International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe

Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)
Omdurman market, 1934 (woman in the center is wearing a tobe!), from here
Today I've got an international vintage post that's near and dear to my heart because it's based on Sudan's "vintage" wear!  

For my newer readers, my family lived in Sudan for a while, and I adore the people there.  The culture is hospitable and relationship-oriented, and the Sudanese know how to relax and cherish time with loved ones.  And also, they have great style, via the Sudanese tobe:
Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)

Now, to be obvious, Sudanese style is very different from Western style.  The tobe is worn mostly by the Sudanese Arab tribes of northern Sudan, but some southerners also wear it.  It's very much a traditional cultural statement, and the color and condition of the tobe can communicate certain messages.  A red tobe can be a wedding outfit, and a white tobe is the western equivalent of a woman's business suit.  Also, if a tobe is given as a gift, it is polite to leave the edges where the cloth was cut raw.  This shows that the tobe is unworn, and it is up to the giftee to hem it before it's worn.

It's all about being matchy-matchy with tobes, preferably making your entire outfit one or two colors, and throwing in some diamonds or gold somewhere would be optimal.  Personally, I thrived in such a fashion atmosphere when I was there.  In case you hadn't noticed, I love being matchy-matchy, and I have a good bit of gaudy in me that I usually have to tame in western contexts.  But not in Sudan!

The tobe is a 5-6 meter long piece of fabric, just like one would buy at a fabric store.  (Funny story: A Sudanese woman that visited America remarked that we had the best tobe stores.  Puzzled by this and wondering where in America there is a tobe store, my friend asked her what the store was called.  "Joann,"  the woman replied. "They have so much variety in tobes!"  Ha ha!)  It MUST be worn with a skirt.  Pants just aren't done.  I'm not sure why, but they just aren't!

Sudanese women wear the tobes by wrapping, knotting, and tucking it in a certain way to create a drapey, lovely dress that covers from the top of the head to the ankle.
Since I could find NOT tobe-wrapping videos, here's a quick video I made to demonstrate:

And here are some tobe pictures, so you guys get the idea.  They're SO beautiful and can range from $20 all the way up to hundreds and thousands of dollars!
From a wedding:
Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)

Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)

Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)

My friend Laura and I:
Flashback Summer- International Vintage: Sudanese Tobe (Thobe)

So what do you think of the tobe?  Does it look like something you'd be willing to wear, or does it seem like too much work?
(I do have a design for the "EZ Tobe" in the works, just sayin...)

Last First Day of School Outfit

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

This morning my friend texted me and congratulated me on my last first day of school.

EVER.

Meaning, today marks the last time that I will ever begin a new school year.

I am a bit sentimental about it (because I really love my university), but I'm also excited. Where will I be next year at this time?  What will my life be like?  So full of possibilities.

So, while still keeping those questions and positivity about the future in mind, I'm going to enjoy this year to the fullest, enjoying all the "lasts" and making great memories to remember fondly, deep relationships to cherish for years to come, and continuing to build a strong foundation of character and knowledge on which I can build my adult life.

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

Flashback Summer: Last First Day of School Outfit- light blue cream white lace vintage dress outfit bakelite peep toe shoes brooch 1940s pin curls

dress, bakelite: flea markets in Michigan
brooch: Awesome Finds
shoes: Payless kids
lucite purse and scarf lining: Relics Antique Mall
makeup: Estee Lauder and Almay

Intercultural Vintage: Middle East Novelty Prints

The Middle East has always had the reputation of mystery, exotic adventures, and magic in the West.  Even back in the day, some gorgeous novelty prints captured what is perhaps the most recognizable aspect of the Middle Eastern cityscape: the dome and minarets of a mosque.  (Though churches also have some of these features, e.g. the Hagia Sophia.)

I would love to find a skirt like the one below, or fabric like these!  I'm especially drawn to the yellow dress at the bottom.  Which one is your favorite?
Vintage + Middle East = love.
Ack.  LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE.


Following prints from here



Source of below



For Sale here:

Bunches of Brooches and Other "Awesome Finds"

When I was in Michigan, my Grandma took me to a store called Awesome Finds.  It's a small boutique/flea market/home decor type of shop run by a mom and daughter team.  

