Now that my body has (mostly) gotten past the trauma I put it through as a house painter in the years during and after university, I’ve been hankering for a good pair of denim overalls. I had a couple different pair in those long, tiring days, and of course they were quickly tattooed with paint, caulking, putty, and every solvent known to man. They were at least two sizes too big, but they were easy and comfy and I used every single pocket on them. I was basically a walking tool box.
Fast forward to a couple years ago when I jumped on the Jenny Overalls train and made these ‘classy-alls’ in lightweight suiting, using the detachable bib hack by Mia on the Sew North blog. I’ve dressed them up, down, and sideways, and they are easily one of my most versatile, most worn garments, so it was high time for them to have a country cousin.
There are so many fantastic overall patterns from a number of indie designers, each with hundreds (if not thousands) of posts under their respective hashtags. What made me land on the Yanta Overalls by Helen’s Closet were the traditional Y-back, the scooped out sides, and the loose but darted waist that would allow me to determine my Goldilocks fit. I also just didn’t feel like making a muslin, and I had a gut feeling that, with this design, I could cut straight into my denim and make adjustments on the fly. Turns out my gut is a pretty reliable ally!
I wanted to add some classic details from my painting days, and as I was sketching things out in my sewing planner, I remembered that Mia had also done a tutorial for adding some side pockets and a hammer loop to a pair of Lander Pants. Back to her blog I went, and found that she had even drafted some pattern pieces and made them available as free PDFs, because she is just that wonderful. It seems she has taken a long hiatus from making — or at least posting about it on the interwebs — and I have to say I do miss her creativity and humour in my feed. Sending happy vibes your way from the west coast, Mia!
I altered her pieces a bit to make the proportions fit the Yantas, and they worked great! I also angled the tops of the original front hip pockets and lengthened the straps so I could use some traditional buckle-and-slider hardware. My only other significant alteration was at the side seams. When I basted them together to check the fit, it was quite a bit more generous than I had anticipated. For next time, I’ll size down, but for these, I went whole-hog lazy and just took out 2” on each side (1” from each front and back piece), grading to zero at just below the hip pockets. This made for a closer fit at the waist while still being able to skate by without installing a zipper (which is an included option in the instructions). Should I have spread out that adjustment between the front dart, back dart, and side seam? Yes. Yes, I should have done exactly that. But my way worked totally fine, plus it meant that all I had to do for the facing pieces was lop off those side seams as well, rather than drafting a new piece, so win-win!
A lighter gold and metal grey were also in the running, but I’m glad I ended up going with the caramel topstitching thread. As tempting as it was to do double contrast lines all over, I often prefer the simpler look of a single row, so I did that everywhere except the top edges of the pockets. I still wanted the durability of two rows, though, so I did a second row around the pockets in regular matching navy thread for the best of both worlds.
My denim came from The Fabric Store Online (the web shop of We Are The Fabric Store), and I got it on one of their end-of-season sales late last year. It’s 9 oz., has some stretch, and I love the deep, rich indigo shade. I washed and dried it twice before cutting, and even after fiddling with all the pockets and topstitching, my fingers were only lightly tinged with blue dye; much less so than with most other dark denim I’ve worked with. Maybe not white-furniture ready until they’ve had a couple more spins in the machine, but I don’t think I’ll have to be too careful otherwise. Unless I’m near an open paint can, ’cause, y’know, old habits die hard, and I want to try to keep these relatively stain-free for years to come.
Whether you’re sewing or not, I hope everyone is enjoying a happy, safe, creative summer!