My Makes

My Denim Cleo

I admired the Tilly and the Buttons ‘Cleo’ for a while before taking the plunge and purchasing the pattern. I was unsure the style would suit me, but I’ve seen so many pop up in the high street shops that I went for it. My first Cleo was made in black corduroy which has become one of my most worn handmade garments. For my second Cleo I wanted to make a denim version for the summer.


The Supplies: I picked up this dark heavy weight denim from ‘The Fancy Silk Store’ in Birmingham City.  I bought 1.5 metres which is plenty. I have enough left that I think I might be able to squeeze a Sew Over It ‘Tulip Skirt’ from. I bought some silver top stitching thread and buckle clips from my local independent fabric shop – Sew Me Me in Ashby de la Zouch. The lining cotton also came from here, it was a fat quarter that my husband picked out for a birthday present last year.

 The Pattern: Using my measurements it puts me between a size 4 and 5. I traced off the size 5 using baking paper to trace. I don’t normally trace but when I have a shop bought pattern I’m not keen to cut into them like I do with PDF patterns so I trace. My first Cleo was baggy around the waist so I have to make adjustments here. I also added 4 cm to the short version length as I’m planning this make more for a summer wear and my first Cleo is slightly too short without tights.

The Sew: The pattern comes with an instruction booklet that has clear detailed instructions, accompanied with bright clear photos all in the usual Tilly and the Buttons theme. I love the tips boxes and the indications of when to finish the seams with the overlocker. I really wanted to make straight ‘perfect’ topstiching so I used the quilting foot with a the guide. This allowed me to get straight lines but they were closer together than I really wanted. I think in future I need to really practice my top stitching. Does anyone have any tips?

The finished Cleo: I’ve made adjustments to the waist but unfortunately even though it looks great whilst on its a bit of a squeeze to get in and out of it! The dark denim I love even if it stained my fingers whilst I sewed. After a few washes I have a feeling its still going to look a great colour. The length is perfect to bare legs! A great plus to this adjustment. Next time I need to have further adjustments to the waist……

My Pink Coat Club ‘It has pockets’ pin is perfect for this dress!! A perfect accessory. I also love to layer my Cleo with my favourite Tilly and the Buttons Agnes top.

If you haven’t made a Cleo yet, do it!!

6 thoughts on “My Denim Cleo

  1. It’s lovely and your top stitching is superb. I have just made my first Cleo after falling out of love with sewing as commercial patterns never seemed to work for me. I absolutely loved Tilly and the Buttons her instructions are so clear and straightforward. I am 72 and with a 35 33 36 figure wasn’t sure but it fitted perfectly think I will make if longer when I do n3xt 9ne


  2. I had the same issue with grading between sizes. I have a difference of 13 inches from my waist to hip. I struggled to get my first Cleo on, so for my second one I added a 3 button fly type closure at the side. I did the same when making one for my sister too. You might also consider stretch denim to make getting the dress on a little easier.

    Liked by 1 person

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