Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life

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May 2019 Travels to Copenhagen

My second trip of the year was with my friend to Copenhagen in Denmark. Neither of us had been to Denmark before, but we are both fans of the Scandi Noir dramas and crime series that work their way over to the UK. There was a certain familiarity to many of the locations on the city and we were both humming The Bridge theme music as we descended in Copenhagen on the plane.


Radhus Plads

I took quite a few photos of what I ate. The smørrebrød (Danish open sandwiches) always looked so appetizing.

Smørrebrød! (Or Danish Open sandwiches)

The Little Mermaid

Tivoli Gardens is a lovely place to spend the evening and the food hall adjacent is great as an eating venue.

The Christianborg Palace isn’t the highest up on the many tourist agendas, but I really enjoyed walking around it. It isn’t just a museum, but is also still a working venue as it is the official seat of the Danish Parliament and provides the setting for the Queen to carry out her official duties. The Great Hall is lined with tapestries depicting the history of Denmark. They were designed by Bjørn Nørgaard. The one below shows the Vikings.

Tapestries in Christianborg Palace

Stables at the Christianborg Palace

The Rosenborg Palace was used mainly as a summer residence by the Danish Royals until it was opened to the public in the 19th century.

It contains many treasures that had been gifted to the Royal Family. To be honest I found it a little overwhelming – room after room stuffed full of all their wealth.

Room in the Rosenborg Palace

These pictures were taken in The Cisterns. This is an art installation in the old water reservoir under Søndermarken Park.

The Cisterns

The Cisterns

We braved the weather, which wasn’t too kind at the beginning of May to visit the beach outside Copenhagen

Amager Strand

Amager Strand

Øresund Bridge (aka “The Bridge”) between Denmark and Malmo, in Sweden

View across to Sweden, taken from The Round Tower

Cannily, my friend, who chose the hotel, managed to choose one a stone’s throw from Stoff and Stil in Vesterbro and she didn’t even realise this! I kept on sneaking out to make purchases!

Stoff and Stil Fabric Shop

I came away with some navy stretch cotton velvet and army green cotton jersey (the exact colour isn’t available on the UK website, but this is the fabric in a different shade) and lots of pre-cut ribbing which is available quite reasonably there.

Skipper Stoffer is another fabric shop in Copenhagen, and it seems to specialise in designer fabrics. I did make one small purchase (it is rather a pricey store) and bought some light-weight seersucker by Armani.

Skipper Stoffe

If you want to know more about fabric shopping in Copenhagen, I would recommend looking at these guides by Sewrendipity and The Last Stitch.


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Me-Made-May 2019: Summary and some graphs

I thought I was late in writing my last post on Me-Made-May, but there seem to be a crop of them this week. After posting my MS Excel spreadsheet up, Jane of Sewliloquy commented that graphs would be even better than a spreadsheet. And being a woman who believes that a picture is worth a thousand words (and a graph at least a miliion), I bring you the required graphical delights!

Grpah 1 – This describes the number of wears in the month of May by pattern company.

There aren’t too many surprises here. I think that it was going to be obvious that the Burda patterns would win out. I think the reason may simply be that I have a fair few Burda magazines and when I want to create something new, my first thought is to flick through all the patterns I have, including the Burda magazines looking for a suitable design candidate for my needs. It’s only when I’m completely lacking inspiration or when I simply want to avoid doing lots of pattern hacking that I’ll buy something new. Out of the Indie companies I wore my Grainline Studio makes loads, particularly that blue cardigan which I thought wasn’t the right colour (just shows that time in the wardrobe can change an unloved item into something I wear continually). Coming in third, were my Butterick makes – but that may be because of the 70s hippy jeans that were on constant rotation this month.


The cardigan I have worn endlessly in May:

Graph 2 – This describes the number of wears in the month of May by colour

I’ve continued to keep data on my colour choices because this is an area of my wardrobe that has long held concern. When I bought RTW clothes, my primary concern was whether the garment fit me, and so all sorts of colours seeped into my wardrobe and it was very cohesive. Given a few years and the colour choices are now more streamlined and only occasionally do I find that an existing item or a new item doesn’t have a natural pairing in my wardrobe. As can be seen in the grpah, blue wins out (mostly jeans in here to be honest), but black and grey featured too. These I suppose are my neutrals. Then I have quite a few teal, green and purple clothes. The outliers are the browns, oranges, reds and beiges. Thankfully I seem to have pretty much eliminated yellow and pink (they’ve never been favourites). I think I do need to create more black and green items in my wardrobe, just so that the mixing and matching is even better. I keep on meaning to do the Wardobe Architect series from Colette or some such equivalent with a view to properly recording my style / colour preferences, but have never got around to it.

