As a lover of overalls, I’m always on the prowl for interesting patterns for dungarees. I’d already sewed up 2 versions of Burnside Bibs (read my review here) and a couple patterns from Make My Lemonade. They are all wide-leg patterns which gave me the excuse to look for one that is more slim-fitting. My quest ended with the Mila Dungarees by @tillyandthebuttons Tilly And The Buttons.
This pattern is meant for stretch denim or any medium-weight woven fabric which has at least 2% lycra or spandex. At the time that I made these dungarees, I was really pleased that it is rated for confident beginners because that’s what I considered myself to be.
However, I found myself stumped at the very beginning because I didn’t really understand that the percentage of lycra in a fabric is different from its stretch percentage – which is the width of the fabric stretched to its maximum divided by the width of the fabric when unstretched. It took me a while to figure out that a fabric with 2% lycra would have around 15%-20% stretch.
Yeah, maybe I wasn’t a “confident beginner” as I had supposed. Anyway, I chanced upon this unusual stretch denim with a floral design on it for about $5 a metre, and I managed to bargain with the store owner on the price because it was at the end of the bale. It ended up to be $3.50 per metre so at the very least, I can consider myself a “confident bargainer”.
There was another lesson that I learned with stretch denim: cut all pieces in a single layer. This is to avoid warping in the final result. And this I learned the hard way. If you zoom in on the right pant, you’ll see that it tends towards an outward rotation. As long as you pan out and don’t focus on this flaw, this pair of dungarees fit marvellously. Oh well, next time I’ll be less lazy at the cutting stage with stretch materials!
This pattern is sized UK6-UK20. I made a size UK8 and it fit perfectly about 2 years ago. Nowadays, it’s fitting a little snug on me. Perhaps I’m eating too many burritos, or the cheapo jean material keeps shrinking. Whatever it is, the next time round I will grade a half size up. They fit almost like skinny jeans, and I would like a little more room.
Nevertheless, I still wear these dungarees everywhere and with everything. And I especially love them with my Adrienne Blouse.
I also love that I can do anything with them – jump, dance, play – and even break out some kung fu moves.
The only thing I’d change next time is to add pockets in the front legs. There is an add-on pattern to the dungarees for patch pockets that comes for free provided by Tilly. That’s the only thing missing from the original pattern because there’s no such thing as too many pockets for a girl like me, especially in overall garments. I’m at a loss as to where to put my hands, and feel a little bewildered whenever I’m in my Milas. I keep expecting pockets to be where they’re not.
This was also my first time handling denim hardware, and I’ve learnt that it’s better to fork out more money for better quality. I bought a pack of 100 buttons for about $10, and thought I had struck gold. But I had so much trouble hammering them in. Either my hammering technique was wonky or the buttons themselves are flimsy. All I buy now are Prym jean buttons and rivets for their reliability and durability.
The only alteration I made was to shorten the bib by 2.5cm. With my short torso, it had to be done for a better fit. Overall, these overalls are functional, fabulous and fit for any informal occasion, especially for a fun frolic in the park.