Rosie the Riveter dreams

I can’t really explain why, but I have recently become utterly obsessed with the idea of having a Rosie the Riveter style set of coveralls. Not the girly “We Can Do It!” Rosie we all know, but rather the butch bad-ass of Norman Rockwell.

Clockwise from left: Coveralls from HotsyTotsy on Etsy; Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter; Indigo Solid Denim from Mood Fabrics; Advance 2795.

I’ve long fantasized about making coveralls like the ones Uma Thurman wears in Gus Van Sant’s adaptation of Even Cowgirls get the Blues. Those magical leather coveralls can transform into pants, booty shorts, or a jacket. I can hardly imagine a more practical piece of clothing (perhaps an optional zip-on mini skirt?).

I’ve got plenty of projects on the docket already- a dusty rose colored satin robe, the entirety of Gertie’s new book, and not to mention a million holiday presents. Yet, the idea for a pair of coveralls simply will not leave my brain.

I have realized that it’s going to be almost impossible to find actual vintage ones, seeing as I’m a modern size 14, and it’s very hard to find any vintage clothing bigger than a modern size 6 or 8. So, I’ve decided that I must make a pair. Unfortunately, it’s just as hard to find a vintage pattern! I have found references to a 1940’s coverall pattern, Advance 2795 (charmingly, the pattern was designed by the Bureau of Home Economics, US Department of Agriculture), but have yet to find anyone with a copy for sale, and even if I did, I’m sure it would involve a lot of pattern grading (a skill I have yet to hone).

Because of these issues, I’ve been thinking it would be wisest for me to use a 1970’s jumpsuit pattern. These are relatively plentiful, and with minor alterations could suit the project just fine. I’m most likely going to go with Simplicty 7310, and I’ll plan on adding a more fitted waistband, using buttons instead of a zipper, and making the lapel a lot smaller. The biggest decision is whether to go modern and use stretch denim – which is usually way more comfortable, but less durable – or to stick with stiff, raw denim. Or I could even just go with chambray, I suppose… Decisions, decisions!

I’ll probably start getting supplies soon, but to be honest, I need to make presents before I start investing a lot of time into a project for myself. But I’d like to have it done by spring, because if this garment is successful, I think I’ll pretty much be living in my coveralls by May.


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