Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Closet Case Files Pouf

There comes a time in every stitcher’s life, when there are just too many scraps. I’m not someone who finds throwing things out easy, especially clothes and fabrics. Hey, I still have clothes I wore to sixth form still in my drawers (and I still wear them). But somewhere along the line I’ve ended up with carrier bags full of scraps; too small to make anything with, but too large to just discard. Enter the Clost Case Files Pouf.

I’ve seen many versions of this online. It’s a great free pattern, that lots of people have made. Reading some of the blog posts, I took note of those who said that the pouf ended up quite heavy and a couple of handles are useful for dragging it across the floor. So, mine has handles too.

My version is mostly made of denim and corduroy, so using all the remnants from jeans- and trouser-making essentially. It also used some scraps that remained from the cushions I made for the sofa, so it looks like it fits in with the living room.

Closet Case Files Pouf

Closet Case Files Pouf

In the spirit of using scraps I even made my own piping with denim scraps that I made into bias-binding. I wouldn’t recommend doing this, unless you have a high tolerance for boring tasks. Making your own bias-binding then making two metres of piping has to be just one of the most boring sewing tasks I have ever done. I much prefer hand-sewing any day. I noticed some people had only, applied piping to the top of the pouf. I was certainly a glutton for punishment because I did the top and the bottom!

I made the base of the pouf out of slipper-sole fabric. You know the fabric with the little rubbery dots on it? Master Steely will be using it as a “gaming” cushion. Therefore, I thought this would be good to make sure it didn’t slide too much on our wooden floor.  I also added a little tag to cover the zip-pull, so that the metal of the zip won’t scrape on the floor.

Bottom of the pouf made of slipper sole fabric

Bottom of the pouf made of slipper sole fabric

I finished this at the weekend, but I’m struggling to fill it with enough scraps. Obviously, there are plenty of scraps, but I need to cut them up a bit smaller, and I’m doing a bit at a time (so my hands don’t get tired).

Anyway, just in case you were thinking of making one yourself, here are a few examples for reference of the different modifications:

Additional handles:

Ruthie Sews


Handmade Shelby

Internal scrap bag:

Goheen Designs

Without piping or piping used only on the top of the pouf:

Belle citadel

The Demented Fairy


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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.


Sewing The Seventies: 1970

Today I embark on my voyage through the seventies. Each day over the next ten I will be writing a 1970s-themed post, each one based on a year in the decade, starting with 1970 today. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the food, music, TV and current affairs and anything else that grabs my attention while I experience my time slip back nearly four decades. And of course, I will be wearing items from my 1970s wardrobe.

So, 1970. I have one serious problem with 1970 and that is that I don’t have any legal tender. In 1970 the currency in the UK was pounds, shillings and pence. My work-around was that I wouldn’t spend any money in the shops today. This was fine in principle being a work day and the only thing I usually buy is some lunch. In the 1970s it just wasn’t possible to pop into the supermarket for some sandwiches anyway, so unless you were planning to eat in a tea shop or pub, you would take a packed lunch to work.

Old Money

However, over the weekend I developed toothache and ended up having an emergency dental appointment this morning. So, I had to go modern and pay for that, with a debit card! Unfortunately, the wisdom tooth problem isn’t fixed (at least not yet), which isn’t great and I’m trying to feel enthusiastic against slightly masked tooth pain. Anyway, I’m going to do my best with how things are. By the way, my appointment cost £20.60 (or £20 12s)

A simple Purchasing Power Calculator would say the relative value is £1   9s   0d. This answer is obtained by multiplying £20 12s   0d by the percentage increase in the RPI from 2016 to 1970. [1]

To be honest that’s a pointless calculation given that going to the dentists was actually completely free in 1970!

I’ve now made my packed lunch. I’m going to make something fairly boring that I know will fit in the time period; a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps (Walkers), two small satsumas and two Club biscuits. The crisps and biscuits are both brands that were available in the 1970s and are still around today. What a dull looking lunch by today’s standards! I’m going to try to come up with something more exciting for my next work day on Monday.

1970 Packed Lunch

Packed Lunch

And here’s what those branded products would have looked like in 1970:

Walkers Crisps and Club Biscuits

Club Biscuits and Walkers Crips Packaging from the 1970s

I haven’t got an extensive seventies-style wardrobe yet, but I think it is only fair to start by wearing the items that come from the earliest patterns in my collection. This is my newly finished pinafore dress:

Burda Dusty Dress

The dress is a Burda pattern from 1970, so I’m wearing the latest fashion here! I’ve just paired it with a plain camel-coloured long-sleeved t-shirt and boots. The t-shirt is a shop-bought item from my wardrobe, but it is very plain and hopefully therefore in keeping with the era. I’ll write a separate post about the dress soon.

