Hands-on Colonial Costume Projects with Candiss Cowan

Hands-on Colonial Costume Projects with Candiss Cowan


Our series on 18th Century costumes continues with projects for all ages.

New to Ridgefield, Candiss Cowan spent 35 years teaching high school and then retired to follow her passion for all things Early American. She spends her time learning new skills for all things old: quilting, spinning, weaving, candle making, and open hearth cooking among others. She is a woman born behind her times instead of ahead of them.

Introduction: How Women Dressed in the 18th Century

Make an Embroidered Pocket (sewing & embroidery)
Quick & Easy Colonial Costumes for Boys & Girls

Candiss gives simple tips on how to create a colonial New England costume with minimum purchase, time, and effort, for Patriot’s Day on the third Monday in April (this year, the 19th).

The video is divided into two sections “Woman’s Costume” and “Man’s Costume”.

Make a felt pocket to accessorize your colonial garb. This easy version relies on gluing instead of sewing.

Project Materials:

  • Felt (9 by 12 inches)
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Decorations
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery Thread and Hoop (optional)
  • Fabric Paint (optional)

Candiss walks you through the steps to make a traditional 18th Century fabric pocket. You can sew this pocket by hand or with a machine.

Use printed or plain fabric — here, Candiss uses a paw-printed material to make a pocket she’ll use for walking the dog.

If you have more time and skill, you can embroider the front of your pocket! This pocket project uses the same method as the one above, but with an additional step — embroidery — before sewing the outer seam.


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