Hot! 7DoS: The Starter Sorbetto

What's 7 Days of Sorbetto? For seven days, I'm making a different top based on the free and downloadable Sorbetto Tank Top  from Colette Patterns


Welcome to day one of 7 Days of Sorbetto, my seven-day challenge to make seven unique tops based on the Sorbetto Tank Top Pattern from Colette Patterns (download your own free copy here). For each top, I hope to provide some sort of tip or inspiration that The Sew Weekly readers can apply to their own Sorbettos. Also, I plan on inviting community involvement (like voting for the fabrics) to make this more of an interactive challenge. I hope you enjoy the next seven days!

But first, why Sorbetto?

I had held off creating a top with the pattern since I'm not a fan of showing my arms in the Sorbetto silhouette. It's hard to articulate the look, but I can only say that it reminds me of photos of my great-grandmother Grabowski from the late 1960s. She was a big woman and wore sleeves tops like the Sorbetto and her jiggly underarms were out in full glory. I'm totally fine with my own jiggly underarms, but the style is just too reminiscent of these photos. That said, I wanted to give the top a chance since others were having great luck with it and didn't look like "Grandma Grabowski."

It took me a while to figure out the pattern for sleeves that would work best with the top (for me) but after three tries, I had something that was easy to construct, flattering and not particularly time-consuming. The Sorbetto pattern on its own is a DREAM to sew. I can make one in about forty-five minutes from start to finish. And, without fail, I haven't made one I didn't like. So, when I decided it was time to do another seven day challenge, this was the pattern I knew was up to the task.

Just in case someone is wondering, Colette Patterns isn't sponsoring this challenge. I picked the pattern because of my own personal experiences.

Let's Begin

While I can't be 100% sure, I'm fairly certain that the majority of Sorbettos I make in the next seven days will have sleeves. Because of that fact, I decided I wanted to offer a printable version of the sleeve pattern I'm using.

Now, I'm not a professional pattern drafter and many folks would be able to do a much better job. Heck, I didn't even make it all bezier and nice in illustrator. I made a quick and dirty version of the sleeve this morning in hopes that it would enough of a jump start for folks to customize their own take on the sleeve. If you're better at this sort of thing and want to draft an improved version of the sleeve, please do (and let me know!). 

Sleeve Piece 1
Sleeve Piece 2

Once you print out these two pieces, use tape to join them together. Or, just use it as a guide for your own smaller or larger version of the sleeve. 

One note: Instead of gathering the sleeves, I make two pleats in the middle where the sleeve meets the shoulder. I find that less irritating than gathering and it allows me to insert the sleeve cleanly before the side seams of the bodice have been sewn.

So for the first day of 7 Days of Sorbetto, I present a fairly straight take of the top, plus the sleeves. For almost every Sorbetto I make, I lengthen the bodice pieces about 2" each. This is because I tend to always tuck my shirts into high-waisted skirts or pants. I need that extra fabric to make sure the tuck sticks (for lack of a better word. To lengthen my Sorbettos, I cut the pattern pieces at the natural waist line and extend from there. 

image from

The fabric I used I thrifted for $.50. Probably the absolute best thing about Sorbetto is how little fabric it requires. The pattern uses bias binding for the edges so there is no need for fabric for facings. And, if you're not making sleeves, it requires even less. For 54" width fabric, I've made the shirt with about 2/3" of a yard. Sorbetto has created a world of possibilities for all my "not-enough-to-do-anything" fabric. 

While it looks silkier than it really is, the fabric is just a nice cotton. Pardon the wrinkles, but I had been wearing it before I took the picture.

The decorative buttons I used were buttons that I debated taking off their card since they were so cute:


And here they are on the shirt:

image from

And here is The Starter Sorbetto being worn. I really am happy with this top, though without proper styling, I could look like I was on my way to Boca.

image from

Other Sorbettos from the 7 Days of Sorbetto Challenge:

image from nested.typepad.comimage from nested.typepad.comimage from nested.typepad.comimage from nested.typepad.comSunnySiestaSeven-sorbetto



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. I’m so excited! I love your seven day challenges. I made my first Sorbetto yesterday, and I love it. I made it with an inverted pleat for lots of summer roominess. We’ve been in the 100’s the past month in Arkansas, and I want to catch every breeze I can! All the best, Mena!

  2. Thank you for adding sleeves. Your top is darling and I will give it a try.

  3. Love the sleeved version but did you use woven or knit fabric??

  4. I love the sleeves. I have made it without and the sleeves add a lot of pazazz. I’m not worried about the arms, but I do get cold in sleevless tops.

  5. I am excited for another 7 day challenge. This turned out so well, and to have an option sleeve pattern to add is fantastic.

  6. Unfortunately, I can’t make the Sorbetto work for me after three muslins. I lengthened it because the cropped look doesn’t work for me. I’m much more narrow in the chest than the pattern, the darts were too high, etc. I’ve spent too much time and money with a sewing teacher to keep working on it. Maybe I’ll try again if I ever buy a dress form.
    I may make a pseudo Sorbetto: A top adapted from a pattern that fits.

