Closet Case: Ceilo Top

The first thing that struck me about the Cielo was its versatility. As I did my usual stalking of the hashtag before deciding whether to buy the pattern, I came across quite a few sewers who had made several versions of the Cielo – always a good sign – and had hacked it in interesting ways. On the face of it, it’s a basic woven boxy tee / shift dress, with an interesting statement sleeve variation. But if you know me, you know I love a good basic – give me a simple, classic silhouette and I am sold! So let me tell you how I got on with the Cielo top…

The pattern

The Cielo top and dress, by Closet Case Patterns. I made a cross between view A and view B.

The Fabric

The fabric is a white washed linen from Textile Express (100% linen, 230 gsm, £12.50/m). I’m on a definite linen streak at the moment – maybe because of all these sunny days spent at home where I can choose comfort over wrinkle avoidance – and this fabric was lovely to work with. I have plenty left for another Kalle, which makes me happy!

Sizing & Alterations

My measurements (#B34W29H37) put me in a size 6 based on the bust, with my waist and hips more like a size 8-10. I selected a size 6, and since it’s so boxy, I didn’t grade at all at the waist or hips. I’m about 5’6″ and I didn’t alter the length at all, in case that helps you guage where the cropped length naturally sits.

I made a wearable toile of the Cielo using a viscose from my stash – sadly I can’t remember where I got this particular fabric, but I do love the print.

I think the oversized/boxy fit is more evident in softer, drapier fabrics, and while I like this as a lazy woven tee, I definitely plan to size down when using similar fabrics going forward. But for slightly more weighty, structured fabrics, like the linen I used for this top, I’m going to stick with this size!

I photographed a bunch of cheesy poses SPECIFICALLY to answer the burning question you may have (at least, I did) – can you safely raise your arms in this top?! Yes. As long as you’re wearing something high waisted underneath. I’m wearing my favourite high waisted black work trousers here and, well, see for yourself..

I backed the darts off by approximately 1.5″ – for some reason they came out all the way to the bust point on me – but other than that, I didn’t make any fitting adjustments to the pattern, because I had been happy with the fit of the viscose version. However, the more structured linen has highlighted a couple of adjustments I will make to future versions. As you can see, there’s a bit of gaping/standing at the neckline, which wasn’t present on the (drapier) wearable toile. To resolve this, I pinned out a couple of dart at the back neckline to help the fabric follow the curve of my round shoulders. This is a round shoulder adjustment I’ve made before on many patterns, and when I’m sufficiently motivated, I can unpick the bias bound neckline, sew those darts in and then re-do the neckline binding. I am also going to adjust the slope of the shoulder seam. Both of these adjustments will reduce the circumference of the neckline, so I’ll just need to compare the adjusted neckline to my head circumference and possibly widen it a smidge if necessary. So for now, let’s just agree to ignore the gaping neckline in these photos – I certainly intend to!

Pattern hacks

I made two ‘design’ alterations to the pattern, with this fabric in mind.

First, I removed the back shoulder yoke because I didn’t want to have an extra seam on the back. With my skin tone, facings, pockets and extra seams have always been a bug bear of mine on white garments because they tend to be really visible from the right side of the garment. Whenever I’m sewing something white, I pay extra attention to the number of layers of the fabric that will be present in any given area of the garment, even if it’s not a particularly translucent white fabric.

This is a really easy alteration; I hesitate to even call it a pattern hack! Just draw in your stitching lines, fold the ‘seam allowance’ under on the shoulder yoke piece, and tape it down, matching the stitching line on the bodice back piece. Then trace off your single ‘back’ pattern piece!

Second, I knew I wanted the volume at the bottom of the sleeves, but I have never been a fan of gathered/puffy shoulders on me, personally. Something about my proportions – I think maybe I have a small head and shoulders, proportionally?! – means I’ve never found that style to suit me. So I hacked the short sleeve pattern piece to give me a clean fit at the shoulders, with a voluminous lantern-style sleeve.

To recreate these sleeves:

  • Trace off the short sleeve pattern piece and lengthen the sleeve’s seam edge (on each side of the sleeve) to match the length of the gathered sleeve’s seam edge. I added just over 3″ of length.
  • Measure the hem edge of the gathered sleeve pattern piece and work out how much longer it is than the hem edge of the short sleeve. If, for example, the difference is 5″, then we know we’ll need to add 5″ when we slash and spread the short sleeve in the next steps.
  • Draw the seam allowance /stitching lines at the top of your new sleeve pattern, and draw some vertical lines from the hem edge to the shoulder edge. I would just space them out evenly along the width of the sleeve – e.g. you could draw 10 lines, to add 5″ of width, and spread each line by 1/2″.
  • Cut away the excess paper around the top edge of the sleeve pattern, leaving a small surrounding area of paper. Cut along each vertical line, up to, but not through, the stitching line at the top. Then, for each vertical line, cut a line from the edge of the paper up to the top of each cut line, to form a hinge.
  • Lay the cut sleeve down over a large sheet of paper. Carefully spread each cut line apart by the desired amount (e.g. 1/2″, for the example above). Tape them down in place as you go, and measure the new hem edge when you are finished to check that it matches the length we were aiming for – the length of the gathered sleeve’s hem edge for your pattern size. Draw the new hem edge, roughly following the original hem line you had drawn, but aiming to flow smoothly across the new gaps formed by the slash and spread.
  • Trace off your new pattern piece, and follow the sewing instructions for the gathered sleeve (except for the step of actually gathering the sleeve head!) – easy!

