As soon as I saw the new Tilly and The Buttons’ Make It Simple book I knew I needed to make the Bertha Cardigan! I love the unusual shape and giant pockets – because every garment needs pockets! And I’m a sucker for a cosy cardi so I couldn’t resist…
When we visited The Stitch Festival I went on a search for fabric … and I stumbled upon a wonderful range of sweatshirting from Sew Me Sunshine. I instantly bought the navy as it was one of the colours on my list … It has little multi-coloured specks on the navy which adds a bit more depth to the fabric. I also bought it in another colour as a gift. I made the navy cardigan up and proceeded to live in it ! So I went online and ordered the ecru version of the same fabric ready to make another one…
I cut a Size 4 which is the same size I always use for Tilly’s patterns. It seems to fit perfectly and although I have considered making the Ecru version in a size down I actually think I’m going to stick with the size 4 as I quite like how it sits on me. I was also going to shorten it but forgot ! And actually it seems about the right length … I’m 5ft2 for reference.
The pattern pieces seemed really strange as they are crazy shapes … so I made sure to mark all the notches (not something that I always do … sorry!!) and keep the pattern pieces with the fabric so I knew what piece was which.
I made it in an afternoon and was amazed at how quick it was to construct. I did most of it on the overlocker and it was so easy! I suppose that’s the point of the book !!
As I mentioned I made the version with the pockets which is amazing … they are huge and so cosy. However it is one thing I’ve changed for the Ecru version. The pattern tells you to sew two pocket pieces together so they are lined, but as my fabric is pretty thick they have turned out quite bulky. So for the Ecru version I’ve not lined them and have just used 1 layer of fabric to avoid the chunkiness! I definitely prefer the look of it in this fabric – I expect a thinner fabric would work fine double layered but this fabric was a bit too thick for that.
Another issue I had was that the band running from one hem, round the neck and down to the other hem seemed a bit short. On my navy one it seems to pull up a little and turns out to show the inside a bit. It’s not a huge issue but it’s something I’ve tried to solve on the Ecru version by making the band slightly longer. I added about 2 inches (if I’m honest I just guessed!) and it has worked much better. I might unpick the band on my other one and add 2 extra panels on the bottom of each side.
Of course I had to finish them with some Kylie and The Machine Labels … I love how each of them look again the fabrics!
I definitely recommend making yourself one of these cardigans as it’s super cosy, comfy and looks really great. It seems to go with everything … particularly jeans and a top! I love the idea of colour blocked versions but decided to go with plain ones to start with as I thought they would be more versatile. Who knows maybe I will make one of those next !
It’s been a couple of weeks since I popped up a new blog post but with a busy week at work and then everything else happening at the moment in the world (which I’m not dwelling on as too much is getting into my brain and stressing me out at the moment!) it’s just been too much! But my brain has a little bit of space to think and I decided to sit and write this …
I’ve had a recent run of beautiful fabric purchases so I thought I’d do a little run down of what they were and what I’m planning to make with them. The last few months have seen quite a few fabric purchases/gifts and I’m excited to get some of them sewn up asap … so I won’t feel as guilty that they are sitting there!! P.s that’s only a small percentage of it !!
First up is one that I’ve actually made since taking these photos … but this is something I’ve been wanting to make for a while as there have been some gaps in my cardigan/jumper collection! I bought this sweatshirt fabric from Sew Me Sunshine at The Stitch Festival as I was searching for a navy knit fabric to make either a Tilly and the Buttons Nora cardigan or the Bertha cardigan from Tilly’s new book. It’s so beautiful as it has lots of little multi coloured specks to break up the navy. The fabric has a cosy fleece back but it’s not too thick meaning that I should be able to wear it all year round ! I actually love it so much that I’ve bought it in a stone colour to make another one …
Next up is a pattern I’ve been desperate to make ! As soon as the Tilly and The Buttons Bobbi skirt was released I knew I needed it !! … I won this floral denim from Gather n Sew last year and I think it’s going to be the perfect skirt to wear with tights and boots but also bare legs and sandals in the summer. It’s cut out and ready to go so fingers crossed I’ll be able to make it as soon as possible! And there’s also a wonderful khaki green needlecord which I’d like to make another from – I actually won this one as well but from Felicity Fabrics ! Inspired by Purple Sewing Cloud I want to try adding a scalloped hem as I think it would look so beautiful with the deep khaki …
This make is another one that I’ve managed to finished before getting this blog up … I made a Freya dress this time last year and had some of this wonderful whale cotton jersey from Fabworks leftover. I’d been saving it for some pjs and when I saw the Shortie version of the Juno Pj’s in Tilly’s new book I couldn’t resist! I was planning to use white jersey to make the top but actually I had enough of the whale fabric to make both… they don’t take up that much fabric which is amazing.
