Vest & Trousers

Flashback Summer: Vest & Trousers - 1930s suit

This morning, apparently it was colder here in Missouri than it was in parts of Alaska.  That's pretty ridiculous.

On top of that, Missouri gets really windy in the winter, so I need properly warm winter gear.  Trousers are always a go-to choice for that, and to dress these up I added a matching vest.

Plaid 1930s Ensemble

Flashback Summer: Plaid 1930s Ensemble - suit

I've finished another ensemble on my winter sewing list!  I based this suit on illustrations from mid-1930s magazines I have.  They commonly have sets of a dress or skirt with a boxy, hip-length swing jacket.  I rather like the versatility pieces like this bring to my wardrobe.  I have a lot of navy and red, so now I have a couple more pieces I can mix and match with them.  Hurray for versatility!

Traditional Fashion Highlight: Bolivia, Germany, Yemen, & Mongolia

Flashback Summer: Traditional Fashion Highlight - Bolivia, Germany, Yemen, Mongolia

I'm starting a new post series I hope you guys will enjoy: the Traditional Fashion Highlight!

I don't know about you, but as a somewhat rootless American I really enjoy looking at traditional fashions of other cultures.  While many Americans are still connected to their immigrant or Native roots, many of us have lost these connections over the generations and no longer have a "traditional" clothing we feel comfortable claiming.

Streamline - Sunglo 40, Design 2291

Flashback Summer: Streamline - Sunglo 40 Design 2291 - 1940s knitting pattern cardigan

Have you ever had a project that begin with trepidation, knowing you aren't quite sure how you're going to pull it off?  Well, this cardigan was such a project for me.  The pattern is from Sunglo No. 40, Design 2291 called "Streamline."  (If you'd like a TLDR description of the pattern, scroll down to the bottom!)

Vintage, Modern, & DIY Holiday Gift Guide

I may be weird, but I actually really love looking at gift guides this time of year.  Admittedly, since I have so few real-life vintage friends... It often helps me discover cool things I've missed for myself, haha!

So if you are like me and have many non-vintage-wearing friends and relatives, you'll still find this gift guide helpful.  There are vintage, modern, and handmade items to inspire and equip you for the season's gift-giving!

Vintage Gifts

Black Friday Shop Coupon


I love getting a good deal, so I'm putting out a Thanksgiving/Black Friday 20% off coupon to use in the Flashback Summer Shop.  

1940s Victory Suit

Flashback Summer: 1940s Victory Suit - Veterans Day outfit

This past Veterans Day was the best one I've ever had!  It was my first time spending the day with other military community members, and it was extra meaningful and fun.  My husband is an Air Force officer currently in a military chaplaincy program at a seminary, and we spent the morning in a chapel service.  We sang old hymns, recognized veterans and current service members, and heard a message from a high-ranking general.  It was full of beautiful music, meaningful content, and symbolic tradition.  All of the program members were dressed in their finest uniforms and looking spiffy!

1930s Bonnie

This morning I rewatched the History Channel miniseries version of "Bonnie & Clyde" that is currently on Netflix.  I really love this version!  I think it captures the story of these criminal lovers well, not to mention including fabulous 30s fashions!

Healing in Autumn

Flashback Summer: Healing in Autumn - vintage shawl warm outfit

Dang, it is a rough "day after" for us Americans.  The election has been a really horrible process for all parties, and there is a lot of pain and division in our country.  Thus I've got just a nice, easy outfit post to look at for today.

I'm not going to say much besides that.  Please pray for the U.S. and us Americans!  We would appreciate it greatly.

BIG NEWS! - Flashback Summer Shop Opening!

There's been a bit of blog silence for the past week because... I have an exciting announcement!!!  I've opened an Etsy shop, and I'm starting it out with vintage-appropriate headwraps!

Interview with Kimi: Kimono & Vintage

Flashback Summer: Interview with Kimi - Kimono and Vintage

I am SO excited to share this interview with all of you today!  I "met" Kimi on Instagram when I discovered her feed full of beautiful kimono and cloche photos.  I am intrigued by the way she mixes traditional Japanese kimono with vintage Western pieces--such as 1920s hats, shoes, and necklaces--for a really unique personal look.

Decorating a Renter's Kitchen on a Budget, Vintage Style

Flashback Summer: Decorating a Renter's Kitchen on a Budget, Vintage Style

As many of you have read on Instagram and other places, my husband and I just moved from a house into a new flat.  I won't go into all the details of the jankiness we dealt with in our previous home in the "Springfield slums," but I will say the straw that broke the camel's back was

The Lost Art of Housewarming Gifts

Flashback Summer: Housewarming Gifts

Where has the housewarming party gone?!  I don't know about you guys, but I love the idea of housewarming parties.  In fact, my husband and I just moved into a new flat, and I'll be darned if I won't be having a party when we're a bit more unpacked!

