A few weeks ago I shared my tie-front tee project, prefacing my blog post with a list of "been there, done that" trends that I swore to never recreate. Topping the list was a project from the Spring of 2015 (photographed in the neighborhood I now live in, long before I thought we'd ever move out of the suburbs and into the city! But I digress...) - a "Rachel Green-inspired" pair of overalls for Sew the Show. (Remember that?? We should really bring that series back, it was one of my favs!)
I went all heart-faced emoji seeing photos of them again, having long since purged them from my closet. "Why??" I thought, clicking over to the post for a walk down memory lane. "Why would I have donated THESE?"
And then I saw it. Three "its" actually:
- BLUE. All blue. All that topstitching and a total missed opportunity to break up the sea of denim that was swallowing me. "Next time," I said, "I'll use gold thread to contrast."
- Size Issues. At the time I sewed these, the idea of "blending sizes" was rarely put into practice. And if it was, it was *only* in terms of bust, waist, or hip measurements. Given the nature of overalls (pants+bib), I chose the size based on the only relevant measurement: my hips (aka butt, which is large). But my legs? They're not large. They're pretty tiny actually. So they were drowning in excess fabric. The only acceptable way to wear them was by cuffing them to hide all that excess. "Next time," I said, "I'll grade to a smaller size in the legs, and a smaller bib, too, based on my waist/bust measurements."
- Fit issues. This was a palm-meet-forehead moment for present day me. How could I have MISSED all that excess fabric bunching at the *shudder* crotch?? When was it I learned about length adjustments anyway!? I could have removed INCHES off the rise of these overalls and spared myself what looks an awful lot like a penis bulge, to me. (Generally I refrain from that sort of talk, but there's really no tasteful way to describe it!) "Next time," I said, "I'll take that extra length out of the rise."
My "some day" sew started climbing the project-priority ladder with every nagging opportunity for improvement. So I bucked up, printed all 39 pages 😩😩😩 of the Turia Dungarees, and gave it another go.
Ordinarily, I'd tell folks to muslin a shorts version of whatever pants they were making. But I knew the legs would need work, too. So I cut a full length muslin and went to work.
Fixing, as we do, lengths before widths - I started immediately by pinching out a "donut" of excess fabric around the fullest part of my hips. Swayback included, I ended up taking out more length in the front than I did in the back. (On my next pair, I made this difference even more pronounced. Bigger booties need more length to cover them!) On the pattern piece, this looks like:
With the only length concern addressed (adjustable straps take care of any length issues at the top!) - I moved onto the widths. Starting with a "round pubis" adjustment to remove the last of the dreaded P-word bulge. (Better? no? Didn't think so 🤔) I put them on inside out and pinned out the excess, using my french curve to "true" up my new *shudder* crotch shape.
The rest were tiny pleats made at the top/center of each front pant leg, and down the back of the leg, too. I baste these changes directly on the muslin, unpick side/seat/inseam and give it a solid PRESS. Then I can overlay it on the pattern pieces and transfer the changes. It was helpful in picking the correct size pant leg, and seeing that I needed to size down from full hip to high hip.
The Final Project!
I marched myself back to Joanns and bought the EXACT same 4oz dark wash denim I'd used before. No stretch, some drape, sturdy enough for all those pockets! I also bought gold heavyweight thread (NOT denim thread. My machine HATES that stuff.), some buckles, and new denim needles. (Thank goodness for coupons!)
Unlike the (pocket-less) muslin, sewing the full pattern was a sloooooooow process. Alternating between my sewing machine and coverstitch, the top stitching alone took days. It probably wouldn't have, except that I am equally OCD about even stitching, and unmotivated to put up with my own OCD-ness.
For the most part, it went by swimmingly though. With the first major snag being the pocket size/placement. Forgive the bra shot - though you've seen far more of me in swim suit posts for sure!
Friendly word of advice to my fellow bootiful readers: the bigger your butt, the bigger and wider set your pockets should be. They should also end just at the bottom of your bum cheek. Nothing's going to hide the size of this thing, but with an eye for BALANCE, it doesn't have to look so out of place.
I grabbed the pocket piece from the Liana jeans pattern and was grateful to have just enough fabric left over to recut them.
With new pockets in place, I finished my garment and went to add the buckles. Yall. I'm strong. But I'm not Herculean strong. There's no reason I should have hit this particular snag:
Some folks have had luck muscling them in by hand... but I repeat. I'm not Herculean strong. So I borrow my (4 year old) son's "does this even qualify as a??" starter hammer and baby tapped my replacement buckles in place. I still think Dritz owes me my money back for that first pair though...
I was so happy to finally be done with the epic process that was my redemption dungarees (and apparently an epic blog post, too, sorry friends!) that I didn't grumble over the buckle mishap for long.
It was all worth it though. Between my original pair in 2015, and today's pair - I have easily put on 15 lbs. But with improved fit, I think it looks like I lost all that and more!
Oh, and for what it's worth - I still rolled the hems, but only because apparently that's how the cool people are wearing overalls. (Did you catch that? "cool people are wearing overalls" <-- if I say it enough it must be true!)
Long term plans are to distress these - nothing major, just some fading to further breakup all the blue. But I'm so happy with how they turned out, that I've already distracted myself by sewing up half a pair of black denim shortalls! (You'll have to tune into that post later for more info on the button placket "hack" I did instead of the suggested zipper.)
As always I hope this has helped illustrate how big an impact fit makes on how a garment flatters your body! And how easy it is to achieve when you break it down into baby steps. Happy sewing, friends! Hope to hear from you in the comments below. 🤗🤗🤗