bottom-halfs one-piece wardrobe

Named Patterns – Bly Overalls - named bly overalls

My little village in Rheinland-Pfalz is purported to have one of the best Christmas Markets (Weihnacht) in the region. It pretty much spans the entire length of the main town and is just blocks away from our home. The vendors hock handmade trinkets in matching wooden sheds, and the town is packed with tourists, all wandering under the twinkling lights with a precarious mug of hot Gluhwein in hand.

But the Weihnacht is one of the only things around here that makes me feel like it’s Christmas season. The stores (thankfully) don’t play Christmas songs, and neither does the radio. Sure, there are Christmas displays all around us, and Germany is incredibly festive, but it just doesn’t feel like Christmas.

But… okay… let’s back up a little bit. My Christmas sensors must be a little confused. Because even if it doesn’t feel like Christmas here, I can’t help but think of Christmas every time I look at these Bly Overalls. John has nicknamed them my Christmas Suit, and we joke about how appropriate (albeit really, really cold) it would be to wear them to the Weihnacht. I’m really hoping it’s just the season, and that when I wear them in the Spring, I won’t still feel a little Mrs. Claus back in Pantsuit Nation. Fingers are crossed that this is a thing that can be unseen. - named bly overalls - named bly overalls - named bly overalls

The Pattern: Bly Overalls by Named Patterns
The Fabric: Pendleton Yarn-dyed 100% cotton from the Pendleton Woolen Mills Store
The Size: 32
Adjustments: 4 inches removed from hips
Alterations: removed the wide-leg to make skinnie-ishes

Let’s start with the fabric here. I’ve been hoarding this red Pendleton yarn-dyed cotton in my stash for well over two years. I’m pretty sure it was a (bolts long) remnant from the production of the Pendleton Portland Collection (designed by some of my favorite local designers: Rachel Turk, Nathaniel Crissman, John Blasioli). It ran $20/yard, which is a bit more than I’d normally spend on a lightweight cotton (Portland fabric stores spoil you and I’m finding I end up spending much more than that on things I love less here in Germany), so I conservatively purchased 2 yards without a clue on what I would make.

If the fabric looks familiar to you, it’s because Beth from Sew DIY has sewn this same fabric up in the Teahouse Dress by Sew House 7, and Sew House 7 has sewn this same fabric up as their sample for the Teahouse Dress. We all have roots in Portland so it may be unsurprising that we all have this fabric, but it also seems we all thought 2 was the magic number of years to wait before cutting into such a beautiful thing.

So, 2 years on and it’s been turned into the Bly Overalls. And what happens when your past-self didn’t have the foresight to know that your future-self would want to make overalls with a scant 2 yards of 48” wide? You have to get a little creative. I played with grain directions a bit, and used the shortage of fabric to my advantage by blocking the back pant leg into contrasting striped segments. - named bly overalls - named bly overalls

I either forgot or intentionally omitted the back patch pockets. I had cut them but couldn’t decide if I wanted them or not, and before I knew it, I was done with the make. So, they’ll probably live in the scrap pile until I someday decide to add them on.

For the lining, I used contrasting fabric (a Japanese light-weight denim from Fabric Depot), which adds both charm and functionality; this Pendleton is so soft and drapey, it wouldn’t have the structure on it’s own to stand up as the front bib. - named bly overalls

I am really proud of one very specific thing in this make, and that’s the inside binding. Yes, I am very aware of how orange it is, and that’s not what I’m proud of. I definitely carried a swatch of the red yarn-dyed to the store with me and held it up in the fluorescent light to make sure the color-ways matched. It seemed like the binding was just a coral-red rather than a dark orange and I liked that contrast, so, being as they were all sold out of a the straight red I wanted (a trait of Germany I’ve gotten used to at this point), I went with the “coral”. It wasn’t until I got home and looked at it in the light of the sewing room that I realized that, actually… this binding is quite orange, no matter how you look at it. And if I had a fabric store that was closer to me than 30 minutes in two-degree celsius, I’m sure I would have gone back to fix that error, but I’ll unashamedly admit I’m a wuss when it comes to cold. - named bly overalls

Okay, back to what I’m proud of. I’d never done an inverted corner in bias binding before, and I’m really excited about the technique I’ve learned here. I don’t know if this is just me, but when I’m trying to conceptualize a new technique, I end up visualizing it in the moments before I fall asleep. I look at how these 2-d planes fold and move in order for a new 3-d shape take form. And after some nights of pre-dreaming about bias binding, I realized that all I had to do was google, and within a few hits I had the cumulative answer to “how to inverted V bias binding”. It doesn’t have the cleanest stitches, but you know, #unperfectionistgoals.

For construction, I increased the seam allowance from 1cm to 1,5cm so that I could do flat-felled seams throughout. I also opted for red enameled metal buttons. I’m hoping that these two elements give it more of a Workman’s vibe than a onesie pajama vibe. - named bly overalls - named bly overalls

As mentioned, I did end up taking in the hip-ease by 4 inches, but I’m still undecided if that was the best decision. I measured as a size 34 in the waist/hips and a 36 in the bust, but the ease seamed too forgiving, so I made a muslin in a 32. Even then, the hips jutted out way below and out from my hips, and I realized I needed to take in quite a bit to make it fit my body-type. Still, there are moments when I think I could have gone with a 3-inch reduction instead of 4, especially when the tummy area starts to scrunch up and wrinkle after sitting. On the other hand, I think the error lies in (ironically?) having taken in the lining too much. You can see in the interior photos how much the lining pinches the outer layer.

Ultimately, my recommendation for this pattern (especially, if you fall into the smaller ranges of Named’s size chart) is to pay more attention to the finished garment size rather than the size chart itself. And ABSOLUTELY make a muslin. This is too much time and fabric to spend on the roulette of will-it-fit.

I will also note, though, that I found one flaw in the pattern instructions, and Named handled it beautifully. The instructions are translated from Finnish, and they managed to miss one step in the instructions. I sent them an email, and they immediately wrote me back with apologies and a new PDF of the corrected instructions. - named bly overalls - named bly overalls

While I love Named’s design and pattern making, I think there is really only one thing that drives me a little nuts about this make, and that’s that the button line is actually not centered on the body. That’s right. It’s not a construction flaw, and if you look at the line-drawing closely, you’ll see that the line of the buttons is intentionally lined to the side of center front. I noticed this once I had started to mark in my button holes, and it was a bit too late to adjust that design. It’s especially pronounced if you wear a button-up shirt with this (which is what I tried to style this with originally), but if it’s just a normal t-shirt, it doesn’t stand out so much. - named bly overalls

Ultimately, I think I’ll end up wearing this with a cropped t-shirt in the midst of spring. It’ll definitely be a romp-around-in-the-sunshine outfit, so the too-tight-here and the buttons-don’t-line-up-there don’t matter as much.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I’m off to ramble around the house in my Christmas Suit. I’ll leave you with one more for good measure… (and yes, those are reindeer boots!) - named bly overalls


2 Comment

  1. These are a lot of fun. I love how you’ve played with the direction of the fabric. Im sure you’ll get a heap of wear out of them in the warmer weather!

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