Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


The Good, The Mad and The Ugly – Sewing Review 2021

Last year, I didn’t manage to write a review of my makes. I usually do and I’m actually rather gutted that I didn’t write one. I like to track my feelings about my creations because quite often something great might not get worn much and at times something that I’m initially disappointed with can turn out to be a winner. Anyway, without more ado, I shall write this year’s review in my usual format. Yes, The Good, The Mad and The Ugly is back! I tend to stick to this format simply because I don’t make many items and a top five hits and misses would actually just encompass my entire output for the year. This year, I have completed 10 items. Sad to say that all the lock-downs for me just meant work and home-schooling and very little sewing.

The Good

I’m always delighted when I look at this category and realise that I have more than one contender for it. I think it is a toss up between two items. Firstly, my brown corduroy trousers. I have really missed having a pair of cords in my wardrobe and I used the 70s sewing pattern, Butterick 3065 for this make. Essentially as the fit was nailed on the previously made jeans, this was going to be a winner. But, delighted though I am with these trousers, I have already started to notice the tell-tale signs of corduroy-wear. I am gutted about this. Does anyone else find that corduroy wears really quickly? It’s odd because I have two corduroy Moss skirts that I made ages ago and these are still going strong. Have I just been unlucky with my choice of fabric or do trousers naturally wear more quickly?

The second contender is my teal sleeveless top using Vogue 8860. I have used this pattern previously too, and loved the style. However, in my first make the fabric, a charity shop find, was quite a nasty polyester (it certainly feels a bit like a bin-bag when I wear it). This top is a double-win as I got to create a version of this Vogue pattern which I liked very much, and I got to use a precious fabric. The fabric is a luscious cotton lawn from Britex fabrics in San Francisco. Yep, this was souvenir fabric and I was a little afraid of it! Much that I love this top, and it is a very COVID-jab friendly top, it didn’t get much wear this year, because it hasn’t been very warm at all. Here’s hoping it gets more outings in 2022!

The Good, the Mad and the Ugly for 2021: Clockwise from top-left Vogue 8860 teal top, Burda 06/2017 #102 “The Serpent”-inspired top, Burda 08/2019 #120 grey viscose trousers

The Mad

I made a very limited foray into zero-waste fashion this year. I’m definitely hoping to manage something more impressive in the coming year. I have had the Pattern Magic 2 book on the shelf for a while and I finally made “Wearing a square” from it. It’s zero-waste and actually I was very pleased with it. I initially thought that this would be in the “Mad” category, but what could be mad about zero-waste, it’s definitely very sensible? So, I think The Serpent-inspired blouse is definitely more “mad”. The sleeves are huge and it looks so dramatic! And the sleeves aren’t too annoying, although I do have to tuck them up when doing the washing-up!

The Ugly

You may well be looking at the grey trousers and wondering why they are in the Ugly category. I was so pleased with these when I made them. They look so cool too and work incredibly well with my grey double-gauze top. They had also been a struggle to finish as I started them in lock-down and needed to visit a shop for all the notions before I could finish them.

So, what went wrong? Simply, washing them. I took them out of the washing machine and nearly cried, the fabric has pilled badly in places. I know I can hand-wash them, but I suspect these are really going to die after only a few wears. It is such a shame, although I now know that I love the style and the fit of them.


The wonderful concept of layering

My biggest goal this year, probably along with lots of you, is to better reflect the changes in my lifestyle in my wardrobe. I’m still working from home a lot and before the winter kicks in I really need to add a few more practical cold-weather items to my wardrobe for all those days when I will be sitting still in the house working at a computer.

At the beginning on the year I put together a #MakeNine, which included many warm items. So far, I haven’t made all of them, I’m currently on my fourth item. However, the very practical, long-sleeved jumper is coming along a treat; I’m on the first sleeve, having done the front and back pieces.

There are, of course, other ways to boost my warmth in the house during the winter months and the one I’m going to look at here is layering. How can I use my existing clothes to best advantage by layering them?