  7. I am disappointed, however, because it looks like such a simple top and I’ve seen many interesting variations on the web. I look forward to seeing what you post over the next seven days.

  8. So cute! Thanks for the sleeve pattern. I had been reluctant to try Sorbetto because it doesn’t have sleeves and I’m… well… let’s just say I’m not the most skilled pattern maker! Ha! Now, though, I’m ready to give it a try.

  9. Thanks for the sleeve pattern – I really like the top too, but I’m not a tank top kind of gal, so adding sleeves to it really will make it an indispensible wardrobe staple.

  10. Very pretty, Mena! :)

  11. Working on my first sorbetto! I’ve had to make a few adjustments to the darts and the armholes, so hopefully I’ll be able to take part in my first challenge!

  12. judy roberson

    Love your pretty.I look forward to seeing the other 6. Happy sewing.

  13. Very pretty top.

  14. This is really cute! Did you do any alterations to get rid of some of the boxiness? I like it a lot with the sleeves, someday, when I make another I think it just might have sleeves!

  15. Super cute! Thanks for the tutorial – I was wondering how it would work with sleeves!

  16. Love it!

  17. I haven’t made the Sorbetto yet, but I’m intrigued by the pattern, so this is a great way for me to see the possibilities!

  18. margueritedesigns

    I feel a Sorbetto will be next for me …

  19. Lovely top, I love the buttons in particular – they are so cute!

  20. Lovely fabric. Did you use bias binding around the neckline? The close-up of the buttons make it look like you didn’t but, I can’t tell. If you didn’t use bias binding, how did you do it.

  21. i have made the sorbetto in silky materials and soft cottons..all were fun and eay…however, always wanted one with sleeves …tried to make the patterns for sleeves..but pattern making not my strong point either..this will be fun!! thank you!

  22. I too have fallen for the Sobretto, your take on it is so nice and the fabric is pretty. But it is the sleeves that stand out for me. Thank you so much for the pattern.

  23. LOVE this blouse so much! That fabric is my favourite of your finds!! So lovely!

  24. YES! I’ve been trying to think how that Sorbetto would work for me since I don’t really wear woven tank tops either, but when I saw you added sleeves to your dark nautical look, your genius was cemented in my mind! Thanks so much for the pattern, now I can finally try what looks like a great first “sewing clothes for myself” item.

  25. I was wondering the same thing!

  26. Thank you so much for drafting this ! Now I want to make one right now! (I hope we don’t crash their server all rushing over to print out Sorbetto. I guess I’m like you and just don’t feel so pretty in a tank top.

  27. Hooray! That’s exactly the reason why I haven’t tried the Sorbetto yet. I’m looking for a Saturday-afternoon sewing project, though, and with these sleeves, I think Sorbetto will be it!

  28. Oh I like this so much better with sleeves!

  29. Thank you so much for making the sleeve piece available as a download! I’m going to make my second Sorbetto this week and a sleeved version will be just the ticket.

  30. Thanks for doing this! I haven’t become a convert yet, but adding the sleeve gets me one step closer and I can not WAIT to see what else you come up with!

  31. I adore this fabric, and the sleeves are perfect with it!

  32. Hi Mena,
    Thank you so much for the sleeve pattern – I was ready to draft my own but you’ve saved me the effort LOL!
    I’ve turned your GIF image files into a PDF and I’ve posted them on my blog: Sleeve Pattern for the Sorbetto Top (P.S. I’ve emailed Colette Patterns to let them know I’ve done that too).
    Best wishes,

  33. I’m having difficulties printing the sleeve pattern. It comes up as HUGE on my computer. Should I be printing it at 100% (like Burda) or should I be scaling it to fit the page?
    Thanks! :)

  34. You can turn the bias binding to the inside instead of the outside for a simplified look. I think Collette patterns had a tutorial on bias binding for the sorbetto that mentions turning it under instead of out.

  35. Right-i-o then… Mena & I have gotten the file/images sizes all sorted between us (yay!). I have revised the PDF files – now only 3 pages long (not 13/14 anymore!) Hurray :)

  36. So cute! And I love your pants too, did you make them?

  37. Thanks for the sleeves! I’d like to make them longer–do you think it’s just a simple matter of lengthening the side seams or would more tweaking be required?

  38. Thanks Mena for the usual amazing inspiration and for the sleeves and thanks Claire for redrafting them – I tried to thank you on your blog but for some reason I wasn;t able to :(… the sleeves make such a difference. I looked at the Sorbetto and grunted – as I find sleeveless tops and dresses only suit me when they’re fitted…. otherwise I find them sort of frumpy and 80s in a way. Maybe cos I wore them back then. I only like jersey tanks. But the sleeves – now, it’s a cute blouse. oh yeah. I am already thinking of all the nice little bits of Tana left over from the dresses I’ve been making for summer… cute!
    Thank you both so very much!