CGW is a club for amateurs and professionals who like to make historical, science fiction, or fantasy costumes.

CGW Workshop: 18th Century Stays

This workshop is to create fully boned stays using the Larkin & Smith strapless Front and Back Lacing Stays Pattern.  Pattern includes fully illustrated directions to make an authentic and well fitting pair of stays.  The stays are worn with a stomacher and the lacing crossed back and forth in the front and spiral bound in the back.  Pattern includes two sizes and a documentation card with images of the original stays.

Teacher:           Mary Johns

Date/Time:       Saturday, May 20th, 2017 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

Location:         Private residence (West side Los Angeles near downtown Culver City; address will be provided at registration)

Cost:  $40.00

Tickets:  Registration will be open March 28, 2017 8:00 a.m. – until – May 5, 2017 11:00 p.m.  Click here to register.

Teacher to provide:  Pattern (student will be asked to provide their bust measurement taken while wearing a well fitting bra)

Student to provide:  Linen Buckram or heavy linen (54-60”) Sizes 32-36: 1 yard; sizes 37-39: 1 ½ yard; sizes 40-50: 1 ¾ yard; Fashion fabric: sizes 32-36 ½ yard; sizes 38050 ¾ yard; Linen lining: ½ yard for all sizes; binding (leather, linen, cotton); boning (reed, steel, plastic); scissors, thread, pins, sewing machine.

Food:  Students to bring their own lunch.  Host will provide tea, coffee, water, and snacks

Parking:  Street parking

Fashion fabric: wool, linen and silk can be used, either solid or with a woven pattern. The softer the top fabric is, the greater is the risk of the top fabric warping. That’s no problem if the top fabric is relatively dull. Shiny fabrics such as satin should, therefore, be reserved for fully-boned stays, and even then you should stay away from something as slinky as crêpe satin. For lining, linen is the most authentic, but cotton works as well.


About Mary Johns:

Mary Johns began sewing 18th-century clothing in 1999. She decided she needed more costumes –there is always room for more costumes – for her living historian job at Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen. Her love sprouted from there and so did her library collection. Now Mary manages the costuming department and the Littlest Costumer, the Sassiest Costumer, the Mending Lady, and Jane of all Trades. There are over a hundred living historians at Riley’s Farm wearing Mary’s craftsmanship.

In 2011, Mary was the lead costume designer for the 18th-century TV series, Courage New Hampshire. She also curates the clothing for the many dinner theater shows hosted by Riley’s Farm, ranging a wide array of styles and eras. It isn’t just living historians and actors Mary provides costumes for, twice a year Riley’s Farm has special events where the costume inventory is open to the public to rent.

Passionate about making clothes as accurate as possible, Mary’s favorite part of her job is making brand new pieces, especially for those who are as excited about the craftsmanship and total awesomeness costumes bring to life.


Helpful Links (Supplies):


CGW Ticket Contact (for questions):  CGW VP Cynthia Aronin