I've wanted to sew a pair of overalls forEVER. And there were a couple of patterns here and there that kind of were similar to what I had in mind, but none of them really hit the nail on the head. I wanted a pair of farmer's-market-wandering, backyard-gardening, summer-adventures, denim overalls. And then, Closet Case Patterns released the Jenny Trousers and Overalls pattern and all of my dreams came true.
When the pattern came out, I had already started working on our first order of Cone Mills White Oak denim, and I knew it was a match made in heaven. My favorite denim used to make my unicorn project?! The denim got delivered and my cut of the 10.5 oz Broken Weave Black Denim was in the wash before everything was unpacked.
Honestly, I've always found the idea of sewing overalls super intimidating. This coming from the woman who has three pairs of denim pants in varying stages of "finished" and has yet to finish one whole pair yet...I'm not really sure what made me think that tackling overalls was a good idea. I had only given myself a few days of sewing time before photos needed to get taken. Could it be done?
But of course, Closet Case Patterns delivers again with amazing instructions that really break down every single step. It really wasn't intimidating at all and I ended up finishing the whole pair of overalls in two long days from start to finish. I actually think the overalls are a lot easier than a pair of jeans, because there's no button fly to fight with.
On to the details...
I used our 10.5 oz Broken Weave Black Denim for my pair. I would say this denim is on the light side of the mid-weight range. It does feel a little stiff still, but I know that it's going to wear in beautifully. And since I really want these to be a pair of working overalls, I wanted a fabric that could hold up to some wear-and-tear. This one definitely fits the bill. The 11 oz. Vanguard Denim from Cone Mills that we carry would also be a great choice!
I did a bad thing with these overalls...I didn't make a muslin. I should have. And I totally recommend that you make a muslin. Like, a whole pair of overalls kind of muslin. I know, it's a lot and I normally don't say that a full practice project is a must for a lot of patterns. But, because there are so many areas of overalls that can impact the fit, I really would make a practice pair first. And because the construction is so straightforward, it will be 100% worth it without taking too much extra time.
So, I didn't make a muslin. And while I absolutely love love love my overalls and will wear them to death, There are a couple of things that I would have done differently.
I sewed a straight size 14. According to my measurements I should have sewn a size 12 and graded to a 14 at the hips. However, I didn't want these to be form-fitting, so decided to simply make the larger size. Spoiler alert: it's never that simple. Looking back (and looking at photos), I really should have made a smaller size up top and graded to the larger size. See that slight gaping in the photo above? Totally should have stuck to my measurements for the waist. It's like the pattern designer knew better than I did how these should fit...go figure.
I also need to lengthen the rise. See those pulling lines through the hips and crotch? I think I have the straps tightened up a little too much in order to get the waistband in the right spot and it's causing the shorts to pull in places they shouldn't. Adding some length to the rise would help that. I typically have to adjust the torso length on patterns by about an inch, so I should have known better! This will also probably mean shortening the crotch just slightly as well so there isn't too much room.
All of that said, I did try these overalls on a lot as I made them. And I thought everything was going pretty well until the very end. It's just so hard to tell how they're going to fit until they're finished, which is why I would absolutely recommend a practice pair first!
Heather also notes in either a blog post or on the pattern (I can't remember), that they used a different sewing block as the base of this pattern. So if you have some pattern adjustments that you always make to Closet Case Patterns and then just go for it, the same adjustments may not work for this pattern. Moral of the story: make a muslin. Wear your overalls. Be happy.