Harlene Gardening Dungarees

For a long time, I have wanted a pair of overalls to garden in—something I didn’t mind getting dirty in, was comfortable to wear, and didn’t involve me constantly hiking them up so that the neighbors wouldn’t see my butt crack when I bent over—basically a knock off pair of Carhartts. This past spring, I finally made them! I used the Merchant and Mills Harlene Dungarees pattern and a beautiful 10 oz. Organic Duck Canvas from Blackbird Fabrics.



Merchant and Mills Harlene Dungarees

There are many overall patterns out there and I even have at least one other one, but I wanted the most classic looking overalls I could find, like the OshKosh B’gosh I wore as a kid, so the Merchant and Mills Harlene Dungarees really fit the bill on that.

Fabric & Notions

10 oz. Organic Duck Canvas from Blackbird Fabrics

The hardware is the antique brass Jenny Overalls Hardware Kit (with the extra buttons) from Closet Core Patterns.

Size traced and sewn

Graded from a 12 at the bust to a 14 at the hip

Pattern adjustments

  • Lengthened legs 1 1/2 inches
  • Added tool loop

Construction notes

Yes, there is a lot of topstitching involved, but I had two machines set up (one just for topstitching), so these came together pretty fast. This Harlene Dungarees have a “faux” fly in that there is topstitching for a fly and fly shield, but it doesn’t actually open in any way and there isn’t a zipper to mess with.

I opted to put the pocket linings pretty side out (so I could see the right side on the inside), like is recommended for the Ginger Jeans. I’m not sure it was worth it though since the pockets tend to pop open and it might be nicer to see the right side there.


According to the size chart and my measurements it put me in a size 16 at the bust and 18 at the hips, but I looked at the finished measurements and did not want nearly as much ease so I sized down two sizes (to a 12 at the bust and a 14 at the hip) and am glad I did. These are still roomy, which is great for garden overalls, but I have plans to sew another pair in a railroad stripe (total OshKosh style) and may just sew a straight size 12.

Final Thoughts

Besides sizing down for my next pair (that will be just for wearing, not gardening), the only thing I might change next time would be to take some darts out of the bib so that it’s a bit more fitted around the bust. Otherwise, these are exactly the classic overall pattern I was looking for!

4 thoughts on “Harlene Gardening Dungarees

  1. Hi, I’m in the process of making these for my daughter but the test pair (s12) were just too baggy at the waist. As a relatively inexperienced sewer I’m nervous about grading the pattern, given the more complex nature of the construction. Do you have any thoughts on the best way to do it?

    1. Hi David, sorry for the slow reply. You are probably already finished with these by now, but if you are still having fit issues I would be curious to know more. Is the pattern to baggy at the waist and in the legs? If so, maybe you could just size down. The waist measurement seems like the most important one in this pattern, and as I mentioned I went by the finished measurements to determine my size, knowing that I wanted less ease than what the pattern says.

      Seamwork is great resource for sewists that I often point people to for more info. Here is a video on blending between sizes that might be helpful to you!

  2. Hi Lilly
    Thanks for your comment. I have actually finished the dungarees – I had the same thought as you and I just sized down. (After doing a second toile/muslin I added an inch in the leg at the top “lengthen or shorten here” mark). This worked well, thankfully.

    I also went off-piste a bit and lined the front bib in a different fabric. If I did them again I would also do the back.
    Anyway – my daughter likes them, and I’m quietly pleased with the outcome.


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