The Historical Sewing Academy

Calling All Historical Dressmakers, Corsetmakers, Reenactors, Roleplayers, Costumiers and Designers!

Love creating beautiful historical clothing that fits like a glove?

Tired of struggling to figure this out on your own?

If it’s worth making, it’s worth making well… but how DO you make historical clothing that you can wear confidently, or entrust to a client?

How do you actually make historical clothes?

Consistent, confident historical sewing comes from developing a well rounded set of skills.

At Foundations Revealed, you can learn those very skills. And so much more.

“It felt amazing [to make this coat]. I was finally able to get my idea out of my head and create it. And not only did I create it, I love it! Others have complimented me on it when I’ve worn it out and about. One woman even asked if I could make her one. I had to decline… but it felt good that someone else thought I had made my cape well enough to request one for themselves.”


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Historical sewing is a passion...

…but it’s a highly niche passion. And the trouble is that clear, complete instructions that you can trust are hard to find. Qualified professional help with the project that’s on your sewing table right now is about as rare as a museum quality Worth gown.

Before long you’re spending more time Googling and watching YouTube than you are sewing – and the thing you want to make is still either in your head or in the (ever-growing) UFO (unfinished object!) pile.

So how do you consistently spend time actually sewing (and finishing) the projects you love, to a quality, fit and finish that you’re delighted with?

Welcome to


THE online historical sewing school. Since 2007 we have been building a unique one-stop library of knowledge, research and experience from a wide range of professionals and passionate amateurs across the worldwide historical sewing and costuming communities.

From corsetry to couture techniques, plus millinery, tailoring, underpinnings, gowns, and clothing from almost every era of the history of Western fashion, we’ve probably got the advice (and mentorship) you need right now.

I created Foundations Revealed because I knew what I wanted to do but the resources available were frustratingly incomplete.​

Sure…reading blogs and watching YouTube can give you a lot of inspiration and a general idea of the how-to, but piecing together the start-to-finish instructions you need to make the clothing you really want to wear – and do it well – is not so easy.

There are books that can give you patterns, and books that can give you research. Books that give original source information, and books that can give you modern hacks to get the look. Building that library is a years-long process, and it’s not a cheap project.

Weekend courses and events can give you special instruction on certain garments or eras – but what about that very specific thing that YOU want to make, right now? How do you get qualified help with that?

And of course, you’ve probably bought and used sewing patterns – which give you a standardised interpretation of a garment, and not enough construction detail to produce the sort of high quality result you really long to achieve.

Wherever you are in the world or in your sewing journey…

…all of our resources are available online in your sewing space, without travelling. From articles, patterns, and mentorship, the chances are good that we have something to support and help you with your latest project – and your next one. And the one after that.

“I’m loving [the new (included) Walking Skirt course] and I can’t wait to see the finished piece.“I am wearing [my skirt] out everywhere and it’s only a mock-up!”


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  • The joy of a stunning historical wardrobe you’ve created with your own hands

  • The look on your friends’ faces when they see you in that new outfit

  • Doing professional quality work – and dressing up with pride

  • Loving how you feel in clothes (and create the curves you don’t have, just like they did back in the day)

  • A wardrobe you know works with your unique body and your needs instead of settling for clothing that’s merely ‘good enough’.

  • Saying YES to yourself and making long hidden dreams come true

  • Being complimented on your work whenever you’re out

What You Get



Includes access to an expansive digital library of articles, tutorials, and our brand new Walking Skirt video Course. These resources cater to every skill level, from novice stitchers to veteran makers, offering profound depth and expansive breadth of knowledge in which to immerse your maker’s soul!



An intricate understanding of Western historical dress of multiple eras, with a special focus on the Victorian era. You won't just learn to mimic the designs, but to comprehend the reasons behind the patterns, materials, and techniques used.



A vibrant community of passionate, like-minded makers. Those of our members who wish, also take advantage of this benefit. Members share their progress, challenges, and triumphs, and receive the support, constructive feedback, and insights from others' experiences. Foundations Revealed is not just about education; it's about connection, mutual growth and celebration.



