New makes: Seamwork/Colette Gretta and Mabel – some minor failures


Hi all! A little post today to document a couple of not-so-successful makes I had in recent months. Neither of them are terrible, but they are also definitely not top of my makes list.


The first one was the Seamwork Gretta top, which I was excited about. I have a lovely piece of silk I’ve been hoarding which is about enough for a simple tank/cami style top and when the Gretta came out I thought it would be perfect. The Gretta is a standard tank with a scooped neck, bust darts and a rounded patch pocket. The really cute part is the fact that the shoulders are tied together rather than sewn. I think it gives that little bit of extra interest to an otherwise basic top. I’d looked at other very popular tank options too, but many of them have either spaghetti straps (Ogden) or racerbacks – and they just don’t jive with my upholstery requirements. Ahem.


So what happened? Well, first I decided to make a wearable muslin, rather than cut into my precious silk (a good decision) and I used some pretty, but quite stiff poplin I got from JoAnn Fabric a while back. This made the garment, but particularly the ties, a little more angular and less form-fitting than I would have liked. But the main problem was with the fitting of the upper half.


Biggggg armholes!

I know Colette/Seamwork Patterns recently went through a big rework of their blocks and my understanding is that one of the main criticisms of their previous drafting involved the size/shape of the armhole. I didn’t have too many issues with the items I made, but now… it’s huge!! I had a look at the pics again of the model on the official Gretta page and the armhole actually looks slightly small on her if anything. So I don’t know if that is altered or whether they didn’t scale the armhole appropriately as they increased the sizes, but mine was really big. Unfortunately I was trying to finish this top on a slight deadline, so I only have pics of it after I had already taken the side seams in twice (approx. 1/4″ each time, each side), but you can see it’s still pretty roomy. I can assure you that it was waayyyy below my bra band originally.


Looking at these photos now, I guess it doesn’t look quite as bad as it feels. I made a 14, which is my pretty much my go-to size for Colette/Seamwork, but the side seams could do with taking in another 1/2 inch at least – I’ve put it aside for now as I probably need to downsize a size or two really. I’m in the middle of moving house, but I suspect if I overlaid my Sorbetto with this pattern (both size 14 tanks), there would be a big difference.

On the bright side I did enjoy the all-in-one facing the Gretta employs and that, for sure, was a delightful discovery. I much prefer it to the normal is-it-going-to-flip facing (even after understitching sometimes!). However, I have to confess I’m slightly apprehensive about the new Sorbetto now too. I really liked the old one and having read a few reviews of the reworked version, it seems others are encountering armhole issues like mine. I reckon I’ll probably stick to the old version and just add a bit of length manually.

Oh well – maybe it’s time to try out my first self-drafted project??


My other make was quite a while ago and it was the Mabel skirt. This is a knit skirt which comes in three versions: “Versions 1 and 2 are mid-thigh length skirts, and version 2 is embellished with a faux placket and center buttons. Version 3 is an above-the-knee length pencil skirt with seam details and a kick pleat. All three versions are pull-on style with a mid-rise, contoured waistband.”


What I was actually after was a simple Version 1 skirt, but then I saw the kick pleat in Version 3 and decided to make that one. I also decided to go for something slightly more interesting by using not one, but two grey French terrys (terries?). The effect is subtle, but I like it.


So what went wrong with this pattern? Well, actually the pattern itself was perfectly fine and many other people have made great versions. The truth is it just doesn’t do me any favours – I look about 6 months pregnant in it. Seriously. I compounded the issues by using the much looser-woven French terry to make the waistband and it is very loose and floppy. I didn’t even bother finishing the waistband seam in the end, as you can see! 🙂


I’m afraid I only have finished pics here because I gave it away to a friend (it was too loose for her) and hadn’t snapped anything at that point, so she kindly took a few for me. The Mabel is a very quick and easy sew and I would recommend it actually, if you like short or fitted knit skirts. I have seen many nice versions others have made. I even think if I had stayed with Version 1 and used a spongier knit it might have been okay on me. But you can’t win them all!

2 thoughts on “New makes: Seamwork/Colette Gretta and Mabel – some minor failures

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s