Friday, 9 January 2015

Dolores and Dungarees

Well OUCH this post is overdue.

(It's also totally overexposed, in the photographic sense, because winter + amateur editing non-skillz). 

(And it's also back to business as usual - something for which I'm incredibly grateful, as I am too for the very many kind reactions to my previous post. Truly & deeply: thank you).


So, you might find the most striking thing about that photo to be the dungarees. But what I really want to talk to you about first is the tee underneath. Atrociously showcased by a garment that hides most of it, but nonetheless a true star in it's own right: it's a Dolores!

Dolores being of course the excellent batwing pattern by the wonderful and fabulous Zoe :-)  Now, when Zoe launched the pattern, she held a giveaway where interested bloggers could win a copy of the pattern in exchange only for a review - and guess what, I was one of the lucky ones! Yes yes!! A review by the end of the year - about the lowest-stress deadline ever - was something I was totally, utterly up for, especially for someone I'm such a great fan of.  Errr.. yes. Made the top, took the pictures, didn't blog it. Massive OOPS. I have nothing to say in my defence, but I will happily rave about this pattern to make up for it! Not because guilt (I'm just not doing that these days) but because EXCELLENCE.

The version that originally grabbed me most was the dress - relaxed, funky, and Zoe looks so very cool in hers :-) . Stash diving turned up 2 metres of lovely heathery-grey cotton spandex: I was cutting it out in no time. And that's "no time" including assembling the pdf, by the way, which is exceptionally economical, easy and quick (just 11 A4 pages!)  Unfortunately, my fabric turned out to be much too clingy - it didn't so much skim neatly over my midsection as expose all of its lumps and bumps (this kind of bump; two is enough thank you very much). So I simply chopped it off at top-length, having had the foresight to trace the lines for it on my fabric as well, just in case. Insert smug-forward-planning-face here. I think the dress would work better - for me at least - in a more structured knit like ponte or sweatshirting, and I will definitely be trying that at some point.

In the spirit of testing the pattern properly, I followed it as written instead of steaming ahead with my usual tee construction, and SHOCK NEWS ALERT it produces a very lovely finish, with minimal fuss. The only thing that had me stumped was right at the very beginning in the list of materials: "wool needle".  What, I thought?? Surely you mean ballpoint needle? Stretch needle?? But no - of course one needs to tidy up the ends of one's overlocker threads, and Dolores does it like this. I do like to learn new tricks :-)

See how nice? Also, labels!

That's a label in the back of a garment that doesn't actually have a back or a front; they're identical. Guess I got a little bit ocd there! Must. Have. Labels.

This is the best I managed for a batwing-sleeve-showing-off picture. DERP.

As for the wearing, this top is brilliant. It's super comfy, and the waist shaping is just the right amount of flattering. Plus the high neckline and long sleeves make me feel really covered up, but not at all frumpy. I've been wearing it a lot with skinny jeans, either on it's own or under my Blair batwing top when it's really cold. And with the dungarees, I just love how the batwing underarm shape comes out from under the yoke.  It's a thoroughly great basic tee that's actually a lot more than basic. If that makes sense. OF COURSE IT DOES. Go Dolores!!

OK, dungaree time!

These were irresistibly inspired by Kirsty and Karen - dungarees would NEVER have been on my sewing or wearing radar, yet my head was turned within about a week of seeing Pauline Alice's Turia pattern by these two fabulous makes. Overalls rocketed from zero to hero in the time it took me to read their blog posts, and the pdf was in my inbox in even less time later.  I even liked Karen's well-chosen contrast topstitching so much that I completely copied it:

The flat-felled seams and double topstitching in this pattern are details that produce a really lovely pair of dungarees. They look just perfectly like jeans-but-not-jeans. The only thing I missed somehow was finishing the folded-over side edges on the yoke, which you can just about see below. But the topstitching keeps it from ravelling too much and it's hardly visible. And my other, minor change, was to also double topstitch where the straps join the back, to reinforce the seam.

