Friday, November 16, 2018

Frida-alls: Frida Kahlo Overalls with Removable Bib

Frida Kahlo was never known to wear overalls.

However, I think she'd probably consider it, if she were here today. She was known for mixing cultures and time periods in her dress... traditional huipil blouses with contemporary flowing skirts, colonial earrings and revolutionary rebozos. These overalls combine traditional workwear with contemporary fabric designs, and mixes utilitarian with the trendy in the form of a bare-shoulder top. 

The fabric is a Frida Kahlo tribute print by Alexander Henry called Frida's Garden, in cotton canvas. I was a little worried that it would be stiff for a garment, but it washed up soft and supple. My original idea was to make overalls in a dark floral, which I thought would be help make overalls evening-out appropriate and be an excellent entry for #sewfrosting. However, when I came across this Frida print I flat out fell in love. I came across it on, and the picture and description was for the black Frida's Garden in cotton canvas... but when it arrived, it was the cream background. Since the print was even more lovely in person, I uncharacteristically ignored this blatant breach of fabric ordering etiquette and just went with it. 

Oops, my backstrap is twisted! Didn't notice this until I uploaded my photos!

Do I think Frida would approve of this melange of her painting symbolism? Well, that's hard to say. But having painted herself into much of her oeuvre, we know she isn't shy about her imagery. The designer has filled her garden with the monkeys and parrots she famously painted portraits with, in addition to lush vegetation, ripe fruit, snakes, and eyes and arms on canvases. As well as a few of her most famous quotes:

Pies para qué las quiero, si tengo alas pa' volar.
Feet, what do I have need of you for when I have wings to fly?

Tengo ganas a vivir. Ya comencé a pintar.
I desire to live. I already have begun to paint.

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the pattern on the legs, so I mostly let chance decide. I'm not quite in love with the off-set twinning happening in the front, but oh well. I did carefully choose what would be on the pockets though. Frida with monkey on the front left with the "" quote, and Friday with parrot on the right back pocket. 

The pattern is, of course, the Jenny Overalls by Closet Case Patterns. I seem to have difficulty making a pattern just once- you can see my black linen overalls here. The fit of the size 16 was nearly perfect last time, so I mostly stuck with that. The only change I made was to grade the bib from a size 16 at the waist to a size 14 at the top, since the bib on my linen overalls seems to provide a bit more coverage than the pattern pics call for. 

But the biggest change is... the bib is removable. Ta-da....!

I thought these would look cute as pants. Mia (@sewnorth) has a tutorial on Instagram. I didn't follow this to the letter. She added an extra layer to her waistband for the buttonholes... but my canvas was quite thick, so I just made the buttonholes on the inner waistband without alteration. 

Thinking about it now... wouldn't these buttonholes be better horizontal? I didn't really think about it... Mia made hers vertical, and I just followed along. However, with a horizontal buttonhole there would be less worry about the size of the buttonhole fitting on the waistband, and possibly more security against the vertical stress on the bib. Next time! 

The buttons on the front bib are about 1/2 inch, four of them, mostly because that's what I had on hand in my recycled button stash.

I also totally freak'in forgot to add extra to the bottom of the bib when cutting it out. So I added a button band at the bottom.

I did the button sides again (Closet Case Patterns has a tutorial) and realized that I could use the top button as an anchor for the sides of the bib. It is just a little tight to fit the extra thickness on the button, but very doable since jeans buttons have a good shank (is that the right word?). 

The double buttonhole on the inside of the waistband is from me not realizing I could reuse the waistband button. The horizontal buttonhole is the one that I use. 

These jeans buttons came from Wawak. They are really nice quality, and very reasonably priced, as long as you are ordering enough to get free shipping. 

The straps each have one big button in the back (1 inch?)

The overall hardware is from Amazon. I'm not sure what really nice overall hardware feels like, but this feels a little less than workforce quality, but it does the job.

This version came out a little bit tighter than my linen overalls. This is actually a good thing, since the pants need to be a bit tighter to stay up. This is probably in part because the cotton canvas has much less give than a linen fabric... but I think it is also because I was a bit more precise sewing these, for whatever reason. I'm pretty firmly in the stretch pants camp... so we'll have to see whether I find these comfortable for daily wear. 

The top I'm wearing with the pants is a Liesl Classic Shirt in tencel twill, made about a year ago

The top I'm wearing with the overalls is brand new, made to wear with my growing overall collection- the Closet Case Nettie. The original pattern is for a bodysuit and a dress, but I just cut it off at a hip length and then did Heather's tutorial to make it off the shoulder. The fabric is a rayon jersey from the stash. It was a super quick sew!

So what do you think, should I take these overalls dancing?

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