Leo dungarees – pattern review

This week we have a very special guest blog post written by Joy from Pink Coat Club. Joy made the By Hand London Leo dungarees and shared her pattern review with us.



I’m not normally a fan of jumpsuits or dungarees but for some reason, this pattern just spoke to me. I couldn’t stop thinking about the slightly tweaked version I had in mind and I knew I had to make it happen!

I don’t wear a lot of black but had a really vivid image of a floaty black linen pair, worn over a stripe t-shirt with sandals and a basket bag. At the beach. Eating chips. I told you it was vivid. I thought 100% linen would be a bit heavy for the image I had in mind, and I chose this black linen rayon. I’m a die-hard stable fabric fans and rarely use viscose/rayon, but Sarah assured me that this fabric was a joy to sew. She was correct! It’s got a really beautiful drape and is so soft.

I rarely make anything straight out of the packet, and this was no exception. As the Leo pattern is quite fabric-heavy but not fitted, I didn’t make a toile, but I did make a few flat pattern adjustments:

  • Sized down two sizes to a UK 6
  • Lengthened the bodice/bib by 3cm and angled it at the sides
  • Shortened the crotch by 5cm
  • Shortened the legs by 20cm
  • Altered the strap length and width
  • Used dungaree buckles instead of shoulder ties
  • Omitted the ankle elastic
  • I originally added in-seam pockets, but later removed them

I’m quite tall at 5’7” but have narrow shoulders and a small head and often look a bit swamped by oversized garments. I looked at the pattern samples, pattern tester versions, and finished garments measurements and decided to go down two sizes. Neckline gaping is a common issue for me especially with straight/square necklines, so I compared the bib pattern piece to a RTW dungaree dress in my wardrobe. As well as lengthening the bib to ensure that the seam sat below my bust, I angled the sides to prevent it gaping:


The Leo pattern is designed to have a very low crotch but as I lengthened the bodice, I took that height plus a little extra out of the crotch lengthen/shorten line. I also wanted them to be cropped so I took 20cm off the leg length. I took this off the hem rather than the lengthen/shorten line, for no other reason than not having to attach the two leg pattern pieces! As I omitted the ankle elastic, I folded the hem up 1.5cm, then 2cm.

Finally, I knew I wanted to use dungaree clips instead of tie straps, and re-drew my strap pattern pieces. I made them from one piece each and folded them in half lengthways, and made them just shy of 3cm wide so they would fit neatly into these Prym dungaree clips. I added interfacing to make sure they stayed nice and flat.

While it doesn’t have an obvious “wrong” side, this fabric has a very slightly different appearance on each side, so I marked my chosen wrong sides with chalk as I was cutting out. The pattern calls for 2.6m-3.1m for my size dependant on fabric width, and even though my fabric was narrower at 138cm, I managed to make these from 2.5m. Having previously not had a lot of luck with making bias binding from linen, I made my binding from this black cotton lawn I had in my stash.

They came together really quickly, as expected. As I mentioned in my alterations summary, I originally added in-seam pockets, but later removed them as they really affected the drape over the hips. Obviously, I’d overlocked and under-stitched them and this was QUITE the unpicking task! If you’re planning to add in-seam pockets, I’d recommend tacking them in place first to see how they sit with your choice of fabric. Next time, I think I’ll add patch pockets. I also found that the sides gaped a little and I took them in a smidge, before adding the binding:

Obviously, I had to finish them off with a couple of woven labels from my shop. I love that the bib is fully lined, so these don’t show through from the back:

I know I said I was picturing them with a striped tee, but I got totally distracted by this zebra rust jersey when I was choosing my Leo fabric. I made the Green Style Creations Green Tee as I needed more basic tees. I even had enough left over to make my friend’s little boy this set for his first birthday:

As you can see, I opted to see this as a tiger print, rather rust zebra print because zebras don’t roar.

By Hand London’s website describes the Leo dungarees as “a satisfyingly quick sew, a joy to wear and plenty of scope for hacking and customisation”, and I really couldn’t put it better myself! This would be a great pattern for beginner dressmakers as there’s no fastenings or fitting. The most complex parts are probably the pleats, which are simple enough if you take your time, and making your own bias which could be avoided if you bought it!

Like Sew Amazing stock so many fabrics that would work well for this pattern, including viscose twills, linen and linen blends, chambray and my personal favourite: double gauze. I rather fancy making a dress version for layering, or maybe a playsuit/shorts version for Summer?

I was provided with the fabric for my Leo dungarees by Like Sew Amazing in exchange for writing this blog post. I purchased the notions and jersey for the t-shirt. The Leo Dungarees pattern was sent to me by By Hand London free of charge, with no obligation to make or share them. As always, all thought and opinions are my own. If you’d like to see more of my sewing projects, please follow me on Instagram, or visit my blog.

Bonus Luna pic!




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