My makes · Sewing plans

Cleo clicked!

Hi there!

Happy new year!  Welcome to 2017; here’s hoping it’s a little easier on the nerves than last year was.

I had quite a busy festive period, sewing wise, or at least the run up to Christmas.  Particularly on Christmas Eve night when, having told the children all day that Santa would bring gifts in the big sacks he’d used last year, Mr Red blithely announced that he’d looked all over that morning and hadn’t been able to find them, but hadn’t thought to mention it til now.

Guess who was sewing impromptu patchwork sacks until well past bed time on Christmas Eve?

Anyway, I also did a fair amount of internet browsing (of course!) particularly after the annual chest infection took hold :-/  Tilly’s new pattern, of course, accounted for a fair number of the makes popping up on my Instagram feed and, slowly, it grew on me.

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I have to admit that, at first, this one didn’t really appeal to me.  It’s not my usual style at all and I have two small daughters, which means I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time squashing very small limbs into this style of dress in the recent past.

However, slowly but surely, it grew on me.  A number of darker, cord versions beckoned and eventually, one tipped me over the edge and I bought the pdf pattern (a decision made easier by my recent acquisition of a printer that works over the wifi i.e. can live in a cupboard and not need wires to connect to my computer).  Tilly’s seasonal discount code didn’t hurt either.

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I’d admired the aubergine cord kit on Tilly’s site but it had sold out.  It definitely influenced my purchase of this 16 wale cord from Minerva Crafts, which turned out to be a nice quality for the price. I then spent a lot of time searching various sites for the size of pinafore buckles defined in the pattern.

This proved to be futile.

I hate when this happens, it’s hardly the first time that I’ve tried to get hold of the specific size of something stated on the pattern envelope, only to find that it’s like trying to get hold of rocking horse poo!  In the end I ordered these 40mm ones from John Lewis, largely because I was fed up of Googling and coming up blank!

My measurements at the moment are 35″/30″/40″ so I cut a size 4 based on Tilly’s non-judgemental sizing.  I cut the straps slightly wider than indicated so that they wouldn’t flap about in the larger-than-specified buckle.  I also looked to reduce the bulk a little by cutting the facing from some Art Gallery Fabrics cotton I had left from a very early make.

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I chose to make both the front bib pocket and two back hip pockets.  I like the look and let’s face it, I’m addicted to my phone and need somewhere to stash it!

So far #sewingcleo so good!

A post shared by Rebecca (@redwsews) on

The make itself was pretty straightforward, until I went to try the dress on before sewing the facing in place.  There was an enormous amount of space at the waist, to the point where my underwear would have been clearly on display to anyone standing next to me! I took nearly an inch out at both side seams, blending to the top of my hip where the fit was rather more snug.

When I went to pin the facing in place, expecting to need a similar adjustment there, I found that it fit perfectly.  Clearly what had happened was that the curved side of the dress fronts had stretched, which to say how carefully I’d handled it, really surprised me.  Lesson learned: if it looks curved and you don’t want it to change, stay stitch it first thing!

Other than that, it was a straightforwards sew.  The pockets ended up with a double row of stitching purely because I wasn’t happy with how far from the edge my first attempt was.  I think it actually looks better this way anyway, so that’s a happy accident.

Then I tried it on.  And I hated it.

It made my look like a great big purple bean with a saggy belly.

Ok, photo with it on: thoughts? All I see is lovingly hugged belly!

A post shared by Rebecca (@redwsews) on

Not my dream look.

Instagram consultation led me to unpick the side seams and resew them, which only gave me a fraction of an inch at each side as I’d blithely overlocked everything as I went along.

But actually, it made a world of difference.  I still think I look pretty bad sideways on (why do my skirts always look like that? Is it just the extent of my sway back causing things to go awry?) but I’ve come to the conclusion that most others probably don’t look amazing that way either, and they’re still wearing the comfy frocks!

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And it really is comfy.  I wore it all day with a black polo neck top and boots, plus a slip (that cord really sticks to the tights otherwise) and it was great.  It’s pretty short though so I think I will lengthen the next one a tad.  I’m not a fan of the long length with front slit look so will just add a little to the existing pattern piece. This one has the smallest hem I could manage!

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But there will be another one.  Even Mr Red likes this one, and that’s pretty rare (his usual comment is, “yes, it’s a good one, that, isn’t it”. To everything) And there was some lovely bronze denim that beckoned to me in Fabric Godmother’s sale (under no circumstances are we discussing my credit card bill and what proportion of it relates to fabric sale purchases!!)

So yes, Cleo and I finally clicked!

Also, this is the first of my #2017makenine projects so, given it’s only week 2 of the year, I’m pretty happy with that!

Did you have a productive Christmas break?

Becca x

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12 thoughts on “Cleo clicked!

  1. Fab Cleo, love the colour and it looks great on. I’m tempted by this pattern but not sure it will suit my body shape, if I do give it a go it will definitely be in cord.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this and I too have been seeing ti all over my instagram feed. My problem is that I made myself a burgundy cord dungaree skirt when I was about 15 back in the mid 1980’s and I loved it. I always thought if you remembered a fashion the first time round it meant you are too old for it this time! I did love it though, and I do love this on you….tempting!!

    Liked by 1 person

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