24 Gorgeous 1940s Details

Make sure someone is there to catch you when you faint over these amazing 1940s garment details!  Are there any that you have recreated or utilized in a similar way?  Which ones inspire and amaze you?

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13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24

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6 Tips for Prioritizing Projects

Flashback Summer: 6 Tips for Prioritizing Projects

I have so many projects I would like to do.

And for many of these to-do projects I already have most, if not all, of the supplies needed to create them.  The only thing I don't have is time!

This means that I'm having to prioritize my projects, a very difficult task.  I'm finding that how I pick my project order does actually have a logic to it, and this process has really helped me determine which projects to do when.


As of about a month ago, I joined the Twitter world.

It was a big step.

I pride myself on being the "unplugged" sort of person... but I will admit I'm rather enjoying Twitter.

Now that I know I do actually like Twitter and will continue using it, I want to invite you lovely readers to follow me!  (I also need people to follow back to liven up my Twitter feed these days!)

I promise I'm not a "spammy" tweeter, and I thoughtfully gather lots of vintage-related sources to share with all of you.  It really adds to the community aspect of vintage, and I'm enjoying it!  I'd love to get to know you all better and give you the opportunity to get to know me, too!

You can also follow or tweet me any time right over here in the sidebar. ---------->

Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets

Refashioning this Middle East novelty print skirt (the pattern is called "Casbah"), was actually a really fun endeavor.  After getting your input on it and doing some pre-planning to make sure I didn't kill a lovely vintage piece, I decided to create these lovelies!

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

The outfit is actually a blouse and skirt set.  I love this combo because it is versatile for my wardrobe.  Now I have a shirt, skirt, or dress to work with!

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Simplicity 1093 - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Simplicity 1093 - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

I only used one pattern for the blouse, and the skirt is just a simple 40s style dirndl skirt.  (Stephanie has a great sew-along on how to make one, although mine is sewn up the side, not so easy to de-skirt with!)

On deciding which pattern I wanted to use for the shirt, I needed one with these elements:
- extremely fabric efficient
- displays the novelty print well
- will pair nicely with both a fuller skirt and other kinds of separates
- familiar enough to me that I won't kill it and waste the cloth

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Simplicity 1093 - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Simplicity 1093 - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

Taking these into consideration, I decided on Simplicity 1093 from the year 1944, a pattern I have used a couple times before (here and here).  (This has been reprinted as Simplicity 1692, but I use the original.)  It has two main pattern pieces and the rest are facings, so it's incredible fabric efficient.  It also has a very simple front and back, perfect for displaying the fabric's amazing print.

I chose the higher neckline option to show as much of the print as possible, and was even able to line it up nicely with the alley between buildings in the center front (putting the wider gray part of the background at my shoulders and helping create the broad-shouldered look of the 40s) and the buildings in the center of the back.

I chose some white buttons I have in my stash to go at the top because they really pop and accent the white in the print.  At first, I attempted the thread loop option shown in the pattern, but I decided it was ridiculous and look funny, so I went back to the tried and true fabric loop choice instead.  I think it looks much better.

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Simplicity 1093 - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

The skirt was easy.  I reused the zipper and buttons and made the waistband a bit smaller to fit me and avoid the part under the buttons where it had begun to tear.  After that it worked out to the perfect length for me, luckily!  I also hemmed the skirt to make it shorter, but the fabric had a large gray expanse with no print at the bottom anyway, so I simply removed this and hand stitched a blind hem.

I also went with the dirndl style instead of pleats because the fabric had faded unevenly due to its original pleating:

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Casbah - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  Casbah - 1950s arabian mosque village novelty print

The dirndl style disguises this really well.  Now I can't even tell where the fading is!

Outfit details

hat: flea market
blouse and skirt: me-made
shoes: Payless kids
bakelite and gloves: gifted
earrings: um...?
necklace: gifted, from Afghanistan
bag I carried my lunch in: from Sudan (it's cool looking, but it's really just a rice bag!)

