Sorbetto Top – My attempt to make something for me

If you followed the Great British Sewing Bee earlier this year, you may remember that one of the contestants Lauren had a pretty top on, in a fine floral Liberty print. It is a pattern called Sorbetto, which is free to download from Colette Patterns. She credits the top with being what got her hooked on sewing, and I’ve had it on my wish list of future makes for a while.

This is my log of attempting to make it so I can look back and remind myself of what worked and what I would do differently if I tried it again. There are many variations of the Sorbetto on Pinterest, adding sleeves, turning it into a tunic, leaving the pleat out, inverting the pleat etc etc so I think it could be a pattern that I’ll make again.

If anyone is thinking of having a go, it doesn’t take up very much fabric, the pattern says a yard and a half which covers sizes from 0 to 18. I think you can do it in quite a bit less than that dependent on if it is a plain fabric or patterned.

Firstly you need to download the pattern¬†and print out just the first pattern piece so that you can measure your printer is printing to correct size by measuring the 4″ test square. Change your printer to 100% if it isn’t correct. There are a lot of pattern pieces so it is important that you check the test piece before jumping in and printing everything or your top could be rather smaller than you bargained for.

When you have all pieces assembled and taped you will have something like this?

You just need to make sure you match up the markers like with like and I trimmed on one long side and one short and overlapped that on the adjoining piece.

I’ve cut out a size 02 pattern, but after reading lots of feedback from others who have made the top, I have cut the length longer, as many people felt it would benefit from being a bit longer. It could always be hemmed shorter later, but obviously you can’t make it longer.

When cutting out the pattern advises you cut both pieces on one fold with the pieces placed one up and one down.

Click for source

This would work fine for a plain fabric but if you have a pattern that couldn’t be rotated you would need to make sure you cut them both the same way up. My fabric is a Liberty peacock print and obviously I didn’t want the feathers facing up on the front and down on the back, so I cut my fabric like this, folding it in from both sides:

Pin the pattern down and then carefully cut round the outline, take your time and cut with care. After cutting out there are two notches, one on either side of the top. Cut these out and they will be used to match up the sides when pinning together.

The last pattern marking you need to attend to is the dart markings. I used a bright yellow piece of thread to mark the dart point in the fabric. You can use a tailors chalk marker but I like to use thread so that I can’t inadvertently rub any markings off.

Thread the cotton straight through the pattern and fabric and leaving enough length cut the thread between the two pieces and loosely knot on both sides of the fabric so 4 knots in total.

I’ve got some matching plain bias binding ready made, but you can make your own too. There are lots of tutorials if you search on google for making your own bias Coletterie have a good blog post on making continuous binding, you will need a tape maker after you’ve cut your strips out.

Next is to get the sewing machine out and the fun starts.

The next post will be sewing the top together and deciding whether to add sleeves or not.

If you are looking for more inspiration there is a flickr pool of Sorbetto creations and my Pinterest board has lots of hacks and adaptations of it.

Please let me know if you’ve already made one and how it turned out, or shout up if you are going to give it a go, we can have a show and tell in the near future.


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September 4, 2013 - 2:59 pm

Jen aka The Mad House - Oh I bet it will look fab. My mum used to make all my clothes when I was growing up

September 4, 2013 - 9:41 pm

Kate @craftsonsea - I haven’t made one but it is very high on my list of things I want to make!! Looking forward to hearing how yours turns out :)
Kate @craftsonsea´s last blog post ..Fruit Picking in Southend

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