Steely Seamstress

Sewing for life


Time to bust my stash!

I have now reached a landmark. I have now been sewing so long I actually have a stash that needs some busting! On the one hand it makes me feel like an old pro. I can join the ranks of all those seamstresses who boast of wonderful garments that were “just thrown together from something in my stash!) That must be the seamstresses equivalent to the “what this old thing”! But I live in a smallish house and, unlike some lucky, lucky people out in the blogosphere, I do not have a sewing room and unless I win the lottery (unlikely as never play) I am hardly likely to have one.

My Ugly Stash

I have two ugly carrier bags full of overspill from my sewing bag. So the time has come, I must decrease the the stash, or it will overwhelm the living room.

There seem to be two major reasons for my increasing fabric hoard. Firstly all those whimsical buys. These are a few impulse buys there that haven’t found a project yet. Also, a more recent phenomenon are purchases from the internet where the shop only allows you to buy in multiples of 1 metre. So I’ve ended up with extra fabric this way too.

After a little thought I decided for my first attempt to decrease the stash to make an old favourite. Yes, you’ve guessed; a Sorbetto top. I still have some claret poplin from my gothic blouse and I teamed this with some velvety lace and black satin bias-binding (again, from that stash!). I had a length of 83 cm left and I managed to squeeze my top out of this. Sadly, I had to forget the pleat. And I had been looking forward to making a sleeved version of the sorbetto, but it was not to be as there was simply not enough fabric.

Here’s the end result.

Red Sorbetto
It does seem that I make apologies for my photos all the time, but actually this time please excuse my scabby leg. I fell over while rushing to catch a train on Friday and ended up falling flat on the pavement. I ended up with a rather painful hole in my knee. So please try to ignore the horrid leg….of course, now I’ve drawn your attention to it, oh well, never mind.



Monthly Stitch – Two flavours of Sorbetto

Sewing Double

This month I joined The Monthly Stitch Collective. The theme this month was “Sewing Double”. Quite a broad theme, the idea to sew something that you’d already sewed before. Must admit this was more difficult than I thought, since I have only sewed a limited number of garments. On top of that I was on holiday for a week in April and I wouldn’t get the time to sew two of the same garment in a month. I decided to create a second version of the Sorbetto top by Collette Patterns. I’d sewed a standard version of this top last month. It’s a straightforward pattern, but I thought I’d add a couple of variations to it and create it in a completely different fabric.

My inspiration came from a RTW top I saw in a shop window. It has a high-low hemline and is made from a sheer fabric (no doubt polyester).

Sorbetto inspiration

I bought a metre of cotton-silk blend fabric from Calico for the project. I inverted the pleat and added the new hemline. The hem at the front of the top was roughly the same length as the standard Sorbetto, but at the back about 20 cm longer.

I did make a couple of extra changes to the steps, using French seams for the side and shoulder seams. I thought this would be a good precaution with this delicate fabric that frayed easily. I also increased the size of the pleat slightly to pattern match at the front of the garment.

I must admit I did struggle with the fabric somewhat. It was virtually impossible to get the creases in the self-made bias binding to stay put, they fell out somewhere between the ironing board and attaching the bias to the inside of the garment. Plus, the fabric had a nasty habit of puckering. I thought that the garment just wasn’t as crisp as my original, but then no-one is taking a magnifying glass to it! I did notice whilst window shopping a silk top with bias neckline and noticed that it wasn’t pucker free either – made me feel better about my creation anyway!

It was one of my greatest aims when starting out sewing my wardrobe to be able to use a photo, drawing or item in a shop window as inspiration for a project. So, all in all, I did feel that I had achieved something with this project.

Sorbetto Variation

I’ve had a few requests for more photos. I was a little rushed last night to post both my Monthly Stitch post and the one on this blog. So here we are:

Hi-Lo Sorbetto

And side on to see the full effect of the hem:

Hi-Lo Sorbetto


Sorbetto Top

First of all, I must say what a pleasure it has been to make this top. The Sorbetto top is a free download pattern from the Colette patterns website. It is aimed at the beginner, but is a very wearable design. Although the construction is simple, it is elegant and a perfect top for the summer. The blue sky outside has reminded me that the summer will come!

The instructions are very clear and you can even skip making your own bias binding and buy some commercially for an even easier project.

One of the things that drew me to this top was that the fit could easily be adjusted. I thought I might need to adjust the bust darts or the armscye size. However, once I had done the measurements I found that a size 4, whatever that might be here in England I don’t know, was the perfect fit. I didn’t adjust anything; perhaps I’m just a more American size!

I chose a Japanese cotton lawn. I bought this from Fashion Fabrics. They have a good selection of these at the moment.

Sorbetto Top - Basic

I decided as it was my first go at this pattern to stick to pattern. I kept the pleat at the front and created my own bias binding from the same fabric. This takes a while, but the tutorial here is very useful.

The only drawback I could see with this pattern was that the 1 1/2 yards of fabric suggested was an excessive amount. In the smaller sizes this simply isn’t needed especially with a wider width of fabric. Even after making my bias binding I have huge amounts left. I’ll just have to find another project for rest of the fabric. Oh dear, the collection of remnants just seems to grow rather than diminish!

I’m sure I will make this top again; I would like to take it to a new level though. Perhaps I may draft some sleeves or a different neckline. I could experiment with embellishments and fabrics. The possibilities are endless……