Ever since I made my first Indigo dress I’ve wanted to make a floaty viscose version … when I went to The Stitch Festival I couldn’t resist this beautiful viscose. I love a stripe and a floral and this one combines the two ! I want to make the dress version (which I’ll probably have to shorten!) probably with the exposed gather and I want to try and make the sleeves work this time.
A couple of nice quick projects are these two beautiful jerseys that I’m planning on making into Tabitha t-shirts. I found these both at The Stitch Festival – the space one from Sew Me Sunshine and the Leopard print is from Fabric Godmother. I can’t wait to make these … I’m also planning some plain ones which I’m going to add iron on transfers to! I bought a Cricut Joy and have been experimenting so watch out for lots of design ideas (spoiler I’ve already made a little moomin, a narwhal and some Beatles themed designs!!). Actually as I’m writing this I’m wondering what I could add to these two fabrics too …
I can’t resist making another Mandy Boat Tee and this pastel orange stripe (from Girl Charlee before they closed in the UK) will be perfect! I don’t wear a lot of orange but I’m excited to try it out. And you can’t go wrong with a stripe !!! This will be another simple make particularly as I have made 3 already !
I’m desperate to make these dungarees from Tilly’s Make It Simple book, but trying to decide on fabric is proving tricky !! I can’t decide whether this fabric will work … its a textured viscose (from Gather n Sew … they don’t have this colour but do have it in mustard here). I was planning on making a dress with it but I’m really loving wearing trousers and skirts at the moment so wondered if this was a better use of the fabric. But then it’s lovely and drapey so to me is calling out for a dress … I’ve got some double gauze so might give that a go instead… Does anyone else struggle with committing to making with certain fabrics ?
These three have been in my stash for a while and I love them so much! However I’m so undecided on what to make – I think they would make lovley tops as I only have 1m of the greens (both remnants from Holm Sown) and 1.5m (I think) of the floral (again from Gather n Sew). But which ones … I found this pattern in my stash which I might have a go at, particularly the scalloped edge ones! I also really want to make the Hannah Wrap dress as a top so am wondering about using the floral cotton lawn for that. I also love the All Well Workshop Box Top as it’s a beautiful simple pattern … What’s your favourite top pattern? Leave your suggestions below !
So there’s most of my plans … although I have got a few other bits that I’ve started or have planned since I took all these photos! Be sure to follow me on Instagram as I’m posting more and more stories whilst everything is going on and I’ll be showing progress on there. Hopefully I’ll be back very soon with another blog as this was actually really nice to write once I sat down … Speak you soon !!
On Sunday I went to The Stitch Festival held at Business Design Centre in Islington after winning tickets from @ooobop on Instagram ! I spent Thursday, Friday and Saturday constantly watching everyone Instagram stories and feeling so jealous. I was so excited to see all the wonderful businesses and maybe make a few cheeky fabric purchases … I’ve never been to the Knitting and Stitching show or any of the other sewing fairs before (although I do love The Handmade Festival!) so was interested to see what it was like. And it definitely didn’t disappoint !! It was an early start for a Sunday but it was such a beautiful day … we (my friend and I) sat on the platform waiting for our train and the sun was so warm (who remembers what that felt like!?!). We arrived at 10am ish and straight away got stuck in visiting Higgs and Higgs, Fabrics Galore and Sew me Sunshine/ The Fold Line. A fabric lovers dream !!! It was so lovely being able to stroke all the fabrics and feel the quality.
