August 4, 2011

Sorbetto Dress Sew Along: Supplies and Fabric

Alright Ladies! Here is the first official post in the sew along! I am super excited for this. I've never done one before, so hopefully my instructions are clear enough! If you have any questions during the process please fee free to email me, or leave one in the comments!

I thought we'd start off with what you are going to need for this project, as well as a discussion about fabric.

  • A sewing machine
  • Colette Patterns Sorbetto Pattern. It's free and downloads in a PDF. All you need to do is print, tape it         together, and cut it out to your size requirements (more on this later)
  • Sewing scissors- you do need a pair of good scissors used only for cutting fabric. They can be pricey, but are a good investment. (And truth be told, I bought mine at Winco for $5. They're super sharp, and I use them only for cutting fabric.)
  • Fabric- the amount will depend on your size and the length of skirt you want. (read below for more details)
  • Fabric marker, tailors chalk, or washable pencil.
  • Thread 
Optional Supplies:
  • Bias tape, either self made or packaged
  • Buttons, ribbon, lace, or any other kind of embellishment you may want.
  • A "14 zipper
  • Belting- available at  Joanns, other fabric stores, or online
  • Belt buckle
  • Hem tape

Always pre-wash your fabric!
The great thing about this pattern is that you can basically use any fabric you want to. Colette suggests the following:  "Lightweight fabrics such as cotton shirting, lawn, voile, batiste, swiss dot, crepe de chine, charmeuse" If you are a beginner you will probably want to choose something that is easy to work with. A more intermediate sewist might like to pick a more difficult fabric, like a sheer, satin, charmeuse or even denim. I am recommending using a cotton as they sew and wear easy. Now, there is apparently some debacle over the use of quilting cottons (y'know the ones with cute prints?) in garment sewing. I am personally of the opinion that quilting cottons are perfectly fine for garment sewing. Plus they are cute. You might also consider shirting cotton, linen, or anything that is fairly lightweight. Since this is going to be a dress rather than a blouse, you may even want to choose a mid-weight fabric. One that is going to wear well. I'm particularly keen on the idea of linen since it is sturdy, yet cool, and also a dream to sew up! But the safest bet is to probably go with a cotton. remember to also keep in mind the embellishments you want to add. You don't want your dress competing with it's self.  Always pre-wash your fabric!

Sourcing fabric:

Obviously you can take a trip to your local fabric retailer and choose from a usually wide variety of prints and fabrics. However, fabric can be found in a number of other places. There are a ton of online shops that sell fabrics,, Hancock Fabrics, Denver Fabrics even Joann sells online. You can also check ebay and etsy for good deals on new or vintage fabric. I know some Walmarts still carry fabric as well. Another idea is to check out garage/yard/estate sales and thrift stores. Both places are great for finding not only cuts of fabric, but old linens. Bed-sheets, curtains, tablecloths, all of these provide a lot of yardage and are usually easy to find. I personally can't stand the feeling of Polyester, so be sure to check linens and sheets for a tag with the fabric content and care instructions. You want to make sure you're buying something you will, and can wear. Remember to be realistic about your life when choosing fabric. If you live in the tropics wool is a bad idea no matter how much you love it. A silk gown may be fun and beautiful, but isn't very practical if you live on a farm... 

The amount you will need is based off your size. Colette Patterns are sized 0-18. Commercial patterns do not  match up with commercial sizes! Always, always, always! check your measurements!  If this is your first project check the body measurements listed below each size to find the one that is closest to your personal measurements. Then check the finished garment measurements, You may need to size up or down. If your measurments are not listed, worry not! You can always cut the pattern larger or smaller! All you need to do is add or subtract an even amount around the  whole pattern piece.  I will touch more on this when we start cutting. I would recommend getting a yard or two more than the pattern for the blouse calls for. When I find fabric I like I usually buy 4 yards of it because I never know what I'll use it for. It's always better to have too much than not enough. And scraps can always be used for other projects (hairbows!). If you plan on making a matching belt you'll need a length that is your waist measurement + 7 inches. If this all seems confusing now, I promise it won't down the road! Remember to ALWAYS pre-wash your fabric!

The pattern is only for the blouse. We're going to be "drafting" our own skirt. The yardage requirement on the pattern is only for the blouse, so please add 1-2 yards for your skirt. 3-4 yards should be PLEANTY!

Summer Spot Dress

Alright, now that you've got some ideas about fabric, let's talk about the more advanced options in making this dress. As you can see from my original dress, there aren't many bells and whistles. Which is why this dress is so dang easy. But if you want to maybe stretch your skills there are some other things you can do. I'll be covering a few of these options:
  • Inserting a zipper
  • Making a matching belt
  • Finishing the hem with hem tape/lace
  • binding the neck and armholes with bias tape.
The last one is not difficult and instructions are included in the pattern instructions, but I'll be doing a step by step tutorial on how to do it.

Alright I think that's everything! Again if you have any questions pop me a line at:
 Fraxinilucia {at} gmail {dot} com.

Don't forget to join the Flickr Group!
Happy Stitches!


  1. I have printed the pattern for the sew along and it only pulls the blouse. I am wondering if you can show me where to get the skirt part. Will that come seperate. Want to be sure to get enough fabric.

  2. Jennie-
    Sorry for the confusion! I'll edit the post to reflect this question! We're going to be making our own skirt. It is seriously simple. For the bodice you should get the yardage your size requires plus a yard or two (depending on your size) for the skirt. The skirt is made up of two rectangles that are gathered at the top. You will probably need between 3-4 yards. Thank you for asking!!