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Retro Fashion Patterns: 23 Sewing Projects Inspired by the 1980s

You'll love this collection of rad vintage sewing projects inspired by this experimental decade!

By: Anna Deen, Editor, AllFreeSewing.com
Retro Fashion Patterns 23 Sewing Projects Inspired by the 1980s

The mid-1980s ushered in the iconic trends that the decade is best known for, with its asymmetrical color blocking, neon exercise crop tops, and leg warmers. But fashions did not stop evolving through to the end of the decade.

Designers continuously experimented with a range of elements that included 1950s-inspired preppy clothing, tennis outfits, Bermuda shorts, leather, and velour, and color palettes that both neutrals and neons!

If you have been looking for 1980s-inspired clothing, we have 23 rad vintage sewing patterns for you! With this page, Retro Fashion Patterns: 23 Sewing Projects Inspired by the 1980s, you'll be excited to go back in time, fashionwise.

The following collection of 1980s sewing patterns includes DIY accessories, easy skirts tutorials, shirt sewing projects, dress patterns, and easy jumpsuits to make draws on this wild diversity of styles.

Travel back to the 1980s amidst these Jane Fonda-inspired DIY sweater legwarmers and popular color-blocked sweatshirts. No matter your taste, we are sure that you will find your new favorite retro '80s-style pattern here!
 

Rad '80s-Style Skirt Patterns

The 1980s saw a wide-range of skirt styles that varied in terms of fabric and color, but most notably in regards to hem-length. More conservative pencil skirts emerged from designers like Chanel in response to the form-fitting, mini-skirt fad that came into fashion in the latter part of the decade. The following skirt patterns draw on this eclectic range of variables!
 

  • Micro Mini Simple Skirt Pattern

    With this bright pop of pink and subtle sparkling effects, the Micro Mini Skirt Pattern looks like it just appeared out of this experimental decade!

  • Easy Pencil Skirt Refashion

    Complete with this popular houndstooth pattern, this elegant pencil skirt would have been an appropriate addition to a professional suit ensemble in the 1980s!

  • How to Upcycle a Polo Shirt

    This polo shirt-to-skirt tutorial is the perfect way to upcycle the popular 1980s tennis shirt into a contemporary classic! You'll be surprised at the different ways you can refashion this.

  • High Waisted Skirt From Vintage Sweater

    Upcycle your old vintage sweater into a high-waisted skirt, inspired by the decade whose passion for multi-purpose clothing had consumers wearing skirts for shirts and vice versa!

  • 20 Minute DIY Skirt

    Leather was a popular material for fashions in the 1980s—try making this simple 20 Minute DIY Skirt with leather (or fake leather) for a quick retro-inspired look!

  • Sequined Mini Skirt

    Adopt Madonna's iconic 1980s-pop star look with this DIY skirt tutorial that's covered in shiny sequins. It can be dressed up or down with accessories for your fave '80s style.

Wicked '80s-Inspired DIY Shirts

This selection of shirt sewing patterns offers a range of elements from tops from the 1980s. Asymmetrical color blocking, sportswear, neon colors, and 1950s-inspired fashion were all popular style elements for shirts over the course of the decade. Check out the following 1980s sewing patterns for these retro-inspired tops!
 

  • How to Make Your Own Crop Top

    Crop tops became a craze with the release of the 1983 movie Flashdance. Try making your own crop to channel your inner-1980s self, while still keeping on trend today!

  • 30 Minute Caftan Top

    The geometric design of this flowy shirt is perfect for inspiring your eighties fashion tastes. You can even use any more fitting fabric patterns you find. It's a nice design.

  • Oversize DIY Shirt

    Try making this upcycled oversized button-down look that is inspired by popular color blocking trends and non-form-fitting women's' style of the 1980s!

  • Quick Sew Crop Top

    Make this fast and easy crop top and you'll be stylish and feeling totally rad when you head to town day or night. Plus, add layers to really fit the scene.

Way Cool 1980s DIY Accessories

Many trends from the 1980s are coming back or are still around today—try making these vintage-inspired DIY sewing accessories that both draw on this earlier decade while still being in style currently!
 

  • DIY Embellished Sequin Patch Pin

    Make several of these "totally awesome" DIY Embellished Sequin Patch Pins, inspired by punk-rock patches popular in the 1980s, to complete your retro look!

  • Fingerless Gloves

    You can channel Madonna with this cool accessory! These 1980s-inspired fingerless gloves are full of frills and customizable to fit both children and adults! Totally way out!

  • Stripes of Neon Tote

    This Stripes of Neon Tote tutorial shows you how to personalize your own tote bag by adding pops of neon color that were very popular with the younger generation in the '80s. 

  • Sweater Leg Warmers

    Upcycle your old sweater into a new pair of leg warmers to wear while watching your favorite 1980s Jane Fonda exercise video! Keeps you warm in cold weather.

  • Funky Fingerless Gloves

    While lace and leather fingerless gloves were popular in punk fashion and music culture in the 80s, try making these gloves with wool socks to keep your hands warm in the chilly weather!

  • 15 Minute Turtleneck Cape Tutorial

    A big accessory for going outside. This luxurious turtleneck cape combines two great things about the eighties—turtlenecks and capes—and will keep you extra warm this winter!

Totally Tubular Vintage Dress Patterns & Jumpsuit Tutorials

Much as with skirts, dresses in the 1980s varied widely as hem lengths were constantly changing, color blocking came and went, and color palettes ranged from neutrals to rich plums and golds. Additionally, jumpsuits sustained popularity over the course of the decade, taking off with Devo's hit video Whip It that featured jumpsuits. Check out the range of jumpsuits and hip dresses inspired by this decade!
 

  • Two Yard Jumpsuit Tutorial

    Channel your inner retro style by making this Two Yard Jumpsuit Tutorial that gives a classic style a contemporary spin!

  • Crushed Velvet Dress Free Sewing Pattern

    Velour and velvet were all the rage in the 1980s! Make your own velvet dress with this Crushed Velvet Dress Free Sewing Pattern!

  • Harem Pants Jumpsuit Sewing Pattern

    This Harem Pants Jumpsuit is an easy project for those who just started working with knits, but it is also appropriate for more experienced sewists.

  • Mock Turtleneck Dress Tutorial

    Reminiscent of the early 80s, this metallic Mock Turtleneck Dress Tutorial would be a rockin' vintage-inspired party dress! Plus, it's warm and trendy.

  • Thrifted 80s Suit Refashion

    Have you ever found the coolest vintage suit that unfortunately is ill-fitting and has shoulder pads? This tutorial shows you how to remake a retro suit into a sewing project you will love today!

  • Vintage Evening Gown Refashion Tutorial

    Refashion a vintage dress into a contemporary style with this Vintage Evening Gown Refashion Tutorial! Because you'll be using a dress you have found, it's a unique design every time.

What is your favorite style of the 1980s? Let us know in the comments below!

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