Tried and Tested

Another Sorbetto

This time in quilting cotton, an inverted front pleat left open at the bottom for extra ease, and coordinating self-made bias binding at the neckline and armholes.

I’ve been told before that beige is not my colour (it goes along the lines of yellows and browns… it makes me look jaundiced) but I’m hoping the pop of red trim on this top livens things up a tad because I really like this print. The tiny flowers have spots of red, blue and green, making it a great summer wardrobe basic to be paired up with a vast array of colours.

I’ve made this pattern a total of four times, each time with a different twist – tried and tested indeed! While the quilting cotton in this make is a bit stiff and the blousy open pleat may have benefited from a cotton lawn or voile, I’m really enjoying wearing this top around the farm.  The way the bottom dances about my waist in the summer evening breeze is making me want to make yet another one in a lighter weight fabric.  But do you think five of the same is too much?* Do you ever make multiple versions of the same pattern?

*Gail, I know you don’t think so :)


When I worked as a Bay St. banking lawyer I always wished we could take clients on knitting retreats instead of golf weekends.  In retrospect, that should have been a dead giveaway that I needed a new job. I never learned how to golf and avoided “the green” like the plague, but there was no way to get away from office’s pervasive golf-speak.  Did you know that in golf a “Mulligan” is a chance for a do-over?  Well, I’m taking advantage of all this uninterrupted sewing time to work on some sewing related Mulligans. Here’s the latest:

What was I looking at? I’ll never know…

 This top began its life as a lovely piece of Nani Iro double gauze fabric intended for the Summer Blouse from Heather Ross’ “Weekend Sewing” book. I was new to sewing at the time and so eager to use my fantastic new fabric that I never stopped to think that loose-fitting tops inevitably make me look like a sack of potatoes.  To top it off, the blouse’s neckline was so wide that there was no way I could wear it without a camisole underneath. It kept sliding off my shoulder in a very 80s look – not that there is anything wrong with that style, but it just wasn’t what I was after.   The way this blouse left me feeling can only be summed up in two words: bitter disappointment!

My version of the “Summer Blouse” – bitter disappointment!

After un-stitching the entire thing I was able to use the existing pieces to cut a tried and tested Sorbetto, this time omitting the front pleat. I did not have any additional fabric left and because of the placket placement on the original blouse I had to cut the front piece in two and sewed a seam along the middle.  The print is busy enough that I’m not missing that design detail at all.  

On the original Weekend Blouse I finished the bottom hem using a rolled seam with some coordinating variegated serger thread and I was happy to be able to keep that rolled hem intact for my new Sorbetto – it’s a tiny detail but I think it looks very cute. 

Rolled hem

The double gauze is both a pleasure to work with and to wear.  During a recent trip to The Workroom I snatched a couple of metres of each of these two double gauze prints and my head is working overtime thinking about what I will turn them into.  Do you have any suggestions?

Newly stashed Nani Iro double gauze

This new Sorbetto is a perfect summer top.  All I can say is I’m sure glad for sewing Mulligans!


Mr. Stitch’s shirt turned Sorbetto

A while ago, when Mr. Stitch and I were still dating I bought him what I thought was a very nice dress shirt.  Well,  he’s only worn it once in seven years. When I asked why he never wears it you know what he said? “It’s too girlie”.   Right.  What was I thinking? You see, the shirt has lovely purple, pink and lavender hues… definitely not Mr. Stitch’s preferred colour way.  I’d been thinking about refashioning it to make it my own. Last weekend I turned it into a Sorbetto top, this time with sleeves.

I apologize for not having any photos to show you what this shirt looked like before the re-fashion but just use your imagination: it looked like a typical men’s dress shirt.

Instead of adding the front pleat, I used the shirt’s existing button band as the front detail.  I also added a few more button holes to make it more interesting and am happy to report that my nemesis has been defeated – the button hole function on my sewing machine and I are new best friends (finally!).  I exchanged the original plain white buttons for these purple lovelies.  Not sure if you can see it in the photo, but they have little flowers etched on them.

