A Sorbetto... and a lightbulb moment.

January 26, 2015

I decided to tackle something quick and easy as a distraction from the fitting issues I am currently having with the vintage pattern that I am sewing that I posted about here.

I chose the Sorbetto by Collete patterns  as I've seen so many versions of it and it looked very quick and easy.  It's a free download that you can get here.

Collete Sorbetto

I used some material from my stash time that I picked up last time I went to Goldhawk Road. I think its a cotton lawn and was beautiful to sew with. I only had a metre so this top seemed perfect.


It's a great basic pattern and there are so many ways of adapting it, check out the flickr page for more versions.  It's clearly explained and is the perfect top for a beginner to get stitching on. The only thing I can say is that if you followed the cutting layout you would waste a lot of material. I folded my fabric so that the selvedges met in the middle rather than selvedge to selvedge.

Now this is where is gets interesting. I chose the size 10 based on my body measurements. (This is not a UK size 10 by the way). I include a link to the size chart  if you are interested in the sizing for Collete patterns.  I downloaded the free pattern and printed it out and stuck it together. This is the first time I have done this and actually it was not as bad as I expected. Bearing in mind, I normally trace all my patterns, I think this has to be slightly quicker for me and it was nice not cutting flimsy tissue paper.  The only change I made was adding a couple of inches to the bottom of the pattern as a lot of the blog posts I've read about this top said it came up very short.



Once the top was put together, I tried it on and found the armholes were really gaping and the back was a bit loose.  A quick google search on gaping armholes, helped me discover where I've been going wrong all this time getting tops to fit me.  By making tops and dresses to my bust size, the rest of the top is often too large for my frame. In the past I have combated this by removing fabric from the back seam, as I did for New Look 6356. This is exactly the problem I'm having with my vintage dress and I have currently had to rip the zip out, hence the reason for putting it to one side. 

All this time I should have been looking at my high bust measurement which is between four to five inches less than my full bust measurement. It seems I need to start doing a full bust adjustment to the pattern pieces before I even start! Most patterns are drafted to a B cup although Collette patterns are drafted to a C cup. This means if the difference between your high bust and your full bust is more than 2 inches on a pattern drafted for a B cup, you need to do a full bust adjustment!  I don't really class myself as having that big a bust, and always presumed that full bust adjustments (otherwise known as FBAs) were for the really large and busty amongst us! Seems I'm wrong.  Looking at my high bust measurement, I should have cut a size 4 and then done the full bust adjustment.

For those of you wanting to try a FBA on the Sorbetto top, I found this very useful tutorial on I could make that. Another method for solving the armhole gape seems to be pivoting an armhole dart in to the bust dart, see this excellent post on Makery.

I also found this excellent tutorial on how to fix a gaping armhole by inserting a dart into a top without a dart at Sew Country Chick using the above method which I will certainly be referring to again.

Hmm this is really a lot to be thinking about... It's too late for this particular Sorbetto top but certainly worth seeing if I can fix it for next time using the FBA method.

An inside view. Neat huh. 

All  in all, it's a lovely top and it's just a shame the fit isn't that great. I can still wear it and the armhole gape isn't as bad as it was before the bias binding was added. I'm particularly pleased with the sewing I did on this top as I finished it beautifully with French seams. I didn't have one of those bias binding gadgets so I didn't make proper bias binding, just pressing the edges under when finishing the bias binding so that the bias tape measured exactly one inch. I achieved a good finish this way and I'm converted to making my own bias tape as it's much softer than shop bought tape and it isn't that difficult to make.

Front pleat and neck bias

The final lesson I've learnt from making this top is that muslins may seem like a lot of extra effort but I think I need to start making them! It's worth testing your pattern out so that can make any necessary adjustments before cutting into your expensive fabric.

So I think I will be treating myself to a couple of books about using and adapting sewing patterns to get a better fit. Any good recommendations? 

Do you always make a muslin? Or any other good tips? 

Catherine x

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