I was so excited to finally get started on this next project using the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress Pattern, after having it in my stash for a while now. This dress is quite different from my normal style but I’ve been looking forward to having a relaxed, fun, dress like this in my wardrobe to throw on for days when I don’t want to be dressed up to the nines.

The pattern has a couple of different options and I chose to use dungaree clips on the straps rather than buttons (I think I’ll use the buttons in another version but I really wanted to give the clips a go as I’ve never used them before in sewing and there’s something so nostalgic about them I just had to take the opportunity to use them). For the length I went sort of in between the two suggested lengths with a knee length version. I also added the front split, one large pocket on the front bib and two small bum height pockets on the back.

I was initially looking for a plain light pink corduroy but then I saw this amazing ditsy bird and floral print option and obviously novelty print is always going to win over plain in my eyes! This fabric also comes in blue and grey colour-ways. This corduroy is a medium weight fabric although as corduroys go I would say it is quite light and supple. Also, it is so soft! I love the texture of the vertical striped pile.

Sewing-wise, I thought the fabric could prove a little tricky to control when attaching the seams as I thought the two piles against each other might slip but I was worrying for no reason as it didn’t cause any problems at all! This spurred me on to try a mock flat felled seam (next step is a true flat felled seam but one step at a time eh)! I love the finish this gives on the outside with the lengths of topstitching parallel to the seam line.

For the facing I used a contrasting polka dot cotton. I had two reasons for this, one was that I thought the corners would be very bulky with 4 layers of corduroy but also that I love a little peak of contrasting pattern and colour. I usually use a contrasting fabric for things like trouser and skirt pockets so I snuck a little flash of red in.

When it comes to sewing straps I have a bit of a love-hate relationship as I love a finished strap but I absolutely hate trying to turn them. It very rarely works for me! So you can understand I was rather trepidatious when approaching the straps for the Cleo dress, especially using a thicker fabric like this, however, miracle of miracles, they turned with no problem! I’m not sure if it’s the softness of the fabric allowing it to slip though or if the straps were just wide enough to allow room for them to turn but either way, I can assure you, if you are using this fabric, stress-free strap turning.

An element of the dress I really enjoyed was fitting the no sew dungaree clips. I thought I might be able to get my hammer out although sadly it wasn’t required as a firm push was sufficient to attach the pin side to the top cap. I decided how far in to attach the clips by lining up the outside edge of the bib with the outside edge of the straps.

This dress was such a lovely straightforward sew. I had it all sewn up and finished in one day. I had imagined it with a cream polo neck and matching opaque tights and now the weather is warming up perhaps a little collared blouse and bare legs. I want to make another Cleo already, in the mini length, and maybe with front hip pockets to mix things up a little!

Thanks for reading and happy sewing!


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