Googling on this subject just leaves me cold…..literally! I tried to find images of people wearing layers, you know t-shirts, shirts, cardigans, jackets, coats in combinations and I wasn’t very successful. In my opinion, a camisole with a coat on top, or a shirt and jacket worn with a scarf does not count as layering. In a cold, damp climate, like the UK, I can’t think when these combinations would ever work. Oh hang on…..thinking about the camisole under the coat recommendation ……perhaps on a cold day (wearing the coat) and arriving at a temperature controlled office (taking off the coat) – but that’s not part of my lifestyle anymore! You get the picture!

A few days ago though, I started to flick through past copies of Burda magazine and found that I got quite a bit of inspiration from there. There were lots of pictures where tops, jackets, coasts etc. of various types were worn together. So I thought I’d put together some mood boards grouping certain looks together.

For fun I then decided to see if I had used similar combinations myself in the past.

Mood Board 1 – Long-sleeved turtle-neck t-shirt under another layer such as a blouse or dress.

Verdict: Actually, a t-shirt with a turtle-neck is completely missing from my wardrobe, but I have been known to wear long-sleeved t-shirts under woven tops. Here’s are a couple of combinations I put together, the first one a t-shirt with a silk blouse over the top, the second a t-shirt with a short-sleeved sweatshirt over the top.

Warmth: ***

Mood Board 2 – Dress over trousers

Verdict: Not a combination I have tried. I do rather like the combinations in this mood board, I particularly like that shirt dress – quite radical with the checked trousers! I don’t have many dresses so I don’t think I will be experimenting with this much, but you never know.

Warmth: ****

Mood Board 3 – Blazer/ jacket worn indoors

Verdict: I’m intrigued by the waistcoat with the blazer over the top on the left, that could be really warm and actually doesn’t look too bulky. The picture on the right is a bit confusing as I’m not sure what she is doing with the flannel shirt – it doesn’t look like such an oversized shirt would actually fit under the jacket, and I’m not sure it would look right over it. I shouldn’t overthink things, after all it’s probably just being worn like this for the photo shoot. What’s the tartan item? Is that a blanket, or a coat? It does look like a rather cosy outfit.

Anyway, yes, this is definitely a combination I wear! I only have one blazer, but I have worn it quite a lot indoors over shirts or even jumpers in the winter.

Warmth: *****

Jacket worn over jumper
Day 12 - Country File Presenter
Jacket worn over shirt

What do you think? Are there particular items you team together to make extra warm outfits? Are there other combinations that I have missed that you put together for warmth?


#makenine2021 Grey Trousers (Burda Style 08/2019 #120B)

Today, I have another make from my Make Nine 2021 to share with you. Here’s a previous post on the plans I have for the full nine. This is my second make from a collection in the 08/2019 Burda Style magazine, here’s the first. The trousers are quite unusual. They look like cargo trousers, but are designed to be made with a flowing viscose twill rather than a more sturdy fabric. I was immediately attracted to them as a light-weight pair of trousers for spring / summer.

Burda Style #120 08/2020
Burda Style #120 08/2020

Below is the line drawing. There are big front pockets, some faux pocket flaps and bands and a belt constructed from twill tape and D-rings. I was nervously relishing the complexity of the construction here. Nervously, because it’s a Burda pattern!

These trousers have been a long time in the making. I started making them early in the year (probably February), but the shops were all closed. I had purchased the fabric from Like Sew Amazing before the lockdown, but I didn’t have the buttons, twill tape and D-rings. So, I made them up as far as I could go and then left them in a bag for a while. Once I’d purchased the notions in April, I was able to press on with the construction. There were some really tricky parts to this. The Burda instructions were, as usual, completely awful. The trousers shared some instructions with #120A, which has a different waistband. I rewrote them for clarity as they jumped around between the two views and it was too much for my brain to cope with. The weight of the D-rings and twill tape also made manipulating the fabric difficult and I think it would make sense to rearrange the order of the instructions and add the D-rings right at the end.

