Sewing A Themed Wardrobe: 1980s Style! Topic Overview & Pleated High Waisted Jeans Pattern Hack

Pixie Faire 1980s Style Doll Clothes Patterns Pleated Jeans

Hi Everyone! Welcome to a new installment of Sewing A Themed Wardrobe, this time we're taking a trip down memory lane!  The theme is "1980s Style Fashion". In this topic we will explore the style that stood out and really set the tone for that era. Items like acid washed denim, pleated jeans, bubble skirts, leggings, jelly flats, scrunchies, and of course, big hair! Wheather you're creating an expanded wardrobe for the new 1986 historical character, Courtney Moore™ or creating the pieces for the modern day, I'm sure we'll have fun creating these things together!

The Sewing A Themed Wardrobe: 1980s Style Topic Will Include:

  • Part 1 - Topic Overview, Pleated High Waisted Jeans Pattern Hack
  • Part 2 - The Iconic Fold Over Waistband - Add it to your pattern
  • Part 3 - The Jelly Flats "craft along" with Shari Fuller
  • Part 4 - 1980s Accessories  - The 80s Bandanrama!

Over this 4-part topic,  I'll show you how to create the Ultimate 80s wardrobe for your doll!

Are you ready? Let's go...


October Membership Links & Coupons:

Find the downloadable video collection on Vimeo, here:

Password: STYLE2010

Free Pattern Info: This code is good for one free pattern from Pixie Faire, any brand ($5.99 maximum discount, higher priced patterns will have a remaining balance due). This code expires 10-31-2010 and is a one-time use code available to Sewing With Cinnamon members exclusively.

Pattern Coupon Code: STYLE2010

  • For this topic we recommend using the code to grab the Liberty Jane High-Waisted Jeans pattern (if you don't already have it). Then jump in and follow along in the pattern hack outlined below.
  • Other patterns that will be used in this course over the following weeks are: The new Thimbles & Acorns Jelly Flats, Liberty Jane Bubble Skirt, and Liberty Jane Button Front Mini Skirt.
  • Or check out the style guide info at the bottom of this post for other patterns with a 1980s theme!

Course PDF Download: Members are eligible to download one course in a PDF format each month (this also includes longterm access to download the videos). You can choose to use this on the most recent topics, found in the SWC Bonuses section (not available to the public yet) or any course listed on the main website in the Sewing With Cinnamon Courses collection.

Note - The current months topic will be available to download the first week of the following month and can be redeemed with next months coupon code.

Course Coupon Code: SWC2010


Ok, let's jump in to Part 1!

One of the most prominent design elements of the 80s was pleated, but not just pleats, pleated jeans! Follow along in this pattern hack to see how easy it is to add pleats to this design. Then use your new skill to add pleats to any other design you choose!

    Part 1 Tutorial Video - The 80s Pleated High Waisted Jean Shorts Pattern Hack:


    This pattern hack post was done in collaboration with IG user @forofsuch. I'm loving her beautiful photos of the finished product!

    Patterns used in this weeks video examples:

    Liberty Jane High-Waisted Jeans & Shorts for 18" Dolls.

    Here's a breakdown of the complete tutorial too:

    Important prep step: First we will make modifications to the pattern pieces! 

    To begin, print out all the pattern pieces. But BEFORE you cut out the pants/shorts front and back from the printer paper, make these changes and modifications right on the paper:

    Step 1:  We will start with the Pants Front pattern piece.

    • Using a ruler, make marks 1 inch below the “cut here for shorts” line, then connect the marks to make a new cut line.
    • Cut out the Pants Front pattern piece, using your new line as the bottom cut line. 
    • Cut the Pants Front piece in half from top to bottom.

    • Tape a piece of paper behind the left side, then measure over an inch along the length of it and draw a line.
    • Now bring the right side of the pattern piece to that drawn line and tape it in place, lining up the top and bottom edges. Draw lines across the one inch gap, reconnecting the top and bottom edges. Trim off the extra paper at the new cut lines you have drawn.

