All About Dungarees

We are all loving a pair of dungarees at the minute. Unsure whether they have undergone a resurgence and are ‘back’ in fashion or if they have subtly stuck around since their huge revival in the ’90s. Either way, everyone is loving them and so are we. And why not? They are probably going to be the comfiest item of clothing you will ever own and effortlessly stylish. No worrying about what trousers to wear with that top that's a little bit too cropped. Raining?... no worries, throw on a raincoat and some trainers. You’re good to go. Hello sunshine!... slip on the sandals! And with Lucy and Yak killing the dungaree game recently with their funky range of organic cotton, cord and damn right dreamy dungs, it would be a shame not to get involved. Therefore, we have curated a mega cute dungaree pattern so that you get the maximum amount of fun - making them AND wearing them. Sign me up!

But how did dungarees become such a fashion fad?

Way before we saw the sickly sweet Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen twinning it up in a pair, 70’s counterculture icon Patti Smith rocking them or Will Smith showing us how it is done in Fresh Prince, dungarees have had a journey.

So what are the origins of dungarees?

Dungarees got their name in the late 17th century. Derived from the word ‘ dungri’, which is Hindi for a hardwearing fabric. It translates close enough to ‘coarse calico’. This fabric originated from a district of Mumbai on the West coast of India - Dungri, hence the name of the fabric. It was exported to England and used as a very cheap, yet durable fabric for making worker’s clothing. Over time, in Britain, the word gained an extra syllable and became ‘dungaree’. Naturally, when this fabric was used to make the iconic bib and trousers we know so well today, the garment itself became the plural noun - dungarees. 

From Function to Style

Originally, dungarees were made as a cheap, blue collar uniform. Hard-wearing, with pockets on the front for carrying tools, a protective layer for your clothes underneath. In some parts of the world, the style of dungarees you wore became synonymous with the profession you held. Stripes for railway workers, white for painters and decorators and various shades of blue for various other working-class, manual labour jobs. 

Due to their use in a labour intensive line of work, dungarees have held quite the stigma in the fashion world.  A rustic, outdoorsy, agricultural garment with high functionality yet little style factor. However, dungarees have undergone some serious style amelioration and their roots might be half the reason why we have grown to love them so much today. They are unpretentious and wholesome, they came from a place of practicality and convenience. Or maybe it is their association with childhood that makes us feel so comfortable and carefree in them? Reminiscent of slouching in the back of the car, mouth full of sweets, dungaree pocket full of daisies and not a care in the world. Redolent of relaxed, happy-go-lucky living. Quite contradictory to the history of them themselves, however. Yet whatever the reason is, with their simplistic, no fuss design how could we not want them in our wardrobe? 

What we love most about them though, is that we can make them in so many different fabrics today. Overstated or understated. Bold or bashful. Although we owe it to Dungri for the fabric that led to the original pair of dungarees, we love the versatility of dungarees today, with so many fabric options leading completely different looks. 

Why not try creating our Hayley dungarees in COTTON for the summer months? Or a cool CORD for something more hardwearing? Make a statement and get some GINGHAM or yellow NEEDLE CORD. Make them for your best friend, your boyfriend, your nephew or your nan. Everyone is welcome to the dungaree party!

HAYLEY is your perfect template for dungarees. Available as a PATTERN in paper and PDF, in a KIT or join us for a SEW ALONG WORKSHOP.

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