Sunshine Cleo Dress

It’s time to reveal my first project as part of the Sew Crafty Design Team, and it probably won’t surprise you that I picked a Tilly and the Buttons make! Since making my first Cleo dress in November 2016, I’ve received lots of lovely comments about my black denim version, and I’ve been itching to have a go at another one.

Online, I’ve seen so many Cleos made in cord; I knew early on that was going to be my next fabric choice. I’ve normally naturally drawn to my usual colour palette of grey or navy, but when I saw this gorgeous needle cord on the Sew Crafty website, I thought it was time to have a go at making something a bit brighter. Yellow is one of my favourite colours, but aside from my trusty yellow raincoat, it doesn’t feature too heavily in my wardrobe. This may now change!


I’ve raved time and time again that the reason I love the Tilly and the Buttons garments so much is that the instructions are easy to follow, and you end up with a completely wearable garment, the Cleo dress is no different. Cutting aside, I probably spent 2-3 hours stitching up my dress at a leisurely pace. I’ve never worked with needle cord before, and the fabric I used did have a slight stretch to it, which in comparison to the thick denim I used for my first dress did make the dress a little bit trickier, but still nothing too demanding. The needle cord is generally really forgiving as your stitching is not as obvious (if you’re using a matching thread).


My Top Tips for Sewing a Cleo:

  • Cut as accurately as possible, I used my new fabric scissors from Sew Crafty, and they cut beautifully! The construction is so much easier if you’ve cut your pieces out well.
  • Check your facings! The one mistake I made on this was that I had an issue with my front facing being too long. I managed to make it fit with a small fix, but it wasn’t ideal. In hindsight, I think I stretched my fabric out whilst ironing on the interfacing. If I’d applied interfacing to my fabric first, and then cut out, my mishap could easily have been avoided.
  • Be brave with colours. The Cleo dress is perfect for experimenting with colours you wouldn’t normally wear, as you can easily tone them down with the top you wear underneath.
  • If you are using a thicker fabric, ensure you use a jeans sewing machine needle to avoid breakages as you sew.

I’ll be styling my sunshine dress with a navy stripe t-shirt, and of course some pins! I like to style my Cleos with a few pin badges above the pocket. This dress is more lightweight than my black denim version, so is perfect to see me into spring and summer.

Disclosure: This post is written as part of the Sew Crafty Design Team campaign. The fabric, rose gold scissors, interfacing, and sewing machine needles were all kindly supplied to me by Sew Crafty free of charge in exchange for this post. I chose the project and materials to make it, and as always, this post represents my personal views.


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