Historical Costume Maker, Costume Historian, Educator

Quinn M. Burgess is a costume maker, costume historian, and educator with a passion for researching, patterning, and making historical clothing. She has fifteen years’ experience constructing and altering historical clothing and accessories, modern and historical costumes, and teaching costume construction skills.


Quinn’s theatrical and educational work has included her roles as the Costume Shop Manager at Boston College and as Costume Designer and Shop Chief at Tufts University Children’s Theatre. She patiently instructed students in costume construction in both of these roles and has also instructed students at Boston University and Mount Holyoke College. In addition, Quinn has produced theater and film costumes for a range of professional theatre and film companies including, The Huntington Theatre Company, Opera Boston, Reagle Music Theatre, and 20th Century Fox.

Quinn’s historical work uses meticulous historical construction methods and modern shortcuts, where appropriate, to create historical clothing for museums, institutions, and individuals including, Plimoth Patuxet Museums, Old Sturbridge Village, Historic Northampton, and the U.S. National Park Service. In addition, she creates and consults on historical costumes for documentaries and short films.


To bring history to life, Quinn combines backgrounds in social, costume, and material history with the study, creation, and wearing of historical clothing. She has shared this passion through presentations at historical institutions and nonprofits including, the Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island Historical Society, and Stages of Freedom. Her work has also been featured on WBUR, Boston’s largest National Public Radio station. Quinn enjoys sharing her passion with others, providing new perspectives and learning herself as well. These opportunities provide her with an unique perspective, especially in the construction of historical clothing and costumes.


Her attention to detail is demonstrated in the exceptional workmanship regularly showcased on her historical sewing blog: The Quintessential Clothes Pen.


Quinn holds a MFA in Costume Production from Boston University and a BA from Mount Holyoke College in History and Theatre Arts. She is a member of the Costume Society of America.

Featured Historical Work


Why Not Skate Like It’s 1895? – an interview broadcast on 'Here & Now' on WBUR, Boston’s largest National Public Radio Station, looking at women’s sportswear c. 1900.


Providence NBC 10 Coffee Break (:55-6:54) – an interview that takes a look at some of the historical garments that were part of a presentation at the Newport Historical Society titled Undressing History: Active Pursuits, Women’s Sportswear c. 1900.