Birthday Errands

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

This past Saturday was my sister's birthday, and while I already had her main present, I also wanted to pick up some flowers for her and run some other errands on the way to see her.  The earlier part of this day was spent knitting, watching shows on Netflix and cleaning, so I wasn't dressed to the nines.  On weekdays I work at an office and wear a lot of heels and dresses, so weekends are full of t-shirts, comfy shoes, and headscarves for me!

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

My shoes are Chacos, the best, most durable sandal brand I've ever encountered. Sure, they aren't 40s, but I can guarantee that if they were around in the 40s… women would have been wearing them for work and recreation all the time, like I do!  

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

On a birthday note...I got my sister's present from @guineverevonsneeden, an amazing lady I follow on Instagram. I sent her a picture of my sister and my dog, Dietrich, and an amazing custom portrait of the two was the result!  (My sister and Dietrich have a special bond!)  I posted a picture of me, my sister, and the portrait on Instagram.  I highly recommend Guinevere's work!

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

Flashback Summer: Birthday Errands - 1940s casual fashion

Outfit details
shirt: American Eagle (SOFTEST, BEST SHIRT)
jeans: me-made
headscarf: thrifted
bakelite: gifts
shoes: Chacos, ZX Unaweep style
earrings & purse: Kenya

Do you have a more casual go-to vintage look?  Do you find your weekend and weekday outfits are different?

Antelope Women Earrings

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

I'm a big fan of jewelry, as should be obvious to you guys by now.  It's one of the easiest ways to incorporate something unique into my look, and it can all be packed up into a small suitcase, the most travel-friendly kind of collection!

The other thing I love about jewelry is that EVERY culture has it.  In nearly every country I've been to, I've gotten a piece of jewelry.  I'm inspired by the different traditional accessories people of various cultures have created.  Native American jewelry is especially popular right now, and versions of it have often been incorporated in vintage looks over the decades, too (though often in a more stereotypical, kitschier way).

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

I found out about Lenise Omeasoo through a feature in Native Max Magazine.  She is a Native American (Blackfeet) artist that creates hand-beaded statement jewelry with motifs inspired by and incorporating traditional Blackfoot aesthetics.  Her jewelry designs are bold and twinged with tradition, and I knew I'd love to have some for my own!  I am passionate about supporting communities that create beautiful aesthetics and buying authentic pieces.  Mainstream stores are producing a lot of "tribal" stuff now that nods to Native motifs without giving credit or support to the communities they came from, and vintage clothing oftentimes did the same in their day.  By buying from Native artists, I can confidently wear these gorgeous pieces and know I am giving credit where it is due.

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

I wore these earrings with a black 1940s dress I recently acquired, but can't you see them with jeans and a leather jacket (*cough*Janey*cough)?  They can go vintage, they can go boho, Western, all sorts of fabulousness!

I bought this pair of hand-beaded earrings from her, and she kindly agree to answer some questions about herself, her culture, and her business so we could get to know her a bit more.

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

Where did the name "Antelope Women Designs" come from?
I wanted to make my own brand… a brand for women, jewelry that makes a women feel confident and willing to take her own personal style to the next level with my statement pieces.  My Indian name is Antelope Fast Runner.  I was given this name after I won my first state title in cross country. My mother's Indian name is Antelope Woman Stands Alone; she too was a cross country champ. The antelope is an important animal in our family, a family of runners.  So, as you can see, me and my mother's Indian names inspired my brand name!

How would you describe your heritage/culture?
I would describe my culture and the people behind it as resilient. 

How did you learn to make beaded jewelry?
I taught myself to bead.  At the time I started a family of own and moved away from my home.  My mother is a good beadier and so is my sister; you can say the inspiration to start a new hobby came from them.  When I first started, I knew the basics of tacking down beads and stitch edging. Over the months I started to experiment with larger beads and sequins. I'm still learning new skills and developing the business part of selling art. I plan to make my designs more complex and also to bead larger projects. I have some amazing projects in the works!