    • Using your ruler, and starting at the top left side of the pattern piece, which is center front and where the fly is, measure over 1 inch to the right and make a mark.
    • Measure over to the right again ½ inch, and make a mark.
    • Measure over to the right again 3/8 inch, and make a mark.
    • Measure over to the right again ½ inch, and make a fourth and final mark.
    • These are your marks for the pleats you are going to fold in. Set the Pants Front piece aside.


    Step 2:  Now to modify the Back Pants piece! This will be much simpler. 

    • First, measure 1 inch down again from the “cut here for shorts” line, and draw a new cut line.
    • Next, following the curve of the new cut line, extend it out ¼ inch on either side.
    • Using your ruler for a straight edge, draw straight lines connecting the top of the pattern on the left to your ¼ inch extension, and the point of the crotch to the ¼ inch extension on the right side.
    • Cut out your pattern piece now, using the new cut lines you have drawn.
    • Yay, now you have your two new pattern pieces! Using these and the rest of the printable pattern pieces, cut out your shorts.


    Step 3:  Before you begin step 1 of the pattern instructions, follow these instructions:

    • First, transfer the fold lines to the fabric pattern pieces with chalk.
    • Next, following the directional lines, fold the two pleats over toward the center front, matching up the chalk lines once folded. Pin in place. Your pieces should look like the photo below.
    • Baste over your pinned pleats and remove pins.

    Step 4:  Now begin following the pattern instructions, and continue through completing step 28, then follow these steps before beginning step 29:

    • Serge or zig zag the bottom edges of both legs.
    • Fold up the bottom edges of each leg ¾ inch and iron in place.
    • Stitch down the ironed hemline, catching the edge of the turned up fabric. Stitch another seam 1/16 to 1/8 inch away from original seam for the double seam look.

    Step 5:  Now you can resume the pattern instructions beginning at pattern step 29, omitting the hemming steps of 39 and 40, since you already did the hem.

    Now your shorts are complete! The yoke and pleats are perfect and so 80’s!

    Week One task:

    • Watch the videos and follow along to see how we added the pleats to the original design.
    • Grab your patterns and get ready to sew your own pair too!
    • Select the fabrics you'd like to make these shorts. Lightweight denim works great for this type of design.
    • If you want to try your hand at bleaching your shorts to give them an acid wased look, be sure to check out the "How To Bleach Denim To Get The Acid Washed Look" blog post too!
    • Jump over the SWC Facebook Group for conversation and project sharing. 

    Looking to build your 1980s Wardrobe? be sure to check out our collection of patterns that capture the theme and include many of the iconic design elments! Click HERE

    1980s Color Palette: There are a few themes present in the 80s, one of which is represented in the new American Girl Historical collection for Courtney. It's the vibrant bright colors represented here:

    1980s Prominent Design Elements: Think, big, bright, bold, and exagerated, to start. At least for the "rocker girl" or "preppy" type looks.

    • Large puffy sleeves
    • Yoke design element on pants and skirts
    • Pleats, especially pleated pants 
    • Bubble skirts
    • Mixing bold colors, geometric designs
    • Big stripes
    • Lot's of leggings! Pair these with oversized tees or layered under skirts. Solid leggings and lace leggings too!
    • Cropped jackets
    • Satin fabric was big! 

    There is also the softer side which includes ruffles, puffy sleeves, big collars, dropped waist dresses, lace trim details, and a more muted color palette (but we'll touch on that more in Part 4)

    Next Tuesday - Part 2: The Iconic Fold-Over Waistband


      Bev Hiler
      Bev Hiler

      October 09, 2020

      Love the 80s color palette. thank you!

      Ruth A Bryant
      Ruth A Bryant

      October 08, 2020

      Thank you.


      October 07, 2020

      Love this pattern hack! Will you be doing a tutorial on how to make the belt?

      Marian Peoples
      Marian Peoples

      October 07, 2020

      I taught Home Economics during this time and had children the age of Courtney. This is a BLAST from the PAST!


      October 06, 2020

      I so excited for this months lesson. Thank you so much. 😊

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