Overalls and Culottes with Simplicity 3866

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a wooden bench and concrete wall. They are on a slight angle to the camera, with legs crossed, and one hand in their pocket. They are wearing a brown shirt, and white culottes with floral patterning.


Although I’m excited about all the things I sew, this pattern of the month is something of a special piece. Not because of the base pattern itself – although Simplicity 3866 circa 1961 is wonderful, but rather because of the fabric I had planned to use. This fun and comfortable summer piece came about because I had stumbled over a single curtain at the Op Shops which came from IKEA, and which happened to match two cushions I have in the house! The thought of matching the furniture had me in stitches, and I knew that if I was careful with the unpicking I could get quite a lot of fabric out of this.

Nell, a Caucasian person, sits on a wooden bench in front of a concrete wall. They have their hands resting on the bench. They are wearing a brown shirt, and white culottes with floral patterning, and an overalls bib added.

Although I have very much given up on getting the Jenny Overalls themselves to fit, having broken a record number of muslins in the attempt, I do get a lot of use out of the bib design. In this case I knew I wanted to make a set of cute overalls, but at the same time wanted the bib and straps to be removable so I could have the culottes as a standalone piece too. Since I also knew how I fit and what I liked in the Jenny Overalls bib I started with this first. I consulted Sew North’s post on how their detachable bib was constructed and followed along. This meant adding vertical buttonholes to the waistband before stitching it down on the front and back so all buttons would be enclosed inside the waistband itself. Although in the future I think I would be better off using nine buttons and buttonholes rather than seven, I still found their method quite successful and would recommend using it for other designs where a detachable bib is desired.

This image shows a close-up of the inside of the white and floral patterned culottes waistband and overalls bib. This shows the buttons, buttonholes and hooks and bars that allows the bib to be detachable.

Next came fitting the culottes themselves. I had the feeling that I might need to widen the hips somewhat, as although the recent Tania Culottes I made are quite similar – these have much less fabric to drape about the legs. My muslins reassured me that I would still fit quite well with the bib included, and that in fact I wouldn’t need to make my usual tweaks to the final design! When it comes to that old swayback, I don’t tend to to that adjustment if I’m then going to be adding bulk through a bib or if there are going to be straps that help stop the waistband from sagging. However, the one thing I did forget to do was to wear the muslins around for an extended period to check if the crotch came up high enough. So as a result I still think it needs to come up a smidge more in the final make.

Nell, a Caucasian person, stands in front of a wooden bench and concrete wall. They have their back to the camera. They are wearing a brown shirt, and white culottes with floral patterning, and overall bib straps.

I also used a mixture of interfacing for this piece, sticking with sew-in interfacing for the bib and using a minimal amount of fusible interfacing for the waistband. I found I preferred the structure the sew-in gave, and it was a good chance to use up a little of my stash given I had very little fusible interfacing left. But if we’re talking about features, then I can’t go past these beautiful overall button and buckles that a lovely friend sent me! Knowing what a fiend for overalls and all things jumpsuit I am, she saw these at the Op Shop and thought of me! I think they look perfect with this fabric. And best of all, the insides are as beautiful as the outsides with some nice overlocking on the seams!

This image shows the envelope cover of Simplicity 3866.
Image Credit: Vintage Pattern Wiki

Final Thoughts

Pattern Made: Simplicity 3866, Jenny Overalls by Closet Core Patterns

Views Made: Long Culottes

Sizes Made: Waist 30”, and size 10 in the Jenny Overalls

Alterations Made: I added buttonholes to the inside waistband of the Culottes in order to make the bib portion detachable and added an extension to the bib itself to make a spot for the buttons. I also added buttons to the straps to make them detachable.

Ease of Construction: Construction for the Culottes is quite straightforward, with the instructions being quite detailed. The bib is also fairly straightforward.

Recommended Level: As per usual, I recommend this for an intermediate sewist who is comfortable with fitting pants.

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