Nikko Top and Dress by True Bias

For pattern reviews it is very helpful to have a person’s measurements! So before we begin, I am 5 foot 9 with a 32 inch bust, 29 inch waist, and 36 inch hips. I am pretty evenly proportioned but do find that my arms are longer than average! Happy to answer any fitting questions in reference to this pattern and my body should you have them- just leave me a comment!

I have my second review for the year for you today and it’s going to be the start of a turtle neck trend. I’ll be sewing up a few patterns that seem to be very popular among sewists and then comparing them all. If you have a tried and true turtleneck pattern, let me know and I will consider adding it to the list!

Today I’m going to talk about a pattern that I have sewn many times, the Nikko Top and Dress by True Bias Patterns.

True Bias is run by Kelli who turned her sewing blog from a hobby to a career when she went to the Fashion Institute of Technology to learn pattern making. She began creating and selling “modern, urban patterns for women, and then added age appropriate children’s versions of the same patterns.”

True Bias patterns are very popular among sewists and I think it’s because they are incredibly wearable. Kelli has a great eye and will release a pattern that then becomes a huge trend. I think her Hudson joggers were out in the world right before joggers took over, and now it is a staple in most people’s wardrobe.

I have made quite a few True Bias patterns and her men’s and children’s Hudson pants are ones I make again and again for my husband and kids. The Nikko is probably one of most made patterns and I have sewn 4 versions that get pretty constant wear.

It is also worth mentioning that True Bias has a very active blog and Instagram with a lot of helpful hints, hacks, and tutorials. Should you have any issues with your make, I would feel fairly confident in saying that you could get assistance from Kelli or her team very easily.

The website describes the pattern as such, “The Nikko pattern includes four views, all with a simple and stylish mock turtleneck. Views A and B are tops with a fitted silhouette that is perfect to pair with a high waisted bottom like the Lander pattern. Views C and D are straighter through the waist and hip, extending to the ankle, with knee-length side slits to complete the dress. Views A and C are both sleeveless, cut to resemble a racerback, but with enough coverage to wear a regular bra. Views B and D have long fitted sleeves that reach the wrist.”

I would like to note that all the versions are separate pattern pieces, which I think is important when considering a version of a top is a dress. There is intentional shaping in the separate patterns that give them each a great fit and the lines on the sleeveless version are a bit different making it truly a separate pattern than the one with sleeves.

The sizing on the Nikko has recently been extended and runs from a 0-18 which is a 32-44.5″ bust and 35-46.5″ hip drafted for a C cup and a 14-30 range which is a 41.5-57.5″ bust and 43.5-59.5″ hip drafted for a D cup.

It is described as being advanced beginner level and a lot of the reviews I found mentioned that it was a first time sewing with knits for many people. The instructions are clear with illustrations for just about every step. It seemed that all those beginner reviews were very happy with their finished make. I appreciated that you use clear elastic in the shoulder seam and I like the finishes for the sleeveless and the split hems of the dress.

The fabric required for the Nikko is “Medium weight knit fabric with an approximate 75% stretch such as rib knit, sweater knit, bamboo knit, or stretch velvet.” My favorite and most used fabric is bamboo rib knit. It is soft and drapey and I love how it looks sewn up as this pattern!

What I like most about the Nikko Top and Dress is that it is truly a staple of my wardrobe. I use turtlenecks for laying throughout the winter and love the dress version. Kelli has turned what could be very boring make into something I enjoy and reach for again and again.

I have 4 versions that I wear on heavy rotation! In fact, putting this post together I realized I would like more colors of this pattern and definitely want to try a sleeveless top in the spring. I have made a straight size 6 in all of these versions with no adjustments.

First I have the sleeveless dress version in a bamboo rib knit that I made near the beginning of 2020. I love this dress, I wasn’t sure when I first made it how wearable it would be, but I reach for it all the time. Great with boots and a chunky sweater on top for every day wear.

After I made the dress, I used what I had left to sew a long sleeve top. This top takes me just under a yard of fabric to make and I love being able to use every last bit of gorgeous fabric.

Same top, but it blue! I bought this fabric in a remnant sale and had just enough for another long sleeve version.

Finally I have one of my most recent makes, the hack of the Nikko dress that I made for Christmas. In a thicker rib knit, this dress is incredibly comfortable. I just eye balled a neckline and added sleeves with a band, really because this is all the fabric I had, and I love how this one turned out.

I did try to whip up a new version before this post using a modal with a fleecy wrong side but I was not careful about the stretch and I can’t get this neckband over my head. I didn’t have time this weekend to fix this, but I’m going to do something about the neck. I think this will be such a warm and cozy top to have for the rest of the winter. I loved the color and the idea of not having a boring turtle neck when I got skiing.

This is a really popular pattern and you can find hashtags all over the place for it! I found the top, the dress, and the hacks hashtags really great places to see this pattern made up in all kinds of fabrics on a lot of different bodies. One perk of an older pattern is that you can really find great inspiration because so many people have already made it!

There were also a few great blog posts, here, here, here, here, and here. And here are all the blog posts on the True Bias site that have to do with the Nikko!

The only issues people seemed to have with this pattern was the fact that it is very close fitting, so be sure and check your measurements against the finished garment measurements to understand the negative ease. A few people had issues with wavy hems. In the instructions there are a few tips for how to deal with this! Otherwise it seemed like a simple make for most people and a great first time sewing with knits.