Obviously, at work I’m going to be doing my normal stuff, which involves time spent on the computer. I do attend meetings and use the telephone too. I work mostly with databases and at the beginning of the 1970s the types of databases I am using would generally have been hand-written on index cards. My job is therefore quite different from its equivalent in the past. I’m sure 1970s me would have been rifling through filing cabinets and moving piles of paper around!

I’ve finished work and I’m really hungry. The pack lunch didn’t really sustain me for the whole day and worse I have no currency to spend in the shops. I can’t wait for this evening’s meal, which Mr Steely is cooking.

This evening’s entertainment is going to be some reading. I had a look in a charity shop a few weeks ago and found a stack of books from the 1970s. I was particularly looking for a book published during the era and also set in the decade. Anyway, I picked out Voices in an Empty House by Joan Aitkin. It’s a story about a search, against time, for a boy who has been kidnapped. I’ll let you know how I get on.



The Horror of Time Management

The last month for me has been a pretty busy affair, particularly at work. I don’t really talk about work much on here, if at all, but it’s getting a mention here because sometimes home and work overlap. At work I have been trying to use a few those time management techniques to help me through my busiest days. And being busy at work has had a knock-on effect at home. I’ve been pressed for time here as well and I’ve found those same time management techniques spilling over into my home life. The lists, the time-vigilance, the prioritising…..and this is bad!

Sun dial

Five tenets of time management to avoid at home:

1. Make a list

I’ve found myself making lists for things I need to do at home. Do I need to make a list to remind myself to phone my friend, compete a sewing project or book our holiday? I’m taking this as a sign that all is not well. Spending time with a friend, going on holiday and sewing are the stuff of my daydreams, something is wrong if I haven’t space in my brain to remember them. These are the things that help me relax and I should be thinking about them, not putting them at the back of my mind, because I’m too preoccupied.

2. Don’t waste time waiting

Sometimes there are times we can’t fill efficiently. It might be while we are commuting on the train or waiting in the opticians. Time management tips suggest how we might fill these moments productively. But do you know what? I need down-time. We all need down-time. Sometimes it is just pleasant to just sit and do nothing, or at least not much. Why not watch the scenery slide past while you’re on the train? Forget planning your next meeting agenda! Why not daydream whilst waiting in the opticians? Forget the messages on your phone!

3. Don’t fall prey to time-wasters

Apparently 31% of us waste roughly 30 minutes daily at work and fill this time with activities such as net surfing, Facebook posting, texting, or making personal calls. Do I waste this amount of time at home? Of course I do! Does it matter if a spend 30 minutes of un-focussed time surfing, or slouched in front of children’s TV with Master Steely as soon as I get home from work? When we are on holiday we don’t call “lying on the beach” a time-waster, so why is unfocussed time an “enemy” the rest of the time? Besides, I can find some interesting things while surfing and children’s TV can be delightful!

4. Prioritise

I really struggle to exclude this time management behaviour at home. Making priorities in my home life is really necessary, but at the same time, I have to be careful otherwise all the tasks heading to the top of the list would be those that other people want me to do. I try to make sure that I do something I want to do everyday – it keeps me sane!

5. Introduce time management goals

Once you are on the time management treadmill, it’s hard to jump off. There is, apparently, always room for improvement. Time management websites advise changing our behaviour over time to achieve increased productivity or even decreased stress.

More targets = more stress

As far as I’m concerned, more targets generally means more stress. I have read this article though. I think I can identify myself as a “Perfectionist”. It might explain why I feel I need Hermione Granger’s time turner to get everything done. On the other hand, perhaps this is what makes me improve as a sewist?

Time turner

By the way, I’ve have spotted the irony of writing this as a list! I really need to ditch the time management at home – it isn’t a recipe for contentment. Enjoy the moment and happy sewing!



Library of Dressmaking from the Interwar Period Part 4

This month I’m delving into the chapter entitled “Upkeep of Clothing” in the Women’s Institute library of dressmaking volume. I’m now quite used to the judgemental tone of this book. I definitely feel like a lesser mortal because of my “slovenly ways”. But if I’m going to be judged, I may as well judge myself without reserve and this month I’ve decided to make myself a checklist to compare myself to the “ideal homemaker” in the book.


