Wednesday 17 July 2019

Metallic Loveralls

These overalls were a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. One moment they were awesome, the next they irritated me... And as with any thrilling ride the end result was a moment of elation and then a kind of flatline. For both of us. Anyway let's look at some pics while I ramble....

It all started with the fabric. I found this black stretch drill with a silver metallic face at ClearIt and snapped up a couple of metres. It's a denim weight and I figured it would be perfect for stretch jeans.

Then A was wearing a denim overalls skirt that her granny bought her and said she'd like overalls instead of jeans. I was convinced I'd have a vintage overalls pattern, but no. OK, I still have that Loveralls pattern, and where I went wrong last time was using a rigid denim. This time they'll be perfect.

Previously I'd printed off only the size layer I needed and used that for the pattern tissue. That meant reprinting and taping the whole pdf and gee I hate doing that. I emailed Celina and she kindly sent me a voucher to download the pattern again as it now includes an A0 copy shop version. Of course I also bought all those cool Urban Jungle doll patterns that I'd been eyeing for ages, so she won too!

Creffield did the printing for me, and I was ready to rock. I traced off the size 9 and added leg length around the mid thigh. I recalled they are very slim lower legs and adding length at the hem would never work. I was upsizing by almost a size and a half, thinking they'd fit for next winter, but probably no. These are perfect now and destined to get snug.

Thank goodness for stretch! The fabric really was perfect for the overalls and I was starting to get excited.

The only place it misbehaved was in turning the straps where my fingernails managed to tear a hole in the fabric just pulling it through. I'd prefer to make overall straps in a thick fabric by folding in and topstitching both sides rather than trying to turn a tube. It was a beast of a job.

But to get my happy juices flowing again I added a couple of Kylie and the Machine's labels

By ironing the Handmade label I could get it to curve a little and follow the line of the pocket nicely.

The "You Can't Buy This" is one of my favourite labels. These little iron on faux rivets came from Jimmy's Buttons ages ago and were the perfect dull metal finish to match the fabric.

I was on a maker's high at this point and decided that since I'd added lots of leg length, and they'd probably be worn cuffed, I should bind the lower leg seam allowances. A bit of Liberty lawn was just right for the job.

I fell a little out of love with them along the way as I found some of the instructions a bit odd. There was interfacing where I couldn't see any need for any, and none where I thought there should be some. I changed the way the front pocket was attached and was bamboozled for a while by the side tabs before finally figuring it out.

And then the jeans buttons. Oh, man, the jeans buttons. What perverse corner of hell are they spawned in?

I had plenty in my stash but only two of any one design, and I needed four (or more, but I'll get to that later). I was convinced that all the ones I had came from Buttonmania and the ones I liked best were the ones I'd already inserted in the straps.

So I zoomed down to Buttonmania only to find that they had sold me all the other ones, but not those two particular ones. I later worked out I'd bought them from Thread Theory ages ago and just slipped them in the Buttonmania bag so all the jeans buttons were in one place.

Since I was there I bought another half dozen of the ones I thought were the best match. The only thing left to do was hammer in two more jeans buttons for the sides.

I was nervous about the straps having no interfacing and being only two fabric layers thick - and tearable by my fingernails no less. So I had used some leather scraps as washers under each button. The strap ones had worked perfectly. To get the next two in took about 8 attempts.

Tap gently and nothing happens. Tap more firmly and still nothing happens. The button still pulls out. A final firm tap and the whole thing crumples sideways and is ruined. I was using a steel back plate to hammer against. But I also tried without it, just on a wood surface. I tried using a rivet set to hold the button completely square. No better. I tried trimming the shank slightly so it's shorter. I tried without the leather spacers (so the shank is effectively longer). After ruining so many buttons I finally got them set. Or so I thought.

I remembered this being a shit of a thing on my last set of Loveralls and I'm open to any suggestions as to how it might work better. Basically, I'm resigned to not using them without access to an industrial press. An internet search doesn't give anything beyond; make hole, insert button, hit with hammer. The Thread Theory rivet setting tutorial is the most helpful I've ever found.

Finally they were done and I was excited for her to try them on. She tried to match my excitement but it was clear the rise is definitely too short and she kindly explained that she was expecting them to come up to her chest like her other overalls.

Yep, I guess so was I. Note to self, the rise and bodice is short. Add lots of length.

And then one of the buttons on the strap popped off. 

Isn't it funny how you can produce something that is really not bad at all, but have totally lost the love for it along the way. :)

Anyway, I fixed the button, again. I hope they'll get worn. I briefly toyed with the idea of stretch jeans for me in this fabric and then I heard my daughter walk in them and they sound like metallic corduroy! Definitely not for me and my lack of thigh gap!

I've been reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy to the kids and I'm imagining this whole blog post read aloud in the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Life. Depressing, isn't it.


Thanks for reading xx


  1. I am both heartened (because solidarity) and depressed (because I was hoping for the magic solution!) to read that you have the same issue with those &^%%#$@ jeans buttons as I do. I have yet to make anything that uses one without going through 2 or 3 and then just barely managing to get one acceptably sturdy and straight. Awesome overalls, though!

    1. There's consolation in company. Thanks for letting me know I'm not a freak who can't hammer straight.

  2. What a journey and how frustrating. They do look like a lot of fun.

    Now for jeans buttons, when I received the DK-93 Manual Snap Press I also invested in a jeans button die. I can't say how well it works as I haven't had time to sew, but I have jeans and a jeans skirt on the wish list.

    1. I might just mail you anything that needs jeans buttons. I have a big bench top press for snaps and now you've got me wondering if there's a jeans buttons die set for it. That would save a huge amount of headache. I love the idea of making Levi 501 style button fly jeans but not without a way of setting those wretched buttons

  3. Brain the size of a planet and they ask me to make a pair of overalls....!

    ( sorry couldn’t help myself!!!)
    They look great, love the fabric. But totally understand the frustration, and losing the love for a project along the way!

    1. Nailed it! That's exactly the feeling. :)
      Thank goodness my sewing machine wasn't fitted with that cheerful sliding door personality thing to try and cheer me up!


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