Made by Me!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Cleo Pinafore dress - Finished!

Happy New Year to everyone and thank you so much for following me through 2016! Its been a year of big happenings, getting married and turning 40 being the major events for me along with the general political turmoil in the UK and everywhere else in the world; for many 2016 is a year to forget but for me its definitely had its highlights. The one thing that has stayed constant is my addiction to sewing and during this last year I really do feel like I have turned a corner, wearing everything (practically) that I have made, falling in love with jersey (more posts on jersey makes to come) and just generally finding my groove and feeling like I can tackle anything. With #sewmystyle and #2017makenine putting me on track for a busy 2017 of sewing I thought I ought to catch up on the last few makes that I made in 2016. First off its the gorgeous Cleo pinafore dress from Tilly and the Buttons.

I bought this pattern as soon as it came out, though I have to be honest and confess I wasn't sure if 40 is too old to dress in a pinafore dress without looking slightly like mutton dressed as lamb....however as long as I keep my roots dyed to stave off the inevitable grey I think I can get away with pretending to be younger for a little while longer :-) Actually the Cleo is a surprisingly flattering silhouette, not too tight as it made to be unfitted to the body and the mini isn't so short I feel like I am flashing my bits to everyone. I probably wouldn't feel confident to wear this length in the summer but with a pair of oh so thick tights my pins can be exposed to the world! It feels more sophisticated than girlie to me which is the look I was going for by choosing black corduroy. For a girl that lives in jeans both for work and play its great to find dresses you feel confident in. I need more please!! Apologies in advance for the poor light but I managed to miss the sun when it came out today due to my camera battery dying on the only sunny day over the last week...! Typical!!

As with all Tilly's patterns Cleo came together impeccably and the instructions were as usual crystal clear. I love that there are a couple of versions to choose from and different pocket placements to mix it up a bit. I stayed classic pinafore/ dungaree dress for my make with a pocket centre front which is true to my nature style wise. I chose the classic dungaree buttons and clasps, which are really easy to get hold of on EBay should you need to hunt some down.

Just to prove there really is a pocket there! Black is so hard to photograph!!
The most annoying thing about this make was the fabric. Corduroy is like the devil. It was impossible to cut out and ruined all my pattern pieces as I went. Just the sheer effort of getting pins through some bits were enough to make me want to toss it away somewhere. And I swear that the fabric has blunted my scissors! To add insult to injury it leaves little remnants of itself everywhere and I mean everywhere... !! My carpet was covered by the time I finished making Cleo. It also attracts every bit of fluff from all corners of the house which makes it look like its been laying around to gather dust for months. Not quite the look I was hoping for! (Thank the Lord for lint rollers). Even my serger hated this fabric. It is the first time since owning it that I have had to resort to a zig zag stitch on the seams because I couldnt get it to feed through nicely. I had to unpick the serger threads a couple of times and was almost at the point of fraying the fabric beyond repair before admitting defeat.  It has put me off using it again for a while to be honest but I do like the final outcome. Maybe with time I will forget the pain!

As corduroy is a pretty thick material I opted for a contrast facing, using some  fabric by Leah Duncan which is called 'City Lights Night', a quilting cotton that I had left over from making my Papercut Patterns  Rigel Bomber. I then used my serger to create a lovely red stitching line around the outside to prevent any fraying. Only I will see it but I like a bit of contract pattern and thread sometimes. It worked nicely and doesn't feel at all bulky.

So is Cleo a dress I would make again? Yes definitely, maybe in a lovely denim next time. I am also tempted by the kits that Tilly has put together on her site, such a good idea. However with so many sewing plans to tackle this year I am not sure when I will the chance to make another one. How about you? Is Cleo on your sewing list this year?

If you fancy seeing my #2017makenine hop on over to Instagram to check out my future makes by searching for @sewing_beautifully. It would be amazing to see what you are all planning for 2017. Happy sewing everyone!


  1. I think you look fab and rock it, of course you can wear pinafore! It sounds a nightmare to sew corduroy and I have no plans to try it, denim would look cool though.

    1. Hi Lynsey. Thanks for your lovely comments! And yes wouldn't a denim one look amazing. I so want one in a nice dark wash. Let me know if you do make one it would be lovely to see the finished dress.


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