Those lovely ladies at Colette Patterns have released a great beginner’s project for a summer top. The Sorbetto (which immediately makes you think of summer, doesn’t it?!) has just two pieces – front and back, and two bust darts. It has a pleat in the front which gives a nice feature without being complicated, and the pattern includes the best instructions for adding bias binding round the neckline and armholes that I’ve ever seen. And what’s best of all: it’s free! Just download, print out, stick the sheets together, and cut.
Another up-side is that this top requires very little fabric – you can get away with half a metre and I swear that the piece I used (a remnant bought from Birmingham Indoor Market for 50p!) was quite a bit less. I couldn’t fit both of the pieces on the fold of the fabric but I just added a bit more seam allowance and made a back seam to join the pieces together. I didn’t even hem it as the edge was a selvedge so it wouldn’t fray, and there was a nice little scallop embellishment running through it. My fabric was sheer so I used French seams through (which you can just down the back see in the picture), which enclose and hide the raw edge. Even so, you can make this in an hour or two. I cut out the longest length I could fit as I’m tall, and it’s fine – other blog reviews had warned that it runs a bit short. It’s worth measuring the pattern against the length you want though, as you may want to add a couple of inches especially if you’d like to be able to tuck it in or belt it.
There are loads of pictures of finished articles on blogs everywhere so you can get lots of ideas – adding embellishments, inverting the pleat, even turning it into a dress or adding sleeves. Colette Patterns themselves have posted tutorials on sewing a version without the pleat, and adding a scalloped edge. It’s a great use for a bit of fabric you might have hanging about, and perfect for a beginner sewist.