My first purchase was some dreamy navy sweatshirt fabric with multi-coloured specks throughout it. It’s going to be either a Nora cardigan or a Bertha Cardigan but either way its going to be ridiculously snuggly. I bought it from the lovely Harriet from Sew Me Sunshine who was so helpful! In fact we ended up at the Sew Me Sunshine stand many times during the day … you know you’ve bought too much fabric when the stallholders recognise you!! Harriet had 2 lovely helpers with her too, Louise who I love watching on Pattern Pals and was so willing to pass on tips and tricks! And Harriet’s godmother Gael who was so warm and welcoming every time we came to the stall. I also bought some burgundy sweatshirting from the same range but that’s to make a gift! Shhhh … And the final thing I bought from Sew Me Sunshine was this absolutely dreamy jersey … I mean look at those beautiful planets !! I think it’s a cotton jersey and feels so lovely, perfect for making a cute tee shirt – probably the new one from Tilly’s book …
I also bought another cotton jersey but from Fabric Godmother … it’s a really pretty turquoise and yellow leopard print which was so unusual that I couldn’t resist! Again I think it will be a basic tee like the new Tilly pattern from the Make It Simple book! I’ve always really loved Fabric Godmother’s fabrics and have bought many online before but it was really nice to be able to look through the wonderful range they had on display. Also they had decorated their stall in that amazing yellow tile style print that just looks amazing whenever anyone makes something with it !!
You’ll start to learn that I’m a massive Tilly and the Buttons fan … I love their patterns and when the Indigo dress was released I was so excited! Gathered waist dresses always draw my attention and the interesting features of the Indigo made it just that little bit different.
I bought the pattern straight away and using a Hobbycraft gift card that I received for my birthday I purchased some lovely Blue/Green tartan cotton. It’s really lightweight but is still not see through and has washed and worn so well!
The pattern has a few different versions … which I mixed and matched and changed !! Going from the finished measurements I thought that the top version looked like it might be long enough for me as a dress – I’m 5ft2 and wear dresses quite short, normally above the knee. However when I had got to the point of trying it on I found it was a little short so I added a panel along the bottom which meant it was the perfect length, and I actually really like the look of the additional strip. Originally I did add a lace panel in between the skirt and fabric strip but I think it was too lightweight as it didn’t sit very well so I scrapped that and opted for just the fabric!
Another thing I changed was the sleeves, I had cut out the sleeves and actually attached them. However when I tried it on there was just too much tartan ! I don’t know what it was but it just didn’t feel like the dress was balanced with the sleeves … I think also it was partly due to the fabric as it doesn’t have much drape so the sleeves sat a bit odd. So I took them off and instead of making them short I just decided to get rid of them all together – in hindsight short sleeves would probably have worked really well but for some reason it was all or nothing at the time !!! To finish the arm holes I used some satin blue bias binding which was great, it means that when I wear it over a top the armholes don’t cling and drag.
I did go for the exposed gather which I thought was such an interesting feature … it was a much more involved process but so worth it ! I would definitely use the technique on other gathered dresses as it really looks beautiful.
Something else that I added were waist ties in a navy viscose that I had in my stash. As with many people who made the Indigo I was inspired to add waist ties by Joy from Pink Coat Club, and it really does make a difference as it just pulls in the waist slightly. I would definitely make sure I added them to future versions too …
I’ve had so much wear out of this make and it’s definitely been a winter staple … the fabric has washed really well and I can’t wait to mix up how I wear it as spring and summer arrive ! I’ve mainly worn it with long sleeved jersey tops underneath, thick tights and boots but think it would look equally cute with trainers and bare legs with a denim jacket.
I’ve been meaning to make another Indigo for a while … I really want to make a viscose version as I think the drape would really suit the pattern. These three from Guthrie and Ghani are very beautiful so maybe I need to go fabric shopping !! I am going to the Stitch Festival this Sunday so that might be something I look out for …
Have you made the Indigo ? Tag me in your versions as I’d love to see them !!
Last autumn I decided I needed a new winter coat … I bought a snuggly rust orange puffa coat which I have lived in ever since. However there have been a few occasions when I really needed a smarter coat that is still warm but just looks that bit classier. So I tried on a few long length woollen coats in the shops and was surprised to find they actually did suit me … but the fit was a real issue with the majority of them! I’m 5ft 2 – so many were too long. I’m normally around a size 10 but when I tried them on they swamped me, and if I tried on a smaller size they were too restrictive. At the same time many of the more fitted shapes were huge on my narrow shoulders. So I started considering making my own … arghh scary !
I had seen the Cocoon Coat by Sew Over It before and really liked it. It has quite a relaxed fit which definitely appealed to me as a first coat project. I also really loved the shape of the collar and the fact that it had pockets! It’s only available as a PDF so I bought it – and very helpfully Sew Over It had a 20% off discount code at the time!
