Saturday, 16 March 2013

Sorbetto Top

So, pattern number one in my Colette Challenge is the Sorbetto top! This is a free pattern which you can download to print at home here.

The first challenge with this one was assembling the pattern - something I've always been far too lazy to do in the past. Technology not being my strong point, I somehow managed to print the pages so that they were 1/16 smaller than they should be. Rather than trying to figure out how to resize the images, I decided it would be much simpler to do some algebra and see if I could use any of the already printed pattern lines. Luckily, it turned out the 10 was exactly the size I needed so I was rescued from having to wrangle with any machines! Aside from all the maths, putting the pattern together was actually much simpler than I thought it would be, and not quite as time-consuming as I'd feared.

The pattern, after printing and assembling.

As I'm currently staying with a particularly charming gentleman friend of mine, I don't have all my sewing equipment with me, so actually making the top was something of an exercise in creative problem solving (thank goodness I gave him my old sewing machine when I traded up several years ago!). Without an ironing board, I had to do all my pressing on the floor, which actually worked surprisingly well when pressing my fabric. I used a green 100% cotton poplin that I got from Cloth House in Soho (which I highly recommend). The pattern calls for a yard and a half of fabric for all widths and garment sizes but I found that by folding the pattern in on itself so that the selvedges meet at the centre, I actually only used about half a metre. I'd been meaning to try out pattern weights but, since I didn't have any to hand, I used the two sewing books I have with me and they worked a treat! I used a standard drawing pencil to draw round the pattern pieces (a step I must admit to usually skipping) and transfer the markings - I find it drags the fabric much less than chalk and it often transfers onto the bottom half of the fabric so you only need to make each mark once, plus it's much easier to remove than you might think. 

When making up the pattern, I followed all the instructions laid out in the pattern, except that I also staystitched the armholes and finished the raw edges prior to sewing any seams. I also stitched a couple of rows of some lace I had to hand down the centre of the pleat inbetween staystitching the curves and sewing the darts. Since it's such a simple pattern, I just did a basted fitting and didn't need to make any adjustments. I do have to admit to somewhat rushing the bias binding facing, as my sister and charming gentleman friend turned up just as I was finishing off and I was characteristically impatient to have a completed garment to show them. It's the only part of the top I'm not happy with but I'm told it isn't noticable. Having noticed how easily everything else came together, though, I think I may have learnt my lesson. One thing that really struck me when making this top is how much easier the actual sewing part is when you prepare and cut your fabric properly. In the past, I've always been very eager to get straight to my sewing machine and I think it's been my downfall on numerous occasions, so with the next few garments I make, I'm really going to concentrate on all the pre-sewing bits of garment construction.

Please remember that I have no ironing board or decent camera with me. Once I'm reunited with my belongings, I'll hopefully be able to post some less crumpled pictures. The skirt in this photo is from Silence & Noise, the bracelets are Primark's finest and the whimsical butterfly was a gift from the wonderful Hannah, who was also my kind photographer.

Overall, I'm actually really pleased with how the top turned out. I was curious because I'd seen some fantastic versions online, but I wasn't sure if the shape would make me look lumpy. As it is, I think it's surprisingly flattering, plus it's super versatile. 

I'd love to hear stories of your own Sorbetto Adventures!

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