Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Couple of Summer Sorbettos

Colette Patterns has a great reputation, and I've had the free pattern for their Sorbetto Tank Top saved for AAAAAAGES, but never made one until now.  My main reason for putting it off was that, well, I guess I just didn't like it that much!  So why make it now?  I guess I'm finally confident enough in my sewing and fitting skills that I knew I could take the basic shape of the pattern, which is really well-written and clear, and I could adjust it to make it into something that is more my style.

The main problem, for me, with the original pattern, is that the shape is pretty boxy.  And I just can't do boxy--I never like the way that style looks on me, no matter how cute I might think it is on other people.   Also, I wasn't sure about the center pleat--it seemed to add to the boxiness somehow.  I saw a blog post where someone made the tank with an inverted pleat, and I liked that both for the subtlety and the shaping--it gave the tank a slight a-line, since the fabric isn't sewn in the middle all the way down, only at the top.

I also added quite a bit of length, based on comments I saw on other blogs.  I think I added about 4 inches, plus I made a sort-of curved hem, just for the fun of it.

I just COULD NOT get a good picture of how the side hem curved up and down with my remote!  You'll have to imagine.
I messed with the neckline a bit too--narrowing the straps and widening the neckline, and deepening it a little bit.  What can I say, I like an open neckline!

I like it best with a pencil skirt--this one is denim, so it's still a casual look.  It works well with a slim bermuda short, and I imagine skinny jeans would be good too, but I cannot FATHOM putting jeans on with the heat and humidity here in Tokyo in August!  Maybe I'll try that outfit in a few months.  

The best part of this top is this fabric.  I found it at Okadaya, a 5-story fabric store in Shinjuku, and I LOVE IT.  I can't remember what I paid, but I remember thinking it was surprisingly affordable--I'm thinking between $6-$8 a meter?  I bought 1.5 meters and used most of it, but I probably have enough left to make a fun bodice on a dress for Little Sister.  It's a really lightweight soft cotton--not quite a voile, but definitely lighter and drapier than a quilting cotton.  And with the breezy shape you get using the inverted pleat, it is SO nice for the hot weather.  It barely touches your body!  But check out this print--I love it so much!

Oh deer!
For my second top, I made a few more adjustments--I really like how the first one turned out, but it did still seem a little too big in the bust, and my straps came out a little wider than I like (it's a little tricky to keep my bra straps hidden).  So I cut a new pattern, slightly different than the first, but the style is closer to the original Sorbetto top.  

Thanks to The Boy for taking this picture while we were playing at the park--no official photo shoot for this top!

I thought I'd try the pleat after all, and what do you know--I actually like it!  I made the matching bias tape as well, and I think that looks great too, even though making the tape is a bit of a pain.  This fabric is one I brought with me from the states, and I used up every last scrap of it making this top!

And this photo credit goes to Little Sister.  Don't worry Sis, we didn't need to see my head.  
This pattern does have a wider, deeper neckline (and therefore narrower straps) from the original pattern.  I also added length here--about 4 inches again--and I cut the bust at a size 2 but widened out to a size 6 at the hip to get the a-line shape I like.  

And here it is in the wild--this was on our family visit to the Odawara Castle.

I made one more that I haven't managed to get pictures of yet--I omitted the pleat altogether due to the print on the fabric I was using, and I added an elastic waist and a skirt (with pockets) because basically all I want to wear in this weather is dresses.  So I'm happy to have another sundress in the closet too!  After spending my life in the Pacific Northwest, it turns out that the hot-humid-summer-weather portion of my wardrobe is woefully lacking.  And now that summer's almost over, I've just about got that situation rectified!

I've got another one laid out to cut now that I feel like I have my pattern just right.  I want to try this overlapping back technique--looks like a good way to keep it cool!  I also want to try another one with some smocking in the back to bring the top in a little more--I'm going to play around with some ideas I have about that.  Then when fall rolls around, maybe I'll try making one with a peter pan collar and some sleeves!  What's so great about this pattern is that since it is such a basic piece, with great directions, it's easy to mix it up and get lots of different effects.  So that it doesn't look like you're basically wearing the same shirt every day.  That's what I'm telling myself, anyway!


  1. Beth, your sorbetto tops are beautiful!! I love how you played with the hemline. I'd like to try sewing a version with a high-low hem someday. Thanks for sharing these with me. So inspiring. Happy sewing! :)

    P.S. I love how your kids are also great blog photographers. ;)

  2. Photo credit to Just Grandma for Odawara Castle Bridge.


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