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DIY,  Sewing Pattern Review

DIY Overalls: Tilly and the Buttons Mila Dungarees Review

The Mila Dungarees from Tilly and the Buttons is one of my favorite sewing projects to date. I love working with Tilly and the Button patterns. 

I took my time making these overalls. I find sewing more enjoyable when I break projects up into small daily tasks. With that said, I can’t offer any valuable insight on how long it takes to complete the dungarees. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows that it took me months. But during that time, I was also focused on other hobbies, like circus aerial arts and shoemaking.

I used size 6 of the pattern without any adjustments. I prefer a higher waist. They tend to be more flattering than the drop waist on these overalls, but otherwise, the fit is decent, and I like the length. At 5’9 I appreciate not having to make additional adjustments to get my preferred length. 

Instead of experimenting with a topstitch in a bold color, I only used black thread. I would be annoyed if the lines weren’t perfectly straight, so I didn’t want to risk using something extremely noticeable. I love the all-black thread. 

Are the Mila Dungarees Beginner Friendly?

Tilly and the Buttons categorize the overalls for confident beginners, and that category feels right to me. I am a beginner sewist who sews infrequently but can read a pattern.

Tilly and the Buttons patterns are great because they come with clear, easy-to-follow instructions. That’s super helpful for beginner sewists. The instructions also include clear, colored photos. I purchased the PDF version of this pattern. However, I also love the thick paper that they use for their paper patterns.

I detest tissue paper patterns and taping together a million sheets of printer paper. My preference is PDFs with the A0 files that I can send to a copy shop. It just makes it so much easier to reuse patterns. Tilly and the Buttons do offer the A0 file option.

These overalls are probably one of the most complex sewing projects that I’ve done so far. This was my first time working with denim and buttons. Adding the buttons to thick denim fabric was the most challenging part for me.

Fabric and Materials: 

I love this stretch denim indigo fabric from Fabric.com. The color is amazing, the denim is a nice quality and it was pretty easy to work with. I will use it again for other projects. 

I didn’t have any issues with the pattern or materials for this project until I got to the end. Attaching the waistband and adding buttons was a little frustrating.

The pattern requires two 1 ¼ – 1 ½in buckles and six 5/8in denim buttons. You can buy the buckles from Tilly and the Buttons. They were unavailable when I purchased this pattern so I ended up purchasing the buckles and buttons together from another shop. If I ever remember exactly where I’ll add the link. 

Problem Areas:

I had trouble wrapping my mind around attaching the front bib and back to the pants with the waistbands. The instructions were clear so I’m blaming the issue on a mental fog. I tried to finish the overalls right after making my first pair of shoes so I may have been a little burnt out. 

Adding the buttons on the tab was the most difficult part. I had to redo them several times and eventually ended up switching the button placement on the back and front tabs, which is why that area of the overalls isn’t as smooth. Repeatedly removing the thick button thread compromises the fabric some. 

I think my biggest issue with the buttons was the thickness. By the time you get to the buttons, there are multiple layers of fabric pieced together and my machine had some difficulty navigating that thickness. When I practiced adding buttons to scrap pieces of fabric, it worked fine. But the thread would start knotting when I did it on the overalls. 

Unrelated, I also accidentally cut a tiny hole in one of the pants legs with my serger, but that’s relatively easy to patch up. 

I typically like to include a cost breakdown for all of my projects, but I dropped the ball on keeping track of all of the receipts for this one.

Unfortunately, Tilly and the Buttons doesn’t make a lot of patterns that match my style. But, I recommend them to beginners who are eager to work with sewing patterns. 

Despite a few snags, the Mila Dungarees was a fairly simple, easy-to-follow pattern that produced a comfy and attractive pair of overalls. 


  • Kristen

    Wow! I love this outfit and can’t wait to begin making mine! I’ve looked all over for denim fabric that would stretch and thanks to you, I know just where to shop!

  • Sandy Manuel

    Great article and beautiful pics. I love the transparency and authenticity. Thanks for sharing the good, easy and challenging areas when making these overalls.

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