Making Great Use of Her Time: A Fitness Story
Sometimes Mondays

Overthinking Overalls

When I was in high school, I had a pair of denim OshKosh'b'Gosh overalls. I wore them a lot back then - and especially during the summer at outdoor swim meets (because I could just throw them over my suit - easy-breezy). I embroidered all over them . . . in that freestyle, mid-70s kind of way. (Lots of rainbows, flowers, and peace signs.) I couldn't wear them to school (we had a dress code that allowed us only to wear "dress denim" on Fridays, which meant . . . no embroidered denim overalls), but I did sew myself a pair of corduroy overalls (thus acceptable for ANY day of the week per the school dress code), and even one of my cheerleading uniform options . . . was a pair of overalls (also dress code acceptable).

So. I was enamored with overalls -- and especially my OshKosh pair. Comfy. Groovy vibe. Unexpected. When I went off to college, though . . . they didn't come with me. I don't know what happened to them, and I don't seem to have a photo of me wearing them anywhere. But I really loved them.

Which means. . . that even as a nearly-62-year-old woman, I have a soft spot for overalls! 

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(Look! The Selfie Project continues . . . and I inexplicably put on mascara the other day for no reason at all except I felt like it. What is happening???)

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed . . . more overalls on the fashion scene, including lots of sewing pattern designs. (Jumpsuits, too. But it's a hard no on the jumpsuits for me.) I looked. I contemplated. I considered. But . . . nah.

Most of the designs I saw were more . . . fashion-y than I wanted. Or they were really simplified versions of standard, work overalls. And there seemed to be a lot of little futsy details: sideways pockets or paperbag waists or wrap around ties. I did succumb last summer and purchased this pattern. (I think I saw a pair that someone I know had made on IG that looked really great for summer - and without the fussy ties . . . ) But I never sewed them. (Too busy with masks.) (Sigh.) 

Besides. There was that silly little critical voice in my head that would whisper you're too old for overalls now when I got thinking about really making - and wearing - overalls. (I know this is NOT TRUE. I can wear whatever I damn well please, thankyouverymuch.) (But that voice still whispers, y'know?)

I haven't thought about overalls for several months now. . .  
Until last Tuesday!

I had ducked in to my favorite garden nursery for a quick breath of spring. They sell houseplants during the winter, and were having a sale to clear their stock in preparation for the gardening season ahead. I wanted to pick up a few succulents and maybe a plant or two for my house . . . y'know . . . to get me through the next couple of months inside. Anyway. Guess what I saw there????

A smart and sassy older woman with very cool silver hair . . . ROCKING A PAIR OF OLIVE GREEN DENIM OVERALLS!

If it hadn't have been the pandemic, I would've grabbed her and gotten all the details on her most awesome overalls. But it is the pandemic, so I admired her from over 6 feet away.

Ever since? I've been dreaming of a pair of olive green denim overalls for myself! Although, let's be honest. I've not been dreaming. I've been overthinking those overalls. . . 

I looked at ready-to-wear options online. But nothing seems to be what I want . . . in a reasonable price range. (And there are some WILD options out there -- including skinny-leg overalls with those ripped up legs. I kid you not.) I looked at farm-and-fleet store overalls online --  but they're just a bit too functional for me. (I don't think I need 96 pockets or articulated knees. . . ) And I looked at sewing patterns. Again. Most of them really are more fashion-focused than I'm wanting. Or there are some other details about them I'm not particularly liking. (The back, for example. I'm apparently very particular about how I want the back to look. And the pockets need to be Just Right.)

And then I found this pattern. . . 

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This is the Harlene from Merchant & Mills.
And it is EXACTLY what I want.

I'm going to sew myself a pair of olive green denim overalls.


Don't forget: the Read With Us Zoom book discussions are coming right up -- Tuesday, March 2. Be sure to let Bonny, Carole, or I know if you'd like to join us for the Zoom that evening at 7 pm Eastern. (Just comment on any of our blogs to RSVP, or send us an email!)



