Sew For Victory 2014 Project #2!

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014 Project, 1940s Vogue 9384 velvet robe

It is done!!!  My second Sew For Victory 2014 project, the late 1940s velvet robe (Vogue 9384), is done!  My friend Darlene was kind enough to lend me her art studio to take some pictures in!

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014 Project, 1940s Vogue 9384 velvet robe

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014 Project, 1940s Vogue 9384 velvet robe

If you recall, I posted about my original plan here, but as I went along I still ended up changing it a bit.  Instead of lining it in flannel, I found that the large amount of velvet and the floor length actually made the robe quite warm without the lining.  I did, however, keep all the seams nice and tidy inside, since they would be showing!

I also tweaked my embroidery plans a bit and ended up embroidering the collar, cuffs, a strip down the back, and monogramming the pocket with my soon-to-be new initials (by hand, may I add!).  I changed the pattern to add the tighter cuff because baggy robe sleeves always seem to get in the way.  

I only made two other slight changes to the original pattern (besides basic size alterations).  I added shoulder pads for a more tailored 40s look and to help my tiny-shouldered proportions look a little more balanced with the voluminous, full-length bottom of the robe.  I also added some gold fringe to the sash..... because I happen to love luxurious garments that sometimes border on gaudiness and I liked it.

I TOTALLY love this robe.

It's, for once, pretty much exactly how I envisioned it, and I am quite pleased.  It feels so posh, and I can't wait to lounge around the house in it soon!

Also, be sure to check out the Sew For Victory flickr group to see more of my photos and the other fabulous projects people are working on!

Extra note:  Just in case you happen to like the embroidery pattern I used on this robe, I made a very ghetto version of it that you can print off and use in your own projects!  You can find it on the Flashback Summer Facebook page here.  (The flowers in my robe-- if you measure from a left side flower to the next left side flower-- are about 3" apart.)

What about you guys?  The April 30th deadline is getting closer!  How are your projects coming along?

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014 Project, 1940s Vogue 9384 velvet robe

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014 Project, 1940s Vogue 9384 velvet robe

Sew For Victory 2014 Project #1!

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014- 1940s mail order 3700 suit and sundress

I have my first finished Sew For Victory 2014 project to share with you guys, the mail order suit I first discussed in this earlier post!  I created this suit set as part of my wedding trousseau, and I was amazed that I had to change almost nothing on the pattern to fit me!  It was already tiny enough!  (Having to alter patterns every time really annoys me, can you tell?)

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014- 1940s mail order 3700 suit and sundress

Flashback Summer:  Sew For Victory 2.0 2014- 1940s mail order 3700 suit and sundress

Although the materials to make this suit are not necessarily historically accurate (I think the fabric is some sort of polyester blend and the buttons are plastic), it definitely has the look of the 40s.  More importantly, however, it embodies the "Make Do" attitude of the time.  I used only things from my stash and just had to buy some matching thread!  The buttons were given to me by my grandmother, and the fabric was about $2 at a thrift store.  All the other notions (shoulder pads, snaps, etc.) were thrifted as well for a couple bucks.  

I'm in the midst of graduating, getting married, and starting life; I do NOT have a bucket load of money to spend, so a $5 suit does just the trick!

I liked this pattern a lot (Mail Order 3700), but I would like to forewarn anyone else that tries it that it does not include any facings for the sundress and no back neck facing for the jacket.  It simply says, "Create bias facings."  That part was a bit tricky, and the rounded straps on the sundress were difficult for me to get the curve right on, but besides this (especially considering it's a SUIT), the pattern was great!  It is EXTREMELY fabric efficient (I would guess both pieces used less than two yards), and it came together relatively quickly.

In these photos it's a bit wrinkled due to being transported (it really does look way better ironed), but this suit is becoming one of my favorites.  I did a "test run" wearing on Easter to see if anything felt funny, pulled, or twisted, and it felt great!  I'm going to hold off on wearing it again until my wedding day as my going away outfit.  There I will take more pictures to share with you of the sundress underneath, so stay tuned!

Also, be sure to check out the Sew For Victory flickr group to see more of my photos and the other fabulous projects people are working on!

Outfit Details:
suit:  handmade by me (pattern from QuiltCitySue Etsy shop)
shoes:  Decades (Springfield, MO)
necklace: gift

Holy Feedsacks, Batman!

Flashback Summer:  1930s and 1940s Feedsack Print Fabric

So I just found out that my new phone has a nicer camera than my old one, and I wanted to try it along with a mobile blogging app today, just to see if it could be a new possibility for me.


Thus, I thought I'd share my new feedsack materials I found with you guys!  I found these lovelies in a flea market for ten bucks each!  Better yet, I think if I'm very careful I could squeeze a blouse out of each one... I'm looking for simple button-down blouse patterns from the 30s or 40s to try with these materials, so if you know of any good ones, please let me know!