The decorative bias binding at the sleeves and neckline came from scraps of quilting cotton found in my stash.   I used Colette Pattern’s tutorial for making continuous bias tape.  If I had to describe this process in one word it would be “brilliant”!  It’s so fast and efficient and leaves no fabric to waste.  

For the sleeves I used the PDF pattern created by Claire of Sew, Incidentally which was based on the version used by Mena for her Sorbetto challenge on The Sew Weekly.  You can click on this link to access the free PDF pattern. The sleeve pattern doesn’t actually say what size it’s made for.  My shirt is a size 4 and the sleeves turned out a bit too long for the armhole circumference, but instead of altering the pattern I just created a pleat at the top of the shoulder for a bit of a frilly accent.

See the pleat at the top of the shoulder?

I’m quite please with this refashioning experiment in the sense that I learned a few new skills and instead of following a pattern step by step I played around with things to achieve the look I wanted.  Yep, things are getting all wild here chez Stitch Parade. Having said that, this shirt brings back memories of the uniform I wore when I worked at a certain fast food restaurant chain in the early nineties.   

Fast food restaurant uniform or girlie summer shirt?

The jury’s still out on this one: I can’t quite decide if I like it and will wear it lots or if even after the refashion it will continue to languish in the closet.  What do you guys think?

The Sorbetto: you better believe all the hype

The on-line sewing community has been abuzz with rave reviews about the Sorbetto top by Colette Patterns. Well, I was a bit sceptical* about trying it out.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it looks super cute on all the photos I’ve seen but it also looks to have fairly straight lines and I’m realizing more and more these days that I look better in clothes that have some waist definition. Despite the fact that I’m not done the Robot Quilt and that this is a total detour from my Summer Sewing List, last weekend my curiosity won and I made a Sorbetto muslin.  

This is my “muslin” fabric. It makes me feel like I’m wearing a table cloth for a picnic.


I didn’t have any of the regular muslin fabric on hand and I was not willing to sacrifice “good fabric” so I used some madras plaid I had left over from my (absolutely disastrous) attempt at making the School House Tunic (I made the School House Tunic last March, in anticipation of spring.  Despite my high hopes, the design made me look seven months pregnant, not to mention the fact that my fabric choice was less than stellar.  But I’m going on a tangent here and this is a story for another time).

Back to the Sorbetto.  The fabric was pretty fray prone so I used French seams for the first time ever.  The result is a truly professional looking garment. The seams turned out perfectly encased and fray free – yippee! 

Don’t they look super professional?

I had read on a few blogs that this top has some fitting issues so after finishing the seams I tried it on and discovered that of course, I had cut the wrong size – it was too big, especially around the arm holes.  Instead of unstitching the seams I simply re-stitched them a quarter inch away from the original stitch line resulting in half an inch less width at each side.  Now I know that next time I’ll have to go down a size. Other than this, the fit was actually quite good on me; no need to adjust the darts or the length. Maybe because the seams turned out so professional looking, or maybe because I was in a sewing mood, I actually went through the trouble of making bias tape and finishing my muslin properly, as if it was the real deal.  

Despite my initial scepticism*, it turns out that I like this pattern way more than I thought I would and now understand what the hype is all about.  If I look past the fabric choice (this is, after all, a muslin), I’m left with a well constructed garment with a surprisingly nice fit; it’s comfortable, has lots of ease yet remains flattering, it takes next to no time to make, and the pattern is absolutely free!  Because it is so simple, there is no end to the alterations and embellishments one could add to it.  It really is the perfect summer top for casual wear, although I suspect that it can also be dressed up quite nicely if one uses some fancy fabric.

If it weren’t for the fact that I don’t love this fabric, I would wear this little muslin in public

For more Sorbetto inspiration, check out the lovely strawberry polka dot fabric that Ginger used and be sure to visit Today’s Agenda where you’ll see that this top is addictive: Gail could not stop after the first one and so far has made a total of seven of these lovelies using the nicest prints. These are my favourites.

 Now I better get back to that robot quilt before my nephew gets too old for it.

How do you like that goofy face and pose? Obviously I'm not a model!

*It may look funny to those of you in theU.S.but this is the Canadian/British spelling.