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

CGW Workshop Series: 18th Century English Gown

We will be using the Larking & Smith English Gown pattern c. 1760’s-1770’s which includes a stomacher front & en fourreau back.  Drafted from an original 18th c gown, this pattern gives elaborately illustrated step-by-step instructions.  Designed to be assembled and completed by hand it also offers variations for middling and working class gowns.  Taking the skill of draping a gown in the mantua maker’s way and combining it with modern pattern elements, this gown will give you the results of a draped gown.


Teacher:  Mary Johns

Student to Provide:  Students will purchase the pattern, purchase their mock-up material, cut the pieces for their mockup, and read the instruction PRIOR TO THE WORKSHOP so that the class can start with fitting and draping.  Students will bring basic sewing kit and sewing machine, the cut pattern, and cut pieces for the mock-up. 8 slots available.

Teacher to Provide:  Teacher will drape and fit students for mockup, discuss sewing techniques for assembling gown and, if time permitting, drape down fabric.  The Liaison and teacher are available to discuss pattern, mock-up, and gown fabric prior to the class.

Date/Time (start & finish):  November 19, 2017 10:00 am- 5:00 pm

Registration:   October 23, 2017  -to- November 18, 2017, 10:00 pm:

Location:  International City Masonic Center, 5155 E Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA

Ticket Price for Members:                $14.00

Ticket Price Non-members:             $16.00

Pattern Information:  Available through At the Sign of the Golden Scissors; Burnley & Trowbridge Co., and WM Booth Draper for $28.00 (links below)

The gown requires 4 to 5 yards of 54-60″ wide fabric or 6 yards of 45″ wide fabric (more may be needed when using stripes or prints see below in sizing chart) linen, heavy silk, printed cotton or medium weight wool, 1 yard, light weight linen for a lining. Notions required are 35/2 or 50/3 linen thread. For the petticoat 2 to 3 yards of 54 to 60″ wide fabric or 4 yards of 45″ wide fabric is required.

Select pattern size according to corseted measurements.

Pattern fits
Bust 34-35 and Waist 28-29 Requires 4 to 4 1/2 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric
Bust 36-37 and Waist 30-31 Requires 4 to 4 1/2 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric
Bust 38-39 and Waist 32-33 Requires 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric
Bust 41-43 and Waist 34-35 Requires 4 1/4 to 4 3/4 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric
Bust 45-47 and Waist 37-39 Requires 5 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric
Bust 49-51 and Waist 41-43 Requires 5 yards 54-60″ Wide Fabric

Lining and Fitting Muslin: You will want to use a sturdy linen for your lining. Ideally something with some body and a tight weave since the lining is the foundation of your garment. Eighteenth century original English and American gown linings are most frequently white linen and often retain the original glaze. European gown linings were frequently natural (brown) or a rusty color linen. White is recommended for this pattern.  You can use slightly thinner linen for your sleeve linings if you like. Fabric Requirement: 1 yard (54′”·60″) for all sizes. Fitting Muslin will require 1 yard of sturdy cotton.

Fashion Fabric: Remember that this pattern is from an original garment and is constructed in a period manner. You are making an 18th century gown, not a Halloween costume. Hence, you should select the most appropriate fabric you can find afford, ideally one t hat you can document to the period. See the Golden Scissors blog for suggestions oil how to do fabric research as well as a list of recommended vendors.

Fabric Requirements: You will need 4 yards of 54·60 inch wide fabric (an additional 2 ·2 1/2 yards if you want a matching petticoat. de pending on your height). Six yards of 45 -inch wide fabric (an additional 4 yards if you want a matching petticoat). These fabric requirements do not include elaborate trimming, so plan accordingly. It is better to have a half yard left over than not be able to finish your gown the way you would like.

Are children allowed: No.

Parking:  Available in the lot behind the masonic lodge.

Lunch will NOT be provided by CGW.


About the Teacher:

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.




CGW Ticket Contact:  CGW VP, Cynthia Aronin