Spitfire Stevens

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About Spitfire Stevens

  • Rank
    Bilge Rat

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Central Indiana
  • Interests
    18th C. Living Historian, Historical clothing Tailor/sempstress, will give talks, workshops on 1st person interpretation, spinning, sewing and embroidery of the time period.
  1. Frock coat pleats

    To help the pleats stay, I iron in a pleat crease, then hand stitched as close to the edge as I could to secure the crease. Makes it really easy to iron. Just pull the hem down and press! Spitfire Stevens
  2. Brigand's Grove - Aug. 13th & 14th

    Will we be able to swim in the creek? Spitfire is a water baby. Nathan, consider us for your helpers. I will bring my spinning wheel and demonstrate for the public as last year. Mike and Diana Stevens
  3. Costume History Books

    Hi Gang: Just so you know. Further research has shown that Alice's ideas were not always spot on. Those who read her must do it with further research, because there are many errors in her thinking, that have been disprooved with further research. That saying, I have a paperback version of hers, and they are fun to read. But do further research, through internet, Colonial Williamsburg's printings, etc. Spitfire.
  4. Bodiced Gown

    Connie: This book has the corset you need on the front page! The straps are off the shoulder, and it is just gorgeous! If I remember right there were separate lace-on sleeves. I have the book and can copy the pages on the corset, if you send me an address to mail it. The lovely modern princess style wedding dress you have on does have similar back lines. But not on the front. The front is shaped for a modern bust, not one flattened up from the stomach like a period corset would do. But, if you took in in on the center back side seams, following the line and just take it in about an inch on both sides. Have you found the site: www.costume.org More information!!!! Spitfire
  5. Bodiced Gown

    Hello: Here is my two pence worth. I have been doing corsets, and period clothing since 1974. I have studied tailoring for the time periods from 1600 through to 1830. I have a better collection of research books and reference books than the Indianapolis Library. I have five formal sack gowns and have made many corsets. I was Queen Mary at one festival and Queen Elizabeth at another. So, I have the Clothes!!!! First of all the terminology being used in this thread is driving me crazy. I know terms changed along with fashions, but ... The only picture that comes through on this thread is showing a MANTUA, with the skirts pulled back. The mantua can be attached or free flowing at the back. A GOWN falls from the shoulders with no incutting for the waist. Think night gown. Dresses with the top attached to the skirt were not normal until the Napoleon era and later. A sack gown is also a good example. The front attaches to the yoke up and over the shoulder, and it falls from the back neck yoke fitted to the person. I have made a formal, full length sack gown in two hours. They are very simple if you have a dress form and the yoke cut to mirror the shoulder slope of the person. The late 1600/early 1700 corset is off the shoulder and pulls the shoulder blades back, when wearing on a lady could not raise her arms to shoulder level. Which was considered a vulgar movement. The formal corset for that time period that would have been required wearing for the King's court was a very long one. The front point came down as low as the "lady's honor". (If you know where that is) Hence the picture showing the woman slouched in the chair, as you could not sit straight up with one on! My first corset was made thus, and bending was one of the things I could not do in it! As for using period patterns, some are good but a lot of them do not have the neck-back shoulder seam at the proper angle or at the right height. It must be cut for each person individually. None of the clothing for women or men should have a shoulder seam on top of the shoulder. Especially if it is a military coat. No seams to rub with all the gear they carried on their shoulders..Makes sense. The front continued up and over the shoulders and joined a hand width down. This fitting made that seam to fall almost on a bias and helped it to give when the arms are raised to fire a weapon. My Captain husband is a carpenter and the back muscles near his neck means that the back piece ends up almost 5 inches longer than the patterns to allow for his build. I see so many coats cut wrong. I can fit a pattern to a person, But I can not fix them all. Spitfire Stevens
  6. lining or interfacing for stays? front or backlacing?

    Hello: As one of the first women in 18th C. to actually make a full sack gown with two petticoats, and a fitted corset, for a French style show back in 1976, I have done a lot of research about stays/corsets. For the common woman, there were stays that laced back, which were covered by a jacket or gown. Stays that laced in front, and the lacings were covered by a stomacher with a jacket or gown. Stays that laced both, and were not seen when finally dressed. And front and back laced stays that were taken apart and made to lace on both sides for pregnancy, and then sometimes sewn back up after birthing or left and worn during the next pregnancy. As for fashion. the class of your persona would dictate whatever you wore or did not wear! Pyrates go for such a broad timeframe, from 1600's to 1800s that general discussion should focus on the decade or time period, as styles came and went. Yul Brenner as "LaFette"? As for back laced stays those with front tie straps, can be done by your self without a maid to serve you, if you lace in a proper in and out spiral from the bottom up, with a very long linen tape. Lace it up enough to get it on, with the back in front.Turn it around, shift it, then pull up on the lacing and down on the waist, till you are comfortable. Do a crochet type of knot about six times and then snake the tie around under your arm and tuck it into your clevage. Tie the straps where they feel right, and there- you have it. The need for the front of the straps to be loose becomes very apparent But I find it is more fun to find an older gentleman visitor wandering in camp and politely as for help in lacing me up. Usually they are embarrased, and decline, I then ask the wife if she minds, but she usually laughs and agrees. I tell him, over my shoulder..."Just think of me as an old shoe, you won't have any problems!" That prompts him to make some nice polite comment and I get to flirt with him!!! I tell him I usually do not get this dressed up till later, because about 10 hours later, my body is ready to get out of the stays! They should NEVER meet in back laced stays upon first lacing. Two hours later you can tighten them, and maybe again later in the day. Some events in the 18th C. are putting the wearing of bodice/jackets for women rules in their registration packages. Sleeveless corsets were made to be covered. NO RENFAIR sleeze (bare shoulders) need apply! Spitfire Stevens :~) I have a pair of stays that I covered in red wool. And are they hot!!!!! I have had linen stays, silk stays, but mostly cotton ones. Do not make a set using upholustery fabric that is coated with a backing. Those are really hot! It took 20 years of washing to get the coating to dissolve, but the weave was great.
  7. Simple Camp Bed

