Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tiger boy!

Folktales is a fabulous quilt/stitchery shop in Lynden, Washington. On a recent visit there, I saw a store sample of Jackie Clark Designs Baby Overalls pattern. Frankly, it is not a pattern I would have otherwise given a second glance. But the sample garment was so cute and nicely made that I ended up purchasing the pattern, fabric (flannel for both the overall and the lining), and even the snap tape so I could make a pair for Little Bear. I got them stitched up this weekend!

front and back views of my Jackie Clark Designs baby overalls
It is a pretty basic overalls design, fully lined with button tabs at the shoulders and snap-tape leg closure. The pattern includes options for either a ruffle bottom or patch pockets, offering options both girls and boys. Little Bear is 11 months old now(!) and weighs about 19 pounds, so I made a Large (18-22 lbs.). It fits him pretty well.

LB standing in his new overalls
I love the fact that the overalls are fully lined. It means that I can roll up the hems and still have a pretty, finished look. Not to mention they are nice and cozy with the soft flannel inside and out.

The instructions were very basic (as in minimal, not easy). For anyone with sewing experience, I don't think this would cause much of a problem, as it is a simple design. However, the pattern seems to be marketed toward quilters (I've only seen it for sale at quilt shops), and most of the quilters I know are not sewists. I really think beginners would have a tough time with the lack of clarity and detail in the written instructions and supporting illustrations. I feel like I have a fair amount of sewing experience under my belt, and even I had some head scratching moments as I went through them.

Head scratcher #1: The interfacing. The cutting instructions have you cut 4 for use on the tabs. It is a shaped piece that only fits with tabs on the overall/lining front pieces. However the illustration shows interfacing on both the front and back pieces. I spent more time than I should have trying to decide what to do. In the end I decided to use the shape of the piece as my guide and only apply it to the front overall and lining tabs. If I had it to do again, I'd probably cut additional interfacing for the back tabs as well to better support the buttons.

Head scratcher #2: The snap tape. OMG. The snap tape. I've been kicking myself that I didn't take pictures of the shop sample I saw, because I'm really curious how they did it. The instructions offer very little in the way of guidance on this step. I even spent some time looking about on the internet, hoping to find some tutorial or something to help me know if I was going about it the right way or not. I'm still not sure if I did it right, but it worked, even if it isn't pretty.

Here you can kind of see how I ended up doing it. As per the instructions, I pressed back the crotch/leg seam allowances (to the inside on the front, and to the outside on the back) and laid the snap tape over the pressed edges. On the back, I used my zipper foot to stitch on either side of the snaps, enclosing the seam allowance. On the front, I used my zipper foot and stitched one edge, but then hand sewed the other edge down (because I didn't want two lines of stitching visible on the outside).

LB sitting down... check out that snap tape!
When LB sits down, you can see the snap tape peeking out at the hems. Next time, I'll definitely think to finish the ends of the snap tape better (I just used fray check on mine), and I'll work to get snaps positioned at the bottom of each of the hems. On these, the snaps ended up a little above the hem and there's some gaposis and a good inch of unsightly snap tape.

Another note on instructions-- they don't tell you to make buttonholes or attach buttons (and the pattern pieces don't even have them marked). I found an addendum on the designer's Web site that illustrates the button/buttonhole placement.

I pretty much followed the pattern as written, with only a couple of exceptions. First, I added topstitching to the top edge of all of the pockets. I just thought that helped give the pockets a more finished look. And second, I overcast the edges of the leg openings. I found it a little strange that the instructions had me finishing all of the other edges (the ones that wouldn't be showing because they were all encased between the overall and lining), but the legs were not addressed. Maybe it was because they're supposed to be hidden in the snap tape? I dunno. But I went ahead and overcast mine before applying the snap tape.

The pattern comes with a little puppy outline that one can embroider on the front pocket. I decided to design and use a little tiger embroidery instead.

overalls label
I'm also pretty proud of myself that I thought to put a label in them! I never did this when I sewed baby clothes for BB, and now that those items are getting handed down to LB, I'm finding that I can't remember what size they are. This time I got it written on the label so it is easy to tell. Yay!

When I posted a review of these to PatternReview.com, I gave the pattern a "Mediocre Pattern" rating. I feel like that is a little harsh, but it was the best fit of the options they listed. I mean, the design is super cute, but the instructions leave a lot to be desired.

LB looking super cute in his new overalls!
Though the pattern directions were sorely lacking, I am definitely happy with the finished overalls. Super cute!


  1. Little Bear is just adorable! And so are the overalls, esp. with your tiger embroidery. That is strange that the pattern wasn't more clear. It makes you wonder if the pattern designer used any pattern testers before printing it.

  2. Little Bear loves them! They are sew cute.

  3. Snapstrips are right up there with zippers! Kudos for working through it!! If anyone is looking that closely at it they are missing out on how cute the little guy looks in them! They are adorable!!

  4. What a cutie Little Bear is! I loved the overalls. Did you draw the tiger freehand? I thought it was a great choice to go with the flannels you picked. :)

  5. I'm so impressed (read: jealous)with your sewing skills! I'm not a sewing novice, but I don't think I would have been able to pull off this outfit - especially with the pattern issues. It looks like LB approves!!

  6. Wow, he has gotten sooo big, I bet he will be walking very soon! He also looks a lot like his big brother :) I love the overalls they are adorable.

  7. Thanks everyone!

    Garilynn-- you're a no-reply blogger, so I can't email you; hopefully you'll find this comment. :)

    I actually made the label using the fabric sheets designed to go through an inki jet printer. The fabric is treated to make the ink colorfast after a press from a hot iron. The fabric is also very tightly woven, so there is minimal fraying, even after lots of washes. I just create my label in MS Word, print onto the fabric, and then cut it out. Super easy (and pretty inexpensive as well-- I can fit a lot of labels onto a single sheet)! :)