11 November 2016

Sewing Cleo: Sizing + Fitting

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

Making the Cleo pinafore or dungaree dress? Vanessa here today – let’s talk about choosing your size and fitting the dress.

The relaxed, loose-fitting design of dungaree dresses makes Cleo easy to fit - yay! This style of dress doesn't have any darts or close-fitting seam lines that need to mould to your curves, and it hangs straight down, so don't worry about trying to get it to fit a sway back.

What you might want to do though is lengthen or shorten the dress, combine different waist and hip sizes to fit your proportions, and make a couple of small adjustments as you sew. So that's what I'm going to show you how to do...

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

Choosing your size

First things first - choose which size to make based on your measurements. Use a tape measure to find the circumference of your waist and hips (no need to take your bust measurement for this pattern), by which we mean:

Waist – the point at which you bend to the side
Hips – the fullest part of your hips - it helps to turn to the side and look in a mirror to see where this is

Don’t hold the tape measure too tight around your body - you want to be able to fit a little finger between you and the tape.

Circle your measurements in the Body Measurements chart in the instructions. If your measurement falls in between a size (for example, if it's 27in rather than 26in or 28in) it’s nearly always better to choose the larger size, as it’s easier to take the dress in if it’s too big than to let it out if it’s too small. 

If your waist and hip measurements all fall into one pattern size – fantastic! That’s your size! There’s a key on the pattern sheets that shows a particular style of solid or dashed line for your size – that’s the one to use when you cut your fabric.

Don’t worry if your bust, waist and hip measurements span 2 or 3 different sizes – since our bodies have different proportions, this is very common! This calls for a bit of mix and matching...

Combining sizes

If your proportions don’t match one pattern size – for example, if your waist is a size 4 and your hips are a size 6 – you can mix and match sizes to make a dress that is tailored especially to you.

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

Begin by re-drawing the side seam on the front dress and back dress so it gradually tapers from one size to another. The red line in the photo above shows a side seam that tapers from a size 6 at the waist to a size 4 at the hips. The green line shows a side seam adjusted for a size 4 waist and size 6 hips. You can do this by either sketching the line out with a gentle curve, or using a curved ruler.

You'll also need to adjust the facings to match - sketch the angle of the new side seam on each facing side seam.

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

Lengthening or shortening the pattern

You can choose between two hemlines when making Cleo - mini or knee-length. The finished lengths of each are listed on the Finished Measurements chart in the instructions, measured from your nape (the nobbly bit at the back of your neck). If you are particularly tall or petite you may want to adjust the length of the dress.

As the side seams are mostly straight, adjusting the length is easy to do. To lengthen the dress, tape an extra piece of paper below the hem line, and add an extra rectangle to the depth you want to lengthen it by. Do the same for the front dress and back dress. To shorten the dress, you can wait until you sew the hem - try it on and take up the hem by however much you like. Easy peasy!

Making adjustments as you sew

Before you sew the side seams together, it's a good idea to pin them first, 15mm (5/8in) from the edge, and try the dress on. You can take the seams in a bit at the waist if you want to, but do remember that this dress has no zip, so don't make it close-fitting - you'll need to be able to slide it on and off! If you do take the side seams in at the waist, you'll need to take the facings in at the side seams by the same amount.

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

The instructions will tell you at which point to try the dress on and check the length of the straps. Ideally you should position them so the top of the skirt is sitting at your natural waistline - but feel free to adjust them to what looks right to you, some people prefer a higher or lower front panel on a dungaree dress :) Also check how the dress feels both standing up and sitting down.

Sewing the Cleo dungaree dress - Sizing and fitting

If you're making the pinafore version, once you're happy with the length of the straps, mark where you want your buttons to sit. If you're sewing the dungaree version, pin the straps in place around the buckles.

Another thing you may want to check at the sewing stage is the position of your pockets. Pin them in place and try the dress on before stitching them down - we've included placement markings on the pattern, but you may prefer them to sit slightly higher or lower.

And that’s it! Woohoo! I hope you find fitting Cleo nice and straightforward. If you do have any questions, you can ask me in the comments section below.

