Sloane Overalls by Victory Patterns and Denim Bleaching
Oh Victory Patterns is my favorite!!!!! I mean look at this masterpiece! I am in love! This make was soooooooooo involved, but I did it to myself! The pattern itself was so wonderful! I didn’t have any problems! Sourcing the zipper was a little difficult but she has a tutorial on shortening an exposed zipper now so it will be easier to find something that works! It wasn’t too difficult to find the sliders and rectangular rings! The rest of the info is below! It was a fabulous make and the added stress was all my doing! Bleaching the denim was amazing but very involved!
Definitely email Victory Patterns if you have any questions about her pattern or adjustments and you can always ask me on any platform (instagram, facebook, email, here!). She went out of her way to help me when I had a question about a small bust adjustment!
I will discuss
-Fabric choice and Denim Bleaching
-Modifications to pattern pieces
-Pattern construction and fit
-Styling your garment
Fabric choice and Denim bleaching:
I chose to use Cone mill stretch denim with 2% spandex (12oz weight) from Sewing Studio. The color of the denim was indigo and very very dark! I had this crazy idea that I wanted the pattern to be colorblocked! I wanted to bleach the denim and have it done in two phases. Have one bleached slightly and the other left in longer. This way both would be lighter than dark indigo, but one would be slightly lighter. First, I had to wash and dry my fabric!
I decided how I wanted the colors to look by coloring in the line drawings. I then, looked at the pattern pieces list and made a list of the letters that should be bleached for a shorter time and those that should be bleached longer to get the look I wanted! This is where I ended up making a mistake! I know it is fixed now but the pattern pieces were not labeled correctly when I pattern tested! So the pants were not bleached how I wanted them to be, but it still turned out super great! It is important to double check your work and actually look at the pattern pieces and decide how you want the color blocking to look!
Before you start with bleaching your pattern pieces, you need to test your bleach mixture with a couple of swatches of fabric. The mixture we used was 4 parts water to 1 part bleach. I cut out a few swatches and labeled them in permanent marker with the amount of minutes I was going to leave the denim in the bleach. I tested several time frames, using from True Bias as a guide. She has documented a similar bleaching process on instagram in her stories (tag name). I labeled them as you see below in 5-10 minute increments and as it went longer, the time between was further apart.
I decided none of the denim swatches were light enough after the first bleaching trial! We only went to one hour the first time. We grabbed some more swatches and then doubled the strength of the bleach mixture. This did not work well because the pieces were more splotchy and not even enough. I decided then, to test two swatches I thought I might like from the original mixture. I wanted the 45 minute one from the first trial to be the darker denim and then I decided to test 1.5 hours in the original bleach mixture. The swatch came out exactly how I wanted it. When we bleached the final product, the 1.5 hour pieces did not come out how I expected and were significantly lighter. It was a fresh mixture but I put in the pieces that were supposed to be lighter after the other darker pieces had sat in there for 45 minutes. I am not sure if its because I put them in after the darker shade was done (after 45 minutes). Maybe the bleach water is stronger after that long.
These are my actual pieces which are labeled below with the letters that go with the pattern piece so I can remember!
If I were to do this again, I would make two different baths for each shade and not combine them. We couldn’t put them all in the same bucket at the same time because that would be too crowded and possibly cause them to be splotchy. This happened to one of the pieces below but I just used the other side!
When it comes to bleaching your pattern pieces, you can do this one of two ways. You can lay out the pattern pieces you want to be bleached shade 1 (darker shade) and shade 2 (lighter shade) separately and figure out the amount of fabric that you need for each shade. You can then, cut a large piece of your fabric into a part that goes into shade 1 bucket (less time in bleach = darker) and a part that goes into shade 2 bucket (longer time in bleach = lighter). Laying your pattern pieces out will help you cut enough yardage for each color. I chose to cut out my pattern pieces and then put them in their respective shade bucket (we chose a home depot bucket). I laid all the colors out once I bleached them and washed and dried them so I could see what the front would look like!
