Reworking vintage overalls

Hey! It’s Lauren from Blooming Leopold with this month’s DIY Sew project. Just recently, I was inspired by this Refinery29 photo featuring a pair of bleached-out denim overalls with a dark denim pocket outline. Deciding to make a pair of my own, I picked up a bottle of bleach at the supermarket and set about reworking some old overalls.

reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog
reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog
reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog

What you need: Bleach, seam ripper, a pair of dark denim overalls, thread and needle for a quick sewing job, and a washing machine or bucket to soak the overalls in.

reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog

First step - Choose which pocket you’d like to remove, then sew it shut. This isn’t completely necessary but closing the pocket off completely before its bleach soak is a good precaution against any fading underneath.

Second step - Bleach the overalls. I bought a bottle of Clorox Bleach and poured it into my liquid bleach marker on my washing machine to its max line, then washed it on hot (bleach works best in hot water). For top loading machines, dilute your bleach in water before adding it to your machine and refer to the bleach instructions for how much (about 1/2 cup of bleach per load, I think).

**Another great way to bleach your overalls is to soak them in the bath or a bucket (warning – wear gloves!). To do this, use between 1/4-1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of warm water. Mix the bleach into the water thoroughly before adding your overalls, then let them soak. Check on them every five or ten minutes, as the color should change pretty quickly, and remember that they will look darker when wet so take them out before they reach your desired shade. Once they’re finished, rinse them thoroughly with cold water – you can also run them through the wash post-rinse to make sure all bleach is out of the fabric.

reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog

Third step - Once you have a bleached pair of overalls, you can pick out the sewed-in pocket using your seam ripper. Gently rip out all of the pocket seams until you have just the dark denim outline underneath.

And they’re finished!

reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog
reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog
reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog
reworking vintage overalls - drifter and the gypsy blog

Another idea for changing up an old pair of overalls is replace the pockets with a mismatched pocket from another pair of shorts, jeans, or overalls – maybe even a patterned pair with striped or floral denim for a patchwork look. Just use your seam ripper to remove the pockets, then swap them out and sew them in place.

Have fun with it, and see you next month! – Lauren (DIY Sew Contributor)

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    12 Responses to “Reworking vintage overalls”

    1. Chloe S says:

      LOVE this! Brilliant! Now I am officially on the hunt for overalls. : )

    2. Aïcha says:

      Such a good idea ! I’m keeping this idea for this spring :) thank you <3

    3. Really really like this! And gosh, those are the perfect overalls!

    4. Kiki says:

      This is so cute!

    5. Mani says:

      I love how these turned out!

    6. Dani says:

      This is such a brilliant idea! :) I might have to try it with jeans!

    7. Marine says:

      hi Lauren! Could you tell me where does your sweater comes from? Love it!

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