I started toying with the idea of sewing my own shirts while we were on vacation, no doubt due to my usual loathing of clothes shopping when there aren’t friends or food to distract me. Am I the only person to feel positively ill while clothes shopping? The cruel combination of fluorescent lights and strange “new clothes” chemical smells just knocks me flat with a serious case of the grumps, often followed by a headache and desire to punch something. I had always assumed there was no alternative, and in the past few years I procrastinated shopping as long as possible, usually right until I had another conference to attend in a place that might suffer from “inclement” weather (anything out of the 60-75 degree range of Santa Barbara). So while on vacation in Italy, having just gone through the yearly panic-shopping spree, I tried to consider other options.
Somehow or another I stumbled upon Colette Patterns, a small pattern company with an extremely dedicated following of sewists of all ages. The patterns have extremely detailed instructions with supplemental tutorials on the Colette Patterns blog (The Coletterie), so even if I hadn’t made a few (extremely simple) dresses in the past, I would have felt more than capable of trying one. However, before investing in a ($15) Colette Pattern, I downloaded the free Sorbetto tank top pattern, not only to try out the Colette Pattern fit and instructions style, but also to give myself a refresher on sewing clothes in general.
Fast-forward two weeks and I’ve already made two sorbettos, with the materials for another one (which I will probably start this evening), and all but the thread for a fourth. The only tragedy about sewing your own clothes is that it makes you incredibly picky about what you are willing to buy. I can finish all my seams beautifully, change the fit of a pattern so that it looks perfect, and choose any fabric type and color that is sold on the internet. In case you are curious, here are a couple pictures showing how my sorbettos turned out.
By the way, if any of you decide to make a sorbetto, you can find a tutorial on making your own bias tape (what I did) here and how to use a pin instead of a bias tape maker (also what I did, although I ironed the folds after pulling the fabric under the pin). And in case you don’t like the way the pleat down the center looks, you can make a sorbetto without a pleat and also with a scalloped bottom hem.