Project Dungaree Part 3: Design Modifications

This post in my Project Dungarees series will detail the modifications I made to the MBJM I Dig Dungarees and TATB Cleo dress to make ‘Mummy and Me’ matching Dungaree dresses.

To see the other posts in this series click below:

  1. Pattern Review on the MBJM I dig dungarees pattern
  2. Pattern Review on the TATB Cleo Dress
  3. Details of the modifications I made to the two patterns (this post)
  4. Comparison of the construction techniques between the two

My inspiration for this project was a combination of The Little Pomegranate’s midi length Cleo, and some RTW Dungaree dresses I saw on Pinterest with waistbands, and large side patch pockets, like the one from H&M below…

The elements I wanted were the vertical line down centre front (but not the buttons), the waistband and the front pockets. I wanted to keep the centre front bib pocket from both the MBJM and TATB patterns.

The MBJM pattern has an a-line skirt, while the TATB is a straight skirt. I decided not to modify that as a straight skirt wouldn’t be particularly practical for baby girl while crawling. And I didn’t want an a-line skirt for me.

Embroidered Bib Pocket

I love the interesting topstitched jeans pockets you see around. I considered using one of the topstitching templates from Closet Case Patterns. But then I was thinking about Celtic knot images. I love triquetra, and so was thinking about just a plain triquetra. But then I found this design which dates to Charlemagne, a cross made up of triquetra. So that was that. It’s a design that speaks to my heart and so it just had to be.

I played around with the sizing for the MBJM pocket and the TATB pocket, using my printer’s percentage setting to zoom up/down until I had a size I was happy with.

I traced the design onto iron on interfacing and ironed them onto the back of the pockets. Then I hand-embroidered the design before lining and topstitching the top edge of the pocket. Then I attached the pockets to the bibs as per the pattern instructions.

MBJM “I Dig…” Pattern Mods

The MBJM pattern already has a waistband so the only thing I needed to modify for that was the front pockets design. The pattern already had a hip pocket piece but it was a traditional jeans pocket style. However it was a good basis to start my patch pocket modification from.

First I folded the pocket piece along the centre line. Then I folded over the curved edge to make it straight.

I cut two mirrored pieces from my denim and two from my lining fabric. After sewing the lining to the pockets, I topstitched the diagonal edge of the pockets. Then I basted the pockets to the front skirt pieces making sure that the top and outer edges of the pockets were in the seam allowance for the waistband and side seams respectively. Then I topstitched the other side and bottom of the pocket to the skirt.

TATB Cleo Pattern Mods

I made much more substantial changes to the TATB Cleo pattern to achieve my vision. The Cleo pattern has one pattern piece for the front and another for the back. Firstly, I added length to the bottom of the skirt. I left the front split in and kept its start point at the same place. I wasn’t entirely sure how much longer I wanted the skirt, but left myself with enough extra that I could make the decision once I had tried it on. The next steps, where I added the waistband also added a bit extra to the length. When I hemmed it, I ended up taking it so it sits just below my knee, so not as long as I originally intended.

In order to put in a waistband I had to divide the front and back pieces into three. I wanted the waistband to sit around the natural waist line. So I measured up from the hip notch the amount between my hip and waist. At that point I cut both pattern pieces into two pieces – bib and skirt – for both front and back. I think another time I would make the cut higher, at the bottom of the side curve of the bib.

Then I drafted front and back waistband pieces. I made them the same width as the bib pieces.

I used the waistband and bib pieces to cut the denim and lining. I chose to fully line the front and back bibs instead of just doing a facing. (I still used the facing pieces to cut the interfacing). The error I made was forgetting to eliminate the centre-seam seam allowance from the bib linings, waistbands and waistband linings so they were all a bit wide. But that was easy enough to trim during construction.

Another time I would make a single lining to cover the bib AND waistband rather than making separate linings. Then there would be only one lining to slip stitch / stitch in the ditch to the outer fabric. Because there were two lots of lining along each side seam I couldn’t sew the side seams in one continuous line of stitches. I ended up unpicking and hand stitching in the lining at the side seams. One single lining would have avoided this trouble.

I also drafted pockets for the front of the dress, to match the pockets on the MBJM dress described above. I just got an A4 piece of paper, laid it over the skirt piece and eyeballed it. I thought about how deep the pockets should be, how far the inner edge should sit from the dress centre-front seam. Then I folded/cut the paper down until it looked proportionally right sitting over the skirt pattern piece.

The other modification which I thought about making was to put in a side tabs on the waistband, like in the MBJM pattern. Then the waist could be more fitted. I would probably do that another time from the get-go as it gives you more flexibility.


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