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

What is the significance of this jewelry to your family's heritage?
I think there are two different types of beadwork. We have the traditional style with a nice color contrast and symmetrical design, then there is the contemporary style, meaning we like to use bling, design with a more vibrant look, trying out new fabrics. Our dancing regalia is evolving. It's exciting!!

Do you wear your pieces with your everyday clothing, or do you save it for special occasions with traditional clothing?
I tend to make statement, everyday jewelry.  I love how you can wear a simple top and look amazing with one or two pieces. I do make regalia pieces as well that the customer only wears when they dance at a powwow or other gatherings.

Why is it important to buy authentic jewelry from First Nations artists rather than just buying "Native American inspired" pieces from mainstream stores?
I think it's a choice between buying something you got at the mall that's machine-made or having a custom piece made by an artist that knows the culture, an original piece made for you. 

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

What is a part of your culture that you feel is misunderstood by people from other cultures?
A lot of things are misunderstood about natives; as modern humans we stereotype different cultures. You have to take the time to learn about them. I have seen over the past years our culture has taken on a great interest in fashion and design. I myself don’t see anything wrong in someone seeing inspiration in my culture and giving it a new look.

What is something from your culture/heritage that you are especially proud of?
I'm proud to be a Blackfeet woman because it’s an honor to be born into a culture that is still blooming.

Where can people check out and buy your pieces? Do you have any social media accounts we can follow, too?
You can find me on Facebook, I have a page called Antelope-women Designs.  The site is under construction!

Flashback Summer: Antelope Women Earrings

Do you incorporate Native American motifs into your wardrobe already, or would you like to?  How do you feel about buying from Native designers versus from mainstream shops?  Is there anything that has especially inspired you in Native fashion?

This post is not sponsored by Antelope-women Designs, and I have not been compensated for it. I purchased these earrings myself and just wanted to share how awesome they are with you guys!

Frankie & Albert Vintage Home Decor

Out of the blue, I received an email from a "Frankie & Albert."  Having no idea who that was, but acknowledging the fact that Frankie is one of my favorite names, I popped open the email.  To my delight, I found out Frankie & Albert is a subscription service that sends hand-picked vintage home decor to your door every month.  I was intrigued.

I checked out their site, and seeing that it was awesome I accepted their offer to review a box of home decor items for you guys.

Having moved around for the past six years in high school and college, I don't have much in the way of home decor.  It's pretty much the first thing I threw out when I had to move.  However, now that I have my own home, decor items mean more!  I was fine not having much decor in years past because I lived in a dorm and it didn't matter much to me, but now that I'm in a house, I care.  It's the little decor items and accessories that really make a place feel homey.

However, although I have a few sentimental bits and bobs here and there, I haven't intentionally shopped for home decor items much.  I am still trying to figure out my home's "look," so I was intrigued to partner with Frankie & Albert to see what their designers would hand pick for me.  (AKA, HELP MEEEEEE!)

I asked for items to decorate our bedroom, and I asked for navy, red, sea foam, or yellow things.  I also said I loved the 30s and 40s, vintage military and Air Force stuff, and patriotic things.  LOOK WHAT THEY PICKED FOR ME!!!

I was astounded at how spot-on their picks were!  There are a couple of 1940s silhouettes, vintage veteran-themed matches, a lovely yellow bowl in the perfect shade, a Senate-themed porcelain coaster (my husband's favorite item), and a frilly fabric thing that apparently is a "bun warmer."  (I had never heard of those, and I'm using it for stocking storage!)

Well, seeing that their picks were perfect, I knew I needed a proper way to display them, along with the couple other knick-knacks I hadn't found a home for yet.  One thing turned into another... and my husband and I ended up building these honeycomb shelves!  I love the homeyness and personality these bits bring to our space.  I probably never would have picked them out myself, but they're just perfect!  I still need to work on filling up the other hexagons in the shelf, but this Frankie & Albert stuff has given me a great start!

