Tag Archives: cotton

polka dot {sorbetto}

i’ve been ogling others’ sorbettos for months.  fancy, plain, busy, simple, embellished with buttons or sewn simply with its signature pleat, sorbetto is an ace.  there are many reasons to love sorbetto, not least of which is the fact that it’s free (as if the ladies at colette patterns needed another reason for us to love them).  it is a much-loved and oft-sewn little sleeveless blouse, and i’m pleased to say that it has finally made its way into my closet.

one of the endearing qualities of sorbetto is the bias tape.  it’s.  so.  cute.  and polished.  and tailored.  while making bias tape can be a nuisance, there is something satisfying about the whole process that i rather like.  if you don’t like the fiddlyness of sewing all those wee seams, be sure to check out sarai’s tutorial on continuous loop bias tape.  it’s rad!  the concept seemed impossibly difficult at first, but, when i got my head around it, it kind of blew my mind.  turning a 10″x10″ square of fabric into a highway of bias tape just didn’t seem possible…but it worked! with no joining of pieces!  with just 2 seams!  for real!  do try it.  (yes, i see how sloppy my topstitching is.  i think i need a better presser-foot for topstitching.  any suggestions?).

sorbetto taught me another lesson: don’t pretend that quilting weight cotton is appropriate for wee drapey tops.  unfortunately, the slightly boxy shape of this pattern is emphasized by the fabric i used – it is a little too heavy, but i couldn’t get my hands on anything that wasn’t a frankenfabric of syntheticness, so i went with a heavier-weight cotton.  this pattern really needs a lightweight, drapey fabric (it virtually demands tana lawn – i’m powerless, i’ll have to give in!).  also to blame is my shape.  i cut my size according to the measurements, but i could easily cut it a size down next time – i find the back too ample and there’s a little too much room in the bust (sigh).

can’t you just imagine the endless incarnations of sorbetto?   if not, check out the flickr stream or just google ‘sorbetto top’.  so much potential!

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mighty {stash baskets}

this is the project that marked my return to sewing.

i learned to sew as a youngster (on my sew easy) and carried on with it right through high school.  my twenties, however, saw me neglecting my sewing skills in favour of travel and adventure.  when i finally settled long enough to start nesting again, i bought my first grown-up sewing machine.  despite moving with me from the arctic to the rockies and from the rockies to ontario, my machine didn’t see much regular use until i faced 3 months away from work after knee surgery.  i found myself a copy of sew liberated and became inspired.  i started searching for fabric shops and discovered the likes of amy butler and purl soho online (this would be akin to a trendy bargain-hunter finding h&m).  i planned all kinds of nifty projects to while away my time off, and this was my first.

i chose molly’s sewn stash basket pattern from the purl bee (one of the most amazing craft blogs ever).  these make great multi-purpose storage baskets – perfect for corralling yarn, books, knickers, extra toilet paper…they have so much potential!

the bird basket was take one.  i chose lightweight cotton for both the exterior and interior (that great bird fabric was from ikea), which i learned wasn’t particularly well suited for this use.  even though they were stabilized with a mid-weight interfacing, the fabrics weren’t sturdy enough for the basket to stand up on its own when it was empty.  still, it’s perfect for holding mitts and scarves and shopping bags – all of the bits and bobs that collect near the front door.

i wised up for take two.  i used heavier canvas-weight fabric for the exterior and the lining, et voila – they stand on their own and hold their shape nicely.  i thought that the mama basket needed a baby basket, so i modified the pattern in order to make a smaller version of the  purl soho size.  aren’t they cute together?

actually, when i think back, i made another slight modification – instead of hand stitching much of the bottom and back seams as instructed (sooo tedious and time-consuming, not to mention super difficult to do with 4 to 6 layers of canvas-weight material), i machine-sewed everything and it worked out perfectly (but see the safety caveat below).

these baskets taught me that i need to sew and create.  they led me to discover that there are legions of like-minded crafty folk out there, eager to share their patterns, ideas and experiences.  they also taught me a valuable safety lesson worth noting…whilst powering my machine through said thick layers, my needle broke and the tip flew from the machine, narrowly missing my left eyeball.  yikes!  from thereafter i donned my cycling glasses whenever sewing the thickest sections.  who says sewing is for sissies?

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