6/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: How to Wear Clothes

This is the last in the interview series with Christian Dior!  This section is mostly about general advice, the value of fashion, and the importance of authenticity.  Disclaimer, he has some words that may come off as a bit harsh or vaguely sexist to us modern readers, but I think his overall message is that any woman has the ability to be and feel truly beautiful through a combination of style skills, body acceptance,  grooming, and authenticity.  

5/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: Dressing for the Season & Occasion

"Wearing the correct dress for any occasion is a matter of good manners."  - Loretta Young

With the growth of fast fashion and perhaps influenced by the feminist movement, we've really moved away from occasional dressing and somewhat away from even seasonal dressing.  There are people wearing pajama pants to Walmart, and few ladies these days own a "winter dress" or "spring hat."  

4/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: On Budget & Aging

This is by far one of my favorite sections in this article by Dior.  I won't spoil it for you, but I was quite surprised at the modernity of his statements, and he said this in 1953!  I think I had the idea that Dior was a snob, that he would want women to drop lots of money on the latest fashions and to attempt to stay forever young, corseted, and trendy.... but that's not what he believed at all!

3/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: for the Tall Lady

Here's the third in the series of styling advice from the Christian Dior, today focusing on the tall ladies!  Dior has talked to short ladies, curvy ladies, and now he's got some great tips to emphasize the "grace and dignity that must go with height."  

2/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: for the Large Lady

In my last post, I shared the first part of this 1953 interview with Christian Dior that focused on tips for petite ladies.  Many of you loved the insight he shared in the introduction as well, with fashion-wisdom such as, "Good taste is to resemble oneself."  I'm excited to share the next section in the series that is tailored for the voluptuous ladies among us!

1/6 What Fashion Tells You - an Interview with Christian Dior: for the Short Lady

For the past week I've been moving and flailing and unpacking, hence the lack of posts.  Hopefully my sewing room and closet will be organized soon, and then I'll be back up and running!  Until then, though, I'm sharing one of my favorite vintage articles I've run across, from the January 1953 issue of "Women's Home Companion."  It's a bit lengthy, so I've broken it up into the different body types Dior addresses: short, tall, plump, as well as other posts for aging, seasonal clothing, and general tips.  Today is the section for short ladies!

Winter Wardrobe Sewing: the Moderne Dress

Flashback Summer: The Moderne Dress - Wearing History, 1930s vintage art deco fashion

I have begun the fall/winter sewing extravaganza, and I've finished my first project!  This is made using the Moderne Art Deco Dress pattern from Wearing History, a pattern I've had in my stash for a while but have yet to make up until now. 


New Shades from GlassesUSA

Flashback Summer: New Shades from GlassesUSA

I'm one of those people that never buys nice sunglasses.  I get those cheap, $10 glasses, and I wear them for a few months.  They get scratched up because I just throw them in my purse, and my most recent pair are so foggy-lensed and rickety that they barely stay on my face!


Season-Ahead Wardrobe Planning

Flashback Summer: Season-Ahead Vintage Wardrobe Planning

Last year I was caught horribly unaware by the cold weather.  Of course, I knew winter was coming (it does come every year), but I didn't realize how little warm clothing I actually had in my wardrobe until I really needed it.  I ended up making do and shivering through a lot of the season when I should have been enjoying it!

Reintroducing... Flashback Summer Emails!

Some of you that have been around a long time may remember that I used to send out emails to those of you that subscribed to my email list.  Well.... I began to lack inspiration and wondered what to do with that, so I let it fall by the wayside.

HOWEVER, I am excited to announce that I've done research, I've brainstormed, and I've been inspired to start them back up, this time with fresh, exciting content that I'm sure you guys will be glad to see in your inbox.

Intercultural Vintage: Questions on Qipao

Flashback Summer: Intercultural Vintage - Questions on Qipao Cheongsam
1930s Shanghai ad

Boy, am I excited about today's post!  We're going to talk about an aspect of intercultural vintage that originates in one of the world's oldest and most trend-setting cultures: China.

Trying Out Thred Up

Flashback Summer: Trying Out Thred Up - vintage sea foam silk blouse

Since I was a small child, I have had a love affair with the color sea foam.  I can't explain it.  I've just always really liked it.  In fact, when I was young my grandmother made me some sequined sea foam bell bottoms at my request. (They were fantastic, obviously.)

Outdoor Vintage

Flashback Summer: Outdoor Vintage - 1940s overalls

I haven't been fishing since I was a very small child, so I was excited when my husband suggested we go fishing last Sunday during the Labor Day weekend!  I love being out in nature, and I've found it does wonders for my psyche and morale.  We went to a local lake (Missouri has a lot of lakes and rivers to fish in), and we found a sunny spot on some rocks.  Although the only thing we caught was a tiny bluegill, it was still a wonderful time!  Sun, lake breezes, and time away from the daily grind is always welcome.