PerColourI need more black in my life!

Grpah 3 – This describes the percentage of me-mades each year since 2015

I love this graph! I get such feeling of accomplishment, just gazing at this! As you can see there is a gradually increasing trend for more me-mades since 2015. There is the weird blip that is 2017 – that year a deliberately went all out to wear only me-mades, which at that point was just about possible. Since then, I have fallen back into just wearing what feels right each day. My %me-made for 2019 is 74.7% and I think this probably reflects my wardrobe as a whole. I know I could throw out all my RTWs tonight, but that would just be wasteful when I can get more use out of them.


A favourite outfit with mix of me-made and RTW items:




Me-Made-May 2019: Week 4

This is my final round-up for Me-made-May. And whilst I couldn’t post on @SteelySeamstress at the beginning of the month as I was travelling, I have managed a daily photo on Instagram since then and these end of week posts too! Surprisingly, I didn’t get too fed up with taking photos either, but then as you’ll probably notice there’s only rain in one of the shots below.

I thought I’d just put this post out there and save some graphs from my painstakingly recorded spreadsheet data for another post. After all I now have 5 years of data and I think it will take some time to examine the trends and see the progress of my wardrobe with that to look at.


Day 23 Me mades: Tissue knit top, Blue Wolfie jeans, Petrol Jenna cardigan, Helicopter jacket

Day 24 Me-mades: Purple Sorbetto top, Blue Wolfie jeans, Petrol Jenna cardigan

Day 25 Me-mades: Drape drape 2 top, Blue Wolfie jeans, Petrol Jenna cardigan

Day 26 Me-mades: Denim jumpsuit

Day 27 Me-mades: Liberty shirt

Day 28 Me-mades: Hidden kittens top, Blue Wolfie jeans, Grey Burda hoodie

Day 29 Me-mades: Fielder top (unblogged), Grey Moss skirt, Grey Burda hoodie

Day 30 Me-mades: Cherries t-shirt, Blue Wolfie jeans, Grey Burda hoodie

Day 31 Me-mades: Paisley 80s top, Beige Wolfie trousers

Favourite Outfit:

This one was difficult as there are a few combinations here that I like, but I’m going for Day 28 – the hidden cats top with the blue jeans and the grey hoodie. It’s a good casual combination.

Early takeaways:

As always thanks to Zoe for organising #mmmay19 Long may it continue!


Me-Made-May 2019: Week 3

At the beginning of May I read this post from Karen at Fringe Assocation on how she records her outfits. She uses a bullet journal and she describes the types of records she makes; how often she wears me-mades, the average percentage of me-mades in an outfit, categories of garments and wear counts. I love the look of hand-written journals and the idea of a tangible record that I can hold in my hand. However, I have a long-held aversion to paper – I hate the way paperwork accumulates in our small house and I find the most efficient way of storing data is digital. So, a spreadsheet it is for me! I have been recording Me-Made-May on a spreadsheet since 2015 and throughout that time this spreadsheet has evolved considerably from recording what I wear and whether it is me-made or RTW, to now emcompass these other statistics:

  • garment category (trousers, skirts etc)
  • pattern company (Simplicity, Named Clothing etc.)
  • colour
  • wear count

I’m now fully equipped at the end of each Me-Made-May with a bunch of data that reflects my wardrobe use and it has been really useful. It shows me exactly where the gaps are in my wardrobe. Of course, I think sometimes that my spreadsheet is overkill for the task in hand, but now I’ve kept this record for 5 years I can even provide a report on how my wardrobe has changed over the last five years……can’t wait to finish this month and examine the data! Anyway, I’ve attached my sad spreadsheet, should anyone else like to use it here – MMM-template

Anyway, taking a look at this week’s outfits……


Day 15 Me mades: Hidden kittens top, 70s flared jeans, blue Driftless cardigan

Day 16 Me-mades: Red Sorbetto top, Black Burda Jeans

Day 17 Me-mades: Denim jumpsuit

Day 18 Me-mades: Blue pinafore dress

Day 19 Me-mades:  3/4 sleeved t-shirt70s flared jeans

Day 20 Me-mades: 70s flared jeans

Day 21 Me-mades: Tissue knit top70s flared jeans, Petrol Jenna cardigan

Day 22 Me-mades: Wrap trousers (not blogged yet), blue Driftless cardigan

Favourite Outfit:

I’m choosing Day 21 which is a full me-made day – tissue knit top, 70s flared jeans and Jenna cardigan. I’m sure I’ve worn this combination before, but I love the combination of the top and the cardigan. I may have grumbled hugely about that t-shirt when I made it; the fabric was a beast, but it is so light-weight and delicious to wear.