You can learn at your own pace, in your own time, in a way that suits you. Whether you prefer written guides, step-by-step videos, or interactive live sessions, you'll find a format that works for you.



And take on new challenges with confidence. Our resources cover a vast range of techniques, from basic stitching to advanced corset-making, allowing you to continually push your boundaries and evolve your craft.



Where you can ask questions, get direct feedback, and learn from experts. These interactive moments enrich your learning experience and provide valuable real-time insights.



You can bring your wardrobe ideas to life. We help you translate your vision into reality, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to create pieces that are as authentic as they are beautiful.



Ensuring there's always something fresh to explore and learn. Whether it's a deep-dive into a particular era or a tutorial on a new sewing technique, your craft will never stagnate.



Unique courses such as the "Walking Skirt Course," which allow you to explore specific projects and add distinctive pieces to your historical wardrobe.

With Foundations Revealed... aren't just learning to sew – you're stepping into a time machine, unlocking historical secrets, and mastering a craft that intertwines beauty, function, and history.

Check out what our members have to say...

“I am very comfortable in [my new skirt] and I am determined to make some more. At first, I was nervous and apprehensive [wearing it out], but so far I’ve heard nothing but lovely comments.”



“I felt privileged to have this much trust placed in me by my daughter, to make the dress for one of her most important and defining days. My son-in-law still brags about his bride of 3 years ago and how she looked that day.”



“It was a great journey, I loved seeing [this dress] come together one step at a time. I also created instructions on how to make the skirt, which are now available on my Etsy shop FortunaVitalis 😊”






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Will you Join Us?

Foundations Revealed is the most accessible and convenient way to “go to school” to learn to sew historical clothing from some of the foremost experts and most passionate amateurs in the world – without traveling a single mile. And for a tiny fraction of what a similar education would cost in college tuition.

Foundations Revealed fits perfectly with your location, your preferred learning style, and your busy life.

The Foundations Revealed team is committed to giving you all the in-depth tools and tuition you need to make your historical clothing or historybounding dreams real – in a fun, accessible, friendly, inclusive safe space.

“It felt like I was doing professional work. I have made two similar coats before with the same pattern, but this time I used the tailoring techniques Barbara demonstrated in the Foundations Revealed workshops. This one feels more luxurious to wear.”


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So what are your options?

And not just to be a YouTube tourist of this craft, but to really geek out with passionate like minds and truly master the details of this skill for yourself?

Consider…Just one good book on historical sewing can run to over $50, and the collection is never complete with just that piece of wisdom you need right now.

Weekend courses, workshops and events run to hundreds of dollars, not including travel costs, and can only ever cover a limited range of garments – and a limited snapshot of the making process for those garments.

College? Well, we all know how expensive that can be, and courses on the practicalities of this specific skill are few and far between. If you’re not going to upend both your lifestyle and your finances, you need another option.

“I wore this to Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Texas. It was very fun, I got lots of compliments and struck up several conversations because of my outfit. [The process of making it was] amazing, fun, a great learning experience, fulfilling.”


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Join before the deadline and get these Bonuses

Bonus 1

Beginner’s Course ($297 value) – Concerned about whether you’re skilled enough to get the most out of Foundations Revealed? We have a bonus Course just for you. Mentor Lowana takes you right from your first steps in sewing, teaching you all the most important core skills and knowledge you need (and none that you don’t), and getting you up to speed quickly so that you can get the most out of your membership.

Bonus 2

Success Paths ($99 value) – Short of time? We’ve taken the overwhelm out of knowing where to get started with the types of projects you’re most interested in. Our Success Paths chart a course through our Library focussed on special areas of interest such as fantasy costuming, corsetry, tailoring, and historical sewing – all broken down by skill level – so it’s easy to home straight in on what’s most relevant to you.

Bonus 3

Walking Skirt Course ($497 value) – The sewing for an everyday historical wardrobe typically begins with a long, full skirt that the late Victorian woman would have recognised as a “walking skirt”. This in-depth 12-week course walks you step-by-step through the entire process of drafting, mocking up, cutting, stitching and finishing a tailor made skirt that you won’t want to take off. And not only that… the journey is specifically designed to teach you a range of core skills that transfer to any other historical sewing project you have in mind.