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  bakelite bangles

Flashback Summer: Middle East Novelty Skirt Refashion Deets -  1940s tilt hat

Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: 100% vintage cotton
Pattern: Simplicity 1093
Year: 1944
Notions: 6 buttons, 6 snaps
How historically accurate is it? Very accurate!  I think only the plastic buttons may be a bit off, but even plastic buttons were used in the 40s, so it could be just fine!
Any tricky parts to the pattern?  Not really.  It's all pretty straight forward.  I would recommend sizing down on this pattern, however.  I've had to adjust it for my 32" bust.
Did you change anything?  I switched the buttons to the front piece rather than the back so they can be seen more easily.
Time to complete: 2 days.  It could be done faster though!
First worn: August 14, 2014
Total cost: Everything was from my stash, so..... we'll just say about $15 with half the cost of the skirt thrown in.
Notes: This is a simple pattern, but I would recommend sizing down.  I've had to adjust it for my 32" bust even though it's for that measurement.  Also, really, don't do thread loops.

Swapping Sunday - Deadstock Lingerie

Hello everyone!  Since the addition of my new Swap/Shop page, I have decided to start a weekly posting of a couple things available for swap, complete with details, extra photos, and any stories connected to the items that I may know about!

First up for this week, I have a huge assortment of deadstock 1950s and 60s bras and legwear (stockings, pantyhose).

I found all of these at the Red Velvet estate sale (the Springfield shop that used to be owned by Elsie and Emma, the sisters of the A Beautiful Mess blog).  I was elated to find this gold mine!  

These bras go perfectly under 50s and 60s dresses, slips, blouses, etc. and really create the period-accurate "lift and separate" look, along with RIDICULOUSLY good support!  (I've tried them on; seriously, no bra shifting all day with these babies!)  I've noticed with a few of my 1950s slips that they really only sit right with vintage-shaped bras, not our modern rounder shapes.  If you've had a dress that just hasn't fit quite right in the bust, one of these bras may make the difference!  I have a variety of shapes and seaming, some of which can be seen in the pictures.

I'm offering all of these for the prices below (negotiable) + shipping, and, as usual, I'm also open to trades!  (To see what I'm looking for in swaps, you can check out the Swap/Shop page.)  The quantity I have available is listed next to each item as well.

$30 each - Bra Sizes Available:
28AA - 1
32B - 8  (2 sold, 6 available!)
32C - 2
34A - 1
34B - (This one may have been worn) 1
34C - 1
34D - 1  (sold)
36A - 1
36B - 1
38B - 1

$8 each - Panty Hose Sizes and Colors Available:
Size A, fits 5'-5'5" - "War Paint" (red/bergundy) (1)
Size 9 1/2-10 - "Go Brown" (1)
Size 11 1/2-12 - "Go Brown" (1)
Long, fits 5'4"-5'6" - Forest Green (1)
Short, fits 5'-5'3" - Black (has fading, could be re-dyed) (1) - $3

$10 each - Stockings Sizes and Colors Available:
Panty 'n Stems Stockings: I believe, from the package, these are meant to be worn under a legged girdle or matching "panty" that goes over the top of the stocking for a garter-less option.
Short - Taupe (1), Nude (1), 
Medium - Navy, Mascara (darker brown - 1), Sunny (carame - 1l)
Long - Nude (4)

Normal Stockings
8 1/2-11 - Beigine (1)
9 - "Puff of Smoke," seamless, 15 denier, 100% nylon (1)
9 1/2 - "Whisper Neutral Taupe," seamless, 15 denier, 100% nylon (1)
10 1/2 - "Off Black," seamless, 15 denier, 100% nylon (2 in one pack)

If you would like more information, photos, etc. just ask!  I'd be glad to provide them!

Controversial Post: What I Did With That Middle East Novelty Print Skirt...

I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to see what I decided to do with my Middle East novelty print skirt: refashion it, or leave it as it is.

In fact, we had a whole discussion on it, and I really appreciate everyone weighing in!  The comments really helped me decide what I wanted to do.

In the end, I decided to refashion the skirt into this top and skirt set (complete with puppy standing guard):

However, should anyone else get the idea to do this, I want to share in my decision-making and creating process.  I did a lot of pre-planning and testing before I took the leap of actually creating the outfit, and I think it would be handy for others to try these tips before disassembling a garment to refashion.  I'll tell about the actual pattern and construction details in a post in a couple days.

