What's wrong with the ratty old t-shirt, you ask?
Well, you wind up with a farmer's tan, for one. And more importantly, you don't have pockets!
But surely your ratty old pants have pockets?
Well, I don't much care for pants. Also, when you put your phone-sized mp3 player (because it is basically a phone just without the cell phone service parts) in your pocket, it tends to jump out. Also, it doesn't bend, like the rest of you does while working in the garden. So, no. Pants pockets are a NO GO!
You see now, the necessity of convenient and roomy pockets readily available, don't you? Because working in the garden without listening to an audio book is just plain unacceptable.
I just happened to have the perfect hand-me-down fabric. I believe inherited when my aunt moved house (Thanks, Aunt Kim!). It has vegetables on it. And unfortunately there was not enough of it to make a pair of overalls (which I would've rocked the hell out of). There was, however, the perfect amount for a smock top!
I had a several options, since I am a pattern-hoarder (or something).
I used Simplicity 2272 View D to make my work aprons back when I worked a real job from 9 to 5 dashing around to keep embroidery machines running. I needed the pockets for similar reasons. Scissors (which you're not supposed to run with) and who could possibly get through a work day without an audio book? Anyway, it was a pretty good pattern but perhaps a little bit too much pocket for garden work (Too much pocket? I know you're shocked.)
I also have in my possession Simplicty 4282, a 1940s-1950s looking collection of aprons, including one full smock style (view C). I wasn't feeling the pockets on the sides thing.
Finally, I have Simplicity 8152. (By finally, I mean it is the last of the dozen apron patterns I have with a smock variation). Their sleeveless option (View D) buttons up the front. No thank you. Remember how I said there was such a thing as too much pocket. Well, there's definitely such a thing as too little pocket. So ultimately, I went with View C only without the three-quarter sleeve thing they got going on (beautifully accented by that turtleneck sweater -no thanks!)
I made a Medium (14/16) and the sizing was just right. I usually fit a 14 in Simplicity patterns, so if you usually take a size 16, just be a little cautious. Also, my adaptation made it a little snugger, so you might still be safe.
I basically followed the pattern on this one, only decided to put ties at the waist, attaching each with a pleat in the front. (A trait that Simplicity 2272 View D had and I liked on my work aprons).
I ended up wearing my new Smock Top last week when I put my garden in. With a pair of leggings cut off into shorts (yes, I'm that classy). But it was quite warm out and gardening requires some measure on comfort. Don't worry. I rolled around in deet to make sure no ticks got my bare legs and ankles and arms. Oh, and of course the finishing touch of my Pith Helmet. (It really does keep the sun off and your head cool (if you give it a little soak in water).