  8. where you at paynetown? dost i know thou?

  9. 2009 port Washington Event

    HI. I tried to make a connection to visit your port, but the office never returned my call. Sorry. I was even near by. Hope it was a good one! Spitfire (Diana) Stevens
  10. button sizing on woomens justacorps

    In the 17th C. Buttons were rarely used. Lacing, yeup. Justacorps were male garments, military issued in the 18th C.
  11. my" wettaugh " INSPIRED style short jacket

    HI. Do you mean Watteau? The painter. The sack back gowns that now carry his name, but was not called "Watteau" in their day? This jacket isn't it. You did a good job! You are quite a seampstress! The material is wonderful, and as another one on this blog said, the colors suit you! I have been doing reenacting at historical sites and historical clothing research and productions since 1974, from Medieval up through the War of 1812, and even the 1910's. I have done production sewing for plays and for madrigals. for high schools and for colleges. I am also a past President of a Scottish Society. I am a trained tailor, so I know how items should look, and how to make the lines look to the times and styles. It is very hard to use a new pattern and fit it on your self. If you move to adjust something, another spot then becomes out of line. So having someone fit it on you is really needed. There is nothing about the jacket I can see that labels it "Celtic", except maybe the printing on the Clotilde pattern. It is a nice style and fits the timeperiod of our chosen obsession. The backs on modern men and women are much broader now. We have not worn a corset all our life. We are bigger now. The upper body clothing was worn much tighter than we are used to in modern stretchy materials. That being said, I do think the back spread across the widest part of the shoulders looks a bit large. It shows especially in the sleeve picture that the sleeves should definitely be tighter and higher on the shoulder. So, if it shrinks in the wash, you are probably going to be fine. If you use the pattern again, take an inch off of both of the mid shoulder slopes and make the armscye opening higher. I think you will find that more comfortable, too, to move about. Still one would not cook or do dishes in such a beautiful outfit. Leave the chores to the servants!! I would love to see it in person! Spitfire (Diana) Stevens
  12. my" wettaugh " INSPIRED style short jacket

  13. ye be visitn' quite a'bit...thought I should be friendn' ya.

  14. has not set their status

  15. ladies haircoverings

    RE: Please, NO Mob Caps. Hi! I have been doing reenacting since 1974, as a hobby and professionally. The level of authenticity has greatly improved since then, I am glad to say. When I started I was required to go to original sources for my research, there were NO patterns, except maybe a colonial zippered costume dress in McCall's pattern book for Halloween. I had to make my own patterns for the whole family. The answer to your question depends on what decade you have picked to portray. I was at Paynetown, and saw a wide range of clothing styles and gear. I knew what the difference was and was still surprised to see some of the incorrect outfits. The styles went from the 1600's to 1820, mostly, but even with some Buckskinner/trappers pioneer (1860) clothing, showing, too. I am referring to the sleeveless chemise (underwear) worn like a blouse, but not covering over it. The plastic lace (nylon) ruffle did not help it a bit. I could not help but calling one woman on the fact that her blue print mob cap was WAY off. And offered her the loan of a white cap to wear. I just could not stand to look at what was so wrongly being worn on her head next to me the whole weekend. Thankfully she had brought a white cap also, and was open to correction. I have been called the "clothing Nazi" because of it, but it was so glarringly wrong, I had to say something. It is no wonder the public visitors become confused about history and time periods. A full circle fabric with a drawstring about 2 inches inside the edge is an invention of the DAR from the 1930's. It is NOT period even for the Colonial era. If you don't have long hair to plait, curl or twist up, then one has to decide what to do. Paynetown is a mix for sure, so, contact me and tell me what time period you are portraying? What is your character's station in life, and what length of hair do you have? We can find a style/cap that will fit. I have a better historical clothing collection of books than the Indianapolis Library, so, I know I can help you. Back at home port and wanting to go again! Spitfire Stevens