The list consists of the suggestions in the book for the proper care of clothing. I’m giving myself a score between 0 and 5, with the highest score awarded when I’ve made an exemplary effort in that area and 0 when I’ve made absolutely none.

Clothes hangers

Here’s the checklist. Do you score any better than me?

Number Description Comments Score
1 Are clothes hung up in the wardrobe? I’m not too good at keeping my clothes in the wardrobe. I have a massive pile of clothes heaped up on the chair beside my bed and another pile on top of the case carrying my extra duvet. I blame the yo-yo British summers where I often have to change what I’m wearing each day to suit the weather and keep on leaving clothes I’ve worn only once on the chair. 1
2 Do I have enough hangers? Yes I do. They are nearly all wooden and I have even covered one myself. I even possess skirt hangers. Perhaps I could improve by sewing some skirt hooks into my me-made skirts. Anyway, I’m going to give myself a high mark on this. 4.5
3 Is there enough space in the wardrobe so clothes can hang properly Absolutely not. My clothes are way to squashed in and I often need to iron clothes when they come out of the wardrobe as they have got crumpled in there. I really need a big tidy up in there. 2
4 Are moth treatments used? Yes, I have some cedar wood little squares that I put in drawers and some cedar hangings that can be put on the clothes hangers. I’m not sure they are doing their job well though – I spotted lots of eggs in my woollens drawer. I gave the blocks in the woollens drawer a bit of a sand paper the other day and aired the clothes – scarves, gloves and hats. I’ll give myself a middle-range score for this, as I did tackle the woollens drawer, but really need to do the same in the wardrobe. 3
5 Do I air my clothes frequently? Actually, no, but this book is converting me on this score. It has lots of benefits including preventing discoloration, discouraging moths and preventing mould. 0
6 Do I make sure others in the house tidy their clothes away? Mr Steely is a very organised person and he doesn’t have too many clothes. Master Steely is the complete opposite, being very adept at mess, but I think we may have trained him well, as he hangs his coat up and any muddy football gear is shed near the washing machine. 4.5
7 Are my socks darned? Actually, I have darned a couple of pairs of socks this year. I still haven’t made myself any socks yet, and haven’t bought any in about 3 years, so I have to be very careful with those I do use. I still have some more to darn though. 3
8 Am I up to date with other mending jobs? No, I have a pile of these – including a crotch seem on my grey trousers which needs stitching up again. And yep, those cardigans with the holes in them. Enough said, this work is a priority! 0
9 Are my shoes and boots repaired at the heel? I don’t have many pairs of shoes or boots that can be repaired in this way, but I did get my grey boots repaired recently. I wonder if it is possible to get a whole rubber sole replaced? 2
10 Do I store shoes so that they keep their shape? Well, I don’t use shoe-trees or tissue, so I don’t think I score too well on this front! 0
11 Do I have a well-stocked mending basket? Well, I guess I do have a good sewing kit. Specifically, for mending I do have some darning wool for my socks, but no darner. 4
Wearing clothes responsibly and upkeep
12 Do I roll down tights to put them? Is there any other way to put on tights? 5
13 Do I pull off gloves gently? Yes, generally I do. I think this advice is really for leather gloves and yes I do treat those with care. 5
14 Do I take care to make sure shoes don’t get wet? This is clearly written by someone who doesn’t live in the South West of the UK. I would never venture out the house at all, if I only went out when rain wasn’t forecast. I do have a hierarchy of shoes though and I don’t wear the “best” ones in the rain unless caught unawares. Wet shoes should be dried slowly to prevent cracking, according to the book. I always make sure the shoes are never near a radiator and I leave them to dry without wearing them for a few days. 4
15 Do I polish my shoes? Occasionally – I probably could take better care of them. 1
16 Do I remove stains and spots promptly? Yes I do. I’m usually quite upset when I spill something on my clothes, so I generally try to remove it as soon as possible. 5

My total is 44 out of a possible 80 points. My challenge for the next couple of months is to try to improve on my score and I shall start with organising the wardrobe properly and doing my mending jobs.