Bonus 4

The Stitcher’s Way Guidebook ($47 value) – If you’re going to internalise and USE what you’ve learned, you need to do more than just listen to me talking about it! The Stitcher’s Way written guide summarises all we’ll talk about in the class: the power of habits, triggers and routines, rewarding yourself in a meaningful way, reflecting and adjusting to ensure you keep coming back to your projects day after day, and much more. It’s the key to helping you make these ideas into a real practice in your daily life. It’s time to overcome the challenges and make our sewing journeys a joyful part of our everyday lives – and this companion is your take-home guide to making it happen.

Total Value of All Bonuses


Join Now

We are all born Creative

But few realize their creative dream: the dream of one day stepping out with relaxed confidence into a world that’s starving for something different.

To realise that dream we have to cultivate that creativity, and water it with practice. And Foundations Revealed is the place that can support and keep you on track toward that dream.




  • Access to all Walking Skirt Course resources
  • Membership of our moderated private Discord community
  • All Access Pass to our legendary online Library
  • Access to recordings of all of our On-Demand Workshops
  • Success Paths to guide you through the Library to the content relevant to your needs and skills
  • Weekly prompt to guide you to the best articles and workshops fast
  • Monthly community-wide “Get It Done” call to help you finish your projects




  • All Essentials features plus
  • Get individual feedback on your projects from your Mentors to help you make your walking skirt (or any other project!) stunning
  • Membership of our exclusive private “Stitchlings” Community Facebook Group
  • Monthly community-wide “Get It Done” call to help you finish your projects
  • Only a few places left – membership is now capped to keep the Academy group manageable for the Mentors


What's in the library?


Take your core sewing skills from “meh” to marvelous by learning how to:

  • Research an idea
  • Put together a coherent design
  • Select suitable fabrics
  • Create or alter a pattern
  • Fit and sew a stunning garment that you won’t want to take off


Get specific on how to create the look of a particular time in history… or use history as your sourcebook for fantasy or futuristic looks of your own.

  • Early and Medieval design and construction
  • 16th, 17th, 18th century and Regency, all in detail
  • Breaking down the Victorian era, from crinolines to bustles to Edwardian elegance
  • Vintage and 20th century, including WW1 styles


Your complete go-to source on historical and modern corset making, unparalleled anywhere

  • Actual historical patterns from the 1500s to 1910s
  • Guides to well known modern patterns, materials and design
  • All patterns tested and reviewed for you
  • In depth guides from modern makers on patterning and fitting
  • Historical and modern construction techniques
  • Embellishment ideas for the creative corset artist


All the underpinnings, historical and modern, to get the complete look

  • Early period, from shifts to hose
  • Georgian and Regency, from panniers to pantalettes
  • Victorian and Edwardian, from chemise to corset cover
  • Vintage and 20th century unmentionables
    Modern bra making demystified


Thinking of going professional one day (or today?) Just want to make something for a friend without getting into an argument? Find out:

  • When to go pro, and when to quit
  • How to plan out and set up a business of your own
  • What to expect in costume related careers
  • How to deal with clients
  • How to start a ready to wear line
  • How to promote yourself with confidence

Academy Membership Mentors


Lowana O’Shea

Is the designer and corsetiere behind celebrated Australian slow fashion label Vanyanís, specializing in exquisite corsetry, bridal couture and luxury ready-to-wear fashion.


Barbara Pesendorfer

Designer and master tailoress. Founded Royal Black Couture and Corsetry in 2006. She has created couture constructed to her own designs and patterns for over fifteen years.


Constance MacKenzie

Professional costume maker stuck half way between the 16th Century and the Gamma Quadrant. Much of her work is in film and television. Her first job was working at Shakespeare's Globe, and she has gone on to work on projects such as Wonder Woman, the Kingsman movies, Mary Poppins Returns, and Britannia.