So how Frankie & Albert works is that you sign up for a monthly subscription and let them know what kind of decor you like and for which room, and each month they'll send you a box of hand-picked vintage items to your door.  It's fantastic if you don't have a lot of time to hunt through flea markets for your own stuff or don't encounter good vintage in your area.  Or... if you're like me and just need some decor help.  Obviously, I can attest that they pick well.

If you'd like to learn more about it, you can go to the Frankie & Albert site here

How would you describe your home decor style?  What effect have accessories had on the look and feel of your home?

For 20% off a Frankie & Albert subscription, use the promo code FLASHBACKSUMMER20 at checkout!

Bonus Question: What item on the Frankie & Albert home page would you put dibs on?  (Personally, I'm torn between the yellow pillow and the white and gold tea pot. Super pretty flat lay picture, right?!)

In case it isn't already clear, I collaborated with Frankie & Albert vintage home decor for this post in return for a box of home decor items. Though the stuff was free to me, I'm being very real in my thoughts and opinions here!  You can read more about my collaboration policies here.

Craftsy Class: The Essential Guide to Tailoring

Flashback Summer - Craftsy Class: The Essential Guide to Tailoring

Since going through the Couture Dressmaking Techniques Craftsy class with Alison Smith to make my 1930s trousers, I've been itching to try one of her other classes, the Essential Guide to Tailoring.  You see, one of my goals this fall is to make myself several suits, and couture techniques and tailoring are a huge part of making really fabulous ones.

I've made a suit before, but it didn't feel like the sturdy, beautifully shaped vintage suits I've encountered.  Looking back, it's obvious!  I just sewed it together.  I didn't do any shaping or tailoring techniques, so the jacket doesn't feel as good.  While I still like it, I wanted something more structured.

The Tailoring class is currently on sale for $25, and that sale was just enough motivation to get me to buy it, in combination with the fact that despite searching high and low for free resources, I could find nothing truly helpful.  I bought it and watched the class, then I began implementing it on my first test project: a double breasted 1930s suit jacket to go with my Smooth Sailing trousers.  
In my next post I'm going to talk about the process of sewing a tailored garment and how the 30s jacket turned out, but for this post I wanted to talk about the Craftsy Tailoring class specifically.

Once again, Alison Smith hits it out of the park!  I had ZERO knowledge of tailoring besides what I had just learned in the Couture Class (mostly I learned to underline and hand sew things down).  As far as scary things like canvas and shaping and the "guts" of a jacket... I was clueless.  This class is now my go-to!

Flashback Summer - Craftsy Class: The Essential Guide to Tailoring
Sneak peek of my upcoming project!

It goes through three ways to tailor a garment: the traditional way, the speedy modern way, and a hybrid of the two.  I focused on the traditional methods to try first, both to have a piece that feels authentically vintage and to have a good foundation of tailoring knowledge. I didn't want to pick a shortcut yet when I didn't know the original path.

Alison discusses things like picking the type of tailoring to go with your fabric and garment, the materials you'll need, and how to put in the shaping bits like horsehair canvas and lambswool into the "guts" of the jacket.  She also talks a lot about how to steam, press, and stitch pieces to "put shape into the fabric" before it's even sewn up.  There's even a cheat sheet included for how to do each type of tailoring, and it's now taped up on my sewing room wall for easy reference!

I HIGHLY recommend this class.  One of the most expensive, coveted, hard-to-find types of vintage clothing is a suit that fits properly.  Now that I've taken this class, I feel empowered to make my own!  I've been extremely frustrated in looking for an actual vintage suit (very, very few seem to even remotely fit my petiteness), so the ability to make some for myself instead of dealing with the slim vintage pickins will radically change my wardrobe this season.

Like I said before, The Essential Guide to Tailoring class is only 25 bucks right now! If you want to try it, now's the time!