Florals Always Go

Flashback Summer: Florals Always Go - vintage 1940s dress

Even though it's starting to become fall here in the northern hemisphere, I walked out of my new workplace yesterday to find the little hill next to it covered in blooming white flowers.  I'm not sure what they are, but they smell fantastic and look amazing. I was inspired to pull out my florals and live up the warm weather as long as I can!

Healthy Living: Is Pyrex Poison?

Flashback Summer: Is Pyrex Poison? - Vintage Pyrex and Lead Content

I was pretty devastated when I read vintage Pyrex, as a general rule, has high levels of lead.  I had registered for a lot of vintage Pyrex for my wedding and had been happily cooking in them for months, thinking I was actually using a healthier option for food storage because it was glass, not plastic.  I really loved the size and convenience of them along with how they look!  In fact, I kind of swept the lead info under the rug for a while because I just didn't want to believe it.  If it was really that poison, why do so many people use and collect it still?

Vintage Pyrex Succulent Garden

Flashback Summer: Vintage Pyrex Succulent Garden

We went to the home improvement store for nails, but when we happened to walk by a clearance cart full of $1 succulents.... How could I not buy them?!  The nails turned into some potting soil... and some pebbles... and some plant fertilizer... and as my husband carried all the other bags I carefully carried six little succulents to the register, then held them on the car ride home.  The little plant babies have joined my indoor garden!

"God Is Good" Khanga Dress

Mungu ni mwema kwa watu wake.

For the past several months, I have been praying that God would send African families to our intercultural church.  We have people from all over the world, but we didn't have any families from the continent of Africa. It felt like our church family was missing something.

1930s Fixer Upper Dress

Flashback Summer: 1930s Fixer Upper - make do and mend dress

The vintage community is fantastic.  This dress was a gift from a fellow blogger, and I was delighted to find it was very close to my size already!  (A rare occurrence.)  It needed a couple mends and a bath in some Retro Clean to brighten up the white sections on the bow print and remove yellowing and age spots.  All I needed to do to make it my size was to shorten the straps a bit, and voila!  It fits!

Basic Sewing Win

Flashback Summer: 1940s White button down blouses - vintage button up shirt

After working on this pattern and making several versions of it (you can my first, second, third, and fourth versions in previous posts), I have finally perfected this pattern!  It is Simplicity 4762, and I am happy to say it is the first pattern I have completely and utterly conquered.  It fits perfectly, and I've made it up so many times now that I don't need instructions and I've figured out the best, most efficient way to sew it up.  


Flashback Summer: Turbanista, 1940s 1950s vintage

Flashback Summer: Turbanista, 1940s 1950s vintage

Someday I'll do my hair again, but lately... Why?  Why when there are head wraps in the world?  I've been wrapping almost every day this week, including earlier when I went to a new friend's house for brunch with my sister and donned a turban!

Flashback Summer: Turbanista, 1940s 1950s vintage

Flashback Summer: Turbanista, 1940s 1950s vintage

I've been working on getting better at using this type of wrap, a long rectangle.  I paired this turban with a blazer made from a 1940s pattern, my Freddies jeans, a t-shirt, and Swedish Hasbeen clogs. I was surprised at how modern this look seemed even though it's made of vintage repro pieces.  Good fashion is timeless!

My sister was nice enough to take some photos for me.  This is my first post with iPhone photos.  I'm still figuring out how it all works!

Flashback Summer: Turbanista, 1940s 1950s vintage

Outfit Details
jeans: Freddies of Pinewood Ton Up jeans
shoes: Swedish Hasbeens
earrings: Kenya

Vacation Style

I spent the last week at my grandparents' house in the country, and it was a much-needed break!  They live in the country amongst fields and pastures, and one of my favorite things was to sit out on their patio and peruse some new-to-me vintage magazines.  

I love the fashion illustrations!  And while it's always the fancy dresses that inspire awe, sometimes it's the casual looks that get you through the day.  That's what inspired this particular vacation look!  I absolutely love the "soft & sexy" t-shirts from American Eagle Outfitters, the only things I've ever bought in their store.  They're, as labeled, super soft and the drape is nicer than the average t-shirt.  This black one is a staple for me, especially since the length is a tiny bit cropped and perfect for my shorter torso.  (I think this one on the site is the one I've got... mine may be a bit more fitted, though.)

I paired this comfy t-shirt with some flats and my 1930s khaki clam diggers.  I took these photos with only basic makeup on and wrinkles in the trousers, true to vacation laziness!  This is real stuff right here, folks!  

While I do totally love my yoga pants, this vintage-y look is my midway point of effort between them and full-out vintage garb.  I'm sure ladies back in the day had similar looks because everyone needs a chill day.