1. First, I checked to see if there was anywhere else to buy just the plain fabric.
I don't want to take apart a garment if there's reproduction or plain fabric available.  While I did see that some of the fabric (the print is called "Casbah," by the way) had been for sale on Etsy sometime in the past, I couldn't find any more of it.  Lizzie of The Vintage Traveler, who is pretty much a novelty print expert when it comes to travel themes, said there may have been a company that reproduced the fabric about 8 years ago, but although I searched high and low, I just couldn't seem to find it either.

2. Next, I checked to see how available Casbah skirts like this are.
If I have a one of a kind, rare skirt, I don't want to alter it.  However, I found these had sold on Etsy already, not to mention I've seen the skirt worn on others in several color ways, including the version Jessica of Chronically Vintage has.  Once again, Lizzie weighed in and said the skirt had indeed been mass produced and not hard to find, so I knew I didn't have a OOAK piece.

3. I measured to see if I would even have enough fabric to make what I wanted.
Most 1950s skirts like this that aren't circle skirts tend to be giant rectangles that are pleated (like mine) or gathered to the waistband at the top.  Knowing this, I knew that measuring the circumference of the bottom hem and the length from the hem to the waistband would give me a general idea of how much fabric this skirt has.  I found the skirt to be about 106" around and 31" in length.  I used my handy-dandy tile floor and measured out this 106"x31" rectangle on the ground (using random whatevers to mark the sides and such), then laid down the pattern pieces I intended to use.  I found that they did indeed fit, and it looked like I would still have enough to make a skirt.

After checking these three things, I felt confident that I was not ruining a special, OOAK piece and that I did indeed have enough fabric to do what I wanted.  With that knowledge, I took the plunge and refashioned it!

What do you guys think of how it turned out?  Does this change or affect your opinion on altering vintage?  What do you think of my "pre-planning" steps?  Would you have done anything differently?

Also, like I said above, I'll talk about which patterns I used and my creation process in the next post, so stay tuned!

Other Controversial Posts:

Print and Puppy

I realized I don't think I've ever properly introduced you guys to our dog that we've had for about a month or so.  Meet Dietrich, our Vizsla-Dachshund mix, one year old pup!

He stands guard during my outdoor photo shoots.

And he really enjoys being petted.  He's kind of needy when it comes to getting attention.

He likes feeling the wind in his ears, too!

Outfit details
1940s novelty print blouse: Decades
skirt: handmade 
shoes: Payless kids
necklace: gifted

Controversial Post: 3 Reasons Vintage Is Like Crack (and How I Control the Habit)

Flashback Summer - Controversial Post: 3 Reasons Vintage Is Like Crack - 1920s woman shopping

There are many ways in which vintage can be cost-effective (finding clothes in flea markets for $5, refashioning clothes, making your own), but I have found that wearing vintage can become addictive if I'm not careful.

We often joke about being addicted to bakelite, novelty skirts, Hawaiian prints, etc., and vintage lovers will shell out huge amounts of cash to get these items.

We also, for example, post pictures of our bakelite collections in specialized online groups, most of which are followed by at least a few comments similar to, "I wish I had such a great collection!" or "Aw man, my collection sucks.  I need to buy more."

Vintage is addictive.

I've wondered why exactly this is as I've felt myself getting sucked in.  I never want to go to the mall and drop a bunch of cash on a dress.  I never overspend in other areas of my life.  I'm quite responsible.  Why is it, though, that when I see a Middle East novelty print, I plan how I can rent out my puppy for farm work or sell a couple of my eggs in order to pay for it?  Why the strong, materialistic urge that says, "I must have this.  I love it.  I need it.  How can I get it now?"

Have you guys encountered this same feeling?  Do you find that it's a problem for you, or does it not affect your life very much?

As I've thought about it, I realized there are a few aspects of the vintage-wearing culture that cultivate this mindset for me, and I've cultivated a couple ways that I cope with them.  First, these are some reasons vintage is addictive:

1.  The road to materialism is wide because our vintage hobby is based on material things, and there are plenty of avenues for comparison.
A vintage lifestyle is largely based on clothing, so it can be easy to slide down the slippery slope of comparison as we look at the millions of outfits posted on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, etc.  It's a visually-based hobby, so we're constantly taking in examples of things we don't have, or looks we can't pull of because of this or that.  It can even come down to valuing ourselves or our uniqueness by the number of bangles on our arms or the collection of novelty print skirts we have.  We differentiate ourselves from "the rest of the world" solely on the fact that we wear victory rolls while "normal people" wear pony tails.