The side zips were the first 'normal' zips I've done in yonks, I've become such an invisible zip aficiando. I love them :-)  As for the wearing, I love that too - though I must say, I have struggled slightly to pair them with winter footwear and the right rolled-up trouser length. I do wonder if these might really come into their own in warmer weather with sandals - and in any case, come summer I am absolutely going to make both shorts and dress versions.  These are just so comfortable and so practical-feeling - and those pockets OH.

Srsly best pockets ever.

So yeah, dungarees. When I told my best friend H I was making dungarees, she actually recoiled in horror and proceeded to mock my fashion choices in ways I have not experienced since my early teens (no harm done or offence taken though, H!)  I noticed another friend do the look up and down that registers a new and interesting outfit, without commenting - a visibly tactful lack of comment, of course :-) No, dungarees are not uncontroversial, especially when in real life nobody you know even realises they are actually on sale to the young people in Zara (holy crap I want those black ones! Look at the back!)

What do you think? Would you make them?


  1. I am so glad you made up the dungarees. How great are they! And I love them on you! Love your pairing with those flashy sneakers and the dolores! Super cool!!

  2. I'm tempted by the dungarees even though my last foray into such things was when I was 15 (25 years ago) and used to wear them to warehouse raves. I've bought the Dolores top - I'm a little out of the size range boob wise (no longer 15!). Does it come out roomy up front? I'm trying to put then next bit look like someone who would, on occasion have to do an FBA - I'm hoping that you'll tell me that you didn't need to.

    And very glad that you are back in business!

  3. Hi Miriana! You made me laugh - I do FBAs almost all the time! But I'm very happy I can tell you that indeed I didn't do one on this :-) I traced a smaller size for the neck/shoulders (using my high bust measurement) and the larger size corresponding to my full-bust measurement below the sleeves. But to be honest, there's a lot of room at the bust because of the batwing shape, and I think I'll just make the smaller size next time as I actually find there's a bit too much fabric between my boobs and my armpits. So I should think you'll be fine making it as is. Enjoy!

  4. I'm so glad I did too! It's really great to have them as a trouser option!

  5. They look awesome. I'm still too afraid 'cause a) pants, b)I'm about toddler hight, so people might mistake me for one.
    You look fab in them and I love the topstitching.

  6. Excellent. I'm an FBA-er, but having just screwed up attempting to FBA on a raglan sleeved knit top (I was trying to be clever, rather than just grading between sizes and adding a bit of length), I'm not fancying doing one on an batwing knit top.

  7. Hi! Soooo cute!!!

  8. I haven't considered dungarees since I was a teenager, but your pair is so cute it's making me reconsider :)

  9. You could make them as shorts? Or a dress? The fit thing isn't so much of an issue with these as they're loose fitting through waist and hips, and crotch depth issues can be dealt with by adjusting the length of the straps. I have trouser fear too but these were easy peasy!

    There. No more excuses!

  10. These look awesome!! I snapped up the pattern right away, but have not had the courage to make them yet!! They look really cool on you!

  11. Hah! I loved making these too, I still want to make the shorts version out of a dark grey stretch denim, to wear with tights and boots and kick ass in general. Yours look amazing!

  12. Look awesome. Now I want a dungarees ;)

  13. OMG why had I not thought of shorts dungarees with tights?? DO IT!

  14. I think they look cool on everyone, I haven't seen a version of these that wasn't brilliant! Definitely make them up, I can totally see you rocking them too!

  15. Great outfit! What a brilliant pairing of patterns. Gorgeous topstitching on the dungarees. I often have a problem with jersey's being too clingy in areas I don't want cling but am yet to discover the key to what makes one jersey behave in this way and another not!

  16. Oh Jo thanks soooo much for the review! Both the Dolores top and dungers look wonderful, and a really great pairing. Happy new year to you and may it be full of sewing WINS! Zoe xxx

  17. I love both makes! And also that super cool label :) Well done you!


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