The shop has a great selection of pretty jewelry.  Most of it is 1950s and later and doesn't include a lot of plastics, but it's wonderful stuff, indeed!  My grandmother gifted me these brooches, jewelry, and earrings (real jade!):






I'm going to combine the scottie dog pendant with the blue and diamond rhinestone bar to make a cute pendant.  I think it'll work, when I get around to it!

Lady In Red.... Trousers

I posted last time about my new bakelite and included an outfit along with it.  In this outfit were my new red trousers:

Flashback Summer: Lady In Red... Trousers - Butterick 9779

Flashback Summer: Lady In Red... Trousers - Butterick 9779

I really, really like these pants.  They're made from the Butterick 9779 pattern, "Junior Miss Proportioned Pants".  (This pattern has a shorts option as well, which I posted about here and here.)  They were quite tricky to adjust to fit me correctly, but now that I've got the adjustments, I'll make them again with no problems!

For anyone who wants to try this pattern, I thought I would include my thoughts about it and the changes I made, in case it would be helpful.

Fabric:
I used an old curtain panel to make these pants, and I think it's a linen-like fabric, a looser weave that's still a bit thick.  This worked well, but I would definitely recommend using a sturdier fabric, especially if you want to have a snugger fit, and a small stitch length.  I'm a little nervous about the loose weave coming apart at stress points.

Fit:
These pants were slightly above my waist size, so I brought it in a bit on the waist darts.  I also brought in the hip a bit because the pattern has a more rounded shape than my hips have.

I also had to alter the back to accommodate my apparently larger bottom using this tutorial from the Coletterie.

Lastly, I had to shorten the torso.  Though the pattern comes in tall, medium, and short, the short pants (proportioned for 5'3" women and under) were still long for me in the torso.

Other resources:

New Sponsorship Opportunities at Flashback Summer!


The time has come, my friends!  Presenting... an opportunity to sponsor Flashback Summer!  Spread the word about your blog, shop, product, or service right here!

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For only $5 a month, you'll get:
- A 200x150 pixel space on the right sidebar
- 2 Facebook posts on the Flashback Summer Facebook page
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- Highlighted in a sponsor post
- Opportunity for a guest post (if you want to!)


Flashback Summer currently averages between one and two hundred views a day, and these numbers (along with followers on Facebook, Bloglovin' etc.) are growing!  This blog is under a year old (started in October 2012), and its readership has been steadily increasing!

The cheaper pricing is perfect for anyone wishing to advertise, from the experienced blogger seeking to reach new people to the new Etsy shop looking to send traffic directly to its products.  It's five bucks; that's basically the price of a coffee, for a MONTH of advertising!  I'm currently offering five slots, so if you would like to sponsor Flashback Summer, check out the Sponsor page tab now!

My First Bakelite!

Flashback Summer:  My First Bakelite!

On one of my recent flea marketing adventures with my grandmother, I was on the search for affordable bakelite.

I have searched everywhere.

I haven't ever actually run into any real bakelite in my shopping trips (or so I had thought), but I had theoretical knowledge about how to determine its authenticity (smell, weight, etc.).  I wasn't finding anything I thought was real, until I looked in a corner case of a crowded, small-town, Michigan flea market...

A. SHELF. OF. BAKELITE.

And it was real.  I won't lie to you, I squealed a bit and clasped my hands together in delight. It was heavier than normal plastic, smelled funny, had the right colors!  I was elated!  Then I saw that the average price for a bangle was around $60.  Well.... I scanned for the cheaper, thinner bangles and opted for one of those.  As well, I got a cute pair of yellow earrings and a lovely dress clip (also my first!), thanks to my grandmother.  I now have a whole set of yellow bakelite accessories!


Flashback Summer:  My First Bakelite!

I then decided to compare some of my "fakelite" bangles with the real one, and to my surprise, one of the bangles that I wasn't sure about was a similar color and weight to the bakelite one I bought, and it smelled funny, too!  I realized I actually already had a bakelite bangle all along and didn't know it!  Wonder of wonders, I have TWO bakelite bangles!  What a great surprise, eh?

These are some of my favorite accessories ever.  As I was telling my family, "This is BAKELITE!  This is the holy grail of plastic jewelry!  I'm a real vintage lover; I have bakelite!  BAKELITE!!!"

