Nikko Top by True Bias

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I'm REALLY excited to share with you the latest pattern release by True Bias...the Nikko Top & Dress. Kelli reached out to see if I would be one of her testers for this pattern and of course I said 'yes!'.
This is a mock-neck style top which utilizes a knit fabric. You can choose the sleeveless version for either the top or dress. I made the long sleeved top in a striped ribbed jersey. 

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The Pattern: The Nikko Top & Dress by True Bias
The Fabric: Ribbed knit jersey from Joann's Fabric
The Process: I made several versions of this top before landing at just the right size and fabric. The first run I sewed up a size 0 and the fit was uncomfortably tight. Kelli's patterns tend to run a little big on me, but not in this top. After one more attempt with some unruly fabric, I finally found this cute striped jersey at Joann's and it was the perfect choice for this pattern. I sewed up a size 4 and the fit is so much better. Be mindful to follow Kelli's suggestions for fabric (i.e. the stretch and recovery), or you might end up with a few failed attempts like me!
Modifications: I shortened the top by 1 inch following the 'lengthen shorten' line. I prefer my tops not to be super long b/c they tend to bunch up in my jeans.
Styling & Versatility: When I saw this pattern I may or may not have squealed in excitement to myself. :) Over the last several years I have enjoyed wearing high-necked tops and love how warm they make me feel. The Nikko is a wonderful staple wardrobe piece that is easily mixed with sweaters, tucked in or out, layered or not. I want to make several more of these tops to add to my fall and winter wardrobe! I think the Nikko would be well-paired with the Lander Pant and I fully plan on doing this as soon as my Landers are completed!
Overal Review: No brainer. Great pattern. Wardrobe staple. Get it!

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Mandy Boat Tee & Winter 10x10

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Last week wrapped up another 10x10 wardrobe challenge (if you've never hear of this, read all about it here). In the fall I also participated in the 10x10 challenge and half of my items were me-mades. This time around I only included 3, one of which was my recently made Mandy Boat Tee!

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This top is a free pattern by Tessuit Fabrics and I created this one out of a jersey bed sheet I found at the thrift store. As I continue to get more comfortable with sewing with knits, shopping second hand is a great option. And talk about secret pajamas...clothing made with bed sheets! ;)
I'll give you an overview of this piece then share my reflections on this year's winter 10x10.

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The Pattern: Mandy Boat Tee by Tessuit Fabrics (free!)
The Fabric: Cotton jersey from second hand flat bed sheet
The Process: This pattern is 'one size fits all' and is meant to be a loose fitting comfortable top. To begin I washed my fabric on hot and dried (since this was someone's former bed sheet I wanted to make sure it was thoroughly disinfected). I then had to figure out which way the grain ran and cut the fabric to get it all straightened out. The sheet was cut quite crooked when the original maker created the sheet. Once I had the fabric on the square I was able to proceed.
For the finishes on the hems I used a double needle on my machine. This was my first time trying a double needle and I was surprised how easy it was to do!
Modifications: I followed the pattern with the exception of adding 2 inches to the sleeve length to make it full sleeves instead of 3/4 and I also took off 2 inches from the length to give more of a cropped fit.
Styling & Versatility: My wardrobe needed another basic 'mom' top for winter and this fit the bill! My days are spent chasing babies and I usually end up covered in dried snot by the end of the day. SO, comfy easy clothing is what I reach for on the regular. I love wearing blue, however this is slightly brighter than I normally gravitate toward. I do think it will mix well with my current wardrobe however. 
Overal Review: If you've been afraid to work with knits, definitely try this pattern! First of all, it's free, so that's a great reason to try it. But it's very forgiving since it's not fitted so there is little room for error. Keep a look out for jersey sheets when you hit the thrift store, then you will really have no excuse! I will be making more of these in the future for sure!

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This winter marks the 4th time I've participated in the 10x10 challenge and each time I take away something new. 

The clothes I selected:
2 bottoms: one pair of high-waisted jeans, one pair of leggings
5 tops: one button up, one sweater, and 3 pullovers
2 outer pieces: one boiled wool kimono, one open cardigan
1 pair of leather ankle booties

What felt right:

  • I had no struggles coming up with outfits this round. Since I selected all separates, it was very easy to mix and match and not feel bored with what I was wearing. I loved pairing a few combos in new ways and I especially enjoyed utilizing my amazing Eileen Fisher boiled wool kimono that needed to have the spot light. It is really quite the team player. 
  • These leather booties were a recent purchase and I enjoyed the way they looked with each outfit. No regrets on only having 1 pair of shoes for 10 days!

What I would change next time:

  • First of all, I wasn't terribly happy with my color palette. I ended up feeling like I needed a few warmer colored pieces to throw in the mix. I tried to do this with earrings and a bandana, but I wanted something more camel colored (my signature color) in rotation by the end.
  • It's challenges like these that help me weed out pieces in my closet, and this time, that would be my jeans! I purchased these H&M Conscious jeans after having my son, thinking they would be a great way to pull in my postpartum tummy but I came to realize they just aren't quite high waisted enough. For me I need at minimum an 11 inch rise on my pants to truly feel satisfied in the height of the waist. Anything lower than that rubs me in a weird place where my abdominal muscles have separated after having 2 children.
  • Lastly, by the end I wished I had a piece or 2 with some length variation. Each top was relatively the same length and it left every outfit looking fairly similar in dimension. Next time I will add a long vest or skirt to change this up a little bit.
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Ultimately my goal in participating in the 10x10 challenge is to have all pieces be me-mades (well...maybe not my shoes). I will slowly work toward this in the coming months and see if each time I can increase the number. There is also an amazing community of sweet women that participate through instagram, so follow the hashtags on there and you will be filled to the brim with inspiration!

Cocoon Dress

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The Pattern: Cocoon Dress by Simple Sew
The Fabric: Linen in green for the dress (sourced second hand). Linen-blend in lime green for the pockets and facing (cut from a second hand dress).
Modifications: I didn't make any modifications to the shape or length of this dress, I did however use a few finishes they didn't call for.
After learning how to understitch with my Ogden Cami, I chose to understitch the facing and pockets. This was important because I used a different fabric for these areas and didn't want them to show. I'm hooked on understitching. It really adds a great finish that makes a garment feel higher quality and prevents small annoyances that lead to it being pushed to the back of the closet.
I chose to sew up the side seams and pocket bags all at once (they suggest doing it separately), and it turned out great.
I also overlocked the pockets, shoulder, side, and front seams before assembling. 
Styling & Versatility: The cocoon style is one I've been drawn to for a while but I hadn't found just the right pattern...until this one! I love the clean lines that make this piece one that can be styled up or down. The center front seam gives it just enough interest and the pockets are a mama-must-have. I can see myself wearing this in weekly rotation this fall with booties as the temps drop. Wouldn't a long linen jacket look great over this too? 
(My necklace is by my friend at Soil Stone Co.)
Overal Review: I LOVE this pattern and already have another dress in the works! The pattern has a sleeve option that I can't wait to try with some linen I purchased at Fancy Tiger Crafts. I highly recommend this pattern (although be warned it doesn't come in a pdf and it has to ship from overseas). It's a great one for a beginner because of its simplicity. There are no buttons or zippers.
Lately I've been hooked on very simple aesthetics, clean lines, and ease of wear. This fits the bill in every way.

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