Sunday, 7 March 2021

Tencel/Linen Leo Dungarees

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

I'm a big fan of dungarees and have sewn up at three pairs over the last few years. I thought that was plenty of dungaree options to have in my wardrobe until By Hand London put out a call for testers for their recently released Leo Dungarees and I fell head over heels! They are a bit of a departure from my usual day to day style with their slouchy oversized fit and voluminous legs. Whilst they probably wouldn't see much wear in my regular working life they are exactly what I like to wear when travelling in hot climates and have turned out to be down right ideal for lockdown days at home. They are that wonderful combination of comfortable yet incredibly fun which feels like the perfect thing to sew at the moment.


Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

Fabric-wise I knew I wanted something with a somewhat billowy drape so the trouser portion would fall nicely and flow when I moved. But I wanted a bit of weight so they weren't too floppy and flimsy, plus a little thickness is needed to help the bib and straps hold their shape. The trousers are pleated on to the bib so you don't want to use anything too chunky to avoid bulk in that area. In the end I plumped for this tencel/linen blend fabric from Merchant & Mills. This is the London Town colour-way which is a rich rusty red. I also bought some of the navy colour along with some of their corozo nut buttons to make an Olya Shirt which I have finished and will share on Instagram soon. I'm deeply in love with it and feel like I've created a true wardrobe staple which I'll be wearing for many years if not decades to come!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

The fabric was a bit of a treat to myself and was 100% worth it. It is really lovely to work with. It presses and sews really well, washes up really soft and the linen content makes it slightly less slippery to handle. The tencel is soft and cool against the skin and obviously brings fluid movement to the fabric. The linen content adds a bit of weight and also that delightful slightly slubby texture. The combination of this fabric and the breezy, loose cut is divine to wear. And truthfully loving our clothing isn't just about what it looks like, it has to feel great on the body too. If you're considering making a pair of Leo's I highly recommend this fabric. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

I did want to mention how much I enjoyed shopping on the Merchant & Mills website. I'm not a huge fan of shopping for fabric online and would much rather do it in person but I think they do a really good job of giving you a clear idea of what to expect from each fabric. There are detailed descriptions of each fabric including washing instructions and explanations of the fibre, plus pattern suggestions, alternative similar fabric choices and numerous photos including of the fabric sewn up into garments in most cases. I felt like that combination gave me a clear image of the weight, hand and drape of the fabric. 

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

Before I get into talking about the pattern I will say that I was using the tester version of the pattern and various small amendments have been made to the pattern and instructions since I made this and prior to release. So what you are looking at here isn't exactly what you would be making but I believe the general style and sizing remains the same.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

I looked carefully at the finished garment measurements before starting as being reasonably short at 5ft 3" I'm a little wary of oversized styles that might swallow me up. I opted to cut the BHL size 6/10 which is a size smaller than I usually cut with their patterns. I'm really pleased with how it turned out but if you'd rather a slightly slimmer cut I could have got away with going down another size or two for sure. I did shorten the patten by 2" which is standard for me with BHL patterns. I removed 1" at the lengthen/shorten line and another 1" from the length of the crotch. I then ended up taking another inch off the hem before adding the elastic. The crotch is intentionally very low on this design and if I made them again I'd probably take that extra inch out of this area. For reference after shortening I managed to get these out of 2.3m of fabric at 154cm wide.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

The curved top edge of the trousers at the sides is finished with a bias tape facing and instead of cutting my own tape from the fabric I opted to use up some scraps of colourful bias tape left over from a previous project. I really like this neat and tidy finish. I was pleased with the finishing throughout actually. There was a problem with the pleats on the tester pattern so I've ended up with less pleats here but deeper to make the trousers fit the bib but the overall look is the same as what you should expect.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

One of the main things I love about classic dungarees are the many, many pockets! You may have noticed that Leo doesn't have any. The instructions suggest adding your own and do indicate when would be a good point in construction to do so. It would be easy enough to add patch pockets to the bib or rear of the trousers. I opted to add pockets in the side seams using the tutorial on the By Hand London blog. There is a pattern piece to download included with that tutorial but I just stole the pocket bag piece from my Sofia Dress to save me printing out another. I'm really glad I added the pockets as they are going to be really useful. However, I had to take an educated guess at where to place them and I think they've turned out slightly low. There are no waist or hip markings on the pattern and because of the low crotch it is hard to guess where that optimum point for pocket access will be!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

As I added pockets into the side seams I couldn't top stitch these as instructed and instead topstitched the inner crotch seam and above the side seam pockets as you might for jeans. I used my regular sewing thread for the top-stitching as I didn't want to make a huge feature out of it. I think I've made my ankle elastic a smidge too tight and would say you probably need to make your elastic loop the size of your ankle without stretching it out. It only really needs to stretch to pull them on and off and can then sit quite loosely to gather the hems in.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

I really enjoyed making these and they only took 4 or 5 hours which isn't long for a pair of dungarees. I've been wearing these at least three times a week since I finished them, layered up with snuggly merino Mandy Boat Tees, chunky knits and slipper socks but I can't wait for warmer temperatures and to be able to wear them with pretty blouses and sandals.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: By Hand London Leo Dungarees in London Town Tencel/Linen Merchant & Mills

3 comments:

  1. What gorgeous fabric! Thanks for the tip about the pocket tutorial with pattern piece - I tried to make up my own pattern whilst in covid isolation and the results were unfortunate to say the least!

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  2. So nice : )
    You look cute

    ReplyDelete

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