0151 336 5982
0151 638 6498

Dressmaking Fabrics for Retro Fashion : The Eighties

The Eighties are a time that most of us will be old enough to remember fondly and were a time of great social and economic change, remembered by many as a simpler and happier time, The Eighties were defined by its outrageous fashion, cheesy pop music and rapid changes in technology. The Eighties brought us the first mobile phones, much larger than the sleek smart phones we have become accustomed to today, and computers that were almost the size of your living room. Many years before The X Factor was even a twinkle in Simon Cowell's eye, our Saturday nights were spent watching classic programmes such as The A-Team, Knight Rider and Baywatch and teenagers everywhere swooned over Bros, Adam Ant and later, The New Kids on The Block. The decade was known by many as "the decade of excess" for many reasons, and when it comes to fashion this label could not be more accurate. The Eighties were a time when fashion was at its most bold and the decade has become notorious for outrageous trends like heavy bright make up, enormous earrings, shell suits and MC Hammer Pants, all in electric neon colours. Whilst shell suits are most certainly a trend that should remain firmly consigned to memory (and the odd embarrassing family photo!) many of the flagrant fashions of the 1980's are still being emulated for anything from school reunions to dance shows and drama productions so sit back, reminisce and cringe at your heinous fashion mistakes as we guide you through our favourite flagrant fashions of the decade and teach you how to recreate the look using our range of Dressmaking Fabrics.

Shoulder Pads

dynasty110409 Shoulder Pads were massive in every way during the 1980's.

The Eighties were the decade that brought us "power dressing". With more women than ever realising their potential and setting their sights on high flying careers the rule was very much to dress for success, women had arrived in the workplace and boy did they want everybody to know it. With popular TV shows such as Dallas and greatly admired, powerful women such as Princess Diana rocking the shoulder pad trend power dressing became one of the most popular fashions of the decade. If the fashion publications are to be believed, shoulder pads are on the way back, albeit in a more subtle way. Rather than wide shoulder pads, meant to create illusion of width many of the more modern designs incorporate shoulder pads pointing upwards to give the illusion height.  Our range of shoulder pads are high quality covered shoulder pads that are ideal for use within garments to add comfort and structure when worn and are available in a variety of sizes and ideal to be used alongside many of our Dressmaking Fabrics.

Mini Skirts

When it came to skirts, the general rule of the Eighties was "the shorter, the better"! Denim was a popular fabric for mini skirts but as with everything else in the 80's, anything went! Mini skirts would be worn with leggings, oversized sweaters and leg warmers and were often made in varying shades of electric neon spandex and lycra. Our range of ycra is composed of 80% nylon and 20% spandex and is a great choice of Dressmaking Fabric to recreate the care free, high fashion look of 1980 and beyond. Available in a range of colours such as Flo Green, Flo Yellow and Flo Pink or for a more subtle nod to the trend, in neutral shades of black and white. These lycra Dressmaking Fabrics can also be used to create many other 80's trends including leggings and spandex trousers.

Leg Warmers

legwarmers Leg Warmers were a popular trend.

Never were our legs warmer than in the Eighties, no girl's wardrobe was complete without at least a set or two of leg warmers to be paired with anything including mini skirts, leggings, stonewashed jeans and of course, a pair of neon coloured roller blades. Leg warmers were available in any shade imaginable. Create a pair of fantastic leg warmers using our range of Wool and team with an 80's inspired skirt crafted from our gorgeous Dressmaking Fabrics.


When Madonna exploded onto the stage at the first ever MTV Video Music Awards to perform Like a Virgin her title as a style icon was forever cemented in pop history. Despite her many different looks and persona's she has fascinated us with over the years, Madonna's 80's style remains her most outrageous and had teenagers the world over copying her eccentric style. One of the most popular looks Madonna created during this era was the tutu. This is a look that is still has popular as ever and many stars have tried to emulate it including Lady Gaga, Katie Price and Sarah Jessica Parker. However, it is universally accepted that Madonna, as the first person to wear a tutu outside of the ballet, did it best. This look was worn everywhere from shopping centres and nightclubs to family dinners and was copied by everyone including stars such as Cyndi Lauper. We stock a fantastic range of Dress Nets, this stiff Dressmaking Fabric is funky and fun and is available in a variety of gorgeous colours. Team with a pair of enormous earrings, leggings, a ribbon head band and of course a leather jacket for that authentic 80's style.

Prom Dresses

molly Molly Ringwald in a fashionable 80's style prom dress.

From young girls attending their first prom to bridesmaids and flower girls, prom dresses were in a league of their own. One of the defining dresses of the decade was Molly Ringwald's pink prom dress worn in the 1986 smash hit movie "Pretty In Pink". This look can be recreated with many of our Dressmaking Fabrics including Taffetta; a stiff, crisp fabric which has a very tight, plain weave and is recognisable by the rustling sounds it makes when you move. This soft, smooth fabric is popular for its lustrous appearance and is popular in the manufacture of ball gowns, wedding dresses and evening wear or as a lining fabric. There are many Dressmaking Fabrics to consider when opting for this ultra glam style including Satin Fabrics and Chiffon.


We hope you have enjoyed today's trip down memory lane and as always we look forward to seeing your own creations on our Facebook page.

Until next time!

Calico Laine