I was very excited to see the latest release by Tilly and the Buttons as I absolutely live in dungarees in the summertime and the Erin pattern looked just up my street!
I made my first pair from our Rust Stretch Cotton Twill, lined with the Hello Velo cotton poplin. I pretty much made them as per the pattern but I added 6cm on the legs so that I could wear them turned up.
They still didn’t feel like my perfect dungaree pattern though but I knew they were a good starting point!
I had made the first pair in the size 2 but I feel like they came up a bit big so I sized down to the size 1 for my second pair. I also made some significant changes to the pattern pieces.
I wasn’t a big fan of the waist seam on this pair – I think it is great for people who struggle to get dungarees and jumpsuits to fit, due to having a short/long torso, but I think it is very visible in a plain fabric. I think that it works fine in a patterned fabric though so that could be an option if you don’t want to make so many changes!
I decided to create a front piece and a back piece that would be cut as pairs, much like the Waves and Wild Heyday Dungarees. To do that, I (careful now, I am about to use some technical jargon) “smushed” the centre front and side front pattern pieces together and created one bodice piece. Make sure that you remove the seam allowance from the edges of both of the pieces you are smushing together. You will need to add 1.5cm seam allowance to the centre front though as this will no longer be cut on the fold.
I wouldn’t worry too much about creating the exact same shape (there is a very slight princess seam) – just try and smooth out the underarm shape so that it has a nice curve. And make sure that the top yoke piece still fits.
I then smushed the new front bodice piece together with the front leg piece to create my giant front pattern piece. You could trace this to create a more perfect pattern piece, but as dungarees are not hugely shaped, I was happy to overlay them on each other on my fabric and just cut around them. Again, don’t forget to overlap the seam allowances where the bodice and waist seams join. As you can see, I just roughly folded the out of the way.
For the back piece, I just added 1.5 cm seam allowance to account for no longer cutting the back bodice on the fold and then laid the back bodice and back trouser pieces next to each other on the fabric, folding the waist seam allowances out of the way.
The original front pockets on the Erins are contained in the waist seam, similar to the Nina Lee Carnaby dress. As there was no waist seam, I simply created four rectangular patch pockets and added them to the front and the back. I decided to retrofit them once the dungarees were made, because I wasn’t sure of where I wanted to place them. This was much harder than it needed to be, due to having a lot of fabric to wrangle around the machine so next time, I will make sure I mark them on the pattern pieces and add them during construction.
To create the pockets, I overlocked the sides and bottom, turned the top over twice and topstitched it, then pressed the sides and bottom in by 0.5 cm and topstitched them to the dungarees.
For the lining, I created the pieces as per the pattern, but instead of joining them into the now non-existent outer waist seam, I finished the bib lining bottom edge with bias binding and left it to hang freely inside. I did sew some anchoring stitches at the side seams, just to keep it in place.
I love the buttonholes that are created to the yokes to allow you to tie them efficiently. I find this much neater than the loops on the Heyday dungarees. Just take them slowly on your machine and do a few practice runs on spare fabric, as there may be quite a bit of bulk to get through. I added one of these brilliant Inside Voices labels to my front yoke for a bit of interest.
I made the cropped length for this pair and I think it works really well and I can still turn them up more if I want to in the summer.
- Pattern: Erin dungarees
- Outer fabric: Wildcat stretch cotton twill (an absolute dream to work with!)
- Lining fabric: Putty tencel
- Label: Emotional honesty
- Worn with a Nora t-shirt made from our Coral and White wide striped cotton jersey
In summary, I think I am satisfied that I have hacked the Erins, with a little help from the Heyday pattern, into my perfect dungarees! Easy and quick to make (I sewed these up in an evening) and super comfy to wear.