Library of Dressmaking from the Interwar Period Part 1

One of my finds recently in a charity shop is a book from the 1920s called “The Care of Clothing”. It’s a pretty detailed manual published by the Women’s Institute. The chapters include advice on laundering, dyeing, remodeling and mending clothes. It is very thorough and just goes to show just how much care people used to take with their wardrobes. Sewing is one of those eternal skills and I found a lot of practical tips in this manual. There is a well-meaning, but slightly condescending tone to the whole book, but for its age I think that’s what you have to expect! It reminds me a little of Harry Enfield’s Mr Cholmondley-Warner.

Mr Cholmondley-Warner

Is that too complex for my little brain, Mr Cholmondley-Warner?

With no further ado, I’ll take you through the chapter on dyeing. In the words of the book, “There is nothing experimental or difficult about it [dyeing], as many seem to think … it is a simple matter to grasp the few points that must be known to apply the art of dyeing in a practical way”. It starts with some really handy uses for dyeing – renovating old clothes,  rejuvenating faded household items such as curtains and cushions and matching trims with fabric.

I read the section called “Considering Nature of Fabric” and realised that in the 1920s there were no care labels in clothing, to let you know what the fabric was made from. Therefore, before dyeing you would have to perform a burn test on a small piece of the fabric to work out what it was. You definitely needed dedication in that era!

There’s lots precautionary advice too. The author recommends using lots of water and a large receptacle. Perhaps I should invest in a larger saucepan? My last  dyeing attempt was with 2 metres of fabric and I was struggling to cover that with the dye in the saucepan. To prevent streaked or spotted dyeing, it advises squeezing out excess moisture from the dyed fabric so that it doesn’t drip as it dries and never hanging dyed fabrics in the sun. Perhaps this is how I managed to get streaked dyeing in this garment?


There is extensive detail on the different makes of dye, which is somewhat obsolete since most of the manufacturers are long gone. There is also a listing of the finished colours you can get when over-dyeing fabric that has already been dyed. This section reminds me a little of mixing paint as it seems to follow the same rules.

The most interesting part for me is the treatment of special dyeing processes at the end of the chapter. The instructions are quite simple, and I think it may be possible to use them to reproduce the bunch of grapes motif using the batik technique. Sadly there are no colour photos, but it is described as being in three colours – light purple, bottle green and deep blue-purple.  The original colour, light purple is in the grapes, so this was covered with the wax from the outset. The fabric was then dyed green. Next, wax was applied to the leaves and stems of the pattern and dyed in a deep purple bath.


I’m particularly keen to try the border design scarf below. I’ve tried a little shibori / tie-dyeing before , but this involves more than just folding and securing in place before dyeing. A tacking thread is run around the square. The thread is then drawn up and before it is too tight a cotton reel (or something similar) is inserted and the thread is wound around the reel to hold it in place. The dye will dye the scarf without penetrating the gathers. It looks very effective.


I only noticed today, since the cover is rather worn and faded, that the book is Volume 3 in a set of books published by the Women’s Institute called “Library of Dressmaking”. It would be interesting to find the other books. They are there on ebay… at a price! Think I got a bargain in the charity shop!


How do I care for my me-made clothes when…..?

I apologise beforehand, but this post is not going to be particularly pleasant reading. I’ve wanted to write about this topic for some while, because it is about something that really bothers me on a daily basis. Sweat, yes, I’m going to write about my sweaty armpits. Sorry, folks!


Fresh as a daisy?

Since I have been making my own clothes, I have been far more mindful about how I treat them. I admit shamefully that I was prone to leaving clothes on the bedroom floor (how slovenly!), but now I try to gather them up and leave them on the chair. Having new clothes that I cherish, because I made them myself, has also made me worry far more about ruining clothes by spilling something down them or snagging them. I suppose there is only so far you can go to avert these disasters, otherwise I would just walk around in a big waterproof overall all day.

There is one aspect of caring for my clothes, though, that continues to irk me. This is that my clothes are ruined by underarm stains. The stains are an unsightly yellowish colour on my pale or white-coloured tops. I maintain that I am not a sweaty person, far from it, I consider that I only break into a sweat when it is really hot or when I have been exercising hard. But, I have to work in an office environment where the temperature is invariably between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius all year round. It is very stuffy and when I open the door, I get the same assault of heat that you get when you exit an aeroplane at a Southern European destination having just flown from the UK. It also only just smells acceptable; there is a slight smell of confined bodies in the office whatever the time of year.


Freshen up with another daisy!

Is this normal for an office environment? I never have my home at these temperatures; I usually prefer between 18 degrees and 20 degrees. Occasionally I try to adjust the temperature in the office by turning up the air-conditioning or opening the window, but there is always someone else closing the window and turning down the air-conditioning, two seconds afterwards. I’m trying hard to live with the heat.

