Acceptable in the 80s – Part 1

Believe it or not, this is my most expensive piece to date! £14.99 from Save the Children in Whitby. It’s actually two pieces, a size 18 blouse and skirt in thin polyester. The pattern is so 80s… I love it. I mean, it’s about as 80s as it could be if it’s not visible white socks and mens suit jackets with the sleeves rolled up. The pattern actually reminds me of yachts – it’s straight out of ‘Howard’s Way’.

I’m going to tackle the blouse in this post, and the skirt at a later date. The blouse has a beautiful sort of sweetheart neckline which is (after the amazing pattern) its best feature.

First, out came the shoulder pads….

Next, I cut up the side seams, removed the sleeves, and unpicked the bust darts…

Then, I used my dressform to pin and sew new darts and side seams, and cut new armholes. I also adjusted the length.

Mass production techniques from the original garment unfortunately had left a hole in the fabric at the point of each of the original bust darts. The position of these was such that they were visible on the side front of my new blouse. In the end I decided to just live with it. Probably only me (and you, now you’ve read this) will notice.

I toyed with the idea of making binding for the armholes but, short on time, I just clipped the curves as best I could and folded over. It doesn’t look perfect, but it’s good enough. Here I am modelling the new blouse with my new slinky white satin summer trousers!

Since it was a lovely sunny day, I headed over to Columbia Road flower market with my friend R. Here are some pics of the market, R buying flowers, and my new sunglasses! The market was totally rammed but we had a great morning :-)



  1. b

    I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog, what a talent you are, you have a great eye for turning thrifted, unwanted clothing into gems! Keep up the good work. I’ll be watching from the sidelines hoping to get some inspiration!

  2. amemm

    Lovely blog! You are able to wear clothes beautifully, and your sewing skills are awesom. I’ll bookmark and come back often to see what you are up to. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Polly Rowena Atkin

    LOVE the fabric, and the results, of both. And the Howard’s Way reference. My sewing machine has broken which has scuppered my sewing projects, so I’m living vicariously through yours. Very cool!

  4. Roama

    Hi. Have only recently discovered your blog, so gorging on it at the mo’. I’m in Australia and just wanted to let you know that fabric is an Australian motif with the Opera House and Boomerangs along the lines of fabrics designed by Ken Done, an Australian artist whose works were popular as fabrics in the 80’s and 90’s n particular (and still are!). I love how you’ve simplified the design to show off the fun fabric. I’ll hit the Op Shops (Opportunity Shops) as we call them here and see what Ken Done type lovelies I can unearth! Thanks for the inspiration and for resurrecting an Aussie icon!

    • charityshopchic

      Hi Roama and thank you so much for commenting! I’m so excited to learn more about this fabric, I had no idea of its Australian connection! Both pieces I made are still in my wardrobe and I will be looking at them in a new light from now on. Thanks again for shedding some light on this fabric’s background!

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