Monthly Makes – Nov-Dec 2021

Forget Christmas, or winter – summer is coming. For how hot Australia gets, I’m always disappointed by what’s on offer in clothing retailers for this season – it’s a big part of why I gave up on them and started making my own. (That and the lack of sun-smart styles – the refrain in so many skin cancer awareness ads from my teen years is that Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer diagnoses in the world, and while I have no idea if that’s true or not I certainly don’t want to find out.)

I’ve felt especially vindicated too in finding out that the Cancer Council’s own advice is that while avoiding the sun is best, opaque clothing is better than sunscreen for safety. While I don’t have especially sensitive skin, I’ve struggled to find sunscreens that play nicely with it – if they’re not greasy, they sting my eyes or cause itching when I sweat, or they leave white marks on everything and make me look like a bad zombie cosplayer.

But, the struggle to keep sewing with a day job is very real.

Thread Theory Eastwood pants/shorts

This is an old staple pattern – I’ve made three pairs before this one, in a few different fabrics. One thing I will note is that if you’re going to use a twill for this pattern, sew your seams at 1cm but don’t change the pattern allowance (effectively, adding an extra 0.5cm of ease all over) – the pattern ease doesn’t seem to be quite enough for twills, especially in the crotch and inner thigh.

I made this pair in The Fabric Store’s heavyweight black linen, and I have enough left over (thanks to a slight miscalculation) that I’m going to try a pair of shorts in it next by reducing the inseam to 30cm. (The shorts I’m basing the measurement on are actually a 28cm inseam, but I like a nice round number.) Unfortunately, I neglected to buy any form of drawstring, so they’re not wearable quite yet.

Sew Liberated Lichen coat

I’ve made… Five of these so far? Not counting toiles? This will be my third sleeveless and second hooded Lichen coats, in linen. My previous hooded Lichen was reasonable, but I tried to make the front square and ran into a struggle with fasteners.

The sleeveless one also features some hacks I added, old and new – back slots for the belt, an extra-wide belt, and extra wide gores fit a swishy hem.

This grey hooded version, on the other hand, is intended to pull double duty as a summer dressing gown. Instead of squaring off the front neckline, I’ve blended it in as much as possible after trimming away the collar.

Cashmerette Harrison shirt

You might be wondering why I’d ever bother with plus size patterns. Truth is? I have curves and they’re a pain to fit around, even if they’re quite small.

This is really more of an ‘inspired by’ than a direct creation – I really only need the level of curvature accounted for in the original in one area, the rest can safely shrink down to almost nothing. Hence the toile – determining whether I keep the six-panel front (using a double princess seam to prevent gaping) or meld some panels (probably the side-most, since I just don’t like armhole princess seams). I could try to create a pattern like this using my body block, and I did try to last year – and then immediately got lost trying to work out the collar.

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