Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top: Pattern Review

June 12, 2011

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top - Full View

The Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top

I finished my Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top! Despite having had some fit issues I really love the pattern, and it was fun to sew, but I’m not entirely convinced by my choice of fabric and trim. I adore this butterfly fabric that I picked up at Doughty’s a while back (I have plenty more in my stash). I thought the pink bias binding would be a cute match and really add to the fresh, ’60s vibe of the top. But I think it turned out not so much swinging ’60s, more ’90s teeny-bopper for my tastes. The fabric is a bit too busy for the style of the top, and the binding is a bit too, well, pink. Saying that, I can see this being a “go-to” pattern this summer as it’s so versatile, and I really want to make some more. Here’s my full review:

The Pattern Description: The Sorbetto Top is a free downloadable pattern from Colette Patterns. Sarai says she “… took the 60s as my inspiration and made this ultra-simple and swingy little top! With its ultra simple construction (just two pattern pieces plus some bias tape, and no closures needed), elegant loose cut shaped with bust darts, and the box pleat detail down the front, this is a pattern you can throw together in a huge range of fabrics for summer… I’m sure you can imagine all the things you can do with a blouse this simple. You could use a patterned bias tape, or just use a contrasting color. Or you could sew just about any embellishment you want down the center. This blouse is a true stash-buster and a great way to use some pretty buttons or trims.”

Did the pattern turn out like the picture or drawing? Yes it did, but only after I resolved some fit issues, described below. The top is also shorter than I was expecting, especially as I am only a measly 5’2.5″, and I think that’s another reason this particular fabric / bias combo feels a bit too young for me.

What level of difficulty is the pattern? Are any particular sewing techniques used? The pattern is easy peasy, and definitely do-able by a beginner. As always Colette Patterns instructions were super clear with good illustrations. The only techniques used are: sewing a straight seam, hemming, two darts, and of course using bias binding. You’ll be a wizz at applying bias binding by the end of this! (As well as the instructions in the pattern, Sarai has published a detailed bias binding tutorial here).

Did you make any alterations or modifications? Yes, I had a bit of difficulty with the fit. Foolishly I had decided to take a shortcut and not make a muslin, but I wish I’d taken the extra time to do so, particularly as I do want to make the top again. After I sewed it up I discovered there was way too much fabric in the back, so I had to open the side seams and take in more fabric at the seams around the bust area, tapering down to the correct size at the hip. This wasn’t enough though so I also had to sew a horizontal wedge in to the back of the top to take out the fabric pooling above my derriere.

I sewed a horizontal wedge across the back to take up the fabric pooling at the lower back

This improved the problem vastly. It’s still not perfect, but it was hard fixing the problem on the top itself rather than at the muslin / flat pattern stage. It’s not really noticeable while wearing and so I’m fine with it.

Colette Patterns Sorbetto Top - side view

There are some other small issues with the fit that I’d like to correct next time I make it:

  • Extend the length a little. Since having a baby I just can’t / don’t want to wear tops this short anymore.
  • Take in the width of the front piece too. I think the top sits a little ‘tent-like’ at the front.
  • Lower the darts slightly.

These are all issues that I no doubt could have resolved pretty easily if I’d bothered to make a muslin! I’ve definitely learnt a lesson about not taking shortcuts. It’s such a shame when you cut in to your gorgeous fabric and then realise the fit is all wrong. Kind of defeats the whole purpose of sewing your own clothes, right?

How long did it take to sew? Colette Patterns estimate that it takes 2 hours from start to finish. Well it took me about 5 hours including assembly of the pattern, but that also includes a lot of faffing with the fit and trying to work out what the problem was and then how to correct it. As I have no real experience of alterations, I spent at least an hour of those five just researching what I needed to do. In the end I just dove in and did what seemed right and felt like it would resolve the problem. It felt great when I had the realisation that it doesn’t matter if it’s the ‘right’ method or not, as long as it works!

