pants

Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls

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Can you believe I made overalls? No? Neither can I, but when Janet from Decades of Style reached out to me and asked if I would be willing to test this pattern, I just couldn’t say no! I’d been planning to make pair of linen overalls for this coming summer but hadn’t really found a pattern I loved yet. I had my eye on the pair from Sew House Seven, but my hips are a couple of inches out of their size range and the minimal straps seemed like they would be a bit fussy, especially if I wanted to wear them to work where even on an “office” day, I sometimes end up doing an unexpected bit of manual labor. I wanted something a little more practical, but that would still allow me to achieve that “art teacher chic” vibe I’ve been really drawn to recently. Enter: the Ophelia Overalls!

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Honestly, these are just what I was looking for in a pattern. The bib is minimal, which is nice for my short-waisted, small-busted figure. I like that they have the classic overall back but still have some more feminine details like the waist ties and those awesome bucket pockets. Plus, I love the possibility for fun buttons! Sneaky tip here: I skipped the buttonholes, the buttons are just sewn on and there is a snap on the back. I tried to put buttonholes in, but my machine kept getting caught up on the facing edge, so I cut my losses and resorted to the seam ripper.

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I initially sewed these as designed since I was testing the pattern, though I did make one major fit change near the end which I’ll get to in a minute. I cut the bib as an 18 at the top, but graded to the width of a 22 at the waist and used the size 22 for the waist and below. This was one size too big for my waist, but it was going to be really complicated to grade between sizes here and I definitely needed the 22 width for my hips. Do note that if you typically grade between sizes, you will need to use a little creativity here because there is a lot happening around the waist in terms of the amount of pattern pieces. Now that I’ve sewn them once, I think I could figure it out, but I was a little overwhelmed by all the pieces when I was initially cutting the pattern. I’m happy with how this size worked out, though!

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I also cut the 26 at the crotch length/curve, grading back down to a 22 at the leg notches. I normally need more room through the crotch curve and I figured I could take it back out later if needed, but I’m really glad I did it. I did this on both the front and back pattern pieces to make sure I kept the inseam lengths the same.

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After sewing the majority of the overalls, I tried them on for fit. They looked pretty good everywhere but the back, where I had these major drag lines. I’ve had these types of drag lines to varying degrees on all loose fitting pants patterns I’ve tried so far, so I wasn’t surprised, but I was sad. And it seemed to be exacerbated by the fact that these are overalls, I’ve never had drag lines this bad before.

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After a fitting deep dive and talking to some folks on instagram, I came to a solution that I am excited to try on all my other pants pattern. Honestly, I can’t believe I was able to fix this fit issue, it has been plaguing me for years! This photo doesn’t really do it justice because the wind was blowing fiercely from camera right, but I can assure you they are now hanging straight down from my high hip and it really does feel like a miracle. So what was the solution?

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See that seam through the center back panel? That is not part of the pattern design. I took a 2″ wedge out of the center back, grading to nothing at the princess seam line. It was essentially a swayback adjustment, but I think the root of the issue is a bit more complicated than that. The idea was sparked by this thread on Pattern Review;  I really haven’t fully digested it yet and I need to do some further experimentation with a more simple pants pattern. I’m not a fitting expert, but I do know my back is much shorter than my front (see below) and a swayback adjustment often helps me on dress patterns.

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When it comes to pants, I often need more room through the crotch curve, which I think confounds the swayback issue. What I am understanding from that post on Pattern Review is that I may need a “tilted pelvis” adjustment, which would essentially mean adding to the crotch curve at the crotch point and then removing some length at the center back, which will readjust the balance of the pants (and which is coincidentally what I did to this pattern while trying to fix my fit issues). I also know that the fullest part of my hips is my high hips, which is not what a typical pants pattern is drafted for and is probably also confounding the fit. Like I said… lots to think about and experiment with.

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Anyways, I am SUPER happy with how these overalls turned out. Other minor changes I made to the pattern are to take a 3″ hem so that they would be slightly cropped and alter how the waist cinching ties work. I made them adjustable from both sides so that I would have a bit more room to adjust (and make sure they fit over my hips while still cinching at the waist).

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These are made out of the “sew classic” linen/rayon blend from Joann’s, its one they’ve had in stock for the last couple of years and I think its a great basic. It has a very different hand than the Brussels Washer Linen, which is also a linen/rayon blend, its a bit more hefty and less scratchy. I bought the vest buckles from Pacific Trimming and the buttons were a lucky local find.