Then, no matter how you bleach (the pattern pieces or just an amount of uncut fabric), it is wise to put the fabric in the washer and dryer to wash out any residual bleach. This is very important: if you are cutting out pattern pieces and then bleaching them, like I did, you will need to overlock or finish all edges of all the pattern pieces so they don’t fray and shrink in the washer. The pieces will actually stretch out as well. I had to lay my pattern pieces over my fabric pieces to recut the pieces to the correct size. I also had to mark all my notches and draw and lines on the fabric once again. If I could do this all again, I think it would be less work to bleach just the fabric, wash it, and then cut out my pieces! However, this might end up using more fabric! You can see how the piece stretched below and I had to recut it!
Modifications to pattern pieces:
For this kind of pattern, with such a fitted bodice, I had to do a small bust adjustment and take care of the length as well. My cup size is an A and I knew my denim was stretch so I chose the size that was my bust measurement but also removed an inch where the pattern makes room for my bust apex. This allowed the pattern to fit under my arms and around my chest without gaping but also removed the extra room provided for a B cup. What I ended up doing was take 0.25 inches out of the curve at the apex of the princess seam in between the front middle piece and front side piece. This will take an inch total out of the extra room for your bust apex area. I graded this reduction back out to the original seam (back down to zero) as soon as I could so that the top portion of the bodice would still match the facing and the bottom would still match the pants.
I also made a size 2 at the bust and then graded out to a size 4 at the waist and for the rest of the pattern.
I also added an inch to the length of the bodice! Please make a note that if you do this, you will need to get a longer exposed zipper!!! I did not think of this and it had to do almost a sweetheart bodice look to sew down to the zipper that was not quite tall enough!! If you lengthen your bodice by an inch, make sure you lengthen all the pieces that have to do with the bodice, including any facings and interfacing.
Pattern Construction and fit:
When sewing up this pattern, make sure you use a denim needle (at least a 14-16) so that you can sew through all the layers easily. You will need to gently guide your machine over the bulky seams as well. I had to hand turn my wheel a few times to assist and getting over the bumps in the road!
The pattern has been modified to have a better fit down the legs now, however, upon sewing the side seams, I basted them first to assess fit. I found it was too big and had to take it in another 3/4 of an inch or so down both sides. I don't know if this is because of my stretch denim. It is not extremely stretchy, but I did have to take in the garment quite a bit. As I have said, it is modified now so you probably won’t have this issue! However, the pattern is so easy to baste fit which makes it super nice! You have to be sure if you take the bodice in at the top where it attaches to the facing, then you will need to adjust the facing, the same way.
Unfortunately, I took it in too much at the bust line and when I folded it down after attaching the facing, the added bulk made it too tight. So I had to undo everything including topstitching at both side seams and let it out and then finally sew it back up. This was so frustrating but I did it to myself!
I also had to think about moving the straps in just a tad because I had taken in the side seams so much, they were moving too far to the side. This was very minor and we are talking like 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch.
I also took in the legs a tiny bit on the inseam as I felt it was too baggy, but again this was changed on the final pattern. The length was perfect.
After adjusting the seams, the fit of the garment is perfect! I wanted it to be fitted down the legs and bodice because that is the style I was wanting. However, I think if it were more relaxed in the legs that would be cute too! I definitely wanted it to be fitted in the bodice. I will say that before you put the facing on, it is VERY easy to make fit adjustments.
It is a little bit difficult to source a zipper! I ended up finding mine on Etsy and it was labeled as an exposed zipper for boots! The zipper is very nice, but the only problem I had was that the instructions in the pattern ask you to sew with the tape under the zipper stop at the bottom but mine had none! The entire zipper stopped after the stopper at the bottom! So it was a little hard to put in and not really anchored super tight at the very bottom. I did a couple of hand stitches across the back over the teeth so the zipper wouldn’t open every time, because it was a separating zipper. I also didn’t have any wonder tape, so I used Odif’s 505 spray and then wonder tape similar to what was recommended.
Well this garment pretty much speaks for itself! Just add a cute purse and headband and you are done! A hat and set of high heels would look fantastic! I can’t wait to wear this with all sorts of accessories!