2.  Most vintage is sold in global, competitive arenas.
Etsy, Ebay, online shops.  All are available to nearly every vintage lover in the whole world, and we're all tapping the same relatively small amount of sources for our items.  This creates intense competition, a "first come first serve" environment in which you have to buy something if you even remotely like it, just to make sure someone doesn't snap it up before you do.  Things are selling in hours to people on opposite sides of the world.

3.  Vintage is scarce.
There are so many vintage items that are ooak or close to it.  I have said to myself so many times, "But if I don't buy it now, I may never get another chance, ever!  It may never resurface!"  This, of course, is a real possibility, as some things are ooak or may take decades to come back to market.
This is very much a personal answer, and I'd love to share how I've coped with these things in my own life.  It seems to me that the root of this comparison and endless desire for more stuff has to do with my character and values, so the next two sections will be very open about how I see things, including my religious beliefs, just to prepare you!  There's really no other way I can see to help myself overcome the character issues of materialism and comparison and make it a real heart change, not just a "clothing purchase diet."

I remember my priorities.
I'm a Christian, so my number one purpose in life is to live out my relationship with God in a way that shows others how amazing He is and what a difference He's made in my life.  I believe there is life for everyone after death, and what we do here will affect where that eternal life happens.  Not only that, I believe that God wants us to experience an incredible life here on earth, right now.  He offers hope, peace, comfort, joy, and steadfast loyalty in the face of a terrible world where people die hungry, children are sold as sex slaves, people abandon their families, and violence ruins the lives of so many.  
I don't mean this to make anyone feel guilty or to "Jesus juke" anybody, but as I remember how I want to make a dent in the horrible-ness of the world and change things for the better, what is a skirt to that?  How important is a blouse when it comes to the big picture?  It's hard to be materialistic with bigger, more eternal goals in mind.

I remember who I am.
I was a fun, unique person before wearing vintage, and I always will be (not to toot my own horn or anything, haha).  I'm not unique because I have weirdly innovative hairstyles or look like an old movie star.  I'm unique because God created me unlike anyone else in the whole world, past to future.  I have a different combination of likes, dislikes, opinions, a worldview, history, interactions, etc. that no one else in the world could ever replicate.  I'm more than the clothes I wear, so I can skip out on the "perfect" dress and not feel gypped as a person.
Not to mention, the God of the universe who can, you know, do anything and made billions of galaxies, considered me worth living in our horrible world and dying a terrible death then resurrecting Himself to rescue me and make it possible for me to interact with Him personally.  That makes a girl feel pretty good about herself, and it has nothing to do with what I'm wearing today.

Now after saying those things, I would like to add that I still struggle with making impulse buys and wanting so many things!  I, by no means, have all of this figured out, and I'm still trying to figure out the balance between enjoying vintage and indulging too much.

Have you encountered these issues in interacting in the vintage world?  Have you noticed any other reasons why vintage can be addictive to you?  How do you overcome these struggles in your own life, or are they still a persistent hang-up?

Check out these other "Controversial Posts" and join the conversation:
Refashioning Perfectly Wearable Vintage
Vintage Jewelry and Novelty Prints: Racist?

New Shop 'n' Swap Tab!

I have a new Shop/Swap tab on my blog!  I'm on the lookout for a few items (that I listed), and while I'm quite willing to accept fair offers on any of the pieces, I'm especially willing to trade!
I've got purses, deadstock undergarments, clothing items, etc. and I'm looking for xs clothing, 1900s-40s stuff, fabric, etc.

Check out the page and see if there's anything you'd like to make a deal on!  These pieces aren't being fully loved in my closet right now, and I'd like them to go to good homes.

Below are some of the items up for trade right now.  There are over 30 items of all sizes listed on the Shop/Swap page with short descriptions below.  (Most are vintage, but some  are modern, and I've identified them as such!)  If you have any questions, feel free to email, Tweet, or message me on Facebook!