Monday, May 27, 2013
Previously, breeches were worn with stockings and separate leggings or gaiters. Around 1777, both American and British troops switched to hemp or linen varieties for Summer and Redcoats often got brown wool in Winter.
Stylish as well as practical, the British wool overalls had horn buttons at the waist and fall. Unlike breeches, small horn buttons stretch from calf to ankle, toes cover the shoes, and stirrups hold everything down.
The seat is just baggy enough to allow the wearer to sit, since the legs are "snug without constraint."
When working on overalls, fit the top first. Get the waistband, fall, and crotch squared away. Leave plenty of material to fit the legs. My knees actually point outward, so the outside seam on these twist around toward the back. The leg seam should stay centered all the way down.
Don't forget to wear shoes to fit the bottom. The last step is to sew a small button inside the inseam of the foot, and cut a strip of leather to pull everything down over the shoes. Punch a hole at each end of the leather, and cut a small slit from it to fit over the lowest buttons.
These leather stirrups should last years. Overalls feel weird the first time you wear them, but the joy of not picking up stones in your shoes more than makes up for the hassle of construction.