Flashback Summer:  1930s and 1940s Feedsack Print Fabric


"Vintage Design Workshop: Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" Book Review

Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

As those of you that have been following Flashback Summer for a while know, I've had an ongoing desire to learn to knit clothing, especially vintage clothing.  You would also know that it has definitely been an up and down process, most recently ending in a Knit For Victory 2013 failure in which I planned to knit this cardigan and ended up with a mess of a cardigan that was way too wide, too short, and had unintentionally leg-o'-mutton-ish sleeves.  After spending a ridiculously long time knitting with such high hopes, it was a devastating time.

However, I plucked up the courage and will to try again, this time vowing to equip myself with the knowledge of how to actually 1.) knit garments well and 2.) knit vintage garments.

After exploring and researching for some good books, I found Vintage Design Workshop by Geraldine Warner.

When it arrived in the mail, I immediately tore it open, and over Christmas break I read it from cover to cover, intrigued and sucked in by every page.  (This is especially amazing considering it's an instructional book!)  Inside is everything a knitter would need to know about recreating vintage patterns, things like:

- Colors used in vintage clothing during certain time periods, and why
- types of yarn used and modern equivalents
- needle conversion charts
- patterns for several kinds of sleeves, collars, colorwork, etc.
- how to change vintage pattern sizes
- different methods of altering patterns for design and fit goals
- a list of extra resources in the back

Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

Truly, I went from having made one ugly knit-stitch-only, rectangle-shaped sweater and this giant flop of a sweater (Notice how it's all weirdly textured?  That's because I didn't realize what a stockinette stitch was and knit stitched everything except the ribbing.  Yes, it was bad):
Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

 And after reading Vintage Design Workshop, to this one:
Flashback Summer: "Vintage Design Workshop:  Knitting Techniques for Modern Style" by Geraldine Warner book review

My first completed, pretty, vintage reproduction 1940s sweater!
(I plan to wear this for graduation, so there will be more pictures soon!)

The book answered pretty much all of my questions and helped me solve the problems I had encountered in my failed sweater (that is, wrong needle sizes.  And yarn sizes.  And no knowledge).  I also learned how to read and chart knitting patterns and estimate finished measurements.  I felt entirely equipped by this book, and I think the results speak for themselves!

The only thing I felt the book was missing was more instructions on seaming knitted pieces together.  It lists different methods and which ways are good for what kinds of pieces being joined, but there were no actual instructions on how to do it.  However, I did discover that in the list of extra resources in the back it provided helpful websites to answer these questions.  I appreciated that.

I also love this book for its reference value.  It has SO MANY things in it that can be applied to all projects, and I know I'll be using it in the future.  I also love that it has a wealth of different collar, cuff, and sleeve patterns that I can use in case I'd like to mix and match one day!

Many would also ask about a book versus just discovering things on the internet.  I would say this book is definitely worth the money to buy versus searching on the web because of its time-saving inclusiveness.  You don't have to search a few websites looking for the right tutorial or sift through unhelpful posts.  Everything in this book is tried and true, and most of it (including sleeve patterns, etc.) include amazing, detailed photos that illustrate the concepts in the book.  It is a lot of high quality information all in one place.  Not to mention, it's a book and its batteries won't die in the middle of a knitting crisis.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to both beginners and advanced knitters.  It's an easy read that is delightfully interesting for a how-to!  Beginners can benefit from the basic knowledge included, and advanced knitters can benefit from the patterns in the book.  Advanced knitters just diving into the world of vintage knitting would also find this book useful for its vintage-specific content on things like yarn types, era trends, and needle conversions.

Not to mention, for under $20 this book has opened up a whole new world of clothing options to me and saved me a ridiculous amount of hours wasted on accidentally balloon-sleeved epic fails.  Very worth it.

If you'd like to find out more, you can buy and preview the book here on the Interweave website!

I have not collaborated with the author or publisher of this book for this post.  I bought it with my own moolah, and the opinions expressed are all mine!

Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014

Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - 1940s formal dress gown

On Friday night my university held the annual Junior-Senior Banquet, this year at the Showboat Branson Belle.  It's an old-school paddle boat that goes across a lake in the area while we eat dinner and watch a variety show inside.  We all dressed up in our loveliest dresses, grabbed a date and had a good time!  It's our last banquet, so that was bittersweet.  (Mostly because I just enjoy having a consistent reason to dress up every year!)

I wore a dress that I found in a flea market.  It's from the 40s, and I had to do a bit of work on it to get it ready.  Amazingly, the tulle at the bottom of the skirt was flawless, but it had been hanging on a wire hanger for too long without the hanger straps, and the mesh top was torn along the shoulders.  I thought I would get to work on fixing it, though, because I actually needed to "petite-ize" it and bring the shoulders down anyway.  I also needed to bring in the sides a bit at the top under the arms for a snug, non-gapey fit.

