Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Sewing the Seventies – Inspiration Part 1 Fabrics

Welcome to the first of my inspiration posts for Sewing The Seventies. I’ve had a long look at fabrics that can be bought on line (window shopping is great!) and here’s a selection of available fabrics that I think reflect the seventies aesthetic.

I’ve tried to show a wide selection including both wovens and knits, a range of prices and fabrics that would work for dresses, trousers, skirts and tops. I even tried to include fabrics from shops other than in the UK, but I’m not an expert on these, so forgive me if there aren’t too many in the suggestions below. My main aim was just to show that it is possible to find some seventies-looking fabrics out there and if you find some good alternatives out there, leave a comment below!

First of all here are the floral offerings. I think it really is the combinations of colours that mark these fabrics out for me; combinations of browns, mustards and purple that you don’t tend to see too often these days.


1. Cotton Poplin from Minerva Crafts

2. Cotton Jersey from Mood Fabrics

3. Lightweight cotton with Lycra from Mood Fabrics

4. Viscose crepe from Truro Fabrics

5. Cotton poplin from Tessuti Fabrics

6. Viscose Stretch Crepe from Stone Fabrics

I’m not sure all those geometric patterns are necessarily just applicable to the seventies. Number 6 below is definitely more a mod design and number 1 I’ve seen made up into a 1940s style dress, but make a jumpsuit out of it and it is pure seventies!


1. Linen and viscose from Fabric Godmother

2. Rayon from CentrePoint Fabrics

3. Cotton Jersey from Minerva Crafts

4. Silk Organza from Tessuti Fabrics

5. Silk Charmeuse from Britex Fabrics

6. Cotton poly blend jersey from Girl Charlee

Chevrons and Stripes

Chevrons and stripes were very popular in the 1970s. Really wish the photo above was in colour! There are lots of striped fabrics about and a whole selection of chevron knits at Girl Charlee. I particular like the Missoni fabrics (see number 3 below) – I just wish they weren’t so expensive.


1. Viscose Elastane Jersey from Stone Fabrics

2. Cotton Jersey from Fabric Godmother

3. Missoni Knit from Minerva Crafts

4. Cotton Elastane Rib from Stoff and Stil

Paisley fabrics are great for tunics and creating the boho looks of the early 1970s. My favourite is the Stof and Stil paisley (number 2) which is a border style print.

paisley1. Polyester Jersey from White Tree Fabrics

2. Woven cotton from Stoff and Stil

3. Silk cotton from Shaukat

4. Cotton Lawn from Truro Fabrics

70s Tartan

The following group show bottom-weight fabrics. Corduroy is a great choice for flares or dungaree dresses. Tartan was also popular in the seventies, why not go punk with Royal Stewart tartan (number 2).


1. Needlecord from Croft Mill

2. Wool polyester blend from Minerva Crafts

3. Wool tartan from Stone Fabrics

4. Jumbo corduroy from Plush Addict

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Look what I bought!

The other week, on my day off, I was in town and I went into Fabric Land. It’s not a place I visit much as I can’t manage to get there in my lunch hour – it’s too far.

Anyway, I went a bit mad and bought quite a few things. But all for £6.46!

The plain blue fabric was a remnant and is a wool blend. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to do with it. It’s almost a metre so perhaps it could make a decent skirt.

The Petersham’s tape I’ve already used to make the matching covered belt for my silk skirt.

I also bought this craft fabric. It’s a jolly print that reminds me of summer holidays. I’m planning a few travel-orientated makes so this fabric will come in handy for that.

I was also tempted by this stuff called “Lamifix Vilene”. Apparently, this can be ironed onto any fabric to provide it with a waterproof covering. This definitely has exciting potential. All sorts of possible projects have sprung to mind. Just need a spare evening to get started on this.

Fabric Land buys

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Pyjama trousers Part 1 – Selecting Fabric

I received Stylish Sewing by Laura Wilhelm as a birthday present last year and beyond looking at the pictures hadn’t made anything in the book.
I decided I would have a go at the Women’s pyjamas shown on the front cover of the book. I would dearly love to be able to make some trousers or even jeans, but I thought I’d start out cautiously with some pyjama trousers first. I particularly like the embroidered flower feature which gives the project an interesting touch.

One of the best things about this book are the full-sized patterns. I found it reasonably easy to trace the pattern onto tracing paper.

I bought two fabrics for the project before Chrsitmas. I’m not sure they quite live up to the “Stylish” standards in Laura’s book. In fact they are probably a combination worthy of sitting alongside my other “Coco the clown” pyjamas. I didn’t want to resort to expensive designer fabric ranges, but I did have a really tricky time trying to find two fabrics that looked good together and ended up with a red polka dot fabric and a blue check with small red hearts.

Pyjama trouser fabrics

Pyjama trouser fabrics

At this point I encountered a problem.  The project specifies 1.8m for size 8/10, but doesn’t seem to show the fabric width to which this applies. I suppose I could have worked out the fabric required from the size of my pattern pieces. However, being in a hurry to start the project I decided not to check and just went ahead and bought my 1.8 m. Even in the shop, I was thinking – “that’s way too much!”

When I started to cut out the pieces in the evening, of course, it was too much fabric. Then annoyingly, after much searching, I found at the back of the book, the width measurement for the fabric range. It was given as 115 cm, whereas my fabric was 145 cm. I think that there is an assumption that anyone using the book would use the fabrics in the book, which is a shame as us scrimping seamstresses, enjoy finding our fabrics at cheaper shops. Perhaps it would have been better if the fabric length suggestions had been calculated for both the standard widths and added in the book on the page with the project instructions. Never mind, I could make two sets of pyjama trousers, or more ambitiously, I could make a top to complete the look. Although perhaps wearing the two in combination would be migraine inducing for everyone else!