Do share a picture of what you're making on Instagram, tagging us @TillyButtons with the hashtag #SewingCleo so we don't miss it. Can't wait to see your Cleo dress!

14 comments:

  1. Hi, I need advice regarding blending sizes. My waist is 92cm but my hips are 98cm which means Im both a size 3 and 4 in the pattern. Do you think I should blend sizes between size 3 and size 4? Im not sure how much ease is built into the pattern? Thanks for your help!

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    1. Hi Monica - did you mean 72cm for your waist? If you did I'd recommend combining pattern sizes so the side seam blends from a size 3 at the waist to a size 4 at the hip (follow the instructions above under 'Combining Sizes'). There's quite a generous amount of ease at the waist so you'll fit comfortably into this size!

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    2. Hi, yes I meant 72cm for the waist not 92 cm, sorry made a typo mistake. ☺😝 Thank you so much for your help, Im forever grateful!! ❤❤

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  2. Hello there! Also looking for a little advice. I usually do a size 4 shoulders, 5 bust and 6 for waist and hips. I know this pattern is only fitted at the waist and hips but I don't want the bib to appear too wide. Should I blend from size 5 bib to size 6 waist and hips or is that completely unneccessary?

    Thank you

    Zara

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    Replies
    1. Hi Zara, don't worry it won't make much of a difference - make life simpler for yourself and make up a size 6. There isn't enough difference between the width of the bibs for it to be noticeable.

      Happy Sewing! :)

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  3. Hi, I'm just about to make my first Cleo using some gorgeous Liberty babycord. As it's highly patterned, I don't really want to distract from that with too much top stitching. So, rather than having a seam right down the front and back, could I simply fold back out of the way 1.5cm of the pattern paper at the CF and CB and then cut on the fold of the fabric? Thanks :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Job - yes absolutely you could do that! The CF & CB seams are a design feature more than a fitting one, so you could easily get rid of them to keep your pattern nice and seamless! Good luck :)

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  4. Hi! I just ordered my Cleo pattern and I'm looking forward to making it. I have quite a long torso, so I'm wondering if I can lengthen the bib part? I don't want the skirt to come to high up. What do you recommend? Thanks 😊 Anna

    anroania@yahoo.se

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anna, yes that's definitely possible! I would cut through the middle of the bib part, and insert a strip of paper to increase the length. You can check how much you need to add in by comparing your nape to waist measurement with the one for your size in the 'finished measurement' chart in the booklet. Don't forget to adjust the front facing piece too so it still matches the outside edge of the bib!

      I hope this helps! Happy sewing :)

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  5. Hi there, I've stitched up the cleo to the point of trying on and I'm stuck with fitting it properly. It looks better lower down on me but then the sides sit too low. I then also notice the back is gaping because my spine curves in so you can see fully inside the my dress from the sides. If I make the dress sit higher is doesn't fit as well but it does help with the back gaping a little. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank youuu.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Carryoncreating! You could take the back seam in a little bit so that it follows the curve of your back, that should help with the gaping. Maybe for your next one you could lengthen the panel a bit so you can wear it where you want and the sides won't come down too low?

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  6. Hi there, Ive realised, having taken my measurements, that I'm actually a size 9 (20 uk) 40 inches in the waist (urgh!) and a size 7 (14) 44 inches in the hips according to your pattern sizes. :( Im at a loss as to how I can adapt the pattern for this as your very helpful 'combining sizes' instructions do not cater for making the pattern a little larger at the waist. Any suggestions would be very gratefully recieved as I sooooo want to make this lovely outfit for myself. Many thanks x

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  7. Hi. I usually have to do a 1.25" Full Bust adjustment (upper bust is 96cm, Full Bust 102cm) for my tops & am afraid the Cleo bib part maybe too small for me. Do you have any guidance on whether I should do a FBA for the bib or just go a couple of sizes larger. Thanks.

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    1. I wouldn't worry about doing an FBA on this pattern - best to keep it simple and just go up a couple of sizes on the bib.

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