SEWING // By Hand London Leo Dungarees Pattern Review (& some news!)
I’ve been actively pattern testing over the past couple of years, but it’s been a long time since I blogged about one! My most recent pattern test was for the By Hand London Leo Dungarees – a loose fit pair of dungarees designed for drapey, soft fabrics. These dungarees give me distinctive 90s’ hip-hop vibes which I did not expect to love BUT I DO. It must be the latent 90s’ child making up for the lack of any sort of fashion in my childhood (before the internet, fashion trends didn’t reach Singapore until a good while later – and even then, my mom wasn’t into it. I remember wearing bellbottoms well into the 2000s when all the US-based celebs had moved on to skinny jeans!)
One of the things that I didn’t expect to love about this make (but really REALLY do) are the elasticated pant hems. I had a phase where I really detested the look and to this day I still fear that they look rather clownish. But somehow I find that the look works on this pattern and best of all, they make going to the loo an absolute breeze! With the elastic holding the hems in place, all you have to do is slip the ties off your shoulders (I don’t even untie mine) and shimmy the dungarees down – none of the angst I usually associate with jumpsuits!
A couple of notes about sizing, fit, fabric choice and construction:
Sizing – I chose my size based purely on my bust measurements, even though my waist and hip measurements placed me in bigger sizes. I had no fit issues with this whatsoever, since it’s an extremely loose-fitted through the waist and hips. Here I’m wearing a US 6 / UK 10.
Fit – The side seams of the dungarees dip somewhere in the middle between your waistline and hipline, so I would say a long top would be required for pairing unless you fancy baring a bit of side midriff (totally your prerogative!). If most of your tops are shorter in length, you might want to consider raising the side seam a little for more coverage.
Fabric choice – For this make, I used a cheap, thin viscose I bought in Bali that thankfully isn’t sheer. I would suggest using a similarly drapey fabric, like a rayon or cotton twill. I would stay clear of polyester though, since you might end up feeling really stuffy in the pants region!
Construction – As someone who has worked quite a fair bit with lightweight fabrics (like chiffon, viscose and the like), this make came together really easily for me. If you’ve never worked with shifty fabrics before, I would say the hardest part would be cutting out the large pant pieces. Otherwise, the pattern comes together pretty quickly especially if you take a few short-cuts like I did!
Time-savers – (1) I used store-bought bias tape for the side binding instead of cutting it from the same fabric; (2) I cut and sewed only one set of shoulder ties. These were attached to the back bib and tied in a knot in the front end. I made buttonholes in the front bib (about an inch below the notches) and fed the knot through them. Easy peasy and still adjustable! If you prefer to have a more polished look, you could consider sewing a button onto the front of the tie instead.
Things I would do differently the next time – The only thing I would change would be to add a strip of interfacing to the top edge of the front bib. I’m aware that it’s a design feature, but I would prefer if it didn’t fold in on itself.
Now for my absolute favourite thing about this make… it’s completely maternity-friendly! Yes, I know some of you have already guessed – the Mr. and I are expecting an addition to our little family in a couple of months! We’ve been keeping it quiet for the last few months as it never seemed like the right time (plus we wanted to share the news with our relatives and close friends first), but I think it’s reached the point where no amount of creative photo angles will hide it anymore (laughing emoji!).
In these photos I’m at 26 weeks, but with the amount of additional ease in these dungarees I’m pretty sure they will take me all the way to 40 weeks (if I even make it that far). They better – because these are the only pair of pants that fit me comfortably right now! Plus given how easy the straps are to slide off my shoulders or to simply unbutton the straps – I foresee that I’ll get plenty of use out of them for the months of nursing ahead.
So that’s it for today! A big thank you to those of you who have stuck around either on this blog or on instagram throughout my sewing journey – you’ve seen me through so many milestones from starting work, marriage and now starting a family! Be prepared for a lot more homeware and kids’ sewing ahead, but don’t worry, I don’t intend to give up selfish sewing womenswear any time soon 😉