I hope this review is helpful and please let me know if you would like any more information. Would love to hear if you’ve made the Toaster Sweater and what you thought of your finished make!

Make That Look///January

I love looking at ready to wear clothes, either in stores or on the runway or even in movies, and seeing if I can recreate those looks myself. It always sparks my sew jo and is a fun creative challenge! I’m hoping to have one of these up on a monthly basis, January’s just took a little longer than expected due to shipping delays and then a huge blonde moment from myself! Let’s see what I got up to, shall we?

The Inspiration:

When I was looking for inspiration I was looking for something comfortable. Something that I would actually wear right now but maybe with a twist, but I wasn’t on the hunt for super inspirational or designer wear. I found this layered long dickey sweater dress from Tibi on Shopbop and thought it fit what I was picturing in my mind. I thought it looked chic and cool in the pictures but also would be easy enough to throw on with cosy leggings and use it as lounge wear.

The Fabric and Patterns:

I found this cotton sweater knit on Minerva in the color old green and thought I could start with the Linden sweatshirt as a base. I liked the color of the original just fine but I saw this color and fell in love! I love the new Minerva site that let’s you see other people’s projects with specific fabric. I knew this was a little heavier than the inspiration, but also would be warmer and more wearable for where I live.

I pulled out the Nikko dress by True Bias to use as a guide for length and where I wanted the splits in the side to be. In theory, this simple pattern mashing would have worked perfectly and should have been a very easy sew. However. I made a really stupid error that kind of changed the project completely.

Making It:

My Linden pattern is one of the very first patterns I ever bought. Now when I cut out a pattern, I just cut right into my size. I guess new sewist Whitney did not do that and traced the size she needed. I didn’t think about this at all and just used the pattern pieces as they were. I have no idea why I didn’t notice the number 18 as I was cutting. I have no idea why I didn’t stop and think about why the Nikko pattern was so much smaller than the Linden. And I have no idea why when I sewed it up and it was a giant sack on my body why I didn’t think- huh this is the wrong size- instead of hacking away and trying to fix it.

Once I had realized my mistake, the dress was much shorter than I intended. I went ahead and fixed it, finished the top, and honestly am happy to have it. It’s just nothing like the original that I intended it to be.

The Result:

Here is my finished make! It’s basically a tunic sweatshirt, but I do love this fabric and it’s very wearable. I styled it up with skinny jeans and booties, with my Pietra pants and thrifted loafers, and with warm leggings and thick socks to give you an idea of how I plan to be wearing this!

I wanted to share this make as a reminder that we all make goofy errors sometimes and projects don’t always turn out like we hoped. That’s just how it goes whenever human brains and hands are involved! Like I said, I am happy with my make, I just wish I hadn’t spent so much time and problem solving on what turned out to be a very simple error.

Mini Me Sewing

I had so much fun sewing for my kids last year that I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly thing. Seeing how fast they are growing, I don’t think this will be an issue!

This month I made my daughter a comfy tie dye sweatsuit. I used the Hudson Minis (I’ve made these now multiple times for all the kids, my husband, and for all of our Christmas pajamas!) for the bottoms and sewed a straight size 10.

The top is a Sloane Sweater from Love Notions in the size 10 with the kangaroo pockets and hoodie options added to version B in a straight size 10. I think this is a little roomy on her, but for a sweatshirt I think that’s fine and she can get more wear out of it.

This fabric is a Telio Rayon Blend French Terry from Fabric.com and it is lightweight but very soft and cozy. I love that the tie dye is a little more subtle (wait until you see my make tomorrow! Tie dye galore!) and she loves the color.

This make took me a couple of hours this weekend and the second it was off the sewing machine she had it on and only took it off when I forced her to bathe! I would call that a success.

I will absolutely keep making these patterns and highly recommend for comfy, functional kids’ clothes that have a lot of options for making different versions.

True Bias Calvin Dress

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I have been trying to use what I have when it comes to sewing and this most recent make is an old Needle Sharp box that I picked up sometime last year. I never got around to making it in the warmer months so I set it aside. I’ve been drawn towards a specific color palette lately, and this darker gray fabric wasn’t calling to me. However, I have had great success with True Bias patterns and I always love a summer dress. Besides, it’s not like I have a lot of other things going on right now!

The construction of the dress itself is fairly simple and it comes together pretty quickly. The most fiddly part is the bias tape, you make your own and then use it for both sides of the bodice, the arm holes, and the straps. This takes a bit of work, but nothing too hard, and the ready to wear look of it when it’s finished is worth the effort!

I had a bit of trouble fitting the bodice. I think I need to start making small bust adjustments something I do regularly with patterns and I will try it if I make this one again. I love the style of this, it feels very now with the midi length and slip dress/90s throwback vibe. It will be fun to see how much wear I get out of it in the coming months!

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Here are some stats and links

Pattern: The Calvin Dress from True Bias, there is a top version as well

Sizing/alterations: I made up the size 6. It was a little big in the bust for me so I pinched in the sides, maybe an inch in total? In the future I would like to try a small bust adjustment with this pattern

Fabric: This is a beautiful sandwashed rayon that came in myNeedle Sharp subscriptionbox. I love the drape of it and it reads almost brown/gray which is a new color for me.

Thoughts/Comments: Fairly simple to construct, minus making all your own bias tape (but it’s good practice!) I love the length of it and it feels like a cool style that is different from anything else I own. Will be fun to layer up some as the weather gets colder here.

 

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