Dungaree dress / Overall jumper


I was intrigued to see the pinterest board for a new Tilly and the Buttons pattern has over half a million followers. What is going on here ? Apart from the power of social media advertising.

As well as the relaxed comfort for nearly everyone, for the 50% of us with no defined waist it’s an easy way to wear a skirt. There are many patterns for small children. But surprisingly few for adults.

I thought I’d have a look around. I only found 3 patterns, and chris at makeandwear has pointed out another. But this style is ‘hot in the shops’, so no wonder a specific pattern is popular.


No obvious technical term to label this style.
The UK patterns are called ‘dungaree dress’.
The US patterns are called ‘overall jumper’.
There’s recently been a free pattern with UK ‘Simply Sewing’ magazine, and they call it a ‘Scandi style pinafore dress’.

A ‘jumper dress’ generally means a sleeveless dress which could be worn alone but is loose enough to wear as a layer over blouse or knits. The designer of this one calls it a “pinafore overall dungaree dress” !
Jennifer Lauren Handmade, Ivy


(mid 2017 – I’ve recently seen some US people using the word ‘jumper’ to refer to a jumpsuit. In the UK this word means a knit pullover !)

While in this post overalls / dungarees just have support from a bib and straps, not fabric coverage under the arms above the waist. Basically you’re unlikely to see these bibbed skirts worn without something underneath !

Though of course overalls / dungarees can also mean the wrist-to-ankle coverage of full protective workwear coveralls, often just called jumpsuits for women. I have fond memories of the very tough one I inherited from my father, worn for painting the bottom of boats. Many jumpsuit patterns. On a quick look I’ve only found a couple of true coveralls patterns, Kwik Sew 3389 and Lekala 6037.

A jumpsuit with shorts rather than pants is called a ‘romper’. Have just discovered, from the newest range of McCall’s patterns, that shorts with a bib and straps are called ‘shortalls’ !

I don’t think I’ve missed anything just because I didn’t use the right words !

Pattern hacks

Some simple ways of making your own pattern, if that’s what you enjoy.

Add a top to a skirt

Add a bib and straps to a skirt pattern.
Here’s a detailed tutorial for adults from Eggs and Daisies.

Change the overalls bottom from pants to skirt

Here’s a pinterest collection of bibbed overall patterns. Many of these pants could be converted to skirts, as in this image.


On this image I took it easy and used straight lines. But hem and side seam need to meet at a right angle. So if your pattern piece has sloping sides, you need to curve the hem shape. For fuller guidance on this see Make everything from one pattern.

If that is more than you want to do, on many patterns you could simply exchange the pants for a gathered rectangle to make a skirt.


But what about the many of us who love sewing and loathe pattern work.

Here are some bibbed-skirt patterns. All have usable pockets. No doubt there are many more.

Kwik Sew 4138 with back zip, includes pants (tissue, bust 31 to 45 in.).


Marilla Walker, Roberts with side buttons, includes pants, and a top to wear with them see photo (download pdf, bust 31 to 49 in.).


Tilly and the Buttons, Cleo with buckles or buttons on straps (tissue, bust 30 to 44 in.),
with some extra sewing tips here.


This pattern from BurdaStyle has a back zip – those buttons are decorative. This is between bib and jumper – does have some fabric under the arms, but probably not enough to be decent for most people. 2021 : Burda 10/2016 #117 – the Burda site now doesn’t go back to 2016.


Four very different styles – pretty, casual, classic, edgy ? I could wear a midi/maxi version of Marilla Walker’s design – which would you pick ?

I haven’t seen the instructions for any of these patterns, but from other experience with these brands I expect they go from most helpful to minimal in the order : Tilly and the Buttons, Kwik Sew, Marilla Walker, BurdaStyle.

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You haven’t got to do double rows of topstitching if the thought makes you shudder (as it does me, not either my style or a technique I can do well). Or make it in denim.
This style works perfectly well without those ‘heavy workwear’ associations. A fabric with some body or crispness is better, but you could use a decorative stitch or a pretty (or special occasion) fabric, and add a maxi skirt and some lace or embroidery to make a soft styled version 😀

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First published December 2016, links checked October 2021

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6 Comments on “Dungaree dress / Overall jumper”

  1. robbie Says:

    Years ago–like late ’70’s–when I was new to sewing I made a maxi length jumper very similar to the ‘Cleo’. I loved it. I can’t believe they’re back in style. I’ve seen them in denim worn with a belt. I think I’m a little too old to wear this style now–but I am tempted.

  2. Burda have a lovely version in one of their recent magazines – Oct I think. I’m not a fan of the cleo… It’s a bit too shapeless, but the simple shape is probably why it has appeal to Tillys followers.

  3. I’m not fond of these although they do look great on some people. I just see it as a skirt with a bib and kind of old fashioned. But I always say “To each, his own”. If it get people being creative then that’s a good pattern!

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