Early takeaways:

  • The lack of summer tops is bothering me. I couldn’t find a top that I felt really worked with the voluminous wrap trousers and I must say that since I’ve started this May this has been the only occasion when I’ve truly felt stumped about how to put an outfit together. I suppose that is good news in a way.
  • This week I’ve worn a range of garments from one of my oldest (the red Sorbetto top) to my most recently finished make (the wrap trousers).

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April 2018 Travels in California

I didn’t get much time for making during April, but I did do quite a bit of travelling. Whilst I usually limit myself to craft related exploits on here, I did visit some beautiful places and I thought I’d share some of the photos I took. Enjoy.

San Francisco bay


Alcatraz island

Western Railway Museum

Near Suison City

Near Suison City

Near Suison City

Wildflowers in California

Wildflowers in California

Of course, I made a visit to Britex Fabrics whilst I was in San Francisco. I was slightly perturbed when I went to their address as it was closed, but they had moved recently to a new location just around the block.

Britex Fabrics

Britex Fabrics

Anyway, I didn’t buy too much as it is a rather expensive shop, but I treated myslef to this cotton lawn and matching buttons. There are also a couple of jeans buttons in there as they do such attractive ones. Well, jeans buttons are never “pretty”, but these are as attractive as they get.



Me-Made-May 2019: Week 2

MMM-19_Week2Day 8 Me mades: Black surplice top, Black and ivory striped Driftless cardigan

Day 9 & 11 Me-mades: Grey Moss Skirt

Day 10 Me-mades: Denim jumpsuit

Day 12 Me-mades: 3/4 sleeved t-shirt, 70s flared jeans, blue Driftless cardigan

Day 13 Me-mades: Purple patterned Sorbetto top, Blue Driftless cardigan

Day 14 Me-mades: Paisley summer top

At home all this last week so much easier to choose my outfits. The week started cold so I was wearing tights, but now it is bright and sunny; wouldn’t say it is beach weather, but definitely getting warmer.

Favourite Outfit:

This was a tough call as there have been a few combinations that I hadn’t tried before this week. I’m choosing Day 12 which is a full me-made day – 3/4 sleeved t-shirt, 70s flared jeans and blue Driftless cardigan. I’m not even sure why I’d never tried this combination before, but perhaps it is because I made this cardigan towards the tail-end of the summer and it didn’t get worn that much immediately after it was made.  Anyway, the colour combinations are all blue and it pleased me.

Early takeaways:

  • My Driftless cardigans have done sterling service this week. I’m so glad I finally followed through on the wardrobe gap I repeatedly found in previous me-made-mays.
  • Possibly my wardrobe is lacking summer tops and this may bother me more when it gets warmer.


Me-Made-May 2019: Week 1

I’m very much behind with my blogging and I’ve quite a few posts to write, but we are in Me Made May and I’ve made a pledge to participate:

I, Nicola @steelyseamstress, sign up as a particpant of Me-Made-May 2019. My aim is to wear my me-mades in glorious combinations, and sometimes with RTW items that I still have in my wardrobe. I endeavour to put neglected items back into rotation where I can.

I can’t believe that Me-Made-May has reached it’s tenth anniversary – it is amazing how much it has captured the imagination. Even more surprising is that this is my sixth Me-Made-May!



Day 1 & 2 Me mades: Over-sized sweatshirt, Black skinny jeans, Helicopter jacket

Day 3, 4 & 5 Me-mades: 3/4 sleeved t-shirt, Dark blue Wolfie jeans, Helicopter jacket (no photo)

Day 6 Me-mades: Denim jumpsuit

Day 7 Me-mades: Black surplice top, Black and ivory striped Driftless cardigan

This last week I’ve been travelling a lot of the time so have needed lots of practical jeans and sweatshirts. Not only that, I was in colder climes and by day 3 ended up wearing virtually everything that I could in one go. The me-made items were supplemented with a long-sleeved t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a waterproof coat. It was hardly a put together outfit and unsurprisingly, I wasn’t in a hurry to document it, so sorry about the gap there. Perhaps my friend managed to take a picture of that and I can add that in later.

Favourite Outfit:

Day 6 – Obviously, my new denim jumpsuit. I liked it very much in combination with this rainbow coloured long-sleeved t-shirt, which isn’t a me-made. Somehow I don’t normally wear that t-shirt, but this was a really useful combination.

Early takeaways:

  • Don’t go on holiday without enough clothes! My famed ability to travel light let me down and I was seriously cold. Yes, I had watched the weather forecast before I went and stupidly I had packed for that. The temperature was 5-10 degrees colder!
  • I’m also keen on wearing my black and ivory Driftless cardigan in combination with khaki trousers and a black top.  So pleased I actually got around to some serious cardigan making last year.