Brooklynne Michelle

Is a historically inspired designer and couturier at her own design house, Brooklynne Michelle Couture. She has over 20 years’ experience making clothing and costumes with exquisite workmanship.


Luca Costigliolo

Changed the corsetry world in 2015 with just one Foundations Revealed article about synthetic whalebone. He is an extraordinarily talented costume cutter and maker for film, television and stage around the world, with a genius eye for what works in creating a truly stunning, historically accurate silhouette.

Join before the deadline to get the incredible bonuses and lock in your discount for the entire life of your membership

For participants in this month’s workshop, we’re offering an incredible discount: when you join within 48 hours of the workshop, you’ll get nearly half-off your monthly or annual membership for the entire life of your membership. You get to enjoy all future updates, additions, and improvements without any increase in cost.

Plus the incredible bonuses. But this deal is only available for 48 hours. Join now to lock in your generous monthly discount before it disappears.


Be Delighted, Guaranteed

Since 2007, Foundations Revealed has been the essential companion for thousands of historical dress makers, historybounders, corsetmakers, reenactors, roleplayers, costumiers and designers. We know it will work for you too. That’s why we invite you to test drive Foundations Revealed 100% risk free. If you give it a genuine go and you don’t feel like we delivered on our promise, claim a refund any time in your first 14 days, no questions asked.

Hey there!

I'm Cathy Hay

Founder of Foundations Revealed

You’re probably wondering who I am and what my qualifications are.

I’m a professionally trained teacher, an ex-professional maker of historical clothing, and an artist recreating ambitious historical clothing for YouTube.

In 2007 I shifted my focus away from commission work to an even more ambitious project: to bring makers together and get us all to our sewing dreams faster by working together, online. By paying the most skilled professionals and the most passionate amateur makers to take the time to break down their skills and knowledge in exhaustive detail for us, we all have the chance to make our most cherished historical sewing dreams come true – without re-inventing the wheel.

And now that you know me...

…I want to tell you something from my heart to yours:

Your sewing matters. The world needs you to be your best self, sharing your unique gifts the best way you know how. And you DO have what it takes.

We have so much trouble giving to ourselves. I invite you to give yourself the creative food you need, my friend. Come and fill yourself up again – and become the maker you always wanted to be. And I invite you to give yourself permission to invest in yourself. You deserve it.

You might think of joining Foundations Revealed as a radical act of self-generosity. A line in the sand. A declaration that you and your craft are worth it.

But here’s what I also know…

Lots of people want to sew well and plenty more want a wardrobe comprised of gorgeous pieces they made themselves, that fit perfectly, but precious few truly do.

Why? It’s simply because few are willing to take the time to develop their skills – to cultivate a practice. Foundations Revealed is a place for makers who want to learn the language of this art, to focus on practice, and to find and craft your own voice and style. And that, fellow maker, takes some effort.

But practice strengthens skill, skill beats “talent” – and none of it requires you to find your way alone.

There’s a path from where you are right now to the maker you want to be, with structure and support from beginner to advanced, IF you’re willing to commit to yourself and your creativity.

I’m rooting for you and I hope to see you very soon in Foundations Revealed: The Historical Sewing Academy.


Cathy Hay

Frequently Asked Questions

Due to popular demand, we’re currently *trialing* keeping enrollment open all the time. However, since the current monthly price is not accessible for everyone, we will be occasionally opening a brief window in which you can join for a discounted price. This is one of those opportunities.

Everyone’s at a different stage in their sewing journey. We try to create a range of resources that will be accessible for everyone, but we are particularly aware of the beginners in the room.

You need the most support, so we have a special Beginners’ Course just for you, so that you can get up to speed and ready to start unlocking your creativity.

Let’s face it: your first projects are the hardest. Many people have a go at sewing, and even more think about it, but the obstacles and the likelihood of discouragement (not to mention the likelihood of quitting) are keenest at the start of your journey.