Burda Style #120 08/2020 line drawing
Burda Style #120 08/2020 line drawing

The first time I tried the trousers on the waistband seemed really tight. I was super annoyed with myself over that. But weirdly, I’ve worn them several times since then and they have fitted fine. (One of these days I’m going to write a whole post on how hard I find it to fit clothes at the waist – my waist size seems to fluctuate so much even within the course of a day). Then, an even bigger disaster, the first time I sat down in them I heard the popping sound of all the stitches on the back seam breaking. I can’t imagine how this happened because once I sewed them up again, with the teeniest of extra ease (0.5 cm was about as much as I could squeeze out of the seam) they seemed (or seamed, if you prefer) completely okay. I even jumped around the living room doing weird poses and crouches and no more seam popping ensued! Perhaps I just caught the fabric somehow, but I don’t really like mysteries like this.

Back View – does it look too tight? Bit difficult to tell with the drape of this fabric. Certainly doesn’t feel tight at all. The Wearing A Square top looks a little weird here, only because I was in the process of putting it back on, it doesn’t normally drape like that.

Burda top #105 – Burda 11/2016 made in double-gauze. A perfect combination.

I’ve now been experimenting with wearing these trousers with various different me-mades from my wardrobe. So far, I’ve found that a top I made back in 2017, above looks great with these trousers and also the Wearing A Square top, but that was always intended to go with these trousers as an outfit.

All in all, I’m really pleased with this make. I felt it was a little risky since they are quite an unusual pair of trousers, but that didn’t mean that they are really easy to wear and incorporate in my wardrobe.


#DesigninDecember 2020 Part 2: Making my Issey Miyake inspired jeans

Welcome back for the second part of my Designin December 2020 challenge entry. This year, I decided to use this Issey Miyake design as my inspiration:

Issey Miyake Cruise 2016 inspiration

Issey Miyake Cruise 2016 inspiration

One of the things that made this make tough was that this was the only view I had to work with. But I did manage to spot another similar pair of jeans in the same collection, which gave me at least a front view too:

Issey Miyake Cruise 2016 Jeans

I can see the shape of the front pockets and I think I can spot ankle zips? (I zoomed in and I think they are there) Anyhow, don’t you think that any jeans this narrow have to have ankle zips or you’ll never get the jeans over your feet? Anyway, I didn’t hesitate to add the ankle zips to my plans for this make too.

My base for this make is a classic five pocket jeans pattern, Burda pattern 03/2014 #115

Burda 03/2014 115

Burda 03/2014 #115

I could see that one of the most important things to get right would be the pattern matching or pattern placement in this fabric. Compared to the inspiration jeans above, my chosen fabric is actually louder! There is quite a lot of white in my fabric, which contrasts strongly with the bright red, blue and background black. I decided that the pattern was so “busy” that I wouldn’t need to pattern match across the back and front seams, but decided that I needed to horizontally align the bold white bursts on each trouser leg. I managed to cut out the leg pieces with the pattern positioned as I wanted. However, I did find I couldn’t get the waist band as one piece and it is pieced together at the back, but that doesn’t really show as it is hidden by a belt and the belt loops.

Burda is not known for the clarity of its instructions (that’s a polite way of putting it), so I resorted to the Ginger Jeans instructions, especially for the front fly construction. I did have to adapt even these instructions somewhat because the Burda pattern has separate fly extensions. I think in future, since I get such good results using these instructions, I should really just change the front leg pattern pieces to include fly extensions.

To add my ankle zips I used another tutorial from the Ginger Jeans sewalong. I added the zips to the outer seam. It was a tricky operation. Measurements have to be taken, such as the where you wish the zip to finish on your leg, where the zip stop should be positioned and the size of the adjustment to the seam allowance to accommodate an exposed zip. The tutorial though guided me through this very well.

Shattered Glass Jeans Front View

Shattered Glass Jeans Front View

Here are the finished jeans; I didn’t quite get the model’s pose when I was out in the park! I’m really pleased with the fit of these jeans, but I have used this pattern previously. The cotton sateen is relatively light-weight so I can see that these jeans are more a spring or autumn item.

