Thursday, 10 February 2022

Reclaimed Denim Freddie Dungarees

I've been so inspired by many of the conversations I've had for my podcast Check Your Thread. I guess it was inevitable that inspiration would express itself in my sewing projects! Speaking to Riccardo Guido made me realise that I'm storing (hoarding?) a number of garments that I no longer wear in my wardrobe. I came to accept that I was unlikely to wear my denim Lander pants again because my body shape has changed now that I am firmly in my middle age. And the Cleo pinafore that I made with that leftover precious denim was almost never reached for, and when I did wear it, I didn't feel great. I realised that the lovely broken twill denim could be harvested and turned into something that would see much more use. 


So I unpicked and cut apart both the trousers and pinafore in order to harvest as much of the original denim as possible. I carefully set aside the pockets from both garments, and the straps from the pinafore for a different, future project. As I did this, I had in mind my conversation with Guy / The Light Touch, in particular his concept of 'decommissioning clothes'. I loved hearing about how he assesses old and unworn garments, and figures out what he can salvage and reuse in new projects. 


Frankie had been asking for his own pair of dungarees (and a boilersuit, but that's a whole other thing!) for yonks. I decided to make some for him as part of his Christmas present. I already own the Freddie dungarees pattern by Two Stitches (pictured below), having made the pinafore version for my daughter when she was about the same age. Handily, I was able to reuse some of the pattern pieces that I traced out for that project three years ago for Lola! 

There are things I really like about this pattern, and things I don't. This time round I was able to amend some of those less pleasing elements, like increasing the pattern's scant 6mm seam allowance, and not lining the pockets. For Frankie's dungarees, I also decided to omit the back pockets and the turn-ups with tabs. I added some extra length to the legs to future proof them somewhat. I used no-sew press studs to fasten the straps to the bib, and for the side openings so they'd be easier for him to take off himself. 


What is extra pleasing about this project is that I was able to take the fabric from the Landers and Cleo and keep it in use as a garment. This is what Shelly Sommer was talking about when we discussed keeping materials at their highest possible level of use. I was so into that concept that I've actually recorded another conversation to be released where I asked her to go into that concept further still. 

Although I made these dungarees before I had the pleasure of speaking with Eliu Hernandez, I can now recognise and appreciate the pocket shadow that I had to include at the top of the back legs (see above). The pocket shadow occurred when I removed the pockets from the Lander pants, but because of the size and shape of the pattern pieces, including that darker section when cutting out the Freddie dungarees was inevitable. I really like it now though: it's a nod to their origins!

Although not exactly thrilled with them when he unwrapped them on Christmas morning, Frankie has since embraced his dungarees. He is very happy to put them on if I select them as part of his outfit for the day. And because they took a comparatively long time to make, compared to the usual simple joggers and such that I make him, I want him to wear them A LOT! 

When you're in the mood, making detailed woven garments, particularly on a small scale, is really satisfying. Thankfully, I gave myself just enough time before Christmas to make these so that they didn't become a stressful rush. I'd definitely consider tracing out a larger size and making them again for him in the future, if he asked me to. 

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