After getting the shoulders and sides sewn, I tried it on.  While getting everything smoothed out, however, the mesh top tore right along one shoulder seam, much to my dismay.  I couldn't fix it.  There just wasn't any fabric left to work with.  So, while hoping to retain the general look of the dress, I had to cut off all the mesh that had covered the shoulders above the lace bodice, and I used the border on the mesh top around the armholes as the new straps.  While not as amazing as the mesh top, I do think it looks pretty good!  I put on my tall gold shoes, a navy belt, found a coordinating tie for Jacob, and altogether we looked pretty snazzy, I dare say.  It was a good night with our dear friends Chelsea, Evan, Adam, and Lauren!

Photos from Chelsea and Lauren; thanks, guys!

Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - 1940s formal dress gown

Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - 1940s formal dress gown
'Merica.
Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - 1940s formal dress gown

Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - Showboat Branson Belle

Flashback Summer:  Junior-Senior University Banquet 2014 - 1940s Formal Dress Gown

Contrapunt Giveaway Winner!


Hello everyone!  Just a quick note to tell you the results of the Contrapunt Etsy Shop giveaway!  Nuria, the Contrapunt shop owner, has been a delight to work with and I have been glad to highlight her amazing patterns!

Now, for what you've all been waiting for..... the winner of the giveaway is........

EMILY OF EMILY'S VINTAGE VISIONS!

Congratulations Emily!  I've emailed you with the details!
Thank you to everyone who participated!

Good Times in College From Back in the Day


Yesterday I had the pleasure of going over to my friend Darlene's house to continue our planning of my wedding decor and flowers.  (She is kindly organizing it all for me!  Her artistic talents are boundless, I swear.)  After talking about the necessary things, we went on to other life topics, and we got onto the subject of what her college days were like.  She attended a state university here in town, then called SMS, in the 60s.  (In the picture above, she is the furthest on the left.  She said she loved that sweater but the angora itched a lot.)  A small town girl coming to the big city, she was caught off guard by some of her roommates' antics and the frat boys that lived in the house next door to hers.  Probably my favorite story she told was how she had a roommate that would iron her bullet bras to a sharp point every day.  No one else around them was wearing such bras at that point, so it was a bit appalling to all the other ladies.

Not to mention the guys next door that ran a bar.  After closing the bar, all the student clientele would just walk on over the these guys' house and continue the party.  Darlene said they were constantly being raided by the police in the middle of the night, so that was a new experience for her.

Although times have definitely changed since then and college experiences are very different now, I think we younger generations think of college students of this time as way stuffier than they actually were.  Today I have a fun collection of vintage college antics to share with you, to put it all back in perspective.  (And I'm having major senioritis and DANG-I'm-done-with-school emotions that are strong right now, so enough with school seriousness.) 
First off, my favorite vintage fad I've discovered: Telephone booth cramming.


Obviously this late 1950s game involved cramming as many people into a telephone booth as possible and snapping a picture before the people on the bottom suffocated.  Apparently it got pretty intense and resulted in international rivalries.  And we thought planking was clever.

Or, if phone booths aren't your thing, you could pack a 1965 Volswagen:


And then this guy pulled a great photo prank.  To get all the ins and outs of how it worked, check out this article, but basically while the photographer did a slow pan of this college group to get a long line of students, a guy ran from one side to the other, and because of the slow exposure... shows up twice in the picture.  There he is in both the bottom two picture excerpts.  What a joker.


Then sometimes they just had to cabaret on the lawn:

Good times, good times.

P.S.  It's the last day to enter the Contrapunt Etsy Shop giveaway to win a custom-sized vintage pattern!  Don't miss it!

"Vintage Notions" Book Review


There are few things I enjoy more than learning about the yesteryears and giving context to the vintage fashion that I love so much.  While vintage fashion in its own sake is wonderful, I am exhilarated to learn the history behind it.  You know, things like why dresses had snaps instead of zippers, what archaeological discoveries influenced 1920s fashion, how certain silhouettes were created during specific eras, how clothing was a reflection of society at the time.

When my mother sent me the book Vintage Notions by Amy Barickman, I was immediately enchanted by its happy array of feedsack print flora on the cover and the subtitle-- "An Inspirational Guide to Needlework, Cooking, Sewing, Fashion, and Fun"-- all of which I happen to totally adore, so..... I opened it up real quick and started reading!

THE BOOK IS FILLED WITH PAGES OF MAGIC.



I don't believe that I have ever run across such a wealth of information so perfectly tailored to my vintage lifestyle.  Truly, the subtitle did not lie!  The book is divided into the four seasons of the year and filled with old articles, essays, tutorials, and pictures that not only completely delighted my soul but are also easily applicable to my life.