My copy of a pair of Issey Miyake jeans in a colourful print

My copy of a pair of Issey Miyake jeans in a colourful print

The jeans are from a 2016 collection so I couldn’t easily find the price, but looking at the Issey Miyake website, I can see trousers costing between $300 and $1,150 (£222 to £851)

I tried to cost up my jeans and came up with the following price:

Item Price Total
Cotton Sateen Fabric £7.25 / metre £11.60


3 x £1.65 £4.95


2 x £1.60 £3.20
Jeans button 1 x $0.95 * $0.95 (£0.70)

This works out at a mere £20.45 (or $27.63) with optional swearing!

* Yes, you spotted correctly, the jeans button was bought in the United States, actually at Britex Fabrics. They are quite pretty jeans buttons, so I stocked up on them.

Shattered Glass Jeans Back View

Shattered Glass Jeans Back View




#DesigninDecember 2020 Part 1: Inspiration

I have taken part in DesigninDecember before. I really like the idea of making a designer copy of a garment and then being about to reproduce it for a fraction of the price. In a nutshell, it is simply one of the biggest benefits of knowing how to sew.

Throughout the year I’ve been collecting images on pinterest that interest me. Here are some of the ideas I had.

  1. Quilted denim jackets
  2. Outfits in different shades of green
  3. Vibrantly coloured skinny jeans
  4. Coats with lots of buckles and buttons
  5. Skirts with tassled hems

I spent a long time coming to a decision over what to make. I wanted to be ambitious, but this year has really taken its toll and stymied my choices. We are still in a high tier in my area and I can’t leave, which means my options for visiting fabric shops are really limited. Plus, Master Steely is home in self-isolation at the moment and my time is almost exclusively taken up with working and schooling from home. I really feel like its sucking the joy out of me at the moment! Anyway, without spinning into a downward spiral, I meant just to say that I chose a fairly straightforward make using a fabric that was in my stash.

Below are a series of images of skinny jeans in interesting prints. The top two are from an Issey Miyake collection in 2016 and the bottom two are taken from pinterest. I collected these images a few years ago when I first thought of making a pair of jeans in a loud print and I wasn’t sure what fabrics I would find to realise my dream.

Not too long ago, I spotted the perfect print for my make – it has just the right level of loudness! It’s a colourful “shattered glass” print in a stretch cotton sateen and looks very similar to the print on the model in the top-left of the montage below. Master Steely, gave his verdict while I was working on these jeans and loudly asserted that he was disowning me if I ever set foot outside the house dressed in them. But, as a parent to a teenager, that really makes it all the more fun!

Skinny Jeans Inspiration

Skinny Jeans Inspiration

I’ve chosen this very classic skinny jeans pattern, Burda pattern 03/2014 #115 as the basis for my make. I would link to the Burda website, but I suspect it would be a long fruitless search. Fortunately, I did take a line drawing from the website, when it was still usable (you’re welcome!) I’ve made a pair of black skinny jeans using this pattern before, which has been worn loads.


Burda pattern 03/2014 #115

Burda pattern 03/2014 #115


I did decide to make a modification (probably not included in the original Issey Miyake design) and that is ankle zips. My fabric is reasonably stretchy, but the ankle zips will make it so much easier to pull them on and off. Plus, I think they look cool too. So, here’s a sneek peek of my make:



Brushed Cotton Long-sleeved Tee – Burda 08/2019 #108

There have been some great Burda issues this year and one of my favourite collections is the “Lady in Red” from the August 2019. All the Burda samples in this collection have been modelled in red, which is immediately striking, but there the designs themselves hold just as much interest.

The blazer is stunning as a piece of work-wear and I’m particularly smitten with these trousers which have faux flap pockets and a belt at the waist with D-rings. I can imagine myself making quite a few garments using these patterns.

Burda Blazer 08/2019 #113

Burda Blazer 08/2019 #113

Trousers 08/2019 #120B

Trousers 08/2019 #120B

The pattern

Anyway, enough about the rest of the collection! The pattern that I did use this time around is Shirt #108 B. It’s not the most interesting item in the collection, looking just like a simple t-shirt with a bateau neckline. It does have some interesting shirred sleeves though and I do think it looks rather good sewn in the burnout fabric or in the leopard print (as Shirt 108A).