Instructions and drafting

I thought the instructions were great. I get the impression that this is a given, with Closet Case patterns – and that they are drafting modern, yet timeless, patterns that you could be making for years. The pattern peices are clearly marked, nicely laid out, and a lot of thought has gone into construction details. For example, although there is only one bodice piece, the instructions have you set the straight/standard short sleeve in the round, as usual, whilst the gathered shoulder which has a wider, flatter sleeve head is inserted flat. This makes for easier and hopefully more accurate sleeve insertions!

I used a flat fell seam finish because I thought it would complement the linen nicely and make for a more durable top.

Time spent

Pre-treating the linen probably took about a half hour of pressing (before and after washing), and cutting out was pretty quick as there are only four pattern pieces (plus a bias strip). Construction took me about six hours, but that includes time spent faffing about with photographing/filming the process (for planned IGTV posts and possible content for the #sewinlovewithlinen challenge I’m co-hosting on Instagram), and periods of packing away/setting up my sewing stuff whilst I’m home schooling etc. If I was sewing uninterrupted in my sewing room (which is now a full time study for working from home!) I think this top could be made in a few hours.

My rating


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Drafting / fit

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Overall sewing experience

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I leave you with a few more photos:

Posted on 29 Comments

29 thoughts on “Closet Case: Ceilo Top

  1. I love that top. Thank you for taking the time to give tips on fitting! It gives me hope!

    1. Sometimes the fitting is the hardest part of sewing! We’ll get there! 🙂

  2. Love it! The hack on the sleeves is great .

    1. Thanks Hayley!

  3. Ahhh, those sleeves on the white top are perfection!

    1. Thanks Stacey!

  4. I hesitated to start cielo top until I saw yours! Just altered mine following your instructions. Many thanks for your easy to follow instructions!

    1. Great, I’m so glad they were helpful!

  5. This was exactly what i needed. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. So excited to try this! Does the top edge of the sleeve also change when you slash and spread?

    1. Sorry for the late reply Catherine! The shape of the top of the sleeve will change, but not the length, which allows it to still fit in the same armscye. If it becomes too flat then you may need to tweak it by adding some height back in to the sleeve cap – mine worked out without this though 🙏🏾

  7. I love the look of your sleeves without the gathers. I’m going to try this on my next Cielo. Thank you for this clear tutorial!

    1. You’re welcome, and good luck, if you do try it!

  8. A beautiful make, and thank you for detailed instructions and photos of the sleeve! I’m also not too fond of sleeves gathered at the shoulder but really like the cuff of the longer cielo sleeve and was wondering if possible to alter. And apparently it is and it looks great!

    1. Thanks Lou!

  9. This is fantastic! I bought the Cielo pattern a few months ago, but I wished it had sleeves exactly as you’ve made them. Your top is beautiful, and I so appreciate the guidance you’ve given. As a relatively new sewist I need it.

    1. I’m so glad it was a useful tutorial, Karen – hope you love the Cielo if/when you make it!

      1. I made the Cielo top with your hacks shortly after I posted, Michelle, and I love it! So I’m going to make one in another color. I’m also considering making the dress (which will be a tunic) with the your sleeve. Thanks so much for your post! Karen

  10. Michelle, Thank you so much! I made the top in late August following your instructions, and it’s wonderful. I just made another using a beautiful blue violet linen. This time I made a double bodice (I wanted something that would retain a little more heat), which I lined with a rich gold. Nobody can see the lining but I still know it’s there, plus it improves the overall drape of the top. The double bodice really enhances the neckline and dresses up the top. I used my Style Arc Montana midi dress pattern as a guide. It’s a favorite!!

    1. Ooh, that sounds lovely, Karen!

    2. I’m not familiar with the term “double bodice” and am about to make a lined flannel Cielo dress. Do you mean lined? Thanks.

  11. Hi Michelle, what are the trousers you’re wearing? Are they the V9189?

    1. Hi Daya, no the trousers are an old RTW pair, from Zara I think!

  12. Thank you for the detailed review. I am making the Cielo top with a gathered (lightly) skirt in linen and wanted a sleeve, but didn’t want the foofiness at my shoulders. Your sleeve hack is exactly what I am after. Joy. thank you

    1. You’re welcome Jane, I’m always glad to see this hack being used!

  13. I love your hacks and it looks amazing on you. I’m working on that top now and I have made a shoulder slope adjustment as well as a SBA adjustment. I’m still uncertain about the dart, but I think I’m just overthinking the fit now. Changing patterns to fit me is a super new concept to me, so I’m hoping they turn out well on my real fabric (this is also the first time that I have made a toile/muslin).

    1. Thanks Taylor! Tweaking the patterns for better fit is such a game changer but it’s so easy to overdo it too. It’s great that you’re getting started with making toiles, I find them so helpful as flat pattern adjustments only take you so far before you need to actually see what the garment looks like on the body! Hope your Cielo goes well!

      1. I couldn’t agree more!

        I am starting the ‘real’ top this weekend (fabric is prepped and ready to go!). Fingers crossed!

  14. This is exactly the comprehensive fit review I have been searching for, thank you!
    I was concerned I may have to grade out the hips but after reading your review I think I’ll try my luck with the straight size.
    Your sleeve hack looks great!

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