Making these baby dungarees was my first venture into sewing children’s wear. The dungarees are the third item of clothing I have ever made, and I still have so much to learn! It took me three days in total to make this one, which is partly due to my lack of experience and partly due to my determination to do a good job. The dungarees are a present for my neice who is almost a year and a half old, and my hope is that they will fit and last well – I’m putting them in the post to her tomorrow, finger’s crossed they will!
I had just enough organic cotton left over from making the Heron Top to make these dungarees, but I had to do a bit of patchwork. I split the front piece into two, which is why there is a seam along the front, and I had to sew a tiny extra patch to have enough material for one of the plackets. I used flat fell seams so they would feel comfy on the inside. The two back pieces ended up having 90 degree angle difference in the grain direction, and because the material is crossweave if the lighting is right you can see the difference, but I decided that was acceptable. The lining was made from an old pillowcase (100% cotton).
This is a pattern from the sewing bee book “Sew your own wardrobe”, and you can download the pattern for free online here: https://www.hardiegrant.com/uk/quadrille/sew-your-own-wardrobe
I made quite a few changes to the pattern:
- I wanted the dungarees to be future-proof, so I added a bit extra to the largest pattern (12-18 months). I’m still worried they won’t be large enough though.
- I put snap fastenings on the side plackets instead of buttons because I had nowhere near enough room for buttons, but that that could have been because I made a mistake somewhere. I have to confess I found the instructions for sewing the plackets very confusing! It said to cut into one of the seams which left me with a raw edge, so I had to do some hand sewing to sort that out.
- I decided not to sew a star onto the front as I didn’t think it looked great
- The design had revealed bias binding around the crotch, in the same colour as the star. As I didn’t use the star, just having it on the crotch would look a bit strange! So folded it into the inside instead.
- I wanted to add a lining which wasn’t in the original pattern, but I thought the contrasting red was quite fun. However, I wasn’t sure how to add a lining. I looked into ‘bagging out’ but couldn’t get my head around it. So I ended up sewing together the material and lining for all the parts and then treating it as one. Consequently, the seams were a bit bulky and I’m sure I could have done it a better way.
I set myself a challenge to make bound buttonholes instead of machined buttonholes. I watched loads of videos and then did a trial before putting them in the garment. I think I will now bound all my buttonholes – they look so neat, robust, and luxurious! I’m really pleased with the result.
Otherwise, the main challenges were; figuring out the plackets, and the amount of hand sewing I had to do. Just sewing on all the poppers took me a whole evening. I did a lot of slip stiching (a new technique for me) to make sure all the seams on the inside were flat and comfy.
The final result:
I’m quite proud of this but the real test is whether it fits my neice, and whether it lasts a few washes. I’m surprised the armholes are so large, but I think it’s meant to be like that. The flat fell seams don’t look like they’re in the centre but I think it’s just the nature of the seam. The legs aren’t very level, but I figure it won’t be noticable when on. I’ve learned so much from this project, it was really fun to make and I’m really pleased that I managed to make it out of scrap fabric.
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