My Cleo Collection

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 ?!