Friday 11 March 2022

Denim Patchwork Dungarees

This project, as you can imagine, was not a speedy one. I've been obsessed with the idea of combining fabric scraps to make more 'fabric' for garment sewing projects for a while now. Previously, I've done this with viscose, cotton lawns and jersey fabrics. And having been left with some scraps from my son's reclaimed denim dungarees (see below), I decided to combine those with the rest of my other non-stretch denim scraps to see what could be made from them. 

Inspiration came from a number of conversations I'd had for my podcast Check Your Thread, and fortified by an online workshop on abstract piecing hosted by quilting legend Sherri Lynn Wood. I love how I can remember where almost every one of these pieces of denim came from. It's also allowed me to use the very last scraps of some of my absolute favourite fabrics. 

There are sections where you can see the darker denim exposed by removing pockets (#pocketshadow!). And there are fade lines that have been exploded by unpicking and letting down the hems. The dungaree straps and chest pocket were reclaimed from my Cleo pinafore, and the front and back pockets from my Lander pants, all of which were harvested when I 'decommissioned' those garments in preparation of making my son's dungarees.  

The denim pieces are combined with a 1cm seam allowance, which I then overlocked together, pressed to one side and top-stitched down. I wanted to give the denim 'fabric' as much strength as possible, but I didn't have the energy to make flat felled seams at all the joins. I also thought that flat felled seams might create too much bulk in some areas and make the eventual garment construction a bit tricky. I wanted to create sections where the pieces were quite small, and others that included larger panels for variety. 


Having combined the pieces into four large panels, I cut the pattern pieces from them and constructed the actual garment. I used my TNT Heyday Dungarees pattern (pattern by Waves and Wild) as the basis. This version obviously took way longer to create than my first and second version. However, reusing and applying existing pockets is soooo much easier and speedier than making new ones!


How 90's do these look?! I didn't expect them to look quite so retro, but I'm ok with it! I had a lot of fun making these, and it scratched a creative itch that making something from a flat piece of virgin fabric can't always reach. 

I've worn these a lot and they've received a surprising amount of love. My friend Eve even said she wanted to lick them! I'm very excited to see how they change over time with wear and washing. I'm hoping that the seams joining the pieces will start to get some interesting fading, and that the pockets will start to blend in more. 

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