Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kicking Up the 80's

Back in December of 2013, Winnie (a.k.a. The Scruffy Badger) issued a challenge to all comers to sew up one of her fabulous patterns from the 1980's and to see how we might work them into our 2014 wardrobe. One of her lovelies was this classic:
Vogue 2753 ‘ career wardrobe’, size 8-10-12
Now I was a lass in the 80's and I remember wearing those pleated pants with panache way back when. I could hardly wait to get my sewing fingers on that envelope.
My chosen fabric
I picked out some slightly tweedy suiting at Hart's and got to cutting.

The pattern was nicely drafted and the directions were very clear. I had to do a bit of adjusting at the waist, as I'm a tad larger than a size 12 in that area. Otherwise, the cutting and sewing was a piece of cake.

These ain't no wimpy pockets
Besides the signature pleats, there were other features that harked back to the 80's. Check out those pocket pieces! Back in the day, cell phones (called "mobiles") were the size of a shoe box, so you needed a pocket that was not playing around. With these pockets I can easily stash my keys, my cell phone, a lipstick, a handkerchief, half a dozen do-nuts and a cup of coffee.

I finished the pants a while ago, except for the hemming. Once, back in high school, I hemmed a pair of pants too short. The experience scarred me for life. I still cut my pants way too long and then agonize about cutting any length off. One evening, after some deep breathing and a glass of wine, I leaped into action and they were ready for their closeup. But I needed to find the right setting for the photo shoot. Something that would do them justice.

When it comes to 80's fashion, you have to think of that icon of the decade:

Check out those shoulder pads! You don't mess with gals like that.
 As I'm sure you know, Dynasty was filmed at Filoli.

Filoli is the summer home Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourne II built in 1915. The Bournes were the owners of the Empire Gold Mine, outside Grass Valley, California. The Empire produced 5.6 million ounces of gold during it's active years. The Bournes  did not skimp on their house. It's now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, along with its 16 acres of formal gardens.

Fioli is just outside Woodside, California, about halfway between Santa Cruz and San Francisco. So I talked The Man into gassing up the Bentley and we drove up north on a beautiful Saturday morning, when gardens all over central California were drying off after basking in some of the first rain they've seen for quite a piece.

I give you -- the pants
This was really a two part challenge: the first part was to make the pattern up, the second part was to "show how 80s styles can still kick a punch today." Part one was quick and easy. Part two was a bit hard for me. My style is what might kindly be called "eclectic." I'm pretty clueless about putting together an outfit that looks current. I tried on a few different tops and asked The Man for advice. We agreed the pants look best with something that has a bit of shoulder action going on to balance out the belly pleats. I decided on one of my Maria Denmark Kirsten tees and a pair of boots.

I recommend a fabric with drape for this style of trousers. There's quite a bit of fabric pleated into that waistband. Here's a shrug shot to give you a feeling for how much room I have in there.
I dunno. Where do you think we should go next?
From the side those pleats hang nice and flat though. The back is shaped with a couple of darts and the fit there isn't much different from the non-pleated pants I've made.

Pretending to admire tulips in the atrium
Sure they hark back to an earlier time, but I like 'em! They're the most comfortable pair of pants I own. I think I'll make them again, but I'll add belt loops. I remember wearing this style of pants with a button-down shirt and a belt cinching in the volume at the waist.

I think they'd be cute with a cropped blazer. Maybe the Victoria blazer from By Hand London. I've been eyeing that pattern.

Here they are as I wore them to work this morning. 
Photo-bombing Zoe dog.
If you're in the area, grab a chance to spend a pretty day walking around the grounds at Filoli. You can tour the mansion too, but the garden is where it's at.

 We were a bit too late for the daffodils and tulips and a bit too early for the roses, but we hit the peonies right on the button!
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  1. Fantastic pants! I would have never guessed an 80's pattern. Success! I was in high school during the 80's and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the style is back. Too funny. Loved the pictures of the gardens. We are still in winter mode here in CO so I LOVED seeing all the green!

    1. You know, my mother couldn't believe when we started wearing those 40's style dresses with shoulder pads when I was in high school. Styles always come back sooner or later!

  2. I so remember the pleated pants from the 80s, and your pair look terrific! Also enjoyed learning a little about the setting of Dynasty, one of my favorite shows back then. And I think the way you styled the pants for work, look very nice.

    1. Thank you! Wish I could have found a Dynasty photo with one of the ladies in pleated pants to check how true I was to the period. I admit I recently rematches Dynasty via Netflix and had a ball. Do you remember Falconcrest too?

  3. You rock those pants! I also like the way you have styled them. Thanks for the tour.

    1. Thanks! I'm trying to think in terms of styling more these days, in preparation for Me Made May (gulp!)