Itch To Stitch Sabalito top for Julie

I’ve been learning to sew since October of last year and one of the things I look forward to most is wearing my finished makes to work the next day. A big part of this is Julie, who sits in the front office and is always the first to see and admire each garment. She oohs and ahs and asks for a spin around. I wanted Julie to get her share of oohing and ahhing too so I made her an Itch To Stitch Sabalito top!


I had thrifted a sleeveless sweater a couple years ago that has lemons and limes on it. Whenever I wear it, Julie says it’s her favorite sweater. When I saw this lemon fabric at, I knew it would make a perfect for a garment for her. It’s 100% rayon and it is very lightweight, though not quite see-through because of the black main color.

I did a bias-bound seam down the center back as an interesting detail.


The Sabalito top is a pattern I made earlier this year in a green cotton slub. I wore mine so we could be Sabalito sisters.  It’s amazing how the same pattern can have such a different look with only a change in the fabric!


Julie’s Sabalito sewed up pretty quickly. On both Sabalitos I did not sew the bust darts. I had sewn the dart in my muslin of the top and I didn’t like how it looked. It’s such a roomy top anyway that it just looked better — especially with printed fabric — to not have stich lines on the front.

The 100% rayon had a LOT of stretch, though it is a woven fabric.  If you’re sewing a top with this fabric I would recommend stay-stitching the neckline and even the cuffs and hem.  Julie’s cuffs are a bit wider than they should have been because I didn’t do that here.  😦

I pre-washed the fabric in cold water and hung to dry over a chair. This was not the best idea because it created big puckers where the fabric hugged the top of the chair. They pretty much ironed out but had me worried for a minute.


This was also my first project with my new Brother 1034D serger!  I had started on Julie’s top with my Tiny Serger — purchased on eBay for $40 — and it was giving me so much grief! I had rethreaded it — entirely — about 6 times but the loops would keep coming apart. I threw it in the closet and went to Amazon and bought the best reviewed and least expensive serger to replace it. I’m not proud of my impatience here — it’s something I’m working on.

The Sabalito requires a LOT of serging compared to other tops I’ve done. On a test scrap it was creating loops that would hang way off the fabric. This just wouldn’t do.


I read some message board posts from 2003 where a helpful user suggested adjusting the tension setting up, just for the lower looper. She also said to set the stitch width to 6 so the loop has more fabric to cover. I dialed in these settings and a scrap test looked perfect.



It will definitely be necessary to do a test scrap on the serger for each fabric, until I start to get a feeling for it.

I’m so glad Julie enjoyed her Sabalito! What I didn’t forsee were all the other requests/demands for garments I would hear in the lunchroom later. The most compelling request was my friend Lyndsie who would like a replica of her grandmother’s apron. I said to her, “I could make two at a time for a matched set.” She said, “Awesome – then my sister can have one too!” 🙂   -rp

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