Women's Workshop Weekend

A Retreat for the Women of Living History

Saturday, November 3 - Sunday, November 4

$65 Fee per person to include luncheon on Saturday.
There are seperate material fees associated with different session.

breakfast on a table

Are you a woman of living history looking to develop or improve upon her skills?

Are you a woman interested in reenacting or demonstrating looking for a place to start?

We have a lovely weekend just for you.

For this weekend we are offering:


We will open the museum to those who would like to spend Friday and Saturday nights "on campus" at no additional charge. Those billeting at the museum will need to bring a cot and bedding.


Saturday Luncheon is included with your fee. However, you will be on your own for all other meals.

Trade, Sell, Barter

Do you have reenacment clothing, materials, or kits for which you would like to find a new home? Set these up in our traders' space. You will be responsible for any items and any transactions.


To Register for this Weekend, please send an email stating your interest to info@fortat4.com, or call 603.826.5700.


Saturday, November 3
8:00 -9:00 AM
The Fort at No. 4

Beginning Bobbin Lace

Saturday, November 3
9:00 to 11:45 AM
Under the watchful eye of Karen Diamond
Material Fee $20 (payable to instructor)

Bobbin lace, sometimes known as pillow lace, is a method of creating lace by weaving threads held on small spools or bobbins. It was an important lace, used to embellish clothing during the 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and into the 20th centuries; and it shows up in inventories as far back as 1493. Here in the 21st century, lace guilds are enjoying an upswing in popularity as lace-making provides a timeless, relaxing, creative outlet.

This class, led by living historian Karen Diamond, will look at the structures of bobbin lace, its transition through the centuries, and guide participants on their journey into the world of lace-making.

No experience with needlework required. Materials provided for a fee.

A Bee in Your Bonnet: Making Your Own Fashionable Bonnet

Saturday, November 3
9:00 to 11:45 AM
With Kathy Scott
Material Fee $10 (payable to instructor)

Bonnets were a common component of women's dress during the 18th century. Often practical, sometimes outrageous, they appear in museum collections, inventories, letters, journals, and artwork. The most common color choices seem to be black and cream, with the most common fabric being silk taffeta. However, bonnets are "documented" in a multitude of colors and fabrics, including check linen. Under the guidance of Kathy Scott, you will walk away with a well-begun bonnet.

You will need to bring:

  • 2/3 yard medium-weight fashion fabric (silk taffeta, linen, or worsted wool), you may use less. Depending on how you trim your bonnet, you may consider an alternate color (1/4 yard) for the underside of your brim. We will discuss how to finish your trimming.
  • 3/4 yard of silk ribbon, cotton or linen twill tape: 1/4" - 3/8"
  • Heavy thread: 16/2 linen or cotton, or 35/2 linen for hand sewing, or quilting weight thread to match your fashion fabric.
  • Scissors, thimble, needle, beeswax, pins, etc.

Prepared bonnet board will be provided. Limit 6.

Nooning with Chris Bullock: Clothing of the Eastern Woodlands

Saturday, November 3
12:00 to 1:00 PM

Chris Bullock of Wandering Bull will lead a discussion on the styles and materials employed by the peoples of the Eastern Woodlands to clothe themselves. This presentation is free and open to the general public. Pick up your lunch and settle in for a conversation covering an important but often overlooked topic.

Floor Cloth Painting

Saturday, November 3
1:30 to 4:00 PM
With Wendi
Material Fee $50 (payable to instructor)

Painted area canvas rugs come to the fore in the 18th century. Referred to variously as cloth carpets, oyle cloths, and floor canvases, they could be relatively small or "large painted canvas square as the room," (Inventory for William Burnet, 1729). Taking their cues from 14th century French wall and table coverings, the first cloths imported from England likely consisted of a single color scheme stenciled onto canvas in a manner similar to wall stenciling. As the popularity of the floor covering increased, itinerant painters, sign painters, and house painters, along with factories, produced cloths of choice. The account book of John Johnson and Daniel Rea, Jr., says they painted single color floor cloths, fancy cloths with borders, and one "cloath with Poosey-Cat and Leetel Spannil."

This is an "off-campus" class at the Springfield Art Gym. Space is limited to 12 participants.

Duck Tape Doubles

Sunday, November 4
9:00 to 11:00 AM
No additional fee needed

Everyone needs a sewing partner, even if it is Maude the sewing double. "Maude" will be of great help with armscyes and sleeve fitting.

Your double can be made while you are wearing stays, or regular undergarments- your preference. Our wonderful assistants will help create your double by taping you inside the T-shirt, then slicing your double up the back. To finish your double, the back will need to be taped closed.

For this class, you will need to bring an old T-shirt that covers your behind (or bring a second T-shirt to extend the first) as a sacrifice to the sewing deities, 2 rolls of Duck tape* in your choice of colors, and a sense of humor. The T-shirt(s) will protect your skin from the tape, and then the whole thing will be cut down the center back so you can stuff it. Different stuffing options will be discussed.

*Duck tape is not the same as duct tape. Duct tape is a thin, flimsy tape designed to "tape" the seams in metal ductwork such as an air-conditioning system. Duck tape is a sturdy, waterproof tape used to hold everything together, and the brunt of many, many jokes. Your local hardware store can help you find the right tape. Keep in mind that colored Duck Tape usually has less footage of tape per roll than the plain old gray tape.

Make a Small Workbag

Saturday, November 3
Time TBD
With Judy
Material Fee $5

Workbags were an extremely common item throughout the 18th century, fancy or plain, large or small they all serverd the same function: to hold, protect, and carry from hither and yon, "projects." Not dissimilar to their usage today.

For this session we will be creating a small work bag, and in the process engage in basic hand sewing techniques. We will cover the stiches needed to complete the bag and the basic supplies one would have on hand in her bag. No sewing experience is needed for this class however, if you have beeswax, scissors, or needles, please bring them along. Limit 9.

Saturday November 3, 2018
Sunday November 4, 2018

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