What about my colleagues? I have wanted to ask my colleagues about how they feel about the office environment, but I have been a complete coward. Of course, some of them moan about the temperature of the office and some don’t. But I haven’t discussed the topic of sweating with them (too personal by far). Looking around the office each morning, there are those in short-sleeved tops whatever time of the year it is and those in shirts and jumpers all year round. My colleagues seem to have unique responses to the environment.


Definitely at the “Are you serious?” temperature

I think what does annoy me, is that it is an entirely unnecessary and wasteful problem. Not only is energy being wasted super-heating the office, but I’m consuming more energy as a consequence; laundering my clothes more, replacing my clothes more and trying to prevent myself from smelling by using more and more toiletries.

The question is, what am I going to do about this problem? First of all, I’ve decided to try to keep a work uniform, wearing a limited number of tops, mostly my older ones, for work. This way, my new, hand-made creations will have a happier, less abused life. The problem with this is that I spend 3-4 days in the office every week. I’ll be wearing these tops for half my life! I’m ashamed that I’m thinking of wearing my worst clothes to the one place where I’m expected to look my best. Perhaps when the old tops have finally worn out and turned into dusters, I’ll make a few easy uniform tops for work, which I don’t care about. However, you can never tell when you make a top you adore. In fact, I find that it takes a few wears before I decide whether a garment is a winner or a loser. And if the item is a winner I want to keep it as long as possible and wearing it at work won’t help that.

Before we begin, I thought some definitions would be needed so we are clear about the difference between antiperspirants and deodorants. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they are actually different.

Antiperspirants attempt to stop or significantly reduce perspiration and thus reduce the moist climate in which bacteria thrive. Aluminium compounds are commonly used. Aluminium chloride, aluminium chlorohydrate, and aluminium-zirconium compounds, in particular aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly and aluminium zirconium trichlorohydrex gly, are frequently used in antiperspirants. Historically too, ammonium alum, containing Aluminium has been used throughout history in Thailand, the Far East, Mexico and other countries.

Deodorants are designed to eliminate odour. Deodorants may be alcohol-based, which temporarily kills bacteria. Deodorants may also contain antimicrobials such as triclosan or metal chelant compounds that slow bacterial growth.

Back to the stains on my tops, I wasn’t really sure what caused the yellow under-arm discoloration, whether it is sweat or deodorant. The stains only occur on those which I wear during the day. I have a number of very old t-shirts I wear in bed and despite two of them being over 10 years old they are still white and there is no yellowing. Younger “day”-tops acquire the stains after very little time, perhaps only after a few wears. According to Wikipedia, aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly, can react with sweat to create yellow stains on clothing. So perhaps I should avoid products with this ingredient?

Yellow Mark 2

Yuck I can’t believe I’ve just shared this disgusting yellowed-armpit blouse with you! Unfortunately it is one of my favourite tops and I’m really quite sad it’s ruined.

I’ve tried a number of deodorants and antiperspirants over the last eight months.  Just to clarify, I am in no way endorsing any one of these products, just trying to save my clothes and feel as comfortable as I can in my work environment. I have chosen a range of products commonly available on the high street. I tried to choose products with different application methods and active ingredients too.

The Products Tested

Name of Product: Palmolive Soft and Gentle

Active ingredient: Not sure, as I haven’t bought this for a while and I couldn’t find it in the shop to check ingredients, most likely an Aluminium compound.

Type: Spray

Effective time period: 24 hour

Verdict: Not good at all, it may reduce odour and sweat, but is far off the mark for coping with a full-day at work.

Name of Product: Nivea anti-perspirant Invisible

Type: Spray

Active ingredient: Aluminium chlorohydrate

Effective time period: 48 hours

Verdict: My main reason for choosing this product was that I thought it would stain my clothes less and it claims it is effective for 48 hours.  I do believe the “invisible” claim as it doesn’t leave any white marks on clothing when you apply it. Not that I found that very irritating since these marks were always easy to brush off anyway. I’m not sure if it makes any difference when it comes to the “yellow” underarm stains.

Generally the product isn’t particularly good. It’s not effective for one full working day, let along the 48 hours claim.

