Sew Bibs Challenge: Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

There are so many sewing challenges now—and that’s a good thing—but besides Me Made May and Sewvember, I haven’t really participated that much. It’s not for any particular reason, it usually just has to do with time (like not enough of it), but the stars actually aligned for me and the Sew Bibs Challenge! If you don’t already know, Sew Bibs is a challenge centered around sewing overalls, dungarees, pinafores or anything with a bib, hosted by  Heidi of Handmade Frenzy, Jessamy of Jessamy B MakesMeg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, and Teri of Fa Sew La.

I had been wanting to sew the Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress for a while and even had fabric set aside for it, so the announcement of the Sew Bibs Challenge was just the kick in the pants I needed. Plus, this seemed like a project that I could complete in a weekend and I have been VERY into those types of projects lately. My fabric wasn’t precious and with no bust darts and a loose fit at the waist, I figured I could skip a muslin. With those calculations done, this challenge actually sounded doable to me for a change!

I still needed to source the pattern (and had been casually looking for it), but I shop locally most of the time and Tilly and the Buttons is a UK designer. Luckily, I heard about this challenge early enough to order the pattern directly from the Tilly and the Buttons website.  I was even able to add the dungaree buckles to my order, so I didn’t have to worry about sourcing those as well. Materials kits—or anything that simplifies sourcing materials for me—are such a convenience, so I totally appreciate it when that’s an option.



Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

Size traced and sewn

Size 5 (US 10)


Knee Length



Fabric Used

Polka dot stretch denim that I got for free from a photo studio I used to work at.

I had so much of this fabric that I also made my friend Flower a pottery apron out of this material. Matt said that this dress looked like it was made for the striped Lark tee I am wearing in these photos. I certainly did have this outfit in mind when I flagged this fabric for this dress.


Because of the cut of this dress, fitting isn’t much of an issue, which I liked. I feel like it fits pretty well though and that I cut the right size!

Just look at those beautiful and shiny dungaree buckles!


As I mentioned earlier, this was in fact a really quick sew and I was able to sew it up in a day. Those types of projects are totally my jam these days.

Next time

This dress has pockets (one on the bib and two on the back), but I am so used to interior side pockets in dresses now, that I am tempted to try to add some to my next version of this dress. I’m wondering if it will effect the fit though. For example, will the outline of the pockets show through in a weird way? Has anyone experimented with that?

Wyatt could care less about my dress, but I love it!

I also think I might be hooked on sewing challenges now! Apparently, sewing deadlines are good for me and help me get things done, so thanks for hosting Heidi, Jessamy, Meg, and Teri! Keep em’ coming!

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