Acceptable in the 80s – Part 2

This is part 2 of the refashion of this delightful 80s ensemble. For part 1 (the blouse) click here.

The original “Howard’s Way” outfit, a matching 80s blouse and skirt in size 18, was £14.99 from Save the Children in Whitby. Time to tackle that skirt!

Firstly, I knew this was getting totally dismembered, so I removed the waistband and lining. It had pleats about 6″ long sewn into the front and back of the skirt at the waistband. I thought that if I unpicked the pleats I would get one long piece of material which could be cut into a new dress. How wrong I was.

The excess material from the pleats had been cut away all around the skirt leaving a castellated effect rendering a very large portion of the material useless. How annoying! I had to re-read a hundred old Burdas to find a dress pattern with the simplest possible design that used the least possible amount of material. In the end I settled on one from the latest issue –  Burda 06/2011 #113B. It’s a really simple sundress pattern with no zips or buttons, instead it has ties at the shoulders.

The back and the front are identical. Because of the lack of material, the back of the dress had to be pieced. As a result there is a horizontal seam across the back of the dress at approximately the waistline (below). I don’t think it looks too bad….

Here’s the front after sewing together, hemming and making the casing for the ties….

I wore this to a wedding up in Scotland. The material is very light so I thought it would be perfect for the outdoor summer wedding that was planned. Unfortunately we got authentic Scottish weather, ie. it poured down all day….

For the ceremony I styled it with a white skinny belt and off-white tuxedo jacket, which is one of my wardrobe staples. After dinner the jacket came off for the ceilidh…



  1. ReFashionista

    That’s awesome! It turned out great. I wouldn’t worry about the seam on the back of the dress. I’m sure the pattern camoflauges it nicely. :)

    • charityshopchic

      Thanks! I think it’s not too noticeable, as wearing the belt means the dress is gathered slightly at the back when worn, so it’s less obvious. If in doubt, I’ll keep the jacket on ;-)

  2. Irene

    14.99 GBP (25$) a dress from the 80′ at a charity shop??? I knew charities had got insane in UK but I did not know that insane: you might have found a brand new dress for refashion at one of those import shops or even 3 mt (yd) of fabric for less than that. Luckily you did a very good job and got a top and a dress out of it. Well done for your creativity too.

    • charityshopchic

      It’s true that this is the most expensive of my purchases so far (I usually pay £5-6 for a dress), but I fell in love with it on sight and actually would have paid much more. It’s also true that charity shops now are much more expensive than they were 10 years ago, but times change and overheads on high street shops go up – if they sold everything for 50p there would be nothing left for the charity. I daresay I could have bought something new for less at one of those shops where they use dodgy labour in the developing world to produce everything for pennies. But saving money is not what this blog is about. It’s about recycling and challenging myself creatively. Lastly, the money goes to CHARITY, in this case to improve children’s lives all over the world, which frankly I think it’s difficult to argue against.

      • ReFashionista

        I’ve gotta say, I do feel lucky that there are several charity thrift shops here in my town where clothes cost 25 cents to $1. I work for a non-profit myself, so I don’t have much $$$ to spend on clothes. We have pricier thrift stores as well. I thinks it’s actually encouraging that used clothing has some value where you are and isn’t seen as crap to be thrown away. :)

          • New Orleans

            Not true any longer..with the economic climate in the USA becoming DESPERATE..EVERYONE is shopping at GOODWILL..SALVATION ARMY etc…$79.99 for a set of tails ..NO trousers or accessories…$59.99 for a Tuxedo…I live in New Orleans..and the prices were climbing BEFORE KATRINA….now ..with the influx of the Hispanic population..who came in to dig us out…purchasing by the cartload to “send home” have to be up pretty early to beat them to it…We have a very big population of UPCYCLE ARTISTS/DESIGNERS in New Orleans..a couple were even on PROJECT RUNWAY…who have found they have to travel to really remote small towns to find “bargains”..When I come home to the U.K. I drag my poor Mother around the Charity shops..Mother will come home with a nice cup and saucer..whilst I stagger with bags of “LOOT”…

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