Then I needed to find fabric … this was tricky as I didn’t want to spend loads, mainly because I didn’t know how well it was going to go. So I started scouring the online fabric shops to try and find the perfect fabric … and as so often happens Holm Sown came up trumps !! Rachel had a range of Herringbone wool mixes which were reduced to just £5 a metre (£1.25 per 1/4 metre) and I fell in love with the burgundy/red colour way (there’s also a black and a brown version). So I ordered 3m which only came to a bargain £15 – the pattern requires 2.5m but I think I was a bit worried about messing parts up or not having enough fabric so bought a bit extra! And I’ve actually got about 1.2 metres left so considering making a cute skirt or pinafore with the remaining … For the lining I was a bit stuck, I didn’t want to use lots of polyester style lining as I wanted it to still be breathable. Tamlyn from Sewn on the Tyne recommended contacting 1st for Fabrics and they were so helpful! I explained my situation and Kayleigh sent through photos of potential options, she then sent me a few samples so that I could hold them against the coat fabric. We decided on a black and white spotty viscose for the bodice, with a deep red coat lining for the arms. I love clashing prints and these two went really well!
Cutting out the pattern was simple – although I opted for scissors to cut the wool and my hand was dying by the time I finished !! There aren’t too many pieces so it didn’t take ages (much quicker than assembling the PDF pattern!!). I did have to be careful with the wool fabric as it’s quite a loose weave and the edges did fray if messed with too much.
In general I found the whole process really quite simple … the pockets were probably the trickiest part as I had never tried making welt pockets! But I worked through it, watched a few videos and once I got my head around how it worked it wasn’t too bad … and the end result looks really good!
I really struggled with what size to make and mid way through making the coat I did have a mini panic that it was massive! I made a size 12 as it was a bit bigger than my actual measurements and I knew I would want to layer underneath it …
However when I put the sleeves in and tried it on they were huge – I removed them and tried taking in the shoulders but it didn’t work. At that point I then looked at other peoples versions and realised that the pattern actually had dropped shoulders … so I reattached the sleeves and gave them a good press to flatten them and it was much better.
There was also quite a bit of excess fabric on the back under my arms … I considered taking in the side seams however the pockets were quite near the side seam so I didn’t want to take too much out! So I decided to add two darts to the back to try and minimise the bulk. It did work and ended up looking quite neat after pressing! I wonder whether if I made another one I would make a size smaller … or even grade down to a 10 on the body and hips, keeping the top at a 12.
Attaching the lining was pretty simple too … the instructions are really clear and guide through each stage. I had a few issues pinning and sewing the hem but that was mainly because I wanted to shorten the coat a bit. I only shortened it by around 5cm but it threw off the measurements so I had to wing it a bit!
I tried to finish all the edges with my overlocker as the edges did fray quite a bit as I mentioned. I didn’t want any seams to unravel when worn! Another finishing touch I added was a Kylie and The Machine label and ribbon hook to hang it by. I have recently got quite the selection of labels so it was tricky to work out which to choose – I went with one from the limited edition pack which says Made With Love in pretty pink metallic thread.
I’m so happy with this make and super proud that I managed it without any major issues ! I can’t wait to wear it out and about – I think it may well make an appearance when I visit the Stitch Festival ! I’d definitely recommend it as a great entry level coat pattern as it is straightforward, no tricky fastenings, an easy to attach lining and it would look different in different fabrics.
I was going to wait to do this blog until I had created a few more pieces but I thought why not post one now and then a progress one later on ! I love sewing – obviously – but I hardly ever sew if I’m not at the machine. And like many I struggle to sit in the evenings without doing anything with my hands (and brain!!) so I’ve been meaning to start some cross stitch, embroidery or similar for aagess!
On Instagram I’m constantly drooling over beautiful embroidery and recently saw @SewYeah creating amazing pieces which she called Mindful Embroidery … and I loved it so much! So eventually I gave it a go …
She uses little shapes and off cuts of vinyl ironed onto a piece of fabric. I bought some Happy Fabric vinyls last year at The Handmade Festival and also won some Cricut vinyls (available at Hobbycraft ) before Christmas and have been stuck on how to use them … so I’m so glad to have found a use! Especially for all the little pieces that you get left with when you’re cutting out for other projects! I used a variety of colours and textures including flocked, glitter, holographic and solid colours too … I think it create a really interesting look. I also used my Cricut Heat Press that I won – it was my first try using it an it’s so simple and effective!! I’ve used it a lot since tis project as it’s really simple to use and the regulated temperature helps hugely with the vinyl transfer …
Once you’ve arranged these on the fabric and pressed them into place the embroidery begins !
