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July 7, 2014 / fionamakes

Improvised pleating Sorbetto top

Pleating has to be one of my favorite ways of manipulating fabric, so when I saw this tutorial for improvisional pleating, I filed it away on my must-try-out-eventually list. I did that just this past week!


This is Colette Patterns’ free Sorbetto top sewing pattern. I had a metre of this cerise linen in my stash from Chinatown. I think I bought it to use for one of my girls, but I can’t remember what exactly I meant to make now, so I decided it’d be for me! The linen is 60″-wide so it was enough for this top. I could even cut out the bias bindings, but I had to piece those together for strips that were long enough.

(The denim scalloped hem skirt is from the Colette Sewing Handbook. It’s the Meringue skirt.)

My modifications:

– I cut a size 8 on top and graded out to a ten under the bust line for a bit more ease around the waist. I thought it’d make the top look a little more swingy too. I don’t think it did in the end, but I’m still happy with how it turned out.
– I folded out the pleat portion on the pattern: wasn’t going to use it!
– For the pleated placket, I cut a piece of linen 4″ or 5″ wide and the width of my piece of fabric, and pleated it according to the instructions on the tutorial. It’s great because there’s no measuring involved. You just need to make sure that your final pleated piece is long enough for the middle of the front bodice. And the width of the pleated placket is really up to you.
– After basting the pleats in place, I sewed the placket to two pieces of fabric, and topstitched that down. Then I just folded that in half and cut out the front of the top.

(Anyone want pictures of any of these steps?)

Just a tip for anyone who might want to try this – if I were to do this again, I’d make sure that there aren’t any pleats across the top and bottom. Start the pleating about an inch down from the top of the bodice and finish about an inch above the hem. This is to make it easier to bind the neckline and finish the bottom hem.

a close-up of the pleats


Leave a Comment
  1. Emmely / Jul 7 2014 7:32 am

    What a great idea! I am going to put this on my list of “must try this sometime” in a garment things. It really adds a nice touch to this simple top.

  2. springystitches / Jul 7 2014 10:15 am

    This looks stunning! What a brilliant idea! I really like the fabric you have used and the scalloped hem skirt is so cute. My ‘To Do’ list is getting longer… šŸ˜‰

  3. Katie M / Dec 27 2014 10:12 am

    This is really pretty. I love the look of the pleats. I’d be keen to know more about how you constructed the pleats.

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