My little girl has recently become rather obsessed with Bob the Builder. So, sewing mum that I am, I naturally thought I’d make her some “Bob the Builder” dungarees. AKA denim dungarees, that she can wear as normal dungarees, not just for dress up!
I won’t keep you in suspense; here’s the outcome:
Pretty cool, eh?! I won’t lie: I LOVE them.
I’ve written a quick tutorial for you in case you want to do something similar. The same principal (patchwork denim) can be used for any clothing, too – not just toddler dungarees. Skirts, dresses; adults or kids. The possibilities are endless.
Those of you who have been following me for a while will likely know that I’m keen on refashioning and upcycling. In fact I’m starting 5-week-long refashioning courses in November (alongside my dressmaking). So partly spurred on by that and the need for more examples, I decided to upcycle some old jeans that have been hanging around. Who needs to buy new denim?
So I used these two pairs; one was in fact my mum’s, and one was mine. Both much loved and a little worse for wear.
I used all I could of these two pairs, plus a little bit of denim I had in my scrap bag (that would’ve been from another pair of jeans). With the addition of just a couple of buttons (and thread) that of course I already had, this was a really frugal make.
Now on to the tutorial… 🙂
Begin by cutting up the jeans; cut along the seams, discarding the bulky seams. Incorporate the back pockets if you like, and save the tops of the jeans for another project!
For these dungarees I used a pattern which I highly recommend: Vintie Overalls by Tadah Patterns. But you can use any pattern you already have, or create your own. You will need to use the pattern piece to help you with the placement of your denim pieces. This pattern has four large pieces (2 x back, 2 x front) and some top yoke pieces. I patched the large pieces.
So lay out a pattern piece, and (ideally using a rotary cutter, ruler and mat) chop up your long legs of denim into squares and rectangles, creating a patchwork. Ensure you overlap each piece by the seam allowance you wish to use. Take your time and thought to try to lay the colours out in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. It’s interesting how many different shades of blue are in a single pair of jeans!
It’s fine to have some fabric sticking off the edges; in fact, that’ll be helpful just in case you need a bit more allowance than you initially think.
Once your pattern piece is entirely covered up, it’s time to sew.
Sorry, I forgot to take photos of the sewing stage! But you will basically sew all the pieces together as if making a patchwork quilt. I sewed then overlocked the seams as I went along.
Once you’ve done all your pieces, you’ll end up with something like this:
Now, place the pattern pieces on top, and neatly cut – as you would if that was just regular non-patchy fabric underneath!
There we go; nice and neat.
And then just take the extra bits for the yokes and straps (if you’re making kid’s clothing there’s probably no need to patch these unless you really want to; they’ll be big enough). And sew together the dungarees according to the pattern instructions. Sorry, I’m not going to tell you how to do that – you’ll have to buy the pattern!
If you do make something like this, I’d LOVE to see it. Any questions, do ask in the comments below!
And if not – I hope you enjoyed the post regardless.