at Harrisburg

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

March 9th to March 13th, 2016

Radisson Convention Center & Hotel, Camp Hill, PA

Click for 2016 Symposium information (PDF)

Click for 2016 Symposium registration form (PDF)

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.


New to the Symposium and would like an idea what it is about?

Check the links below for detailed information from the two previous events:

Click here to view archived information for the March 2015 Symposium

Click here to view archived information for the March 2014 Conference


- Recent Updates -

* 2016 Civilian Symposium Information & Registration Form

Genteel Arts Site Menu

  • 2016 Civilian Symposium Infomation

  • 2016 Civilian Symposium Registration Form

  • Genteel Arts Contact Information

  • Class 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 August 14, 2015


    - OUR 27th 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.

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    GENTEEL ARTS ACADEMY is pleased to announce its 2015 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 class flyers in PDF format by clicking on these links:  

    2015 Genteel Arts Academy Class Flyer - Adobe PDF format

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

    2015 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.


    Stockings and Slippers – 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. $119.00 plus materials. January 10-11, 2015


    Educational Opportunity:  Conference on Historic Fashion, Textiles and Living History, celebrating 100 years of American Women’s History through Dress 1810-1910.  The program will include presentations, examination and displays of original garments, and hands-on workshops. Carolann will be one of speakers and will be teaching a workshop. Oregon City, OR. April 10-12, 2015. Contact for additional information and registration.    

    Corset – Can’t find a ready-made corset that fits? Have a special fitting problem that a mail-order made-to-measure corset hasn’t resolved? A corset that has been custom-fitted to your body instead of a measurement chart can be comfortably worn all day, will last for many years, and is essential in achieving a period silhouette. After individual fittings, students will use appropriate materials and period construction techniques to construct their corset. You will leave the class with a finished garment. A kit containing pattern, fabric and all necessary notions and findings will be provided.  Friday late afternoon and evening, all day Saturday and Sunday.  $149.00 plus materials. April 24-25-26, 2015 

    Sheer Drawn Slat Sun Bonnet - Spartanburg, SC – This bonnet, copied from an original in the instructor’s collection, is pretty and practical. It is made of sheer cotton drawn 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. Contact us for registration information.  June 6-7, 2015

    Silk Mantle – This graceful and versatile outer garment is copied from an original garment in the instructor’s collection. It is made of unlined silk taffeta, is shaped over the shoulders with piped seams, falls to the lower hip, and has a curved lower edge. Lace edging accents the center front edges and the neckline. The bottom of the mantle is embellished with a wide band made from rows of insertion alternating with strips of self-fabric pleated in alternating directions; the band is finished with lace edging. The placement and shaping of the trim creates the illusion of a sleeve.  June 27-28, 2015. $119 plus materials

    Sewing Camp: Triple Threat – A week in Gettysburg; three different classes; three days off for fun! The week begins with a Basque Bodice class. A basque is a bodice that extends below the waist. This version, based on several original garments, is fitted to the waist where it flares out over the crinoline. The bodice is continuous from neckline to hem; it does not have a seam at the waistline. The shaping is created with curved darts and seams.  After a day off for fun or homework, the camp continues with Not Your Usual Trimming. Are you tired of using and seeing the same old trims over and over again? We’ll refer to original garments and primary sources as you learn how to take your trimmings and embellishments to the next step. You’ll leave this session with a workbook of instructions and samples for future projects. After two more days off, we’ll gather for the third class devoted to making a Lightweight Wool Jacket. Lightweight jackets worn over a dress were a very common accessory during the period, yet they seldom appear in our reproduction wardrobes. Jackets add warmth without bulk, making them ideal for events in historic homes with minimal heating. Layer one under your shawl or paletot for outdoor events. Change the look of a dress by adding a jacket. Students may choose from a variety of styles taken from original garments, illustrations, patterns and photographs. Appropriate fabrics including light or medium weight wool, medium weight silk and cotton velvet or velveteen. Lining is optional. Prerequisite: Students in the Basque Bodice and Lightweight Wool Jacket classes must have a pattern or toile that has already been custom-fitted; the class schedule permits fine-tuning the fit but not a full custom-fitting ses­sion. Students should also have attended one of our previous bodice classes or be experienced in period bodice construction techniques, including front closures and making and attaching piping. Sign up for one, two or all three sessions. Individual classes are $119.00 each plus materials; sign up for all three classes for a discounted fee of $330.00. Basque Bodice July 25-26; Not Your Usual Trimming July 28-29; Lightweight Wool Jacket August 1-2, 2015.

    A Plethora of Petticoats: White Cotton, Wool, Quilted, Colored Underskirt. Join us for a weekend featuring these often overlooked and under-utilized undergarments.  Participants may select from several different types and styles. Make a white cotton petticoat for under or over your crinoline. Learn how to calculate and sew tucks, do stroke gathers, and learn the basics of broderie anglaise embroidery. A quilted petticoat is lightweight and incredibly warm. Select plain or patterned silk, cotton or lightweight wool for your petticoat, wad it with wool batting, and choose a contrasting plain or patterned cotton lining. Quilting in simple linear patterns may be done by hand or machine.  A warm wool petticoat is ideal for those cool days when a quilted petticoat is too warm. Red wool flannel was considered to be particularly healthful, but other colors were also popular. After constructing your petticoat using period techniques including featherstitched seam finishes, you may embellish it with tucks, embroidery, contrasting bands of fabric or braid. Finish the lower edge with a hem, pinked scallops or a knitted or crocheted lace edging. A colored underskirt is meant to be seen when your skirt is raised. Choose a plaid, stripe or bright solid color in cotton, wool or silk. Embellish it with braidwork, tucks or pleats. Instructions for all styles will be provided; students will have time to complete one petticoat in class. $119.00 plus materials. October 10-11, 2015

    Berthes, Fichus and Pelerines – These delicate accessories can change the look of a better day dress, evening dress or ball gown. These wispy confections were usually made from net – plain, point d’esprit or spotted, or very, very sheer silk or cotton fabric. Styles vary from plain with a simple edging to more elaborate designs embellished with lace insertions, edgings, and ribbons. Patterns for several styles drafted from original garments and period illustrations will be available for purchase.  $119.00 plus materials. November 7-8, 2015

    Check our website for additional classes ‘on the road’!


    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 class flyers in PDF format by clicking on these links:

    2015 Genteel Arts Academy Class Flyer - Adobe PDF format

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

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    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!


    November 14-15, 2015 – Hamden, CT  Hands on workshop - Braidwork.  Contact us for information about enrolling in this workshop.

    March 9-13, 2016 – Camp Hill, PA  The Civilian Symposium at Harrisburg The premier conference on clothing, customs and material culture of the mid-nineteenth century. Click for 2016 Symposium information (PDF) and Click for 2016 Symposium registration form (PDF)

    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.)

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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> (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. 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 for 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>  (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 have also been involved with the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) 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 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