I’m not that experienced when it comes to hand embroidery as I’ve always done more freemotion machine embroidery but I was eager to give it a go. The good thing about this is that you don’t have to do any stitches in particular places so you are free to make little mistakes as it won’t be hugely noticeable! So I tried to be as free as I could without thinking too much about the embroidery … just choosing a colour and sewing! I hoped that this would help me create a more random, doodle like piece.
The finished hoop turned out really lovely … I just love the combination of different textures and colours! And it seems that somehow I managed to create a little fly like creature as part of the design!! To finish it I just trimmed the fabric down and used running stitch around it to draw in the fabric. I’ve now got it sat on my shelf and I love seeing it as I walk into my bedroom!
I really enjoyed the process … it was so much easier than I expected which allowed me to relax and not concentrate on it! I can definitely see it being a craft that could be done on the train, in the car and, as I do, in front of the TV. I enjoyed it so much that I have already started another … this time a slightly bigger piece which I’m going to make into a cushion (below) ! I also had a brainwave that I could add patches to clothes – I think it would look super cool on denim maybe on a skirt or denim jacket … the world is my crafting oyster !! I’ll be sure to post photos of my finished pieces on Instagram and maybe I’ll write another blog soon …
Last year was most definitely a year of ruffles in my wardrobe (and let’s be honest it’s going to continue in 2020!). I think I first saw the Mira dress by Fibre Mood on Instagram, I remember seeing Self Assembly Required’s beautiful version and knew it was one I needed to make ! So I headed over to their website and discovered they had an offer where you could get a PDF pattern for 1 euro … so obviously I jumped at that and purchased the Mira Dress straight away!
If you haven’t seen the pattern before it’s a beautiful shape. It has a cropped, high waisted bodice with 2 full ruffled tiers for the skirt. It has flattering 3/4 length straight sleeves and a high neckline. I’m 5ft 2 and don’t think I had to shorten it at all which is very unusual ! In fact I made no changes which is great – I have quite narrow shoulders but it sits perfectly.
First off, for both versions I made a size 38. They both fit really beautifully, however I would be interested to try making a size down just because I have seen a few people’s Mira dresses which look much more fitted. It’s worth noting that you have to add on seam allowances to the pattern pieces so watch out for that !!
Ok let’s start with my first version which is show above left …
I bought this beautiful viscose on holiday last year when I visited Holm Sown in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway (Rachel still has it in stock so grab it while you can!) . It’s drapey, a lovely weight and a really unusual print. The colours are so vibrant and as there are so many different colours in it I can pair lots with it ! Obviously pockets had to be added … this was really simple as the dress has side seams so I could just add them in. This version has plain navy pockets as it meant that I would possibly have enough of this beautiful fabric to make a top !
As you can see it’s one of those dresses that you have to twirl in … the ruffles hang so beautifully in this fabric that you can’t help but swish around !!
The second one is possibly even more beautiful !! I didn’t think it was possible but this fabric is just the most lovely, flowy fabric ever… It is an Atelier Brunette fabric called Posie Viscose Dobby in Blue. I bought it on sale with Minerva Crafts as a treat and it didn’t disappoint !
The fabric was a little sheer so I decided to line it … I lined the top except the sleeves and then made a straight underskirt as I thought too many ruffles would make it too weighty. The lining is just a plain navy viscose but its super soft and floaty!
I was so surprised at how easy the pattern was. I’m very guilty of sticking to the same pattern companies – I’m basically an expert in Tilly and The Buttons patterns ! So trying Fibre Mood felt a bit scary but honestly their instructions were really clear and the dress was so simple to construct …
I’d really like to have a think about how I could hack the pattern. The top fits beautifully so I may try lengthening the bodice to make a top, possibly with a ruffle but even just straight would be really lovely ! You could even lengthen the bodice right down to make an a-line/straight mini dress – that would look really neat especially with trainers and a slouchy blazer ! I also would like to make it midi length as that’s a style I want to start wearing a bit more. I might even make a version in double gauze as I saw soso.sewing made one and it’s beautiful !! Perfect for summer and I won some powder blue double gauze from Sew Hayley Jane which would be super cute …
Ooo so many ideas … I’d love to hear if you’d made a Mira dress, what did you think ? Tag me in your versions as I always enjoy seeing different versions !