What's your boring-but-fantastic, sort of vintage-y relaxation style look like?  Or do you, like a lot of us, just swing from yoga pants to full-out vintage depending on the day?

1940s Ford & Floral

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

A couple weeks ago those of you who follow me on IG gave your input and said I should use my tropical rayon with this 1940s pattern.  You spoke, and I listened!

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

But sometimes sewing doesn't go as planned.  Sometimes you do a muslin test of a pattern you think is going to be so easy that you really consider it just a formality of being a "good sewist," then it epically fails.  Then you try another muslin, sure this time it will work, and it turns out to be worse than the first. 

At this point in the story I pulled a CeeLo and told that stupid muslin, "FORGET YOU!"

Sometimes you just have to go balls to the wall (in the aeronautical sense) and just cut into the fashion fabric and hope for the best.  (I've got sewing details on this pattern in the post with a TLDR summary at the bottom!)

I realized after cutting into my fashion fabric that using cotton muslin as a test for a rayon garment just doesn't work well.  The cotton behaves differently than the rayon, and the fitting adjustments I made on the cotton were not necessary on the rayon.  My cotton muslins were far too roomy at the waist, by about 5-6 inches, in fact.  I tried to combat this with bringing in the side seams and back darts, but it ended up looking stupid with the kimono sleeves and looser fit of the shoulders.   BAH!

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

For my fashion fabric, the only adjustment I did to the pattern was to shorten the shoulder/bodice length by about 7/8".  My torso is a bit shorter than the average person's, so I figured this would be a good tweak.  The length of the pattern in this area also accounts for thick 1940s shoulder pads, a detail I did not consider when making my cotton muslins but did indeed remember in time for the fashion fabric.

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

The pattern also advises that 2-3" be added to the skirt length for a hem, but since that's usually the amount I remove from a pattern, I just cut it out as it was.

Luckily.... it worked!  The dress has turned out well, though it did involve only one major alteration to the fashion-fabric version I made: I still needed to bring in the waist about 7-8" at the side seams, for there was almost no waist shaping in the pattern at all!  It went almost straight down from bust to hips with very little curve, and I looked like a terrible 1980s tropical shmoo.  I removed the zipper and brought it in about 4" on each side, tapering out to the slim the hips just a tiny bit below and adjusting the bust only as necessary to smoothly meet the curve from the waist.

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

I made shoulder pads about 3/4" thick, hemmed the dress and let it hang on a padded hanger for a few days to "shape" the shoulder pads correctly.  Then I wore it for the first time yesterday!  

I paired it with a Muchana Panama hat I fancied up with some red yarn pom-poms, blue Swedish Hasbeens, vintage earrings... and a 1940 Ford!  

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

This is my grandfather's prized car that he built and restored.  Back in his crazy drag-racing teenage years, my grandpa had a 1940 Ford.  He ended up selling it to pay for the hospital bill when my father was born.  A few years ago my grandmother surprised him with boxes full of old car parts... that when put together would make his '40 Ford!  I've never seen my grandfather so happy as when he got those boxes of parts.  He has since built the car, put a Mustang flathead motor in it and gotten it all shined up.  It looks awesome, and he was more than happy to let me borrow it for a shoot.  (You also saw this car in my wedding photos!)

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

I got a lot of compliments from non-vintage-wearers when I wore this, which kind of surprised me.  Shoulder pads usually earn me some strange looks, but the compliments I got with this ensemble was, "I love the details in it. Clothes don't have details like that," and "Wow, you look fantastic! What a lovely dress!"  I think that's pretty great.

Flashback Summer: 1940s Ford & Floral Dress

Here is a summary of the pattern details and things I changed:
Fabric: modern rayon, red tag fabric from Joann 
Pattern: 8142 (not sure of the company...)
Year: 1940s war era is my guess!
Notions: 6 buttons, zipper. I also used light interfacing around the neckline.
How historically accurate is it? Pretty accurate as far as fiber content of the fabric and silhouette.  
Any tricky parts to the pattern? The complete lack of waist shaping!  That required major adjusting, and I took at least 7-8" out of the waist.  The point at the back can be a bit trick to line up correctly, but it does wonders in accentuating the bum nicely!
Did you change anything?  I didn't add extra for a hem, just turned it up where the pattern ended.  Took a lot out of the waist, too, as I talked about above.
Time to complete: two days
First worn: 17 July 2016
Total cost: The fabric, I think, was about $15.  The buttons were about $3, and the zipper was from my stash. The pattern was a gift from a lovely friend!
Notes: The drape of this pattern really requires a heavy, draped fabric like rayon. I can't see it working at all with quilting cotton and looking right.

So what do you guys think?  How did it turn out?  Feelin' good about the crowd's pattern choice?