So, as I close this post, I wish you all the luck of the bakelite in finding some (more) for your own accessorizing delight, hopefully in the corner of a tiny mom-and-pop shop, beautifully colored, and cheaply priced!

Flashback Summer:  My First Bakelite! - Butterick 9779

Flashback Summer:  My First Bakelite!

Flashback Summer:  My First Bakelite! - Butterick 9779

Outfit details:
trousers: made by me, Butterick 9779
shoes: Payless kids
sweater: Banana Republic
lipstick:  Estee Lauder

Bakelite resources:
Bakelite basics

Bakelite tests and maintenance

Bakelite to dream about

Bakelite for sale

Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Earlier this summer I went to visit my grandparents, and one of my relatives had sent me this UH-MAY-ZING 1950s Atlas sewing machine!  I'm not sure of the exact year or anything, but I do know that this baby could sew through a brick!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

It weighs quite a lot, for all the pieces are metal.  However, though not very portable, it is a DREAM to sew!  It has a beautiful, clinky purr to it as it sews, and I'm spoiled.  Sewing on a new machine, even my Singer Heavy Duty machine, feels like I'm slumming it.  It rarely has tension problems like newer machines, and it even sews much faster than the "pedal to the metal" highest speed on my new machine.  (Not that I'm quite skilled enough to sew at that speed all the time, but I like that it's an option.)  My only sadness is that it doesn't have a measuring guide next to the needle.  I wrote measurements in sharpie on a piece of tape and put it next to the foot in an effort to fix this problem.

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

If you're looking for a machine, I would UNDOUBTEDLY recommend an Atlas machine like this one, or any older 1950s and before machine that works.  My grandmother also fell in love with mine, so my grandpa found her one of her own!  They are out there if you're looking for one, and they shouldn't be any more expensive than a nice new machine, generally.

And just for fun, here are some pictures of my grandma's sewing room where my machine is being babysat until I have a house to put it in.  Amazing, right?!  It's the land of dreams.

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

Flashback Summer:  Meet Phoebe, My 1950s Sewing Machine!

"His Girl Friday"

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

This summer I had the chance to watch lots of old movies, including "His Girl Friday."  I've heard of this movie, but this was my first time to see it.  I rather liked it!  From the gorgeous outfits to the witty dialogue, it was a good one!  It stars Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, both of whom are at their stubbornly sassy best in this film.

Granted, it was a bit slow as most older movies seem to be to us modern viewers, but I was really surprised at how clever the script was and how timeless the plot is.

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

To put it in a nutshell, the movie is about a divorced man who is trying everything he can think of to convince his ex-wife not to leave their newspaper business and remarry.  They, of course, get embroiled in the "biggest newspaper story ever" and craziness ensues.  Here are some great quotes I liked from the movie:

Bruce:  I like him.  He's got a lot of charm.
Hildy: Well he comes by it naturally.  His grandfather was a snake.

Walter:  Sorta wish you hadn't done that, Hildy.
Hildy:  Done what?
Walter: Divorced me.  Makes a fella lose all faith in himself.  Gives him a... Almost gives him a feeling he wasn't wanted.
Hildy:  Oh, now look, junior, that's what divorces are for!

Walter:  You've got an old fashioned idea divorce is something that lasts forever, 'til death do us part.' Why divorce doesn't mean anything nowadays, Hildy, just a few words mumbled over you by a judge.

And check out these stills from the film and Hildy's incredible ensembles!

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

Flashback Summer:  "His Girl Friday"

Fabulous, no?!  I love the Hildy character, too.  She's a strong, independent newspaper woman that finally wants to settle down, and she's bound and determined to do it!  I think she's great.  

And on a costume-related note, do you SEE how the stripes are PERFECTLY aligned on her outfits?!  Sewing genius!!!

1930s Hint...

I have another hint for you guys, this time from the 1930s!
The 1930s is one of my favorite decades to wear on a daily basis (along with the 40s), though I don't have much in my collection.  30s clothing and patterns are harder to come by and construct, I've found.  (Anyone else concur?)  I did find something pretty on my shopping expeditions recently though.... You may see a pattern in the following garments as a hint...

Manic Vintage
circa 1955 vintage
Dear Golden