Burda 08/2019 #108

Burda 08/2019 #108 using burnout fabric

Burda 08/2019 #108A

Burda 08/2019 #108A


The fabric

I chose some brushed cotton jersey that I purchased from Fabric Land. It’s very soft to the touch and quite a “floppy fabric”, but I think it will have that glorious brushed cotton cosiness, which I need at the moment in this cold weather! I can’t see the exact fabric on the website anymore (I bought it a while ago), but this camoflage fabric is similar.

Burda #108 08/2019

Shirred Sleeve Tee

The construction

I made absolutely no alterations to this pattern. This is a total relief for me and something that infrequently happens. I’m not even sure why, as generally speaking at the very least I have to lop off several inches on the length of most Burda patterns. Sounds like a moan? Absolutely not, I couldn’t be happier…..just surprised!

This was a very easy pattern to sew. The only thing that took a little time was sewing in the shirring elastic. The technique that Burda use is to place the elastic along the sleeve, where the pattern markings show you, and then use a wide zig-zag stitch to secure the elastic to the sleeve. After two rows have been inserted on each sleeve, the idea is to pull the elastic until it is a certain length and then tie the ends. The technique works fine, however, I think there must be a misprint in the instructions as the finished length of the elastic line is too long, in fact it seemed to be the length that the elastic had before pulling it tight (49 cm). Nevertheless this wasn’t a problem, I just pulled the elastic till I thought it looked right.

Shirred Sleeve Detail

Shirred Sleeve Detail

Also, to note Burda suggested 1.5 cm seam allowances, which I added, thinking it would be useful to have such a wide seam allowance when sewing a pattern that is new to me. However, I think I’ll just cut that down to 1cm if I use the pattern again as it was just irritating to use the overlocker with such a large seam allowance.

Burda #108 08/2019 back view

Burda #108 08/2019 back view


Shirred Sleeve Tee Burda #108 08/2019

Shirred Sleeve Tee


I think this t-shirt will fit in well with lots of things in my wardrobe. Greys, blues and black are common colours for me to wear so there will be many garments I can pair this with. I really like the fancy sleeves; they add interest to an otherwise basic t-shirt, and extra bunched-up fabric has my vote to combat the cold!

I actually really like the idea of using burnout fabric, but I think this may depend on whether I can find some suitable fabric. It would make a good party top, not that I get invited to much (sob, sob….)

By the way, is anyone else annoyed by the way it takes ages to find anything on the website? The patterns aren’t in release order, plus I used to like that feature where you could look at a whole collection, which doesn’t seem to be an option anymore.

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Grunge Party Outfit

I don’t normally create costumes enthusiastically for work events, but this year I thought I would, for a change, hand-make a contribution to this year’s “Ready to Rock” theme. I thought an easy costume would be a grunge-style outfit. In my wardrobe, I had a checked flannel shirt, and a leather jacket, already. So, I decided to sew a 90s style slip dress to accompany these.

90s inspiration

The fabric

At the rag market in Birmingham there is a stall that sells a variety of viscose wovens at only £2 a metre. I had snapped some of this up while attending Sew Brum. The fabric has a regular small floral repeat and I thought it would work well with this style of dress.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

The pattern

I now have quite a few sewing magazines and this project has made me realise just how useful it is to buy collections of patterns like this. I certainly wouldn’t have been drawn to make a slip dress, but here I have a pattern to draw upon for my costume.  This slip dress can be found in the 11/2016 edition. It is a very simple design and even with the modifications I made I managed to knock out this dress in a few days (that’s quick for me).


BurdaStyle #113 from November 2016

I changed the bust pieces quite radically on this pattern. I suppose you could call it a full bust adjustment (FBA), but I have a camisole top that I used as a basis for my modification.

The side seams on the pattern are completely straight, but I added a bit of shaping into the waist. I made the dress much shorter that the version in the magazine, to keep it in keeping with the 90s styles and I omitted the flounce at the back.