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OH MAN! Those are great! And I'm so happy for you that you found a pattern that is just right for you. I loved overalls for years and even had a pair from L.L. Bean in the late 90s. There are pictures of me wearing them on our honeymoon, in fact. We went to Maine where overalls are always in fashion.


I wore my overall through the last year of high school (before that we were not allowed to wear pants), into college, and beyond. I have also noticed them coming back. I have been really looking at clothing a lot in the last year and wanting to have a wardrobe that is comfy and functional. I look forward to seeing your overalls. And I hope you will share resources. I am finding garment fabric hard to get these days.


Completely and totally jel! I can't wait to see them. ! xo


I'm sure that overalls are just fine for an almost 62-year-old, because this almost 64-year-old wears them all summer. I love the pockets and they're very practical for working outdoors and in the garden, even if some might question how they look. I don't have any long overalls because they're always too long, but you've got me thinking about sewing some now that you've found the perfect pattern.

What was the deal with dress codes in the 70s? We had the same dress denim thing, despite protests and petitions from me!


LOL I always loved the look of overalls, but hated the way I looked. I also found them to be a real PITA when I had to go to the bathroom (as were jumpsuits). But olive green denim ones sound amazing! I can't wait to see them Kym. Happy sewing!! I guess my high school was a tad more liberal (late 60's/early 70's). I wore jeans (frayed and embroidered...or with holes) and flannel shirts almost every day - you know the kind - Landlubber hip huggers with the zipper that was approximately 3" long - LOL Desert Boots or mocassins completed the outfit.


Haha. Yay!! I hope you embroider a little something on them, too, even if it's only inside the bib or someplace where only you can see it. So fun.


I can say with confidence, Kym, that you will rock those overalls. Can't wait to see them!


Looking forward to seeing those overalls.

I could never wear them. My body shape just does not suit a joined top and pants. But, I think the one in your photo looks fabulous.

Caffeine Girl

I loved overalls back in the day, too. I think we're the same age. My ex-husband is from Oshkosh, so we used to go to the outlet all the time. My kids had so many Oshkosh B'gosh overalls it was ridiculous!
That pattern looks great. I wish I could sew clothes. Still working on straight seams for quilts!


Overalls seem to come back into fashion every decade or so, in between being much criticized and laughed at. (What is wrong with people!?) I love them. But my body shape can’t wear them. (I just look plain silly.). However I don’t think overalls have an “age”. So i would say wear them to pieces if you want.


These are gonna be GREAT.


Those are perfect - as in they have all the "real" details. In high school, I sometimes wore a pair of striped overalls inherited from one of my dairy-farming grandpas. They were unflattering and comfortable. You might make more than one pair!


Go you!! I have been thinking about those Burnside Bibs... but yeah, my minds eye and the reality are in different time zones I think! I can't wait to see yours done!

kathy b

I loved wearing overalls in denim in the 70s. Oh I loved them. I'd try it again. I would. >Just turned 60, but who cares? We are casual here in the countryside.
I cannot wait to see your overalls. Seriously.
And I love the sweater you are wearing.


we aren't gonna talk about how I didn't wear pants with an actual waist (so overalls and jumpers) until i was 10 or 12, instead, we will talk about how excited I am to see more people embracing the things that their niggling self-thoughts tell them not to :)
Love it!


What a great pattern! I think you will rock overalls. And if you can make them yourself all the better. Oh boy, did my high school have a dress code in the late 1960's. Would you believe no pants for girls. We could wear culottes (spelling?) if they were made with a pleat and looked like a skirt. Egad.


Overalls will be a perfect summer fashion choice!! I'm envious! No way am I going to sew anything, but I wish I could! I have also thought of overalls as they would be so comfy even in the heat. BUT, when you have a skinny body and LONG legs, the fit is just weird. I'm sending good sewing vibes your way as this is just a brilliant idea, Kym!!

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