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Rainbow Straps Dungaree Dress & Macrame Necklace

December 29, 2021

At least a year ago, maybe longer, I was in the haberdashery of Boyes and saw this wide rainbow webbing tape, and had the idea to make a Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pinafore dress using the tape as dungaree straps. I have made lots of different versions of this dress but I had always fancied a plain denim one, so I ordered some Lady McElroy 11oz organic denim and some Hemline dungaree clips from Minerva.

When I finally got the urge to actually sew the dress, I had a last minute wobble about whether or not to make the dress with rainbow straps. Part of the appeal of the plain denim dress was that it was utilitarian. However, I also knew that rainbow straps would be really fun, and make the dress more unique, and what is the point of being able to make your own clothes if you make things that look just like everybody else’s? Might as well put a design spin on it!

The straps that Tilly drafted are quite narrow, and in the past when I have made this dress with standard dungaree clips I have found them a little too wide for the straps. The rainbow straps are even more narrow than the straps should be according to the pattern, but it’s hard to source the narrower clips (I did manage it for my Art Gallery Dinosaur Canvas version of the dress, though, so they are out there somewhere!).

I fully lined the dress so that it doesn’t cling to my clothes underneath. I tucked the hem of the lining into the hem of the denim and topstitched it down, which actually makes the dress wrinkle a bit when the denim stretches but the lining doesn’t. I could unpick it and hem them separately if it starts to get really noticeable but so far it’s ok. These photos were taken on Christmas Day after sitting down for many hours, so it was bound to look wrinkled at this point!

I made the longer length version of the pattern as I am 5’10” and find the shorter version too short now. I didn’t include the front split that you are supposed to have with the longer version, because I found with a previous version I made of the dress where I included the split as directed, there is a lot of strain on the top of the split when you sit down, and I’m always worried it’s going to rip!

I also made a different pocket than the one that comes with pattern, as I wanted it bigger and curved rather than angular. I didn’t add hip pockets but I wish I had as I miss having them. I guess the beauty of patch pockets though is that I could add some on later if I want to.

I’m also wearing a necklace I made! I bought a 2m length of Bobbiny 9mm macrame cord from Stitching Me Softly at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate in November. I didn’t buy the ‘kit’ because Emma said I could find a tutorial online, and although I didn’t find one on her Instagram account, I found one on YouTube about how to make a macrame rope necklace.

I didn’t buy the magnetic clasps from Stitching Me Softly, either. Instead I bought a batch lot off eBay which was cheaper. The 10mm wide magnetic clasps were absolutely perfect for the 9mm cord (you don’t need 9mm clasps, and will find it hard to buy these from anywhere except Stitching Me Softly). I bought 2 more not-quite-10-metre bundles of Bobbiny cord from an eBay seller for £6.99 each and with the clasps I was able to make 7 necklaces to give as presents to friends this Christmas. I’d estimate I spent £35 on eBay to make these 7 necklaces which is not bad.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Were you wearing anything handmade? Did you receive any sewing-related presents? I got the Tilly and the Buttons Indigo pattern from my sister-in-law, and some fabric to make the dress with from my husband, so that will probably be my next project!

One Comment
  1. anne carter permalink
    December 30, 2021 11:16 am

    Love the denim version of the pattern and especially the rainbow straps, which really add something. I also love the necklace! Cheers!

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