Who Remembers 1987?

Do you remember wearing floral prints as a child or did you make floral dresses for yourself and your daughters back then?

For some reason we could not get enough of florals …they were everywhere and we even decoupaged/glued then on everything in our homes from baskets to book covers. There were craft classes and books written to encourage this strange behavior.

Designers convinced us that wearing overgrown florals and using them on every conceivable surface was cool…nay...essential to being trendy and a good mom. There was even a national fabric store chain that was built for this purpose of supplying us with this much desired product and it was called “Calico Corners”. Women would have Calico Corners buying parties on the weekends because they had what we wanted …the big “C” word….CO-Ordinates!

Yes, besides just huge cabbage rose florals and Little House on the Prairie or Laura Ashley motifs a crafty mom could find stripes to add to this collection. Just think of all the pillows and balloon valances that could now sport huge flowers AND a stripe as a ruffle!!! All of a sudden we could do more than only match our wallpaper…we could be “Walking Wallpaper” and enjoy wearing thicker stiff home dec fabrics.

We dresses our daughters and ourselves in these cutsie little sewing patterns with front dropped waists and ruffles. Please click on the photos for a closer look:


So why have I brought you down Memory Lane? Because I yearn for the days of polished cottons and watching re-runs of The Cosby show? OH NO!

Because a 70+ year old lady brought in a garment this week that her mother made in 1987 from a prom pattern that she was making for the woman’s daughters at the time. It has the typical dip in the front waist, princess seams and one-shouldered design feature with a huge bow as an accent.

The goal was to squeeze this woman into her cotton frock without causing too much damage to internal organs and get the zipper up. After much pushing and shoving and grunting the zipper closed and the woman even though she could not take a deep breath swore it fit perfectly. That’s when someone had to have some common sense and I suggested/insisted that every seam be let out to the very edge to make it wearable and the back length of the bodice be reduced by 1 inch so it would sit on her waist. You can only imagine what rows of gathered thick home dec fabric does to hips!

  But get a load of this little honey:


You can see the pinned out section along the back waist and that lovely bow.

Maybe somewhere in the back of your closet you are harboring one of these dresses or something that was also worn a lot back then for women of all ages…the romper:

Yes these little overgrown tube tops were made in every conceivable fabric and were “costume de rigueur” for summer outings or trips to Hawaii. Each garment was built on the entire premise that a row of 1/4 inch elastic could hold up 2 yards of fabric and enhance one’s bust.

She also brought in one of these for that tired 23 year old elastic to be replaced for another 20 years of wear.

So, my sewing sisters, beware!

There are well-to-do retired women out there trying to recapture their youth by having alterations done to their vintage clothes to adapt to their vintage bodies. Be prepared to enter the Twilight Zone!

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4 Responses to Who Remembers 1987?

  1. Alethia says:

    Boy, do I remember…hee-hee! I honestly think that romper pattern is the same one that I used to make my very first garment when I was 10 years old. My romper was made out of a mint green terry cloth fabric. I speak about it on Sew Much Talent because there’s a pattern out now that’s very similar to this one. How about that? 🙂

  2. Alethia says:

    “So, my sewing sisters, beware!

    There are well-to-do retired women out there trying to recapture their youth by having alterations done to their vintage clothes to adapt to their vintage bodies. Be prepared to enter the Twilight Zone!”

    Hilarious, ROTFL!!!! I will certainly be on the look out. Thanks for the heads up! 🙂

  3. Hey Folks–
    Not selling much chintz anymore– Most of our florals are now printend on linen–
    And it is funny to see the styles from back then– but if you love color and pattern and enjoy fashion, I say embrace the trends– you will feel beautiful and look well turned out. But like most styles, there is a time to call it quits and put them in a trunk for your daughter or niece or grand daughter to play dress up. Just saw a 60 something lady with Farrah Fawcett hair the other day– yikes– Come into Calico Corners or visit us online at calicocorners.com to see what we look like now… We recently had a customer make a topper (think that is what she called it)– a long tailored coat that went over a plain sheath– and it was done in one of our ikat fabrics– It looked just like couture Oscar de la Renta– very chic– but this too will eventually look dated– as all things do…
    Happy Sewing– and thanks for making me smile today (and if the lady with the Farrah Fawcett hair is reading this– run, don’t walk to a salon)
    Greg Lawrence
    VP Creative Affairs
    CalicoCorners Calico Home

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