Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easter Overalls

Several months ago, I happened upon a really cute fabric. The dinosaurs were friendly and bright and weren't licensed characters (I tend to be somewhat anti- licensed characters. If my child doesn't know who Barney is, why should he wear Barney pajamas? Anywhoo ....). Immediately a vision sprang into my mind. Dinosaur overalls! I hastily estimated how much fabric a pair of overalls would take, added a smidge for safety, and plopped down my money and forgot about the whole thing. The fabric languished on the "someday" dresser in my sewing room.

And would have continued to languish, long past Easter, had not a friend pinned a free overall pattern to her Pintrest board. It was by LiEr of, whom I deeply admire and it was a size 3T - exactly what I needed. Also, did I mention, free. Clearly, this Easter overall thing was going to happen.

When I cut out the pattern and studied my fabric, I realized that I had enough fabric for TWO pairs of overalls, which was fabulous, because I happen to have two boys. (Twinkle is only 2, but he is a very sturdily built 2, and is currently straddling the fence between 2T and 3T. Besides, overalls are naturally adjustable.)

I very narrowly avoided making a terrible mistake, cutting out the overalls here. I was all set to cut and suddenly realized that this pattern has a right side up, and a wrong side up. If I had just doubled the fabric to cut out 2 sets (exactly what I was set to do), one of the sets of overalls' dinosaurs would have been upside down. So I cut off some of the fabric and layered it over the other fabric, so that the dinosaurs were right side up for both sets.

I did two things differently from the pattern.

1) I made the front chest piece separate from the bottom front pieces. You can see (maybe) from the pattern above that she has you cut out one big piece (twice) that you join by sewing them together down the center front and then that's your front piece, from the top of the bib to the pants legs. I wanted to be able to put in pockets (both my boys adore pockets, especially Twinkle) but I didn't want to have a sewn-on waistband, which is her solution for the top of the pockets needing to hide under another piece or in a seam. So I took the top straight dotted line as the top of my pants fronts, and then cut another piece for the chest, cutting it on the fold so that it was one piece. I then sewed my two front pants legs together, sewed on the pockets, and sewed the pants part to the chest part, thus "hiding" the top edge of the pockets in the seam between the pants and the chest piece. Capisce?

This was very simple to do and I'm very pleased how it turned out.

2) I made the overall straps several inches longer because they just looked short to me. The boys were sleeping, so I couldn't attempt to measure the straps against their shoulders to figure out if they were the right length, and they're fairly good sized boys. Munchkin has always been the tallest of his friends his age, and Twinkle earned the nickname "Tank" as an infant and has kept it ever since.

I should have trusted LiEr. They're now totally too long. This really doesn't matter, because the extra doesn't show, but I should have trusted LiEr.

A slightly tricky thing with LiEr's patterns is that, coming from a professional background, she doesn't put seam allowances on her patterns. You're supposed to add however much you prefer. 1/4, 1/2, 5/8, the world is your oyster. I comforted myself with the fact that I was making clothes for an active child, not assembling a nuclear warhead, and cut them out with a very approximate 5/8" seam allowance, measuring only occasionally to make sure that I had not strayed too far afield. This I did until ...

I did this. In case you can't tell the grievous nature of my error, that's the hem of the pants. Which I just cut out with a 5/8" seam allowance. Which is way too small. Notice that on most hems, the hem is at least half an inch wide? Sometimes more? That's because a wider hem is a) easier to work with and b) doesn't fold up as easily. A too narrow hem on pant legs is one of those rookie mistakes that just takes the shine off your otherwise well-made, professionally finished clothing item, which is certainly what I hoped that these overalls would be.

(For those of you who are confused and are saying "Isn't 5/8 more than half an inch? Wouldn't you still be ok?" I say: "No. You have to fold over the top edge of the fabric, and then fold it again so that you don't have a raw edge on the inside of your hem. If you just folded it once and sewed it down, it would fray. The making of well-made, professionally finished clothing is really just one long quest to eliminate all raw edges, ever.")

So what I did was this. I took a length of appropriately bright, wide bias tape and sewed it to the edge of the pants, folded it up, and sewed that edge down to make the hem. (Bias tape comes pre-made with folded edges.) This is what they used to do in the olden days when skirts or pants were let down as a person grew. When there wasn't enough fabric left to fold up to make a proper hem, they would use this exact technique, and in fact the reason that I happened to have neon orange bias tape on hand was because I had inherited it from my grandmother, who had bought it for just such a purpose. I think that's pretty cool.

At this point readers like my brother are rolling their eyes and saying "Enough with the technical crap, let's get to pictures of the boys!

OK, let's do.

Early morning selfie with Munchkin, looking pretty unthrilled with his awesome dinosaur overalls. Don't worry, he did cheer up later, especially when there were


This may not look like an excited face to you, but that's only because you cannot perceive the laser-like intensity with which he is holding that balloon.

(Yes! Our church gives out balloons to all the kids after the Easter service. Isn't that awesome?)

Again, the look is a little anxious, but trust me, Twinkle is having a good time here.

After church we went to the park and had a picnic with my parents and brother and sister. 'Stache bought the boys real soccer balls for their Easter gift, so most of what I saw of the boys for the rest of the afternoon was this.

Or this.

These are actually with zoom. It's a large park and they really love running.

Munchkin is sitting on Twinkle's ball here, and Twinkle is trying to steal it back. Despite 'Stache's buying IDENTICAL balls, they still knew whose were whose.

My sister and brother with the boys.
I was sneezing convulsively the whole afternoon and it still managed to be a pretty perfect day.

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