From 80’s Meh to 60’s Mod!

Elephants on Parade: From MuuMuu to Pre-Fall Top!
If Clothes Could Talk

Sometimes it’s fun to make a vintage dress from one era look like a vintage dress from a completely different era!

Take this dress from the 1980s:

Don't literally "take" it.  Just look at it, okay?  ;)
Don’t literally “take” it. Just look at it, okay? ;)

It’s not very exciting, is it?  I saw several details I really liked, such as that lace front panel and the pleating on the front bodice.  But it was just too blah for a fun day of celebrating with friends!  :/

Don’t fear!  I knew exactly what I needed to do to transform this dress from 80’s meh to 60’s mod!

First, I trimmed off the sleeves.


Then, I plopped my new dress onto my form and got pinning!

Going for that classic 60's shell-style dress!
Going for that classic 60’s shell-style dress!

A quick stitch session ensued!

Just a couple 'o seams!
Just a couple o seams!

I still needed to close up those arm holes.  First, I added a few triangular notches to make them fold under nicely.

These notches will save you from lots of frustration!
These notches will save you from lots of frustration!

Of course, I had to pin & stitch them down!

See?  Those notches keep it looking nice & neat!
See? Those notches keep it looking nice & neat!

I chopped off a bit from the bottom of my dress, going for a 1960’s mod length!


Even though this tight-knit polyester fabric wasn’t going to fray, I still give that raw a nice new hem.  :)


It was so close to what I wanted, but my new dress desperately needed a bit more ooomph!  I had a nifty idea for how to make the top of the dress more interesting.  I began ripping off part of that lace panel, like so:


Then, I pinned & stitched it all back down.

Now we're getting somewhere!
Now we’re getting somewhere!

I cut a small section from the original hem of the dress and stitched it right above the lacey section.

The chosen scrap!
The chosen scrap!

I tossed on some retro shades, a thick belt, some fab wedges, and a funky thrifted scarf, and was ready to go!

Groovy!  :)
Groovy! :)

My pals and I had a blast wandering around Main Street for the SC Pride Festival!

We're a fetching group!  :)
We’re a fetching group! :)

I had a brief, but terrifying encounter with a giant purple spider!


Thankfully, Dan was able to protect me.

I think that neckline really makes this dress work!  :)
I think that neckline really makes this dress work! :)
Those sweet shades don't hurt either!
Those sweet shades don’t hurt either!

We even got to witness the musical stylings of the 80’s legend, Berlin!

Take my breath awaaaaay!
Take my breath awaaaaay!
But what do you think?
But what do you think?
Selfie Close
Selfie Close-up!



4.3 (85.97%) 221 votes

41 thoughts on “From 80’s Meh to 60’s Mod!

  1. I must say of all the refashioned items you have done recently I like this one best, or let’s say it is MY favorite…. really cute …. job well done. I have a challenge for you…
    Do you want it? Take 3 items you find and turn all three of them into ONE extra-ordinary new outfit, skirt and vest, dress and scarf and belt or something NOUVEAU!!!
    Why I am asking? Well here is why, I intend to reduce the amount of individual items I already have in my closets (yes plural !) into fewer items, by taking 3 and turning them
    into one new outfit, instead of giving them away —– Any great ideas you want to share with us?

  2. I LOVE your eye for detail and am inspired to look at the elements of “found” clothing beyond that whole-picture first-impression (I would have walked away at “meh” instead of seeing the potential in this dress). Thanks for your detailed process pix and sense of humor along the way!

  3. I really love this one. You give out such great ideas through your blog. It is always a pleasure turning to read your wittiness as well as look and be inspired by what you have done. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Honestly–not my favorite. I LOVED what potential I saw in the original dress. I wish you hadn’t chopped up that lace panel, I thought it was lovely. The neck strap weirds me out. And question: why do you always chop the length? I understand needing a stylish length, but do you find being a smaller person, that it is always necessary? I myself am NOT a smaller person (haha!) so i’m legitimately curious. I’m not trying to be a troll or anything.

    1. I agree with the length, it seems that most if not all dresses and skirts are cut quite short.. I would like to see her create some longer length calf and also ankle length and
      may be include some pencil skirt type bottoms. but of course easy for us to say, she is doing all the hard work with what the found allows her to do.

  5. I, too, agree that the string around the neck would irritate the life out of me. And I loved the lace panel, too good of a detail to mess with. Loved the color and material!

  6. I have to say, I have been lingering and stalking (haha!) your blog for a little while now and did not feel the need to post until today…. I LOVE this refash!!! You are such an inspiration to me! I have only recently learned to sew; my hubs bought me my first machine for Christmas (2012). I have used so many of your refash’s as a tutorial/guide. Thank you for sharing your creativity :)

  7. Great refashion! I think the way you treated the lace panel was a good stylistic move. Cut-outs are in right now, so it adds a modern twist to a vintage look. Might I suggest something, though? I’ve noticed that you notch and/or turn under and hem most of your armholes. While that’s a quick and easy way to do it, I’ve found that armhole seams I’ve sewn using that method almost invariably look bulky. Have you considered using bias tape on your more “delicate” looking refashions? This is a delicate dress, and bias tape inside the armholes would definitely give it a smoother look on the outside. Just a thought :)

  8. Very nice!
    I have tried a few refashion experiments lately and tanked them all. I haven’t found my groove yet, I guess. Looking through your blog archives, it seems like everything you try works out. Do you have any refash projects that just didn’t work? Just curious!

  9. Love the look of the your newest sewing feat (completed with some sewing feet …lol…sorry, I am easily amused ;c) and I love the square neckline. The inserted detail at the neckline is so 60’s …looks like you walked off the set of Mad Men. Great job!

  10. Have you ever made a dress out of a thrifted sheet? I would really like to see you do that! Expand your awesome talent even further! Or make a cute skirt from a pillowcase!

Leave a Reply