Hot! The “Dark Nautical” Outfit

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The Facts

Fabric: Lighthouse print fabric, $10 from Gloucester, MA; White speciality cotton from Jo-Ann's, $7
Pattern: Colette Patterns Sorbetto Tank Top, free; skirt: none;
Year: c. 2011
Notions: Vintage buttons, $.05
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: July 2011
Wear again? Yes and Yes!

Total Cost: ~$17

For this week's challenge, I wasn't feeling particularly nautical — at least in the sense of the cute nautical that is stripes and anchors and red, white and blue. Instead I chose to continue embracing my "vintage bohemian" phase and found a purpose for this great lighthouse fabric that I purchased at a vintage store in Gloucester, MA last summer. It seemed fitting that my fabric came from Gloucester considering its importance as a sea port. My husband called my look "dark nautical."

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I really phoned in the construction of the skirt this week. Under that belt is an elastic waist! Oh the horror! I figured that since I would be wearing a belt, what would be the harm of not making a zippered waistband. I didn't use a pattern — instead I just sewed a seam up the sides of the fabric piece, sewed a casing for the elastic and hemmed. Voila! I was finished!

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The shirt is a modified version of the downloadable (AND FREE!) Colette Pattern's Sorbetto Tank top. I used sleeves from another pattern since I knew that I would never wear the shirt as a tank top. I have to say that I am now in love with Sorbetto. Watch this space for some more Sorbetto love coming soon. I especially love the fabric I used since it gave a plain white shirt much needed dimension.

For such little work (2 hours of sewing for both pieces),  I was so pleased by  the results. And, best of all I now have MORE SEPARATES!

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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.


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  1. I’m in love with the top! Love love it. Off to download my pattern and hopefully make something for myself!

  2. Love the whole outfit, Mena! That lighthouse fabric is divine!

  3. love what you did with sorbetto! I made the tank with similar print white cotton, but right now it’s in the “under construction” pile because it lacks the right amount sleeve for my liking :/ I really like your version!!

  4. I feel like we should give some sort of award to CP for the Sorbetto – has there ever been a more versatile, adorable free pattern?

  5. I love the border print fabric you chose for this week. Gorgeous.

  6. Gorgeous!! Isn’t the Sorbetto just fantastic?

  7. margueritedesigns

    Love that skirt print – it’s like one I had years ago, of a palm tree scene in reds and oranges on a grey ground. (Though my cat was seriously disturbed by it and wouldn’t sit on my knee when I was wearing it!)

  8. I love your “dark nautical” outfit. The skirt fabric is beyond fantastic ….. and that sorbetto top just keeps getting better and better!

  9. I just adore that skirt fabric – to die for!

  10. Oh my–I love that border print you used on the skirt! Beautiful! Adding sleeves to the Sorbetto is genius; it really expands the possibilities with that pattern.
    I’m also loving your shoes–what brand are they, if you don’t mind my being nosy? ;)

  11. Love that skirt! A great summer outfit!

  12. I love everything about this. (Those shoes: what are they?) But do tell, how did you choose a sleeve pattern to fit with sorbetto. Is there a trick?

  13. I think my mom had a dress like that lighthouse print – it was in her closet for years but sadly disappeared to make room for more separates from JC Penney…may I say, the outfit is most striking and you look cute as a vintage button!

  14. Gorgeous photos! The lighting is just perfect – you look radiant!

  15. fab separates – lighthouses look wonderful and I do like the white on white fabric. Clever sleeves!

  16. Absolutely beautiful! You look like a vintage movie star…so fresh and summery; and the blouse looks like a great wardrobe staple. Keep up the good work!

  17. judy roberson

    Mena, I just love the lighthouse fabric. And the sorbetto is great with it..
    Love your nautical choice.. Happy sewing.

  18. Mena you look so pretty. You have inspired me to want to make one more Sorbetto with sleeves. Love your lighthouse fabric, it’s perfect!

  19. Thanks! It really is such an easy top to construct! Have fun with it!

  20. Thanks, Meg! I’m glad I went this route since the fabric was meant to be used like this.

  21. Thanks, Qui! I tried to make one without sleeves, but it’s just not me. I hope to have a post up soon about the sleeves I added.

  22. No kidding! It’s a great top that’s SOOO easy to make.

  23. Thanks, Amy! Border prints are my fabric crush for sure.

  24. Thanks, Sarah! Yeah, when figuring out what I wanted to do with the Sorbetto, I checked your tops out for inspiration.

  25. Thanks, Diane! I’m sure your cat just didn’t want to mess it up :)

  26. Thanks, Debbie! Sorbetto is my new best friend.

  27. Thanks, Casey! I’ve already made a bunch of Sorbettos and they all have sleeves. I just know what I’m comfortable wearing. :)
    The shoes are Miss Mooz:
    I bought them for $27 (they were on sale at a local shoe store). If you’re interested, I could see if they had another pair in your size.

  28. Thanks, Sigrid. The shoes are Miss Mooz:
    With regard to the sleeves, it was trial and error. I eventually found a sleeve from a 1940s shirt pattern that worked well. I’ll be sharing the info about it soon.

  29. Thanks, Lassie! Oh, to have all the clothes we saw in closets when we were younger.

  30. Thanks, Brooke!

  31. Thanks, Jen! The sleeves made such a difference, for me. I’ll be sharing more info about them soon.

  32. Thanks, Miz K! I absolutely love having a practical wardrobe staple! One can’t live only in dresses!

  33. Thanks, Judy! It just came together this week :)

  34. Thanks, Cathe — I’m going to write up about my sleeve experiment soon.

  35. Love this! What a great print!

  36. Your skirt fabric is just perfect. Two hours of sewing?? that is what I’m talking about. Dark Nautical with a gorgeous smile, she’s a winner. I’m off to download the Sorbetto. Thanks Mena

  37. Your skirt fabric is just perfect. Two hours of sewing?? that is what I’m talking about. Dark Nautical with a gorgeous smile, she’s a winner. I’m off to download the Sorbetto. Thanks Mena

  38. Beautiful outfit! Did you make any modifications to the Sorbetto pattern in order to attach sleeves?

  39. Love dark nautical. Fab lighthouse fabric! (lovin the perm too)

  40. i have a serious crush on this outfit. i may have stalked it this week.

  41. Thanks, Kazz! I can’t wait to see what you do with the pattern.

  42. Thanks, Lisa! No, I just added to the pattern as is.