I Took 3 Sewing Patterns and Made the Perfect Overalls

I’ve been sewing for just over 3 years now, but I haven’t done a lot of sewing-based blogging. I guess even though I’ve undeniably gained some skills, I do feel a little self-conscious about talking about my sewing in a space where people who are Even Better at sewing will find it and make fun of all my mistakes. Not that that’s a thing that happens, but….Nonetheless, I’m so pleased by this Frankenpattern of a pair of overalls that I couldn’t resist sharing a little bit about it, and how I made it.

I bought this fabric at Ikea in early March, just a week before my workplace shut down for COVID-19. In retrospect, it was an incredibly stupid idea to go to a superstore in another city with a looming pandemic, but I think we all have stories of things we did that, in retrospect, really weren’t great ideas.

Anyway, my great haul from that visit was a duvet cover (more on that later) and this fabric, which I got for $5.99/yard and I believe I bought 4 yards in total. It’s called FILODENDRON, and I’d been eyeing it for months–I’d tried to find it at the Atlanta Ikea last year but it had eluded me. There’s something really incredible and eye-catching about this fabric–I love the wild mish-mash of plants and animals, and how many colors it manages to bring together into one design.

However, I struggled to decide just what to use it for. The elements of the design are so big that I couldn’t see it working on a project with a ton of little areas and seam lines, unless I was willing to pattern match across seams, and I’m not quite that brave. I’m not sure whether it’s technically a twill or a canvas, but it’s no lightweight cotton, which also limited what exactly I could do with it. I eventually decided I wanted to make overalls, but I kept waffling on what pattern I wanted to use. I was, frankly, ridiculously picky; I bought three separate overalls patterns and window-shopped about six more, but I still couldn’t decide.

Last weekend I was staring at an overalls pattern, about to cut into my fabric, still feeling like it wasn’t right, when this Frankenpattern came to me. All the things I’d wanted in a pair of overalls could be found in three separate patterns I’d made before! The overalls pattern was hastily thrown on the ground, I got to work, and this work of Franken-genius was born.

This pattern is delightfully 80s; the jacket pattern called for two inch shoulderpads.

So, I have trouble fitting pants. I have a booty that’s about two sizes bigger than my waist, and no matter how hard I try, I always end up messing something up in the construction, usually the crotch curve. However, I’d had success with this pattern, Vogue Business 7169, a year before. This 1988 pattern is cut to have a lot of room in the crotch and around the booty, slimming down to a mildly tapered leg, all while not looking as giant and roomy as they are. I made this rainbow-on-white version just over a year ago in a different Ikea fabric as my very first pair of pants, and they were still the only pair of me-made pants that didn’t give me a wedgie. They do slide down and gape in the back, though, when I crouch, so one of the two alterations I made for this pattern was adding a little extra length to the rear crotch seam.

Whoever numbered this pattern has never turned a calculator upisde down in middle school.

McCalls 8008 was my first quarantine make, and I’d actually meant for it to be a warm-up in this more subtle Ikea fabric before making a full-length version in my FILODENDRON fabric. It’s too bad that I grew to hate this pattern. My bust and shoulder area is usually two to three sizes smaller than my butt, and I always grade patterns appropriately, but despite my best efforts, the top came out way too big and the bottoms way too small. The pattern is just really unfriendly to curves, unfortunately. However, I did really like the Y-shaped back piece and the huuuuge front pockets (they can fit a Nintendo Switch!).

Laura Dern and Xenomorph not to scale.

The only really big mistake I made in merging these patterns was deciding to extend the straps on the back piece, which you can see from my photos I definitely didn’t need to do, but I don’t really mind how it ended up looking. I can always shorten them, too, if I decide they really are too long.

I didn’t want to include any photos of me wearing these other makes because that’s a lot of photos, but this pinafore is incredible.

The final pattern I pulled from was the Fleur Pinafore, from the independent designer Untitled Thoughts. I love this pattern; it’s a pattern that’s great in both its style and its simplicity, and I’m a huge fan of the waistband and how it closes with side buttons. It’s so snazzy! You can see in the photo above the pinafore I made using that Ikea duvet cover. I decided to borrow the bib, the split waistband, and the button side closures from this pattern for my overalls. I had to widen the back waistband a few inches.

The waist button on the pinafore is from Arrow Mountain; the white buttons on the overalls are from Atelier Brunette; I got both from Stonemountain & Daughter. Rainbow buttons are from Etsy. Waist button on the overalls is from Tabitha Sewer.

Considering I basically impulsively decided to throw these three patterns together and only kind of checked to make sure they’d all fit together, I’m ecstatic with how great these overalls are. They’re not perfect, but they are pretty damn good, and I feel like I got everything I wanted in a pair of overalls–style, details, and a great fit that I can dress up or down.

I can crouch! The sign of a good fit.

These overalls are a great reflection of the skills I’ve built during my sewing journey. Even a few months ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to hack these patterns together to make this, and for all the little flaws, I think these look fantastic and make me feel amazing.

Thanks for reading about my fun new overalls, everyone! Catch up with me on Twitter if you’d like to talk more about sewing!

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