Sewing Pattern Review: TIlly & the Buttons: Erin Dungarees

Mar 23 2022 1 Comment Tags: #sewingerin, Sewing Pattern Review, tilly and the buttons, Tilly and the Buttons Erin Dungarees

Items we used...

Up until last year I hadn't worn a pair of dungarees since I was a toddler & then I gave the Heyday dungarees a bash & I was converted. So when Philippa suggested that I try out the new Tilly & the Buttons Erin dungarees I was keen to see how they differed in style.


The main point of difference is that the bib & trousers are separate, allowing for in seam pockets, which are fab - who doesn't love secret pockets?! Also, they don't lose their shape like patch pockets can, especially if you're using a lighter weight fabric. You have the choice of 3 leg lengths & the straps can either be tied at the shoulder or pulled through buttonholes, which makes them easy to get on & off. 

The front bib is constructed in 4 pieces with princess seams (don't worry, they're very easy to sew!) which gives them some very subtle shaping, but would also be great for a bit of colour blocking or stripe play! The top part of the dungarees is fully lined too, to give a lovely neat finish & an opportunity for using up those pesky scraps, (I used less than 1/2 a metre on the lining & pockets).

What's great about this pattern is that it can be made in woven or knits - yes that's right, knits! Use something with low stretch such as a French Terry or Ponte Roma - imagine how comfy they would be!

After much deliberation & with holidays on my mind, I decided to opt for the shorts version with shoulder ties in this rather lovely Dashwood Studio Woodland Notions Shibori cotton poplin, with the Scattered Seeds from the same collection for the lining. This fabric was an absolute dream to work with, lovely & crisp - so held a press well, opaque & didn't run in the wash either, which can happen with darker colours. 

There are now 15 sizes in Tilly's patterns ranging from 30" to 60" bust & maximum hip of 61". I generally make a size 5 with TATB patterns but after looking at the finished garment measurements, I decided to size down as there's around 11" of ease at the waist & 5.5" at the hips & I was on a mission to get the main pieces out of a metre of fabric!  (See pictures below for how I got on - easy enough if you're not too fussed about pattern matching!) 
I normally have to lengthen Tilly's patterns but since these were only shorts, I didn't bother this time & they fit me how I like; the amount of ease is perfect. 
These dungarees are rated for Confident Beginners & I would agree, especially if you opt for the shoulder ties, as there are no buttons or zips to insert. (I had them whipped up in around 3 hours). The instructions are clear as always, with lots of hints & tips along the way & there's even a step-by step video tutorial if you prefer that kind of support.
I love the inseam pockets & the shaping of the bib & will definitely be making the longer version, now that I'm a dungaree convert! It might also be fun to try & make the shorts version fully reversible, then there's less packing for my holidays. My only slight niggle is that the hems are only single fold, I really prefer a double fold hem for neatness but that's an easy fix for next time. (Note to self: remember to lengthen them!)
Sam x
'ow do! Philippa here!! I thought I'd stick my two-penneth in as well!
To show you a different variation, I chose to make the dungarees using our Dark Grey Triple Crepe for the main and our Atelier Giraffe Polyester fabric for the lining, to jazz them up a bit. As the crepe is drapier than the cotton poplin that Sam used, you do get a cheeky flash of the lining every now and again when you move, which I like.
I must admit, when TATB announced this pattern, my first thought was "ay up, a rip-off of the Heydays". But, I was wrong! Due to the princess seams used to construct the bib, these seem to have a little bit more shape to them and produce a smarter end garment, if that makes sense. Also, I much prefer the in-seam pockets to the patch pockets you usually find on dungarees on the bib and the back as if you use a lightweight fabric, the patch pockets tend to start to sag a little bit. The Heydays are an excellent pattern if you haven't got much dressmaking experience as there aren't that many pieces to sew together, with the bib and the leg being one piece, however if you want to progress your sewing a bit and move on from, say, the TATB Cleo or Stevie, then I would opt for the Erin.
I was extremely surprised with how much I like the finished result! I wasn't too sure about the Triple Crepe, but the result is a very easy wear, which doesn't wrinkle - bonus! I thought the fabric would be a lot more slippery than it was, but I think the rough texture of the crepe helped to keep the pieces together when sewing them. The only problem I had was getting a good press on the straps. The fabric is quite bouncy and it didn't seem to want to stay flat, so in the end I sacked the pressing off at this stage and just topstitched around the straps instead.
Like Sam, I'm also 5'8" and I've found the TATB patterns before to come up a bit short on me (they're drafted for someone 5'5") so I chose to lengthen the body by a couple of inches and I'm glad I did as it just gives me a little bit more room when i'm moving about.
All in all, another excellent pattern by TATB and one that I think you'll make again and again!
Philippa x
Once you've tried the pattern for yourself, have a look at Sam's blog post which gives you five hacking ideas, including instructions for making a fabulous reversible version!

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  • Thanks for this. I wondered how they compared to the Heyday. Yours are lovely.

    Sheila O'Kelly on

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