For a while now I’ve wanted to try some free motion embroidery, with the idea of using it to customise a me made. I’ve had a little go at free motion before and it’s not difficult, I mean you can’t really go wrong with it you just put on that darning foot, drop those feed dogs and sew whatever your heart desires!

The question was what DID I desire?

I did know I wanted to shop my stash for this project, and found I had this lovely dark denim with a small amount of stretch that would make a super customised Cleo pinafore! I’ve made the Cleo before (here) in a cotton drill, and I really wanted to try it again with the dungaree fastenings instead of buttons. The pattern comes with a choice of patch pockets, and I thought this little sleeping kitty line drawing (found on Pinterest, so no idea of the source) would make the perfect hip pocket adornment...

Of course, I couldn’t just embroider one hip pocket – so I decided on a playful little ball of wool for the other! 

Because the denim was suitably stiff, I didn’t use an embroidery hoop to stretch the fabric out, and this mostly worked OK aside from a small pucker in the cat pocket which isn’t that noticeable when wearing it. I used two colours for the stitching, starting on the bottom with a dark green and going over it with a yellow, while the bobbin was loaded with a black thread. I couldn’t seem to alter the tension sufficiently to stop the bobbin thread showing on the top, maybe because it’s free motion, but the three-colour effect combined with the ‘scribble’ technique is quite pleasing.

Sewing the Cleo, as with any T&TB patterns I’ve sewn so far, is quick and easy to make with pretty clear instructions and no head scratching required. I REALLY enjoyed top stitching the denim - even though I find the slow speed agonising, it’s definitely worth it for the end result.,


The last step was adding these dungaree fastenings, from Stoff and Stil, which was great fun – I mean, how often does sewing a me made require the use of a hammer?!


Despite pre-washing the fabric, the denim just oozes dye, so it needs another wash or three before I can wear it. Maybe because the fabric is a bit weightier for this version of the Cleo, it sits nicely over my hips but stands out just a little stiffly around the waist; I’m considering taking it in a small amount but I’m just not sure I really want to unpick that top stitching. A couple more goes in the washing machine just might soften it up enough, fingers crossed!