Have you ever found a particular sewing pattern unaccountably intimidating?
Tori, a member of our Storyteller team was inspired by our April theme Explore to sew a pair of Rainhaven Overalls for her son.
Despite being an experienced sewist, she had put off sewing Rainhaven Overalls because she felt unsure about the outcome. Join her as she describes her process and works up the nerve to take the plunge and sew them (spoiler - everything worked out in the end!).
Be sure to scroll down to see all of the fabulous pictures of the overalls in action as her son explores the farm.
I grew up in a small farming community. We weren’t farmers but a lot of my friends' families were. I knew farmers were important and hard workers. Fast forward a few decades and I met and fell in love with a farmer. We don’t own a farm (yet), but my husband manages one and we spend a lot of time there.
My kids love being at the farm. They spend hours exploring every nook and cranny of the barns, shops, and equipment. They run around from tractor to tractor, climbing steps, sitting in cabs, and honking horns. There are cows to pet and cats to hunt for!
Often, I am the one supervising them. We explore together, and I am still learning more about farming every day. But on the days my kids get lucky, they get to go to work with Daddy! Which led to the request from our oldest… “Can I have a pair of coveralls like Dad’s to wear in the barn"? I wanted to say “of course”, but instead I said “we will see”. I knew my sewing list was already quite long…
In the back of my mind, I could only think of one pattern that was designed for the rough and tumble work in the barn and the adventurous exploring I knew would happen. While I am sure there are others, the Rainhaven Overalls are what stood out to me to fit the bill.
Of course, I still needed to find time to make them. In my mind, they wouldn’t be a quick sew.
Choosing a Fabric
With our long Manitoba winter finally drawing to a close, I knew it was time to buckle down and get the overalls made. Maybe I could even get them done as a surprise?
The pattern got printed and assembled. The child got measured (under the guise of another pattern to sew up for him). And now it was time to hunt through my fabric stash.
While waterproof would be nice, it wasn’t a necessity since they would mostly be worn indoors. I needed something tough. A few months back, I had picked up a few varieties of flawed 10oz and 12oz canvas that I thought would work nicely. But, while hunting through my stash, I found some thick denim-like material a local farmer friend had gifted me years ago. It had been given to me for making overalls but I had always chickened out from making them.
In the end, I settled on the thick denim for the main body and the thick canvas for the knee and bum patches. (It just so happens that the fabrics are blue and red, my son’s favourite colours!)
To be honest, I was scared senseless about making the Rainhaven Overalls. I have been exploring my feelings about why that was the case.
I have made jackets and backpacks, sweaters and dresses, dolls and stuffies, quilts and chair covers. There is no pattern I won’t tackle at least once, so what was my hang up here?
I think it comes down to the fact that I was scared they wouldn’t fit. My oldest isn’t the easiest to fit for pants and I was scared of putting all the work in and having graded wrong, rendering the final product unusable.
After finishing all other time sensitive projects...
After finishing all WIPs (works in progress)...
After pulling out my children’s summer wardrobes and hemming holey pants into shorts...
After not coming up with any more projects to procrastinate on...
I set to work.
Sewing The Overalls
My big kids were gone for a sleepover at their grandparents'. My youngest had gone down for a nap. My supplies were ready. My fabric was cut. My pattern was open.
I knew I had about two hours of uninterrupted time to dedicate to sewing. So I began.
The pattern came together flawlessly.
While the seams take extra time to finish, to make sure they are sturdy, each seam I top stitched was extremely satisfying. Before I knew it, the pants were pants.
I managed to get the overalls completed that afternoon, though not just during naptime. From cutting to finishing, they took me about three hours to complete.
While I had hoped they would be a surprise, the idea of them not fitting was nagging on my mind. When my oldest got home he tried them on and THEY FIT!
Unfortunately, we were still covered in multiple feet of snow and facing abnormally cold temperatures. So we waited for spring to arrive for the Rainhaven Overalls to make their farm debut.
Exploring at the Farm
Finally, the temperatures rose and the snow started to disappear. Out came the overalls and off we went for a few hours of exploring!
We said hi to the heifers in the pasture.
We checked out the bales.
We rode in the tractor.
We ran around the yard.
And then we made our way to the machine shop to find the cat.
The overalls moved, climbed, and explored flawlessly. They did not restrict any movements or playing. They protected his clothes and gave him an extra layer of warmth. At the end of the day, the overalls were dirty, dusty, and covered in straw, just the way they should be.
Cheers to many more days of exploring!
Now I am off to sew up two more pairs for my younger kids - good thing I know they will sew up easily!
Tori Priest is a stay at home mum to three rambunctious kiddos and the wife of a dairy & grain farmer. Sewing is what keeps her sane during the chaos that daily life brings. She randomly decided to take up sewing shortly after getting married and hasn't looked back. There is nothing she won't try to sew at least once! See more of Tori's sewing here.
A Note from Twig and Tale...
If you would like to sew up some Rainhavens, but are experiencing the same feelings of doubt as Tori did, then please be sure to check out all our resources.
We have a Rainhaven Sew-along that where we'll walk you through the fabric options, including natural and upcycled options, choosing the right size and making fit adjustments, and the process of sewing with waterproof fabrics.
Or if you just want to pick the resource to answer your particular challenge you can look here to see all of our blog posts related to sewing Rainhavens.
Though sewing with waterproof materials may seem daunting, we believe that these patterns are an accessible sew for everyone willing to give it a go and that you can be proud of your achievements as you enjoy the great outdoors in fantastic rain clothes that you’ve made.
There is lots more great Storyteller content on the T+T blog! Click here to view all of the Storyteller articles.