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Feeling out the Fails
Written by Pippa
Category: Patterns, reviews, sewing

Feeling out the fails.  Pippa standing on a balcony in a pair of grey linen dungerees

We all have sewing fails! There.  I’ve said it.  Sometimes, things don’t go together that well or they don’t fit as you’d like.  The fabric’s the wrong weight or the shape doesn’t do it for you.  It’s the last issue that has struck me.  If I’m honest I can’t really call this a fail because there’s nothing wrong with the finished result, they’re just not me.

Lovely dungarees

There have been so many lovely dungarees everywhere.  Friends wore them and they looked great.  There were lovely patterned fabric dungars online as well as in person and they always looked fun.  Comfy.  On trend ( not something I’ve held to a lot) I’d had the Wild and waves Hey day dungaree pattern a while and decided to take the plunge.  The dungaree pattern seemed to suit all body types and they would be super comfy for the warmer weather. I’m still never going to wear them in winter due to the standard loo issue. (No, I’m not removing the many layers to go to the loo)

I’ve had some really lovely vintage cotton sateen waiting in the wings for something fun, if this works it would be perfect for dungarees.  On a now-rare fabric shopping jaunt with a couple of friends, I found some grey linen which was very reasonably priced.  This would be the perfect weight and a practical if not fun trial fabric.  Note to self- pick something a bit more fun.

Two birds with one stone

Now, obviously my making has been very much on a slow burn.  Almost, dare I say, neglected.  Keeping up with classes and making sure I had something to sample with has meant my makes have taken a back seat, but I did make these dungarees in time for the Norwich sewcial retreat.

I cut a large, going by the measurements of the pattern and my own.  Then I decided to fell seam most of the seams as I like the finish and I was able to use the dungas as a sample for one of my classes.  Then also French seamed the inner leg seam for one of the samples too.  Bonus!  I chose to do the loop and tie fastening instead of normal  clips, just for a change.

Pippa in a roomy pair of grey dungarees.  The writing says, Hmm..My aloe flower has photo bombed all of my  pics

The realisation

Well, I think I could easily have sized down. They were roomy to say the least.  Certainly space for another round of afternoon tea if needed.  I took them in at the centre front and inner leg.  Re-shaping where needed to make sure I didn’t loose the right cut of the pattern.  I effectively took them down a size.

Better.  But I wasn’t sure I liked them.  They didn’t even give me the art/primary school teacher vibe.  It was more ‘sack of spuds’ if I’m honest.  I really wanted to like them.  They just weren’t me.  Baring in mind I’ve lived in jeans and leggings or comfy dresses for the last 18 months.  I was used to seeing some shape in the middle.   ALso being a mid grey they weren’t that exciting to look at either.  I put them on with a t-shirt.   In fact I tried 4 on as I was getting ready for the retreat, until I found one that made me feel like it was right.  Stripes! I need more stripey fitted t-shirts to make this look anything like right for me to wear.  I still wasn’t sure though.

I decided to wear them in action to the retreat to see if I could get used to them.  I garnered opinion. They’re fine!  I love dungarees!   Why don’t you like them? Was the reply.

Pippa standing on a balcony looking out into the distance in a pair of grey dungarees

Final thoughts

For me, the jury’s still out.  They are indeed comfy and will be perfect for hot days when I don’t want to feel dressed.  I might even wear them to go out in to the world again but I don’t think they’ll be something that I reach for as a part of my normal rotation. This is not a reflection on the pattern but on my general feeling about my wardrobe.  My sizing might have changed in the last 18 months but my general aesthetic hasn’t really.

I’m not sure I had really grasped what that was until I stepped outside of my normal. Although I don’t need to feel nipped in at the waist, I do need some sort of shaping to feel comfortable.  I love an oversized jumper but over sized trousers/dungarees are another matter.  Something that fits/skims the hips and goes into what is now a vague waistline is where I’m happier.  If I have a loose dress I realise that it needs to fit on the shoulders and over the bust if it’s going to skim the hips and ignore the waist.  (Hello Camber)

When I did my teacher training we were often told that the journey was as important as the end result for a lot of people.  Well. I didn’t realise until the end point that this indeed has been worth a journey down dungaree lane.  I’ll wear them.  But I have learnt that I’m just not built to go baggy.  I will enjoy watching everyone else looking cool and fabulous in theirs whilst I just keep cool in mine. You see sewing fails rarely really fail.  We do learn something from each make.  It may be a technique or how to react with a new fabric or we could just become more aware of ourselves.  Our preferences.  Whether fabric or shape, it helps to inform future makes.  That vintage fabric will come in for something else.  Something will show it’s face when it’s ready.

How do you deal with disappointing makes?

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