This is the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons, the Cleo dungaree dress. Isn’t it cute as a button? And talking of buttons…
What I love about this pattern is that you don’t need to go out and invest in a shed load of hardware, if you don’t want to. Buttons in your stash, and you’re good to go. No buckles, no jean buttons, no rivets, no mallets, no zips. Just start sewing. Though I did use my buttonhole kit, for neat slicing.
The Cleo is a brilliant opportunity to use up unusual fabrics in your stash. Mine is sewn from an upholstery fabric, bought ages ago from Ditto Fabrics. One of those impulse purchases that I then had no idea how to use – until now.
This pattern needs fabric with a bit of structure, which means you could potentially use all sorts of fabric – upholstery, quilting cotton, canvas, brocade – as well as the usual denims and cords. Er, hello and hello! I’m tempted to go luxe with a high end brocade and I’m also tempted to go pleather. (I know. Humour me.)
The sizing is spot on, but what I also love about this pattern is that it can accommodate my wonky shoulders. One sits lower than the other, and I can tweak the shoulder straps so that I don’t have one constantly slipping off my shoulder. Win! And for the dress’s ability to twin with a cosy cardie, double win.
I also like that the waist drafting hits high enough that I’m not exposing my tummy every time I sit down. Some dungarees gape.
The pattern is ultra simple. So simple that I had a small bag of salt next to my sewing machine. Would this really work? But it comes together beautifully and yes, it really works!
A note on the top stitching. I chose to leave out the front and back centre seams, because I really couldn’t be doing with print matching. If I got it wrong by even a tiny amount, I knew I’d spend my life staring at mis-matched polka spots. Simple. I cut out those pieces on the fold, being careful to remove centre seam allowances. OMG. What was already a quick make became a super speedy make.
I didn’t have any matching top stitching thread, so my top stitching elsewhere is not a feature. Which, depending on levels of accuracy, may be a good thing!
Tilly’s patterns hit the sweet spot when they provide a short, sharp hit of creativity with a minimum of head scratching. This is up there with the Coco dress for that. And judging by the Cleo dresses I’m already seeing in my Instagram feed, I’m not alone in my urgent desire to sew a dungaree dress for every day of the week.