Will you make it again? Do you recommend it? Yes, definitely! I hope this review doesn’t come across too moan-y because of the fit issues, as it’s actually a really lovely pattern. The genius of it lies in its simplicity: it’s so easy to customise it and add little touches that will make each one uniquely different. For my next one I think I’ll use a plain fabric and add some buttons on the pleat, for interest. I also like the idea of sewing a strip of lace down the front of the pleat. Or ruffles. There are so many options, and each top will look completely different despite having the same basic shape.

Oh and did I mention I’d definitely make a muslin??  It’s a good learning experience that even if a pattern is really simple, you can’t skip the fitting stage. Or at least, I can’t. Not with my body! I’ve not made a muslin before but as this is a pretty simple top it’s probably a good one to practice with.

Conclusion Love the pattern, but not so taken by my first stab at it. Fitting problems aside, I just don’t think the pink bias binding and the fabric work together very well on this top. Which is a shame as the fabric is so gorgeous – when I bought it I envisaged a ’50s style summer dress with a full skirt, and I think I still have enough fabric left. Anyway, I’m going to give the pattern another go. I have noticed that other people have also had problems with the fit of the Sorbetto but I don’t think this is reflective of anything wrong with the pattern itself: more the expectation that as it’s an easy pattern, we think we can get away without adapting the fit for our individual bodies. I’ve learnt the hard way that this isn’t the case; but at least I was able to rescue the top, for which I am immensely grateful!!

Colette Patterns Sorbetto TopTo finish off, here are my favourite Sorbettos around the web…

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole June 12, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Sigh, I so hear you on the problems creating by not making a muslin! That was the source of all my headaches with this pattern as well. Glad you could save it, though, the fabric is adorable!


Ginger June 13, 2011 at 1:54 am

Fit looks good! It really is short– I ended up adding 2 5/8″ to mine just to get it to (what I consider to be) a normal length!


Andrea June 13, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Your top looks great and I think the print is fantastic. Thanks so much for the pattern review – I’ve been planning on making this top and knowing that there will likely be fit issues means that now I’ll definitely make a muslin.


cottonandsunshine June 13, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Thanks for the lovely feedback ladies :) and I’m glad the fabric is getting a thumbs up too ! I think with a more muted shade of bias binding it could look really great, so I am sorely tempted to replace the binding if I find a nice shade. Good luck with your muslin Andrea, I can’t wait to see how it turns out.


heather jane June 18, 2011 at 2:41 am

Awesome review. Thanks for the reminder…must make muslin. Got it. And I think the fabric combo is great for summer. I know what you mean about pink, though…it can go wrong so fast. I actually think it’s really fresh and cute here.


Visitor June 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

I think you did a great a job and it’s definitely a wearable blouse, but I agree about the bias trim being a little too pink. In the photos in which the trim looks red (at least on my screen), along with the dots in the fabric, the contrast works.

Thanks for the heads up on the fitting issues.

I laughed when I read that this blouse would take 2 hours. If it took you 5 hours, it’ll take me 10, not that I mind.


lsaspacey June 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Good to know someone else had the exact same problems in fit that I had. I also did not do a muslim. For length I just extended my sides on the pattern to the length of a much larger size.

Also, my top in a multi-color polka dot turned out more juvenile than I wanted. Yours is not teeny bopper at all compared to mine. I am thinking of perhaps giving it away if I can find someone it will fit, but I may end up taking off the binding (ugh!) and recutting the shell.


Adventurer May 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for such a well thought-out review. I just pieced the pattern together last night, and appreciate the reminder for the muslin, and lowering the darts.

I discovered recently that if the bust is fitted well (difficult for me) on a top or dress, it eliminates the tenting effect.


Heidi June 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I’ve also made this Sorbetto top using a dark moss green with black bias tape. I agree that it’s a bit short and if I make it again I’ll definitely lengthen it at least 2 inches. I also think that there’s a bit too much material on the back, but it’s not too bad – I’m okay with it. I made a muslim of this top using white cotton, and was able to make a few minor alterations. It took me at least 4.5 hours to make, not including doing a bit of research as I was going along.


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