Some other things included in the book are:
How to make a 1920s lingerie set (a draft at home pattern)
Setting the table for a Valentine's day party
How to make two aprons out of a man's shirt
Hankie monogramming
Character-building articles and poetry
Pockets to store my own inspirational clippings

The book is a collection of articles and lessons from a women's college that operated from the 1900s to the 1930s.  (There's a whole section on the history behind it that is ridiculously interesting.)  I personally really enjoy the mindset of Amy Barickman in valuing these articles and pieces of knowledge.  Some would dismiss the idea of a woman's college that focused on cooking, sewing, and the domestic arts as quaint and old fashioned, a relic of days when women were oppressed and relegated to strict gender roles.  But this was not the case at all!  The creation of this woman's college elevated the "womanly arts" to the level of a higher education institution, giving them validity as the fine arts they truly are.  Hundreds of thousands of women enrolled, and this education in sewing, dressmaking, cooking, etc. allowed so many of these women to generate income for their families.  This income gave women the independence to create businesses, to venture out into the world of commerce in a way that they couldn't before.  These "quaint" homemaking skills were the route to economic freedom and provision for these women and their families.

The only thing I wish was different about the book was the somewhat limited array of draft at home patterns.  Out of the 12 patterns included, four are aprons.  While I enjoy aprons immensely and they make great gifts, I would have liked more of a variety.  However, I must say that the aprons also didn't look similar to each other, so they truly were different patterns.  I can still see myself using those patterns as gifts in the future.

Overall, I highly recommend this book.  It was a joy to read, a feast for the eyes, and I will admit that it kind of consumed my life until I was done with it.  I just couldn't put it down!

You can find out more about the author and her book (as well as purchase it) here if it's something you'd like to explore further!

There are also full page excerpts to look at, if you'd like a better idea of the book's awesomeness!

I didn't collaborate with the author or publisher of this book for this post, and all thoughts are my honest opinions.

Sponsor Highlight: A Giveaway From Contrapunt Etsy Shop!

This giveaway is now closed.  You can find the results here.

Flashback Summer: Sponsor Highlight - Contrapunt Etsy Shop Custom Pattern Giveaway

For the next week, Flashback Summer sponsor Contrapunt Etsy Shop has a giveaway for you guys!  In this post you'll get to know the shop owner, Núria Passada, and her creative process, then you'll have opportunities to enter into the giveaway to win a custom-sized vintage pattern drafted just for you!

Núria approached me earlier this month to talk about sponsorship, and she has been a delight to work with!  After I explored her Etsy Shop, Contrapunt, I just knew that you guys would love it as much as I do!  Contrapunt specializes in hand-drafted vintage patterns, artistic collars and unique clothing.  

Probably my favorite part of the Contrapunt shop is the patterns.  They are original vintage patterns from the 20s through the 40s, and Núria was kind enough to explain how she creates custom-sized, fit-you-perfectly patterns for her customers from vintage images.  It's just incredible to me!

1.  First, she starts with what she calls the "base of the pattern".  This is like a mold of the body she's creating a pattern for with its exact measurements.
Flashback Summer: Sponsor Highlight - Contrapunt Etsy Shop Custom Pattern Giveaway

2.  Next, she cuts into the base of the pattern and adds yellow paper into certain places. This adds 3D shaping and volume where necessary to create the design that she's looking for.
Flashback Summer: Sponsor Highlight - Contrapunt Etsy Shop Custom Pattern Giveaway

3.  Then comes the fun part!  She puts the pattern on a mannequin and adds the design details that make each garment unique and fabulous.

4.  Then voilá!  After some work and tweaking, she has a complete pattern all ready to be sewn up into fabulous garments like this one!


And now she's offering one lucky reader the chance to choose a vintage pattern to be custom-made to her exact size!
Personally, I'm totally in love with this idea.  It takes out all the traumatic, frustrating hours of fitting and adjusting and fixing a pattern or trying to come up with one on my own.  Check out just a few of the patterns available for sizing in her shop:
Flashback Summer: Sponsor Highlight - Contrapunt Etsy Shop Custom Pattern Giveaway

Fabulous, right?!
Not to mention, several of these patterns would work for Sew for Victory, too!

So this giveaway will begin today and run until April 11 at 12 am (aka Thursday night).
There are several ways to enter.  The only mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this post about your favorite Contrapunt product (make sure you tell the little Rafflecopter entry-collector below that you commented!), and the other ways to enter will give you more chances to win!  You can also pin your favorite Contrapunt item to Pinterest once a day for extra entries.  Woooo!  Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also use this code to embed this giveaway elsewhere:
http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/ZjkxOTlkMjUzOWYwZjkwMzYyMTc4MjA0MTA4OTFiOjEx/