Well I thought if I am going to start blogging about sewing then sooner or later I would have to sew a Sorbetto top, since ever other sewing blog on the internet has one. So I thought it might as well be sooner, after all the pattern is free (from Colette Patterns ) and is easy so it should be a good way to get back into sewing clothes after a break of about 15 years. I have sewn plenty in that time, mostly curtains, cushions and sofa covers, but not clothes.
I used to make clothes. I started when I was about 14, which is a looong time ago. A new magazine called essentials came out which included a free sewing pattern. I taught myself, starting off on the ridiculously old singer of my mum’s, that only did straight stitch, not even a zigzag, and then after using a neighbours machine whilst I was babysitting.
I’ve sewn lots of clothes over the years, from that very first skirt to shorts for my first foreign holiday, my dress for graduation day, a lined jacket for my first job interviews, a dress for my first company ball, to a friend’s three bridesmaids dresses. The bridesmaids dresses were the start of the loss of mojo where clothes are concerned. I didn’t chose the fabric, or the pattern, or the colour. I hated them all. and I had to sew 3 of them. The material was horrible to sew with, and I realised I hated sewing for other people. I will happily wear stuff with minor errors myself, but I couldn’t bear these being anything but perfect. It also co-insided with having 2 young children and no sleep. Clothes were cheaper than material, so why bother?
Not long after that we moved to France and set up our holiday rental business. Sewing from then on has been a matter of need rather than desire, sofa covers, cushions, curtains headboard covers even mending parasols. Added into the mix a third child, and not much need for pretty dresses and you can understand why my wardrobe contains precisely zero home-made.
So what has changed. Firstly the business is now running smoothly so I have a little more time on my hands, secondly my children have grown (the youngest is 7 the elder two 13 and 14) and are showing interest in sewing, thirdly I lost quite a bit of weight recently (over 2 stone) which has dramatically reduced my wardrobe and has made me more interested in clothes, and finally series 2 of the sewing bee came on tv. I was glued to it, along with my eldest daughter. While she was going ooh look at that, I was thinking – I could do that!
So here I am. Doing it. I don’t really expect many people to read this blog. I am writing it mostly for self motivation. If I tell the blog I am going to make something, then I have to make it, and I have to do it well if I am going to take photographs (TBH the photographs are the things that worry me the most, I have spent many years avoiding the camera).
Anyway back to the Sorbetto.
As I said I made it because it was a free pattern, and everyone else had made it so it must be good right? I chose a cotton chiffon to make a light and airy top. What was I thinking? I must have been trying to get as far away from upholstery fabric as possible. It was not easy to sew, it puckers, making bias tape from it nearly made me throw the whole thing away.
By the time I had cut it out I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like this top. For a start off it was short, way too short. And the neck line was too high. The neck was easily dealt with, I just traced around a neckline I liked and cut. The length was more of a dilemma. Fortunately I had fabric going spare. The pattern said it needs 1.5 yrds, I cut the main top out of a scant 60cm, by completely ignoring the layout suggested – which in turn means that my pattern faces all the same way rather than the back being upside down.
So I cut out two rectangles of material and gathered them before adding to the bottom of the front and back. I did this before sewing up the sides so I could have a continuous side seam. Unfortunately I didn’t check that the front and back were the same lengths first so I’ve ended up with this.
How did that happen? I haven’t gone back to the pattern to see if it was my drafting or the pattern I cut.
As I said I had no end of problems making the bias, the fabric is so fine it didn’t want to feed through the bias maker cleanly. I didn’t want the bias on show so I used another method to attach it to the neck and armholes to tuck it all inside, and I am really pleased with the result it gives.
On the whole I am pleased with the result in terms of my sewing, but I still don’t love the top. I don’t think it flatters me. It isn’t a great fit and doesn’t show off my best assets. In the photos I think it makes me look like I have a few pounds to loose – yet those are 28″ waist jeans.
I am proud of myself for finishing something though, and finishing it well. All the seams are finished properly and the neck and armholes are lovely.
I will probably wear it, I quite like it with this jacket.
And my next make will be better.
I will also have to get a new camera, I dropped mine last week. These photos were taken on daughter#2’s phone. Not bad considering.