual, original, provenanced mid 18c shift from a private collection. During the workshop, you will construct one shift sleeve, using the documented techniques as you will see them on the original. With a graphed measured drawing and directions for construction methods, you will then be able to complete your shift on your own as an exact reproduction of the original. A materials list will be sent to you.

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Skill level-Intermediate
Class size: maximum of 5
Review the history and role of canvas-work in 18c clothing and furnishings, then learn the basics of 18c canvas work by working a “flamestitch” wallet in wool on linen canvas. All the materials for the canvas-work will be provided. You will also receive directions and patterns for finishing your wallet with your own lining fabric and binding tape.

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Skill level-Advanced
Class size: maximum of 6
Make a gown by draping! Working in pairs, you will have a gown draped on your “stayed” body and learn to drape on someone else. Documented 18c techniques of gown construction will be stressed, and correct sewing stitches and methods reviewed. Some preparatory sewing will be necessary before the class. You will be sent instructions and a list of materials needed.

More information

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All workshops are taught by Sharon Ann Burnston, respected authority on the cut and construction of 18c American clothing, and author of Fitting & Proper, 18th Century Clothing from the Collection of the Chester County Historical Society.

The workshops will take place in the period ambiance of Sharon’s restored 18th century home. If it’s cold enough, we’ll cozy up to a fire on the cooking hearth.

Class size will be small, as indicated for each class, for a truly one-on-one learning experience.

Each workshop will run from 10 am to 6 pm, with a one hour break for a lunch on your own. Light refreshments (cheese, crackers, tea) will be provided, but meals and lodging are not included.

Convenient low-cost lodging is available nearby. Stay over an extra night and spend Sunday combing the 20-plus antique shops on "Antique Alley" just minutes down the road!

Per sewing workshop: $100.00
Maximum registration is as stated for each workshop. If the class maximum is exceeded, your name will go on a “cancellation list”.

Your registration form and a non-refundable deposit of $30.00 secures your place at the class of your choice. The balance will be due at the beginning of the class.

All registrations and deposits must be received by eight weeks prior to the date of the class.


The Refined Art of Plain Sewing -    January 24, 2009
A Head’s Up on 18c Caps - TBA
Replicating a 1752 Shift - TBA
Draping a Gown -    February 21, 2009
Introduction to Flamestitch - TBA


The closest lodging is the Northwood Motel, nearby, inexpensive, basic accommodations. It’s six minutes door-to-door, on Rte. 4 in Northwood. (603)942-5476

Lake Shore Farms is about five minutes further. It’s a country inn with 32 rooms. Quiet, peaceful, overlooking Jenness Pond. (603) 942-5521

In Concord NH, 12 miles away, you’ll find:

Best Western    
Comfort Inn
Day’s Inn
Fairfield Inn
Holiday Inn
(603) 228-4300
(603) 226-4100
(603) 224-2511
(603) 224-4011
(603) 224-9534

The Epsom area offers everything from fast food to fine dining!

At the Epsom Traffic Circle-McDonald's, Wendy's, Subway, Dunkin' Donuts

Epsom House of Pizza-pizza and subs, in the strip mall

Country Cookin' at the Circle-basic diner food, cheerful decor, fast service

Happy Family Chinese - new menu, new chef, decent food, the tofu dishes are excellent!

Dominick's-Further up the road (Rte 28N), but some of the best food around. Italian menu. Where the locals go!

Zoya's-- A little further up the road, tucked away on Main St. in downtown Pittsfield. American cuisine, Weekend Buffet in a casual cafe atmosphere, at diner prices. The locals themselves are just discovering this place.


Copyright © 2002 - 2016 by Sharon Ann Burnston
Web site designed by Sandy Cheney