Authentic 70’s cold shoulder blouse

I’m calling this authentic because the thread and the fabric were both picked up at an estate sale. It’s plausible that the fabric is from the 70’s. It certainly looks the part.



To be perfectly honest, most of the fabric I find at estate sales is truly awful. There’s lots of old, rough quilting remnants, ugly home deco cottons, and dusty poly knits. The pricing is often absurd too, clearly valued by people who know nothing about fabric and sewing. I walk past a lot of rubbish. However, every now and then I find a gem and a bargain.

This fabric was a part of several bundles that I found at one particular house several months ago. Each bundle was $1-3 and contained 3-5 remnants of varying lengths. I was immediately apparent to me that some of the fabric was of high quality, but sometimes it’s hard to tell the exact fibre content of a fabric without a burn test, particularly with “nicer” synthetics. So I nabbed three of the more appealing bundles and took them home to inspect more closely.

Subsequent burn tests revealed a LOT of silk in that bundle, including this absolute gem. Needless to say, I popped back to the sale later that day and grabbed the remaining decent bundles. I ended up with several long lengths of pretty silks, two really long lengths of Liberty of London (one was a wool blend), and a few nice poly and cotton florals. Some prints are old fashioned, but even so, are still delightful for the right project.

I was able to determine that this particular floral fabric was a synthetic. It doesn’t press. It definitely melts (please don’t ask me about this!)! It’s stiffer than a silk chiffon. It’s not my kind of fabric at all, but I LOVED the 70’s vibe of the print. It was going to make the perfect partner for my suede mini and flares.



I wasn’t planning to spend much time or effort on a horrid poly like this but I didn’t have a lot of choice. I needed to bind the raw edges somehow. Self-fabric binding would have been beautiful (but an awful job with a fabric that won’t hold a crease). My solution was to use some sheer pink, silk organza that I already had on hand. Obviously, silk organza presses well but I’ve never used it for bias binding before. It’s a very crisp fabric to begin with but after several washes, silk organza turns super soft. It was the perfect compliment to this sheer blouse.





6 thoughts on “Authentic 70’s cold shoulder blouse

  1. Randi

    Love this! So pretty. Is it the same pattern as the upcycled white tablecloth top you posted on Instagram! I agree that it’s rare to find good fabrics at yard sales, I get most of my silks at Goodwill thrift stores, I look in the skirts first, starting with the larger sizes. I often find skirts with at least two yards in a gathered skirt. I’ve learned to check for too-many seams, if bias-cut, etc. I just this week found a great large size gathered black silk skirt and bonus – the lining is silk, too! Not always the case! thanks for the inspiration you give, your craftsmanship and style are always immaculate!


    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thanks so much Randi! Yes, this is the same pattern. Such a good idea to hunt for silk at thrift stores. Big sized gathered skirts or dress coats are the best. I found a suede one a while back, and a corduroy one in a beautiful green – I’ve cut it up but not used it yet. I haven’t been lucky to find silk in any big sizes yet.


  2. Charlotte

    I love the purse! As I’ve aged I can’t carry my vintage bags anymore….they look too much like I was the original owner, lol! I can’t make out the signature…is it by Enid?


    1. Debbie Iles Post author

      Thank you Charlotte! Yes it is an Enid Collins. My daughters love the bird painting on it too!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s