Costume symposium 2019

I Cant Believe It's Not Metal: Synthetic Whalebone Corsetry with Redthreaded


July 31 – Aug 3, 2019
(three and a half days)

Where/ hosted by:
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
University of Maryland, College Park


Photo credit: Jennifer Koskinen

Join Cynthia Settje of Redthreaded for a corset making workshop utilizing Redthreaded patterns and focusing on construction, history, and synthetic whalebone. The workshop will cover a mix of historically accurate and theatrical construction for 18th and 19th century stays and corsets. We will specifically focus on the properties of synthetic whalebone, how and when to use it, and why it is becoming a popular alternative to steel boning. Cynthia will cover topics such as flossing and embroidery, fitting, and pattern development. Workshop attendees may choose between 18th century stays or 1860's gored corsets, and will leave the Symposium with a finished or nearly finished corset.

Cynthia will also share the story of why she started Redthreaded and her tips how to build a successful business in the costume world.

The schedule will also allow a trip to the National Portrait Gallery and social time away from the classroom for the entire group, including an opening night reception.

Lecture Components and Schedule
*The current plan is to have Wednesday - Friday as full instruction days with early Saturday morning left to finish projects as needed. Saturday afternoon or later flights recommended.

Attendee Requirements:

Workshop participants must have moderate to advanced sewing skills. Instruction will assume a knowledge of basic machine sewing, garment assembly, and sewing terms. Theatrical stitching experience is a plus. Attendees must bring a sewing/tool kit that includes a dremel, eye protection, dust mask, shears, and basic sewing kit.

Cynthia Settje is the owner of Redthreaded, a small business specializing in historical corsetry and theatrical costumes in Boulder, CO. Her clients span the range from Broadway shows to individual reenactors and costume enthusiasts. She has a BFA in costume technology from UNCSA and has worked professionally in costume shops throughout the US, including the Santa Fe Opera and the CO Shakespeare Festival. She loves costuming for the way it uniquely combines artistry, textiles, engineering, history, storytelling and collaboration.Redthreaded_team


Early Registration now through May 6 - $485
Late Registration May 7 – June 21 - $510

Early Registration now through May 6 - $535
Late Registration May 7 – June 21 - $560


*During registration attendees will be required to answer questions pertaining to their choice of corset style and pattern size* The options are either:

18th Century Stays:

or 1860's Gored Corset:

And we can offer patterns in size XS-26 plus. Our size chart is here:


The cut-off to accept reservations at the following rate was Monday, June 24 2019.

Room Type Rate

If you are interested in staying at this hotel and would like us to try to arrange a roommate, please contact Karen Greenfield at and she will do her best to assist you.

Please contact Karen Greenfield at for more information.