A bunch of things recently happened simultaneously:
I’ve always had what a certain era of crime fiction describes as “the body of a well-nourished female”; this continues to be true if not truer, and all at once my years-old Morgan jeans were too tight on my thighs.
Two of my three remaining pairs of Ginger jeans gave up the ghost. These were also several years old, so not too surprising. One gave out at the inner thigh (classic) and the OTHER ONE’S ZIPPER EXPLODED.
And finally, my dear mummy mailed me a care package of several pairs of brand-new tights. Um, ka-CHING.
So I’m channeling my 2016-era Phoebe Waller-Bridge and wearing shorts over tights this season, plus relying more on skirts and tights for warmth (my lesson from last year), and the upshot is I rediscovered some stuff in my closet, including this old pal. This is my first-ever pair of Pauline Alice Turia dungarees!
One of my clearest memories of sewing this pair was that the fabric smelled baaad. Why? I still don’t know. But the smell persisted after several vinegar washes, especially when I heated the fabric, like with an iron. Based on the many search results for “how to get smell out of new jeans” it’s a not-uncommon denim thing! It’s totally faded away now, but these dungarees are five years old.
One thing I didn’t remember is that I apparently bought 1.44 yards of denim for this project. It had to be a remnant, right?! There’s no other possibility for getting that length, unless fabric was sold by the 4%-of-a-yard back in 2017. Anyway, apart from the odor and the oddly specific yardage, this is a classic 6.5 ounce black denim (not true black, but it never was!), and I heartily endorse this weight for short-eralls. It’s a little light for full length pants, but feels just right for a little shortie layer that I used to wear bare-legged in the summer (scandal!) and now enjoy over tights in the fall.
I didn’t record my starting pattern size back then (HONEY) but at a guess: 46. I did record the following changes: reduced front leg width 5/8″; reduced back leg 1 5/8″ at waist, blending to 1 1/4″ at leg; changes reflected in paper pattern. That last bit is crucial, and should have informed me going forward not to expect packet measurements from my altered pattern copy. However, since I am a ruthless doofus, I usually write that sort of thing on the pattern paper too (plus a date, in case of future changes), and I failed to do so on this one. At least it explains the problems I’ve had with fitting this pattern more recently!
The hardware came from a short-lived shop on Beacon Hill called Mercer’s Fabric; I bought a three pack of buckles in 2017 and have not had to buy them since. This is the only set still attached to its original garment, though – the other two have been recycled forward a couple times each.
I bought two zippers as directed but only sewed one. It’s nominally an invisible zipper, and I just about can’t think of a worse idea than two invisible zippers. I didn’t get the installation quite right so the zipper tape top doesn’t meet the overalls edge; instead I added a little button and loop to hold the very top closed. I’m waiting with a kind of morbid excitement for my fraying beginner button loop to fail. But it’s still here.
I goofed on the envelope pocket too. When sewn correctly, the flap is attached right-side-to-wrong side of the main pocket piece and then flipped forward to enclose the top edge. Alternatively, you could do what I did, fully misunderstand, and topstitch every edge to the bib including the top one, so what you have is not a patch pocket but a patch.
The seams of these overalls are finished with a combination of flat-felled seams – center front and center back; bias tape – back bib; serging (using what was then my brand! New! Serger!) – front bib and side seams; and the pocket openings – just clipped and turned once. At the time I felt some doubt about the clipped curves, but they’ve maintained just fine!
And honestly even if they hadn’t I can’t see lightly getting rid of these because one time I wore them to work and a sixth-grader suspiciously asked if I was cosplaying as Lenny from Legion. FLIPPIN’ I AM NOW.
It’ll be interesting to see how much longer I fit into these. They would have been loosy-goosier and more casual five years ago (I recall I once wore them to go hiking) but I think this fit is pretty cute too, especially over my new mock-neck shirts. (I’m finding these so useful, not least because they make me feel like an X-Man (an image search reveals no visual correlation between X-Men and mock necks, but I still feel like one)).
These will probably be a remake-and-replace when the time comes. The fabric is easy enough to source, and the utility is high. Annoyingly, due the above-mentioned recent fitting struggles with this pattern, I threw out my printed copy a few weeks ago, so I’ll have to reprint.
But I think these are worth the tape!
Final PSA: these shorties are SHORT!
Pattern: Pauline Alice Turia dungarees
Pattern cost: $9.00
Size: 46 (estimated); reduced front leg width 5/8″; reduced back leg 1 5/8″ at waist, blending to 1 1/4″ at leg
Supplies: 1.44 yards Black Washed Denim 6.5 oz, $17.08, Gather Here; zippers, $2.50, Gather Here; buckles, $3.75, Mercer’s Fabric; thread from stash
Total time: 9.75 hours
Total cost: $32.33