Finished - Roberts Dungarees - it's love!
Hello lovely sewing friends. I'm currently on a staycation, spending 2 lovely and very low-key weeks at home with my big and little loves. Normally we'd have taken a family holiday to warmer climates, and I would have sewn myself a resort collection, however Melbourne is of course still in Stage 4 Lockdown, meaning we cannot travel more than 5km from our home unless for essential services. We are ok with this. Both my husband and I have essential service occupations and we have been extraordinarily busy the last 6 months. We are very fortunate to still be able to work but goodness me we are tired. 2 weeks at home is fine by us. And a staycation of course means I am also holidaying with my stash and sewing machine and I have some big ticket items sewn up and ready to share with you over the next few posts.
First up is my first pair of dungarees/overalls worn since childhood (I am not counting the ill fitting boilersuit/coveralls I had to wear in university for large animal practical placement). I am quite surprised by my wish to make some dungarees, as they haven't really been on my radar, but a couple of years ago a very stylish friend of mine popped round to visit in a black pair teamed with a simple tank, and I've never forgotten the combination of cute and chic.
A couple of years ago Kelli of True Bias made the Danielle Dungarees, and I loved them so much I bought the pattern. But the combination of tracing, adding seam allowances and then fitting them seemed a bit insurmountable in my current headspace. A while ago I instead bought Marilla Walker's Roberts Collection. As many have noted before me this pattern collection is great value, with 4 garments included (and I've just discovered, a free sleeve add on!). I was drawn to the roomy fit (= easier to fit) and I really liked the very thin straps and the back brace view as well as the overall minimalist design.
In my stash I have had 2 pieces of a truly beautiful heavyweight slightly textured cotton-linen fabric, called Kyoto, purchased from Crossgrain Fabrics, an online seller based in Western Australia with a small beautifully curated collection of natural fibres. It came in 2 pieces due to a flaw, but I was pretty certain I would be able to make it work. It was so very lovely to sew with. You know when you're using a fabric that just WANTS to be sewn up? It has no intentions of being shifty or difficult. That was this fabric. It behaved and was a joy to sew with.
My measurements put me in a size 4 for the pattern, but after checking the finished measurements I decided to size down to a 3 for a more streamlined fit, but with the size 4 crotch length. I also decided I didn't want the little pleats in the front, preferring a more sleek look. There's a few tutorials online to remove pleats (including this one for this actual pattern) but I decided to take the lazy way out and instead cut a size 1 in the front leg only. It worked reasonably well, except for the fact that everything was just a little bit too snug across my hips. Thank goodness for 1.5cm seam allowances! I ended up sewing the side seams with about 7mm seam allowances which worked out perfectly.
I've read in many reviews (and indeed the pattern description is very clear) that the crotch is very low/dropped so I removed 1 inch from the rise at the lengthen/shorten line, and added 2 inches back into the leg length (also at the lengthen/shorten line) to ensure they weren't too short (I am 178cm tall). I made the pockets a few inches deeper as a few people have felt they come up a bit shallow, and added a single back pocket on the right hand side. I use my back pockets on pants an absolute heap since becoming a mum. For some reason I found them easier to access (especially on the right) with the babe on my hip, rather than a front pocket. Visually I also quite like a back pocket to break up the expanse of my generous backside.
The final fitting tweak was to shorten the top of the front bib by about 3/4 of an inch when attaching the facing. This raised the entire garment up, eliminating the drop crotch effect completely and effectively giving me a full bum adjustment!
Construction was easy and the instructions were excellent. I only deviated a couple of times. I stabilised the curved edges of the bib and brace on both the outer and the facings using knit stay tape (like this, but you can definitely make your own as per this tutorial or at a pinch staystitch at the start of construction). This definitely helped the bib from stretching out during trying on - once the trousers are attached there is a lot of weight on the bib before attaching the facing. I also did this on the pocket edges, and added interfacing across the top of the facing bib where the studs are, for extra reinforcement. I also did some extra top stitching along the side seams, similar to jeans, for reinforcement.