Improvised Green Dress

The weather is warming up here in Northern California which means it’s time for dresses and I’m looking forward to wearing them without tights.

Sorbetto Dress Front

Last fall I decided I wanted a draped dress with a gathered skirt and looser waist. I don’t know about your sewing process, but mine often involves collecting loads of inspiration pictures. My fall and winter sewing inspiration pinterest board is full of the dresses that caught my eye.

I looked around for a pattern but didn’t find what I wanted. So I decided to improvise. I started with Colette Patterns’ free Sorbetto top. I wanted sleeves so I browsed my closet for kimono sleeve tops and added those to the pattern. I have one kimono sleeve top pattern in my stash that I referred to for proportions, but since it’s an oversize top from the 80s I couldn’t just copy the sleeves. The kimono sleeves overlap the portion of the top with the bust darts, so I just removed the darts. Then I cropped the Sorbetto since I wanted the bodice waist a big higher. I also turned it around, so the scoop neck is in the back. The skirt is just two rectangles gathered to the same width as the bodice. I added side seam pockets using By Hand London’s excellent tutorial.

Sorbetto Dress Back

The fabric is a really soft rayon twill. The weight and drape are great though it might be a bit warm once summer gets going. I used french seams throughout since the fabric frayed a lot when I pre-washed it.

After I made this dress I wore it a few times. It felt rather frumpy despite different styling attempts. I recently raised the waist about 2 inches. Amazing what a difference it made as I am now very happy with it.

Details: Sorbetto sz 0, removed bust darts and added “self-drafted” kimono sleeves, gathered skirt and side seam pockets


  1. Inder says:

    I love this dress! I added it to *my* pinboard of slouchy comfy dresses that I am inspired to make. I love the way you’ve really transformed the Sorbetto here.

  2. dounette says:

    I really love it. Love the details different of the original pattern!

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