This year I’ve decided not to do a make nine as last year the 9 garments that I chose weren’t really practical makes! And by the end of 2019 they weren’t my style … so all in all it didn’t work that well! So this year I’m going to choose a few garments along with some resolutions …
1. Sew more basics! I have a lot of T-shirt’s, long sleeved tops, cardigans etc that I’ve had for years and now don’t wear quite so much. This is either because they’re getting a bit old or they aren’t my style. So I’d like to make some key basics. The Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuti Fabrics was a great starter as I love the style! I need to find a basic tee that I love too – maybe the Tabitha t-shirt from the new Tilly and the Buttons Make it Simple book. And I also want to make a few Nora cardigan hacks or even the Bertha cardigan from the new book!
2. Try something bigger/trickier … I’ve already taken some steps towards this ! I’ve bought the Cocoon coat from Sew Over It along with some beautiful herringbone wool mix fabric from Holm Sown (It’s in the sale and comes in 4 colours ! A proper bargain!) … I just need some lining and then I’m ready to get making. I want to get started with this as soon as possible so I can wear it during Spring. The other trickier make that I want to try is the Libby shirt from Sew Over It … again I’ve got the fabric ready to go. It’s going to be worn mainly for work so I’ve chosen a pale blue cotton but if it works I would quite like to make some more casual versions too!
3. Shop my stash! I’m not going to ban myself from buying fabric but I’m going to concentrate on using up my stash! There are lots of fabrics that I’ve had ideas for but just never got round to deciding and making … so I will do that in 2020. This one links to the next resolution …
4. Plan More Along with shopping my stash I want to plan. I’ve always been someone who buys fabric because it is pretty and then I decide what to make with it after … so I’d like to try and pause more before buying! I’m going to think about what to make and whether it is necessary in my wardrobe. Writing lists is something that I like doing so if I try to be stricter in sticking to the plans hopefully that will help with using up my stash and making a more useful wardrobe.
5. Wear more skirts and maybe trousers !?!? I very very rarely wear trousers, for some reason I don’t feel as ‘me’ in them ! However I have been loving so many tops which would look best with jeans or even some skirts … so I’d like to try and expand the range of outfits I have to choose from in my wardrobe. I wore jeans the other day with my Mandy Boat Tee and actually thought it looked quite nice so I’m excited to try mixing things up more!
6. Salvage some of the garments I’ve abandoned !! I’ve got a pile of makes that haven’t worked for whatever reason – normally it’s a fit issue or the style doesn’t suit me … but I want to make them work! A few of them shouldn’t take too long – for example a Nora gathered waist dress just needs the waist raising and then hemming! Simple! Others are a little trickier, like the button up dress by In the Folds (Peppermint Magazine), I need to unpick the facing, take in the princess seams, shorten considerably and then add snaps … hopefully then it will fit and become a useful garment! I’d also like to stop creating this pile !? Surely that’s not too difficult right !
And then I’ve got a few garments already planned – these are the most immediate ones I want to make …
A new work skirt out of some chunky ribbed ponte A new work shirt as I mentioned earlier A By Hand London Hannah dress is definitely needed – possibly a wearable toile top first! Another Indigo dress but maybe this time in viscose I’ve also just bought the Bobbi pinafore and skirt from Tilly and The Buttons and can’t wait to make that!
And of course my Cocoon Coat in beautiful burgundy herringbone wool mix … wish me luck with that !!
So hopefully I’ll be able to follow these resolutions to make myself more productive and stop excessive buying/making. Fingers crossed anyway!
I’d love to hear about any of your plans/resolutions – head over to Instagram or comment below!
Eeek here goes! My first blog … I thought I would start with something I know! My most made pattern, the cleo dungaree dress from Tilly and the Buttons! I’ve made 8 for myself plus 2 as gifts for my sisters, it was also the first proper involved make I tried. You’ll soon learn here that I am a dress or skirt kind of girl so the dungaree dress is a great casual option for my wardrobe that I can wear year round … hence I made a whole collection !
I’m going to walk you through each one to let you know what changes I made, what fabric I used and my thoughts about each make! Just to let you know they are all a size 4 in Tilly’s pattern sizing and for reference I tend to be a size 10 on top and 12 on bottoms/hips as I am a pear shape. My measurements are 88cm bust, 76cm waist and 99cm hips. I also tend to make the mini version and quite often shorten it as I prefer short skirts and I am 5ft 2inches so patterns always come out longer on me!
