Harlene dungarees

New dungas!

I LOVE ME some dungarees and have made a few pairs already – Heyday, Yanta, Colibri and Turia – some of which are worn very regularly. As you can never have too many pairs of dungas, I was very excited when Merchant and Mills brought out the Harlene pattern and I swiftly added it to my list of things to sew. I’m a big fan of the Merchant and Mills aesthetic – Florence and Camber are my favourite patterns so far and there are several others I haven’t made yet which are on my radar, starting with Eve and Whittaker.

Topstitching for days.

I’m also a big fan of Merchant and Mills fabric and we visit their shop in Rye at least once a year, where I usually spend at least all of my monthly sewing budget in one hit. They stock some beautiful denims and I bought the 8oz washed medium denim and hardware kit for my Harlenes on our most recent trip to Rye. I really wanted a pair in their 11oz Kojima denim, but I already have a dark navy pair of dungas and at almost twice the price (£24 vs £12.50 per metre) the 8oz seemed like a much more sensible option, especially as I hadn’t made the pattern before and wouldn’t be making a toile.

8oz is a lovely weight for this pattern – super comfortable!

Merchant and Mills patterns typically have a relaxed fit, so I always check the finished measurements carefully before selecting which size to make. I had read several reviews of the Harlene pattern where the maker had sized down one or sometimes two sizes – my body measurements put me in a size 10, but I opted for the size 8. The fit is definitely generous and I probably could have made the size 6, but I love how comfy they are and the range of movement I have, so I’m happy with my choice. I didn’t make any alterations other than taking 4″ in length off the straps and 3″ in length from the legs – they are still a little bit long, but luckily I like the look of a turn-up!

I moved the middle two lines of topstitching on the pocket so I could fit my phone in it!

The pattern is packed with lovely details and I absolutely loved working my way through the clever construction. The instructions are excellent and the finish you are left with is really clean and neat. Harlene is definitely not a quick make, but I sped up the process a lot by using two machines – one with regular thread for construction and another with topstitching thread. Not having to continually re-thread my machine every time I needed to topstitch something saved so much time – a second sewing machine is a recent addition to my sewing room and I was incredibly grateful for such a luxury during this make!

I definitely pinned and checked the hem length before I stitched it, but here we are with a turn-up.

Rather than Gutermann topstitch thread I actually used Gutermann extra strong/upholstery thread for my topstitching. It is much easier to sew with – thin enough to fit through a regular machine needle, but thick enough to look like proper topstitching. I used this when I made my last pair of jeans and I will never go back! I chose dark grey to match the gun metal finish of the hardware and I think it looks great.

I really like the Harlene with a plain tee underneath.

I’m really pleased with my Harlenes and they have turned out exactly how I envisaged. The denim is pretty ‘blue’ at the moment, but I am looking forward to seeing how it fades after lots of wearing and washing. That Kojima denim might well be on my Christmas list this year because you really can never have too many pairs of dungarees!

Living my best 90s girl band life!

9 thoughts on “Harlene dungarees

  1. This blog post is exactly what I was looking for. The Harlene Dungarees are definitely on my to-make list this fall! Thanks for your time in writing this up 🙂

  2. They look terrific! So cute and insouciant! M&M does not do themselves any favors with how they market their patterns, I’ve scrolled right by them, but your actual make has got me tempted to buy a copy.

  3. Just re-read your lovely blog and thought you might like to know the Harlene makes up in Kojima beautifully! It is a very well behaved, classy material. I’ve just finished and it is my third make – the first two were in M & M cotton twill and Mason Denim (with gold topstitching for my teenage neice). It is such an absorbing and satifying design and looks lovely in the 8oz washed denim you chose! BW Mary

    1. Hi Mary! Oh I bet your Kojima Harlenes are beautiful – I’ve worn mine so much that I definitely think I can justify buying some more denim to make another pair! It really is a fantastic pattern and my favourite of all the pairs of dungarees I have made.

  4. I love this look on you! I”m curious how tall you are? Trying to figure out how much to shorten…

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