Have you ever tried sewing your own tailored garment?  How did it go?  If not, have you wondered about it? Have you noticed a difference between vintage suits and modern ones?

I am not affiliated with Craftsy or Alison Smith in any way and did not receive any type of compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are totally my own, blah blah blah, you guys know the drill.

40s Dress and 50s Lucite

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

It's finally starting to feel like fall here!  There's a bit of a crispness in the air in the mornings and evenings, so I have begun to layer a bit.  I paired my favorite sweater with one of my favorite dresses, and I love the result!  However, I realized I don't have much in the way of coordinating accessories, so I kept it simple with a matching headscarf, Coptic cross necklace, and my new lucite bag.

(The headscarf also covered my freshly-permed hair, which had not been properly pin curled and was pretty crazy.)

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

My grandma found this lucite purse in a flea market, and because it has a bit of a crack on the back it was cheaply priced.  Well, I won't let a tiny crack keep me from a well-priced, fabulous purse!  It's still totally useable and will be worked into my outfits this fall. 

Flashback Summer: 1940s dress and 1950s Lucite purse

Outfit details
dress: handmade by me from a 40s pattern
1940s shoes: Decades (Springfield, MO)
sweater, purse, and headscarf: flea market
Coptic cross necklace: Egypt

When the Option Is "Sew or Freeze"

Flashback Summer: "Sew or Freeze" - 1930s winter fashion
1934 winter frocks, from Glamourdaze

For many people, sewing is a hobby.  It's fun to sew the little tote bag, the pinterest shirt refashion, the decorative table runner.  However, for me, it's much more dramatic.  It's "sew or freeze" time!

As fall approaches, I've been reminded of how chilly I was last winter when I realized I had completely insufficient amounts of vintage winter clothing.  Winter clothing in general, actually.  In light of that revelation, I knew I had to make more cold weather-appropriate pieces to wear for this winter.  However, FALL IS COMING. Fall means coldness, and it's followed by more wintery coldness.  The clock is ticking!

So right now, I have several wintery projects underway.  I'm trying to sew quickly while still maintaining high quality craftsmanship to make the pieces durable.  The only tricky part?  There just aren't enough hours in the day!  Making quality pieces means it takes a lot longer, and while I know it will pay off in better garments, it's hard not to take short cuts when I feel like I have so many things to make and so little time.

Flashback Summer: "Sew or Freeze" - 1930s winter fashion
from Glamourdaze

You see, I don't want to cave and just go buy things at the mall that are cheap but warm.  I want pieces that I love, pieces that fit me perfectly that I'll wear for years to come.  With a smaller budget, creating them myself is the best option cost-wise, but it's more labor-intensive.  It's forcing me to be more organized in my time management to get as much done as possible during the day.

Obviously, my situation isn't literally as dramatic as "sew warm clothes or die a frozen death," but I do legitimately need a few winter wardrobe essentials like a new coat, snow-appropriate shoes, and warmer mix-and-match pieces.  In most of my spare time, I'm sewing, sewing, sewing (and knitting) in anticipation of the changing season.

Is anyone else (in the Northern hemisphere) panicking at the thought of winter coming?  Have you ever felt like you've been caught unprepared for weather in terms of your vintage wardrobe?  What are your best sources and bits of advice when it comes to vintage winterwear?

Flea Market Day

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

My parents are in town visiting, and today we all had the day off to hang out a bit.  We went to the BEST tea room in the area, Spring Creek Tea Room in Ozark, Missouri.  The best part about it is the tea room is connected to a small flea market!  ("Flea market" in the Missourian sense of the word, like an antique mall.)  The tea room is always crowded because, well, it's fantastic food, so you get to meander around and shop while you wait.

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

The other fabulous part is the food.  I got an apple pecan salad, blueberry iced tea, and PEACH SOUP.  Yes, that's right, peach soup!  They also have strawberry soup.  They're cold, sweet soups with a dollop of whip cream on the top, and this tea room makes it perfectly.  Sweet, but not too sweet, with a fabulous texture.