Burda slip dress (Back view)

Burda slip dress (Back view)

The construction

I used French seams for the side seams and the below-bust seams are hidden with the inner bust pieces during the construction. I was so pushed for time before the event that I didn’t finish all the hand-sewing on the insides and I didn’t finish the hem by hand either. However, to be honest I think the overlock finish I used on the hem looked fine for the dishevelled, slapdash style I was trying to create (actually I could say recreate, since I wore fairly similar things in the 90s anyway).


This isn’t the best item of clothing I have ever made. The fabric is very thin and it had a tendency to cling to my tights. I had been quite careful to try and cut the fabric on the bias, but despite my measurements the pattern doesn’t line up correctly at the hem. The reason for this may have been that my struggles with the slippery nature of the fabric resulted in the fabric not being on the true bias or, it could be that the print isn’t completely straight on the fabric. It’s a small thing, that most people wouldn’t notice, but it bugs me! Somehow I managed to twist one of the straps during the construction, but that one is easy to fix.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

Overall, the dress was comfortable to wear and looked like an authentic 90s style. I boogied away to Bon Jovi, Queen, Guns and Roses and Nirvana for hours!

I had thought that I would cut the dress down to a camisole, as I would get more use out of a top. However, there are enough remnants from this project to make another camisole top anyway, so I could leave the dress as it is. I’m not ecstatic with my construction skills as I was rushing, but let’s call it a wearable toile. I do like the way this dress is styled in Burda magazine, perhaps I could make something similar as a Christmas party outfit. I think the fabric used in the magazine, has more body to it and makes the dress into something much more elegant than my dress in cheap viscose.

Burda Slip Dress

Burda Slip Dress

By the way, did anyone notice this article during the week? Apparently, that unwashed, moth-eaten-looking cardigan that Kurt Cobain wore for the MTV unplugged session went at auction for $334,000!

3 Comments Quick actions required by the end of the weekend

I was doing some rather directionless browsing this evening. You know the type; dreaming up outfits you’ll never have the time to sew. Luckily, I looked at the site during my on-line travels. Like quite a few UK people, I use the American site and have an account on there. There was a post announcing the launch of their brand-new site. Good news, I thought, the site could definitely do with a refresh, but there is a big snag, all the content on the customer accounts is going to disappear and the message urges you to

“Connect as soon as possible to your customer account on to download your content, especially:

– Your purchased downloadable patterns in your pattern library
– The photos of your community projects (if you uploaded some)
– Everything you currently see on the website that you would like to save

Warning: you only have until Sunday October 20th at 1pm EST to do this”

I am so glad I spotted this, as I have quite a few patterns in my library. Admittedly, those I’ve used, I’ve downloaded, but there were a few good free ones that I’m glad I now won’t lose.

Judging by the comments, there are missed feelings about the new sites; a similar migration has been carried out on the French, German and UK sites. I’m not sure how many of the older patterns they will keep on the site. We’ll have to see what when get when the site is launched.

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Dear customers,⠀ ⠀ As you may know, we the current operator behind (formerly F+W Media) are stopping our activity with the site. Nevertheless, the adventure continues and we are pleased to announce to you that “Burda Style Inc” the official producer of Burda Style magazine will now take over the website and social networks of your beloved sewing magazine and brand! Please read below for more information to save your projects and patterns as well as contact information for questions and concerns…⠀ ⠀ With the new editor comes a brand new website, but unfortunately the development of this new website will result in some data loss due to technical incompatibilities between the previous and upcoming website.⠀ ⠀ Therefore, we invite you to connect as soon as possible to your customer account on to download your content, especially:⠀ – Your purchased downloadable patterns in your pattern library⠀ – The photos of your community projects (if you uploaded some)⠀ – Everything you currently see on the website that you would like to save on the side⠀ ⠀ Warning: you only have 7 days from now to do it.⠀ We thank you in advance for your understanding concerning this situation.⠀ ⠀ THE GOOD NEWS FOR YOU!⠀ ⠀ Within 7 days, you will discover a brand new website! It will be updated regularly and will provide you with enriched content dedicated to our passion for sewing.⠀ ⠀ A NOTE FROM BURDA STYLE⠀ ⠀ “Our mission is to provide you with content that meets your every wish and to share with you the entire Burda Style world each month! We sincerely hope that you will like the new version of the website and we apologize for the inconvenience caused by this change of manager.”⠀ ⠀ ANY QUESTIONS?⠀ ⠀ Please feel free to contact Burda Style Inc. at the following email address:

