Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I think I have a new favorite sewing pattern.

I'm one of the worst photographers on the internet (it would probably help if I read our camera's manual) but I think you can see what we have here. Overalls! These are made of purple corduroy from my stash, with contrast cuffs of cotton, also from my stash. The pattern is a very old one...McCall's 5709, but don't bother looking for it at your local fabric store. My copy is from the late 1970s and was used by my mom to make overalls for me. This was back when you bought the pattern in just the size you wanted (as opposed to multi-sized patterns that we have today) so I only have it in toddler size 3.

It's my new favorite because it is so stinking easy, though I modified the directions a bit to make it so. You cut 2 fronts, 2 backs, and 2 straps (and an optional patch pocket). The directions have you do some funky sewing to get it together, because the pattern calls for the inner legs to snap open. No thanks. I just sewed fronts to backs, then tucked one leg inside the other and sewed the crotch seam, which extends all the way up the front bib and the back. I also suddenly remembered that my sewing machine comes with a reinforcing stitch - check your machine, you very likely have it too. It's a stitch that sews forward 3 stitches, back 3, and forward 3 again, so it's like having a triple line of stitches. It's great for crotch seams, because then you can press the seam open nicely. I've always hated the directions that say to stitch again 1/4" away, because you can't get a nice press with that double line of stitches. Does that make sense? With the reinforcing stitch I used, it was like sewing the same line of stitching 3 times.

These are some looooooong overalls, too, so I modified them a bit more for longer wear. Rather than just stitching in a deep hem to be let down in the future (which would leave an unsightly line in the corduroy...ugh, I remember that when I was little as it was a telltale sign of the 'hand-me-down'), I instead cut two more lower legs, both front and back. I sewed them into tubes, then serged the tops. I stitched these tubes to the raw edge of the legs, then turned them to the inside and topstitched. Finally, I hand sewed the serged edges to the seam allowance of the corduroy. Here is what it looks like on the inside:

Now these can be turned up as much as necessary, and then let down until there is just corduroy showing.

Neat, huh? I think so. I also think there will be many more overalls in Daughter's future. I'm seeing these in denim, twill, funky print corduroy...even linen for warmer weather.

I did a search, and this McCall's pattern is probably closest to what I have, if you are interested in making overalls as well. I'm thinking of picking this one up (Joann's is putting McCall's patterns on sale for $1.99 Th-F-S this week) so I have a size 4 for the future.


Cheryl said...

I ABSOLUTELY LOOOOOOOOOOVE THE OVERALLS!! Gosh..I can see them being made in all kinds fo fabrics and prints! You are awesome! Linen overalls would be very cool for spring summer...or hack the legs short for shortalls!

Karen said...

Mhmm, I know exactly what your talking about the reinforced inner seam. Your little machine setting sounds good. I'll have to check on that one.

I have a 1970s Simplicity overall pattern that also has a shorts version and a bubble suit version and I love it so much. It is ONLY a size 2, though. It breaks my heart.

Love your length accomodation trick, super cute. I think a ruffle to add length would be cute too.

Pam said...

I have that same pattern! My mom made us overalls as kids. My favorite pair was color crayon red courdoroy with fun buttons on the straps and a pocket on the front bib. Wore them completely out.

I couldn't figure out why my mom was holding onto all those old patterns but now that I have kids I'm so glad she did:)

Great job on the cuffs!