Days 6,7,8,9 – and my Sorbetto Top

June 9, 2011

My Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top is coming together – woohoo! I can’t tell you how pleased I am – it’s the first time I’m completing an adult item of clothing that isn’t a basic A-line skirt, and I even managed to do an alteration or two to make it fit properly.

Not that I am finished yet, as I still have to do the bias binding and the hem. But I sorted out the fitting issues I was having on Day 6 of my 30 minutes for 30 days challenge. I am sure that any sewing gurus will shudder in horror at what I did, as I just kind of made it up really, but the key thing is it worked. And I’m also glad that I did just try and see what worked – I used to be such a perfectionist which is why I rarely completed anything. Any time I came up with a problem, I’d want to know how to fix it the right way, and if I couldn’t do it the right way I was paralysed into indecision and inaction. Cue incomplete project into waste bin. I credit the Flylady for curing my perfectionism (my favourite Flylady quote: “housework done incorrectly still blesses my family”).

Anyway, I digress. I bet you’re dying to find out how my 30 minutes for 30 days challenge is coming on, aren’t you?

Ok, so. Day 6: this is the day I encountered my fitting issues after sewing the side seams. Day 7 was spent unpicking the side seams and taking in more fabric from the back piece, keeping the front piece seam allowance as is, but tapering the back piece seam allowance down so that the size at the hip stayed the same but width was reduced at the top.

This did get rid of some excess width, but if anything it exacerbated the problem of excess fabric pooling in the lower back region. A kindly lady on the Colette Patterns forum suggested it might be due to a swayback, something I’d never heard of. So Day 8 was spent researching what a swayback is, and how to correct it. As a newcomer to pattern adjustments, I have to say some of the diagrams and instructions out there are pretty hard to decipher. This blog has a great little at picture of what a swayback is, and, like the author, my conclusion is that I don’t have a curved spine but a big, curved butt. My butt starts curving out from pretty high up and this causes the same problem as a swayback in that fabric pools up around the lower back. At least, that’s what my amateur investigations led me to conclude! If anyone knows better, please do enlighten me :-)

I am still not sure exactly what the correct thing to do about a swayback is, but this is what worked for me (and now we’re on to Day 9). I basically pinned out a big horizontal wedge of fabric at the point where it was pooling. The wedge spans the whole width of the back. In the centre back I pinned out 2″ but it tapers to nothing at the side seams, so it is like a horizontal dart except it goes the whole width of the back. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos as I was too excited at maybe having worked out how to fix the problem!

A wedge like that is too difficult to sew just pinned together, so I basted it, tried it on for fit, and then sewed it up properly and pressed it down like a dart.And now I did remember to take a photo, albeit in pretty poor lighting.

The wedge/dart from the inside

And it’s not too noticeable at all from the outside:

Can you see the horizontal wedge across the lower back?

I can’t show you a picture of me wearing it yet as I’m on my own tonight and haven’t got anyone handy to take a photograph, but it won’t be long before you see a photo of the finished top. Not that much can go wrong now – just sewing bias binding on and doing the hem (famous last words…)

Does anyone know: is what I did the correct way to fix a ‘swayback/curved butt’ type of problem? And is it called a wedge, or a dart? Darts don’t normally span the whole width of a body, do they. But a ‘wedge’ doesn’t sound like the technically correct term either. If you can help enlighten me at all please do add a comment. Thanks!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim June 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

“…I was paralysed into indecision and inaction. Cue incomplete project into waste bin.”

At least putting the project in the bin was a decisive action :-) .


Ginger June 12, 2011 at 12:31 am

Eep, I can relate to feeling paralyzed by problems with projects! I’m not one of those people that are natural problem solvers (in fact, my usual response to any kind of obstacle is to bail and drop not just the project but the hobby!), but I’ve been working over the last year or so at becoming a finisher of projects, even if it’s tough. So congrats on finding a workable solution to a tricky issue! :) Looking forward to photos of the shirt on you!


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