So I just had to scroll back through Facebook to find the first photo I posted of the very first Cleo dress I made and it was May 2017 !! I can’t believe it was that long ago … I remember deciding to use black denim as it would hide any slightly wonky stitching or mistakes! But actually it is a great staple and one I really need to wear more … I think the denim was either from myfabrics.co.uk or Minerva but it’s just a basic black stretch denim!
Next up was a plain pink one … but with sage green stitching ! I know I really pushed the boat out this time !! I’ve always loved pink and green together so when trying to choose topstitching the sage green just worked so well and it’s subtle but so effective. Again I think the pink denim was either from myfabrics.co.uk or Minerva – can you see where I was buying fabric from at the start of my dressmaking journey!
I think the next one that I made was out of some fabric that I treated myself to … I’ve been a fan of Rifle Paper Co. prints for such a long time and when I realised they did fabric I just knew I needed to use it ! This is the Navy Rosa Canvas which you can still buy (I know Cloth and Candy still stock it) and its just the most wonderful quality. I tried out a little hack by adding a ruffle around the pocket – it’s subtle but I love it and it was super simple too! It’s probably my most worn make ever and doesn’t even look like it’s been used and I made it back in February 2018 !!
After the ruffle on the pocket I decided to give another hack a go … I’d seen someone add ruffles to the straps of a dungaree dress and loved it! So I decided to try it out, it was so simple and looks super cute. The only thing I would say is that I would recommend this hack if your fabric is a softer, lighter weight as the ruffle is quite rigid which makes layering it up tricky. I used a cotton canvas from Cath Kidston which is quite sturdy so the ruffle is a bit clunky, I might remove the ruffle to make it more wearable but I would definitely add it to another cleo in a lighter fabric!
I went back to a plain colour next but went fancy with some embroidery on the pocket. I realised that I never used any other stitches on my sewing machine and some of them are really lovely so I decided to try some out! There are also stars around the hem and on the straps. I also decided to use buttons instead of buckles as something a bit different and I really like the look of them. The mustard/gold denim is from Holm Sown and its a beautiful weight! Side note for some unknown reason I cut the back piece on the fold without thinking so unsurprisingly it’s a bit roomier … I keep meaning to take it in slightly but haven’t got round to it as it’s not huge!
The next one I created was in another Rifle Paper Co. fabric that I got on sale (I really can’t remember where from though sorry !!). It’s a pale grey with a subtle metallic geometric print and is quite lightweight. Now I haven’t worn this one much at all as I discovered that it creases quite badly when worn !! I must try it again and see if it really is that bad because I really love it … I hacked it to have tie straps and loops instead of buckles.
Rifle Paper Co. is back again … can you tell that I love their fabrics ? Anyway I bought this English Garden Juliet Rose canvas from The Tartan Reel (They still have the cream version) because I just couldn’t resist and was going to make a Ness Skirt out of it inspired by Tilly Walnes’ version. However I decided to make another cleo as I knew how much I had worn the prevous Rifle Paper dress and didn’t want to waste it on a new pattern that I may not wear as much! I’m so glad I did because its just so beautiful! I also decided to add a bit of freemotion embroidery to the pocket and straps, nothing too much but instead just picking out details of the pattern to emphasise and add texture. I even added some gold details sewn by hand. In the rather windswept photo of me in Brighton the dress has tie straps … I changed them to buckles as that was the original plan but I was too impatient to wait for them to arrive before a day out!!
And the final one that I have is made from a wonderful botanical print cotton from Ikea. It’s super cool and I’ve got a bit of a plant obsession so I couldn’t resist it and bonus it was super reasonably priced. I bought 2 m and have managed to get a Cleo dress AND a Ness Skirt which is amazing! This Cleo was a simple straightforward make with no changes … and I made it whilst on my summer holiday when we went caravanning ! Yes I took my sewing machine away and loved sewing when I didn’t need to be doing anything else … look at the beautiful view of the Scottish coast !
So that’s it ! My wonderful collection of Cleos … I really love making and wearing this pattern and always recommend it as a great start for beginners. I think my most favourite is the first Rifle Paper Co one and it’s definitely my most worn me-made … I think I might slow down on the Cleo production now and work on ways to make a couple of them more wearable such as removing the ruffle from the strap and taking in the mustard version. I also want to find more ways to wear the grey one as I really like it but never reach for it when I’m getting dressed. I really hope you enjoyed reading this blog and I can’t wait to keep writing more for you all … Now what should I write about next ?!