The Beginner’s Course is included in your membership at no extra charge so that our beginners are taken care of in those early stages, when you’re feeling super inspired, but maybe also a bit lost and vulnerable. Confidence is so important, and Mentor Lowana is a loving, patient teacher, so it seems to me like this is the best short cut to get you started as a full, participating member in a super-supportive family of makers.

We do; we have resources on just about every part of the making of clothing from the history of Western costume. But it’s isn’t the library that makes Foundations Revealed the most valuable resource available to you; it’s the expertise of our Mentors and community, who are there to help move you forward in whatever area you wish to specialise in. We have deliberately built a team of specialists in most areas of garment making. They will meet you where you are and give you the coaching and feedback you need to become the maker you know you can be.

We regret to say that our archive does not cover non-European dress in significant detail at present, although we are working on diversification.

This is a nuanced issue. On the one hand, we should absolutely counter the Western bias in our archive on principle; on the other, it is challenging to redress the balance to a level of detail that does reasonable justice to such a wide ranging subject and simultaneously avoids tokenism.

The Editorial team are nevertheless very interested in talking to makers and academics of colour about diversifying our archive, and we would be interested in supporting similar projects that work to redress this imbalance in more detail than our own resources might allow at present.

Yes. Academy members are welcome to switch to Essentials at any time (Alternatively, you can cancel altogether at any time, but you will lose your “locked in” price.) If you’re not sure, I’d recommend trying us out at Essentials level and then switching if you love it!

Absolutely not. This is a myth that’s been going around on the Internet, but it is not, and has never been, true since we opened for business in 2007. You can ALWAYS cancel your membership at ANY time – and if in any doubt I recommend paying via Paypal, where you can cancel your own membership with no need to contact us at all.

  • Alteration of Morning Glory by Sarah Jo Martens, 2nd place in the Intermediate category, FR Competition 2023. Taran Schatz Photography

  • Honeymoon Smock by Maiju Tahkolahti, winner in the Beginner category, FR Competition 2023

  • Raspberry Datura by Olga Potaeva, 2nd place in the Advanced category, FR Competition 2023

  • Cycling by Mariana Kishida, 3rd place in the Beginner category, FR Competition 2023. Photo: Jordan Gowanlock

  • Lady of Decay by Helene Maria Skovgaard, winner in the Experienced category, FR Competition 2023.

  • Construction photo by Ruth Watkin, from her Foundations Revealed tutorial “How to Join Skirts and Bodices, Part 1”

  • Capturing Light and Shadow by Lauren Apau, winner in the Intermediate category, FR Competition 2023. Photographed by Joseph Apau

  • Sashiko technique by Ruth Watkin, from her FR tutorial “Tips for Neatness 2: Pressing & Finishing”

  • Robe a l’Anglaise by Sophia Khan, from her Foundations Revealed tutorial “Recreating an Extant 18th century Robe a l’Anglaise, part 2”

  • Construction photo of a gusset from a Foundations Revealed tutorial by Lina Piprek, “1830s Corded Corset part 2”

  • Nightfall in the Wildwood by Crystalinne Pantano, 2nd place in the Apprentice category, FR Competition 2023. Photography by Darryl Asher

  • Honeymoon Smock by Maiju Tahkolahti, winner in the Beginner category, FR Competition 2023

  • Leafy Cape by Serena Valguanera, 2nd place in the Beginner category, FR Competition 2023

  • Alteration of Morning Glory by Sarah Jo Martens, 2nd place in the Intermediate category, FR Competition 2023. Taran Schatz Photography

  • The Prince and the Pauper by Olga Potaeva, entered in the Advanced category, FR Competition 2021. Model Aleksandra Ursul

  • Dreaming of Spring by Charlie, 3rd place in the Experienced category, FR Competition 2023. Photography by René Mourik

  • A Sprinkle of Purple Petals by Charlotte Aurora Finnerup, winner in the Advanced category, FR Competition 2023. Model: Khalisa Mo

  • Pearled Beast corset by Emiah Couture. Photographer InaGlo. Model Liv Free

  • Cathy Hay wearing Sparklewren, photo by Jenni Hampshire

Your discount and bonuses disappear in:


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