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One more thing, Janet has let me know that there is a discount code for 20% off your entire purchase, coinciding with the release of this pattern. The code is “OVER20” and you should definitely add these to your sewing list for this summer (or winter if you are in the southern hemisphere, this pattern also looks AMAZING in corduroy).

Just the Facts:

Pattern: Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls (tester version)

Current Measurements: Bust: 45″, Waist 41″, Hip 52″

Size: 18 at the top of the bib, graded to the width of a 22 at the waist and hips. Extra length though the crotch curve and a 2″ swayback adjustment.

Fabric/Notions: “Sew classic” linen/rayon blend from Joann’s,  vest buckles from Pacific Trimming, buttons from my local quilting store.

This pattern was provided to me in exchange for my pattern testing services.

22 thoughts on “Decades of Style Ophelia Overalls

  1. Wow, that adjustment was like magic! I’m so intrigued by this. I never would have guessed that taking that fabric out would do anything to the wrinkles below the bum. I wonder how this adjustment would translate to regular pants?

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  2. My mind is blown! I so rarely sew trousers that I haven’t looked much into fitting issues, but that is a relatively simple alteration for such a beautiful result. I love the look of these overalls and can’t wait to see what else comes out in the new size range from Decades of Style.

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    1. I agree! The new size range is fantastic. As I told Janet, we need more knits 😉 I am super excited about this pants alteration discovery, I just need to find the time to experiment with it!

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  3. Omigosh…is that thread on PR old. ; ) My daughter has changed in circumference over the years, but yes, her swayback tuck is still valid.
    I really like the look of the overalls, but haven’t worn any since high school. I remember the fun of bathroom access. I am wondering how cool they would look as a knee length jumper though…

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    1. Was that your thread on PR? How crazy!! Well it’s the most helpful thing I’ve found for my fitting issues so far, so thank you thank you thank you!! Someone on Instagram suggested making these overalls as a jumper and I thought it sounded like a great idea!

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  4. Megan, I really appreciate how much work you put into your blog posts. The photos and the writing are excellent. It really helps me decide on a pattern. And the fitting issues explained are so helpful. I’m lozenq on IG.

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    1. Hi!! Thanks so much and I’m glad all the info is helpful, that was my whole goal in starting a blog. Otherwise, its just a lot of gratuitous photos of myself 😉 Thanks for reading!

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      1. Ha ha! The photos are great. It’s not easy getting good images that read well publicly. I end up hanging out my arms like a rag doll and my husband says, “Smile!”

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  5. First off, DoS needs to pay you a commission on my purchase of this pattern. Second, I’ve never believed in calling it the sway back alteration, because I’ve altered for that for scoliosis. We’re talking butts here. My butt is round, sound and generally runs the joint around here. What I didn’t get until a couple years ago was how HIGH my butt is, I have a ledge back there; room for a vase and a photo. I take a short, wide dart at the waistband midway between side and center seam and it works for me.
    Fortunately, it’s a big world and we all come in different sizes with different solutions. Potato, potahto. Gets the job done, and your solution looks great.

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    1. Ahhh! You have the upper butt ledge too?? Anyway you could send me a pic of the type of dart you mean? I am trying so hard to figure out how to address this issue. I agree that this is probably not a “swayback” whatever that means anyways. I think for me it is mostly a posture/balance issues and also sometimes related to my high hip. It’s been a real fit journey!

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  6. Your body is so similar to mine it’s crazy. I also have a very tiny back that goes on to bootyliciousness. I just made these overalls, but did it before I saw your post. I am kind of on the new learning side of this sewing clothes business. Would it be possible for you to put up a post showing how you did the adjustment you did? I think I wouldn’t be the only one interested in seeing it in more detail. Your result is fantastic! I want to make these again and hopefully get a fit as good as yours!

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    1. Hi Sarah! Glad the post was helpful! I didn’t get any photos of the alteration as I did it and I haven’t altered the pattern piece yet, but I’ll try to pull something together. In the meantime, if you google swayback adjustment, I think you will get the gist of what I did. I basically took out a horizontal fisheye dart that was about 2” wide at the center back, tapering to nothing at the princess seams.

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  7. Can’t believe I missed this! Oh well, I caught it on the CSC. I was trying to remember where I had read about a fit issue like you were having (jeans posts). You found it! Small webworld, hahaha. Love your overalls. I think your fabric choice was perfect. I’d run right out and buy some but unless I’m pressing for sewing I’m allergic to ironing.
    Merry

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