My fascination with validating the 80’s is only just beginning after sewing my Givenchy Easter suit…and what better way to continue than with some fun and practical separates!
I absolutely love the feminine pinks to this outfit, the strategically straightforward details, and the casual chic aesthetic of it. Each piece is comfortable and roomy yet well-designed enough to not be baggy. Each has niceties enough to save them from being too practical yet they are so versatile and definitely made for easy living. The top should work well dressed up, when paired with a skirt (thinking of this late 70’s one) in particular. The shorts look good ‘fancied up’ as you see for this post but I want to also pair them with a tube top, tank, printed tee, or denim shirt for more casual options.
Does my new set scream 80’s to you? I don’t think so, but that’s exactly what it is according to the patterns and even the fabric I used (for the shorts). I even brought out my childhood hair scrunchies and ‘jelly’ shoes for a big time rewind. I really do think the 80’s has more appealing styles to it than many people realize. Let’s give it another chance – you just have to get past the stereotypes! After all, I suppose we do need to welcome it into the sphere of “vintage” technically, now!
FABRIC: shorts – a semi-sheer cotton/poly border print vintage 70’/80’s fabric lined in a solid blue cotton broadcloth; blouse- a cotton/poly blend linen look fabric in a pinkish purple orchid color (leftover from making this suit set)
PATTERNS: McCall’s Easy pattern #9525, year 1985 for the bottoms together with a Mail Order Printed Pattern no.9251, from the very late 70s or early 80s, for the blouse
NOTIONS NEEDED: Lots of thread, some interfacing, a hook-n-eye for the waistband, and two covered buttons to make to match the top. The side zipper for the shorts was leftover from taking out one of the two zippers I had put into these past-made 1940s shorts.
TIME TO COMPLETE: The shorts came first and were finished on July 1 after about 10 to 12 hours, while the top took only 5 hours and was done on July 8 (both 2019)
THE INSIDES: So clean, just the way I like them. The shorts are fully lined for hidden seam allowances while the top has bias bound edges.
TOTAL COST: The vintage fabric for the shorts was bought from Kirsten at “Verity Vintage Studio” through an Instagram de-stashing sale and cost me only $5 for the one yard. The lining cotton for the shorts was about $6. The material for the blouse was leftover from a past project (mentioned in the fabric section of ‘The Facts’) and before that had been in my stash too long to remember, so I’m counting it as free, along with the zipper. My set only cost $11!
Pleated waist, roomy fit pants and shorts are back in force this 2019. Whether those who influence and those who follow the trends know it or not, many current forms of this fad are just a rehash of the 40’s and – yes – the 80’s. All you gotta do is compare design lines for proof. (Check out the newest “French Poetry Patterns” Orion shorts or the Burda Style #107A “Pleated Bermuda Shorts” for two examples to sew!)
Many in the vintage making and/or wearing community have already been sporting the old style roomy trousers, but it is always nice to see a past style so many have been enjoying for years become mainstream, if only for a year. The same applies to many modern summer crop tops and roomy pull-overs – they’re only sneaky vintage integrated into 2019 fashion. Put both things together in 80’s style with my means of interpretation – and voila! You have an outfit such as this!
With my newest 80’s outfit, I am mostly proud of yet another interesting and unexpected way to use a border print fabric along with what I think are my best scallops yet (despite the fact there are only two of them). This is proudly a duo of one yard projects, as well!! I am racking in all the good points I can here! My wardrobe is sorely lacking in shorts anyway and a top that can both be casual or dressy is much appreciated. I try not to get stuck in a rut with what I sew. Making what I actually can use in my life and don’t yet have in my closet is always good to sew. Doing so in a way that it is both a refresher amongst my sewing projects and also an opportunity for a new learning curve is a little creative niche that I love to find.
Now, let me start with the shorts. I am not that big of a fan of pleated waist bifurcated bottoms admittedly, but hey – these looked really cute on the pattern and I figured the border print being vertical would help. Only one selvedge edge having the border and only one yard at my disposal made me have to choose sides for the geometric, mock-embroidery print. The back is plain and the front has both borders. I had to fold the fabric in an unusual fashion for this to work out. Most fabrics are folded selvedge to selvedge, the width in half (this is how I buy them off of a cardboard bolt in my local stores). The shorts’ fabric had to be folded oppositely so my preferred border layout could work. Even though this fabric was sheer, it was really a tight woven so if was going against the grainline it wouldn’t have mattered. Luckily, it lined up anyways.
The pattern called for an elastic gathered back half of the waist, but really…that would be too obviously 80’s and is not my ‘cup of tea’. So I catered the shorts to have a flat waist all around with darts above the booty, and a side zipper. Of course, the full lining was also not part of the pattern and my idea, as well. The fabric was super sheer…so I went with an opaque royal blue lining as it was a color already in the print, so lovely as a contrast, and definitely opaque. Full lining sure makes for a smooth feel inside and deluxe look, though! Finally, I left out the in seam pockets. As sad as I am to not have pockets, I didn’t want them to puff out the pleated front more than necessary. I just might come back to these shorts at a future date and add in a back welt pocket or two. We’ll see!
My top – or is it really a blouse? – was just as easy to sew as the shorts. Only a handful of hours to commit at a time is the most I’m really capable of this busy summer anyway, and that is all I needed to whip this sweet little number together. I made this even easier by not having truly workable button closings at the neck. It isn’t constricting to the dressing situation just to keep those lovely fabric covered buttons just for looking pretty and perfect, so I’m all in for a little sewing cheat.
The line drawing lies about the smart simplicity of its design and true finished shape. The bust dart shaping on the left side is sneakily hidden within the seam which leads to the neckline detail – very nice touch – and the back shoulders have some darts that only appear on the pattern pieces themselves. Also, as you can see, my top turned out so much boxier than the drawing would make you think. At the same time, however, I am not at all surprised because this is a pullover top. No zipper, no closures with a woven material means it has to be a slightly generous fit, right? Overall, I think the actual garment is much nicer than the line drawing, but disappointingly not the same. At least it’s better to have good surprises in store with a sewing pattern than be let down at the end of working with it, I suppose.
Never mind the difference, I freaking love this blouse anyway. It ends up appearing so very 1950s to me. I think it is the kimono seamed, cut-on sleeves and the feminine detailing. This is only one of a handful of recent instances where I have seen the 80’s refresh a 1950s look, and the fact is insanely curious to me. The 1980’s is well known for more exaggerated versions of WWII 40’s fashions. If my shorts were long length they very well would look 40’s, much like these “Marlene” trousers I’ve made, no doubt. Yet, the closer you look for variety in 80’s women’s clothing, you can see the occasional 1890s look (quaint puff sleeve dresses with full skirts, such as Princess Diana’s 1981 wedding) or the 1920’s drop-waisted flapper style dress and even some draped, soft 30’s inspired garments. Yes, I’ll admit there are some just plain terrible ideas, too, that I can’t imagine looking good on any body type. Check out my Pinterest board on the “Power 80’s” to see more inspiration. However, it all makes me think that perhaps the 1980s was a decade that offered more options of dressing than we realize, rehashing all sorts of things from the 90 years before so that maybe the only think that quintessentially sticks to label it are the worst experiments (neon bomber jackets, “Hammer” pants, etc.).
Whatever – I love this post’s outfit combo. It might not be the most body complimentary outfit but each are comfortable and useful handmades that are a successful experiment of a foray into a newly vintage decade. I find my happy sewing place in the most unexpected ways sometimes!