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

My husband was kind enough to pause in the flea market for a quick photo shoot, lovely man that he is.  This dress is from the 40s, bought from a friend. I did a quick, careful shrink and it fits me perfectly now!  I like the basic lines of it with the pop of color at the top. I paired it with a couple accessories my mom brought me from Kenya, a beaded belt, large purse, and pair of earrings.  It's an easy outfit, and I love it!

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

Then, lastly… this table!  My husband and I have been looking for a new kitchen table, and we spotted this beauty for a great price.  Obviously, it came home with us!  We took it apart, stuffed it in the car, and now it's looking great in our kitchen.  I'll take some photos soon to share with you guys when I get a couple more furniture pieces in place.  (Doesn't moving in take so long sometimes?!)

Flashback Summer: Flea Market Day - Spring Creek Tea Room, 1940s outfit

Outfit details
dress: 1940s
shoes: kmart?  Maybe?
belt, purse and earrings: Kenya
lipstick: F21

My First Chemise

Flashback Summer: Fashions of the Gilded Age Natural Form Chemise Pattern

The historical sewing has begun, officially!  I even have my first finished project to share with all of you!
I've decided to work on a Natural Form era ball gown, a dress from the late 1870s to early 1880s.  My strategy is to work from closest to the skin out, and that means my first project is Victorian underwear.  How scandalous!  Doesn't it look scandalous?

Flashback Summer: Fashions of the Gilded Age Natural Form Chemise Pattern

This piece is a chemise, and I drafted it from the Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol. 1 book, page 88.  It's a really simple thing to draft, thankfully, because this was my first time using the ruler method outlined in the book.  After forgetting to add seam allowances TWICE, I finally got it right and sewed up the chemise!

As far as this pattern goes, it all seems good to me except the armscye.  It was quite small, and I cut about 1.5 inches further down the bottom of the armhole to have more room.  Everything else seems alright to my slightly-trained historical eye.  (Although, I don't think I attached the trim around the neckline like I should have. It should be more on the chemise fabric instead of above it, but I don't have the heart to tear it out and re-do it at the moment. I don't know about the sleeve trim either… doesn't look quite right. I need to get better trims.)

Flashback Summer: Fashions of the Gilded Age Natural Form Chemise Pattern

This is an easy one-day project, but I'm proud!  It's a real historical garment!  I've begun the journey!  I'll get better as I go along, and even now I can see my French seams are awfully fat and the trim isn't done quite right.  But that's what's nice about starting with a chemise… Nobody will see it under the dress!  It's all good!

Flashback Summer: Fashions of the Gilded Age Natural Form Chemise Pattern

Also, I'm pleasantly surprised at how pretty it feels to wear.  I thought I'd feel like I was wearing a giant sack, but with the slightly off-the-shoulder fit that will be required with a ball gown, it feels quite pretty!  I think it's the lace and ribbon; feels very feminine and awesome, despite the tent shape of everything else.  Obviously, with a corset over it, it should be even lovelier!

Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: 100% cotton
Pattern: Fashions of the Gilded Age Vol. 1, pg. 88 Chemise
Year: 1870s-80s
Notions: ribbon and trim
How historically accurate is it? I think it's pretty close!  The trim isn't quite right, but I think it's a good first try. 
Any tricky parts to the pattern?  The combination of French seams and side gussets was a little difficult to wrap my mind around, but I think I got it!
Did you change anything?  Yes, I lowered the armscyes about 1.5" on each side to make them bigger.
Time to complete: A day
First worn: August 31, 2015
Total cost: $8 fabric + $2 ribbon + $3 trim + cost of book (spread over several projects, though!) = let's say about $15
Notes: Easy to draft and adjust the size.  It's basically a rectangle with ribbon at the top!