Name of Product: Trust

Type: Cream

Active ingredient: Triclocarban (antimicrobial)

Effective time period: 4 days

Verdict:  This works. It only claims to work against odour and it does that admirably for about 4 days. I wore this on my flight to America earlier this year and although jet-lagged on arrival at least I didn’t feel like I hadn’t washed for a week. We did have an extra unforeseen stop in Toronto on the outward flight and we weren’t able to retrieve our luggage for our overnight stay. So all in all it was a good 48 hours to get to San Francisco. This deodorant feels the most natural and as I’m not a particularly sweaty person this is probably all that I would need to use outside the office for most of the year. Applying the cream is a bit annoying, but then it’s only once every 4 days.

Name of Product: Mitchum Advanced Control

Type: Roll-on

Active ingredient: Aluminium zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly

Effective time period: 48 hours

Verdict:  This works. I don’t smell, and only slight sweat is noticeable. I would say also that the 48-hour time-period is an accurate claim. Only downside is that my armpits end up feeling itchy and there feels like a residue that washes off when I have a shower in the morning.


Have another daisy!


I have been using a combination of the Trust and the Mitchum for a while. I use the Trust outside work and when I have to go to the office I use the Mitchum. I feel less aware of my sweatiness now. I must admit though, that I still don’t feel comfortable in the office. It is still way too hot. If I happen to feel tired on a particular day, I almost feel myself dozing off in the afternoon; I really have to work hard at maintaining some sort of alertness during the day. Plenty of fluids help!

There are still lots of products that I haven’t tried. From my research I have found that the active ingredients in deodorants / antiperspirants in most products are aluminium salts (see above). Aluminium is not as toxic as heavy metals, but there is evidence of some toxicity if it is consumed in amounts greater than 40 mg/day per kg of body mass. A small percentage of people are allergic to aluminium and experience contact dermatitis upon contact with products containing aluminium, such as antipersipirants.  Although research done on aluminium and its carcinogenic effects doesn’t prove conclusive, it strangely still considered a safe practice for pregnant women or cancer survivors to use an non-aluminium deodorant.

It would be good to explore some “natural” deodorants as well, so I’m going to explore what the local health food shops have to offer.  I have even found a recipe for a homemade deodorant on the internet using baking soda. I’ll let you know how I get on. I still think that there is much to explore in this area.


Stepford Wife’s Apron

I’m quite a messy cook., I have to admit No matter how hard I try I just end up getting covered in flour when I’m baking. I thought that perhaps it was time to make myself an apron.

In the first Sewing Bee book, is a cook’s apron and I thought I’d have a go at sewing that. I think it’s a little bit frilly, but I thought with the right fabrics it might look fun. I chose a print with bright red apples on it. I thought this would look fun and culinary! This is the first pattern I have made from the book. The book was a Christmas present, and I really should have got round to trying out the patterns long before now!

I’m quite lazy so I just reproduced the pattern by measuring the scale-drawing in the book. I couldn’t be bothered to print it from the internet. Getting it printed at a print shop just seemed like a silly expense for such a simple pattern.

I soon realised as I tried to put it together that something was amiss, but quickly figured out that they had mis-labelled the “bib” and “bib lining” pieces in the scale drawing to be the other way round. I checked online and the labels were correct. It was easy to fix seeing as I was cutting the bib and its lining from the same fabric.

What is it about sewing books though? Do I mysteriously always pick the project with the problems? Having read the review on Amazon I think I got off lightly with the minor error in this project. Some of the reviews were quite harsh. I would like to try some of the other patterns in the book, but from the reviews that might be a little tricky. Am I just bad at picking sewing books, are there actually some out there that are properly edited?

Anyway, back to the project. I made the waistband and the skirt frill from some old black fabric I had in my stash. The final touch was some rather nice linen bias binding in cream to finish the skirt edges.

Stepford Apron

Stepford Apron Trim

Still can’t believe that it turned out that frilly. I didn’t set out to make something dainty and sweet. Just reminds me a little of the Stepford Wives. I’ll just cook up a casserole and take it round to my new neighbours….

Stepford Wife

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Lazy Laundry

This poem made me laugh and yes, it does describe my housework regime! I found it in Inside the Victorian Home (A portrait of Domestic Life in Victorian England) by Judith Flanders.

They that wash on Monday

Have all the week to dry.

They that wash on Tuesday

Are not so much awry.

They that wash on Wednesday

Are not so much to blame.

They that wash on Thursday

Wash for very shame.

They that wash on Friday

Wash in sorry need.

They that wash on Saturday

Are lazy sluts indeed.