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#SummerOfBasics Full Outfit

This is my final post for the #SummerOfBasics. The instagram feed has been full of such amazing makes. It has been great to be part of this challenge. This is also such a fantastic contest for providing me with solid everyday clothing and this year I have made a yoga outfit.

The items are a pair of yoga socks using this free Patons pattern on Ravelry, a hoodie using a Burda pattern (Burda #119 01/2018) and the Ruri Sweatpants from Named Clothing.

Now I just needed to model my yoga kit all together – I finally have a yoga kit that I can feel proud to wear! The hoodie and sweatpants are cosy and perfect for the winter months in the yoga studio. The socks keep my feet warm, whilst still allowing me to grip the yoga mat with my toes. I’m super-pleased with the combination of fabrics and yarn too, all sticking to my navy blue / grey theme.

Yoga Outfit

Yoga Pose in my new yoga kit!

Yoga Outfit

…..And time for a rest!


Sewing The Seventies: 1978

“Now is the winter of our discontent” is the opening line of Shakespeare’s Richard III, but it’s also the phrase applied to the events of the winter of 1978 – 79. In September, the Prime Minister, James Callaghan announced that he would not call a general election despite being ahead in the opinion polls – “I am not proposing to seek your votes because there is a blue sky ahead today.” It was a stance he would regret in the coming months.

Later that month, 23 Ford car plants closed across Britain due to strikes. The Government had introduced pay policies throughout the 1970s in order to combat rampant inflation. Part of this policy was a guideline for pay rises to be capped at 5%. Sanctions would be imposed on companies that chose to breach the pay policy. To bring an end to the strike, Ford offered their workers a 17% pay rise and decided to accept the sanctions. The Ford workers accepted the deal.

This outcome though, seemed to signal that the government had no way of enforcing its pay policy and other industrial disputes quickly followed. Bakers went on strike and bread rationing was brought in as a bread-buying rush got underway in Bristol. The city’s smaller bakers step up their production to meet the demand.

Main brand bakery workers strike

Main brand bakery workers strike

The Times newspaper closed for nearly a year. A smaller 3p edition of the Bristol Post appears towards the end of 1978.

3p edition of the Bristol Post

Large numbers of the lorry drivers working for oil producers, BP and Esso began an overtime ban in support of rises of up to 40% and the army were put on standby to take over from the tanker drivers if the disruption of oil supplies developed into a crisis.

I decided to try to make a cheesecake from the Farmhouse Kitchen book. Now, I must admit that I am renowned for my inability to make a decent cheesecake. I try all sorts of recipes, but it’s usually unsatisfactory. This cheesecake was an Orange Chocolate Cheesecake and on paper had the approval of all the family. It seemed quite easy to make as it was a no-cook type of cheesecake and here it is in the tin:

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Chocolate Orange Cheesecake

Well, sadly it didn’t really set very well, but it was actually rather yummy. The cheese layer had a great citrus flavour and wasn’t too sweet. The chocolate biscuit base was particularly good. I think I can take the blame for the cheese layer not setting properly. I used vegetarian setting agent rather than gelatine. Perhaps with more of this added to the cheese mix it would set, I must have just got the quantity required wrong.

Today has been a little warmer and I chose an outfit that included my Butterick 3065 jeans and a shirred sun top made from a Burda pattern. I think that shirring was quite popular for sun dresses in the seventies. It wasn’t the warmest of outfits to wear even with the cardigan. Apparently the snow is due to arrive again tomorrow, so I’ll be reverting to something warmer.

Hippy Jeans and Shirred Top

Hippy Jeans and Shirred Sun Top