Fit and fabric lessons with a couple of Sorbettos

The Colette Sorbetto definitely seems to be a winner among bloggers, there are loads of great versions out there, a couple of my favourites are by Handmade Jane and A Stitching Odyssey for the fabric/bias binding colour combinations.  A simple but stylish tank top, that is also free – I had to try it!

Colette Sorbetto front

I made a toile in calico first to check the fit and decided to make a few changes to the pattern:

  • Shorten the darts by 2cm
  • Lengthen armholes by 2cm
  • Lower the waistline a further 2.5cm
  • Lengthen at hip by 3.5 cm (although I ended up cutting the same amount from the hem once made up so all I achieved here was to narrow the hem 🙁 )
  • Grade down a size above waist

Quite a few changes, so I wanted to test them out before cutting into any nice fabric, but the calico was far too stiff for this kind of top.  Luckily I had enough of the London print cotton left to make this and if it went well then I’d get a fun wearable top.  I used store brought white bias binding for the neck and armholes.

Colette Sorbetto binding detail

As soon as I cut out the pieces I realised I should have paid attention to the pattern placement if I wanted a top to wear out – nearly had rather unfortunate placement of a couple of London eyes.  A good lesson to learn!

After lengthening the top, it was now far too tight around the hips so I did a bit of a makeshift job of creating side slits, not the easiest thing to do as I’d used French seams for the first time (love how neat the inside is!), but it just about worked.

Colette Sorbetto side split

Colette Sorbetto french seams and side split

The top looks ok, but the fit still wasn’t right – now it felt a bit too loose around the arms and shoulders, as well as being far too tight at the bottom.  I thought the fabric was still too stiff for the style of top, which was disappointing as I had another a couple of other printed cottons in mind for this, but they were either similar weight or heavier so clearly wouldn’t work.

Colette Sorbetto back

So I headed off to Goldhawk Road and brought a check shirting cotton since that was one of the recommended fabric choices (as if getting the fit right wasn’t enough I also wanted to take on the challenges of pattern matching and making my own bias tape!).  My round two pattern adjustments were:

  • Shorten armholes by 1.5cm (so 0.5 cm longer than original pattern)
  • Lengthen the waist by an additional 1cm (to compensate for shortening at the armholes)
  • Returned waist to hem to the original angle and then lengthened by 1cm at hem
  • Raise bust dart by 2cm

The fit was definitely better, but on wearing I think it is now a little too tight around the bust.

Colette Sorbetto front

I am quite happy with the horizontal pattern matching, but didn’t think about vertical matching.  I don’t think it looks too bad, but definitely something to think about when cutting fabric in future.

Colette Sorbetto side and back

For the bias binding, I used the continuous loop method explained in Coletterie.  I’d brought a bias tape maker, but didn’t find it at all helpful, so ended up just folding and pressing by hand.  I’m really happy with the bias binding on both tops, definitely worth taking your time over.

Colette Sorbetto binding detail

I wore this top to Rachel’s NYlon meet up (with my Miette) so that I’d have a handmade outfit, but not sure I’ll get a lot more wear out of this as the fabric is still too crisp for my liking on this style of top.  Funnily, I’ve been wearing the London print Sorbetto as a PJ top and after a few washes the fabric has softened up and I now quite like the looser fit!

So it seems I need to adjust the pattern again and try a softer/drapier fabric to get a Sorbetto I’m really happy with, but I’m going to take a break from this pattern first.

Lots of firsts and useful learning though:

  • Making a pleat
  • Sewing darts
  • French seams
  • Applying bias binding
  • Making bias binding
  • Fit adjustments (think I might be verging on over fitting though!)
  • Matching stripes

2 thoughts on “Fit and fabric lessons with a couple of Sorbettos

  1. Hi Alex – it took me a few attempts to get a good fit on my Sorbetto’s too. The good thig is its a quick pattern and doesn’t use up too much fabric. I reallly like your London print version and the side slits look great.

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