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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Avocado Dyed Gathered Blouse

For the last several months I have been saving my avocado pits, waiting to have enough to naturally dye a large piece of fabric. We've been pretty cooped up due to the cold, so last week seemed like the perfect chance to try this new adventure!

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  • To begin I boiled 15 avocado pits in my large pot for several minutes then simmered the pits for 2 full hours. Most tutorials say 30 minutes to an hour, but I was hoping to extract as much color as possible. The water turned to a beautiful red color.
  • Next I strained out the pits and little remnants and added alum in proportion to the amount of water (alum purchased through Amazon).
  • Once that was dissolved I soaked my fabric in warm water making sure it was thoroughly damp. This helps the color take more evenly. I used half of a 100% cotton sheet I recently found second hand. It is a very high-quality sheet with a high thread count.
  • I stirred the fabric in the dye bath and made sure it was completely covered. The canning accessory came in handy to weigh down the fabric and keep it submerged. I let the fabric sit overnight in the dye, stirring a few times before I went to bed. In the morning I wasn't satisfied with the color yet, so I heated up the pot and boiled the fabric for 30 minutes, stirring continuously. Originally I didn't want to boil the fabric in fear it might be damaging, but since it was a $2 sheet, I decided I wanted to try for a richer color. 
  • After boiling I allowed everything to cool, stirred several times, and let it sit another night. By mid-day the next afternoon, I then washed the fabric in my machine on cold and did 2 rinse cycles to follow. 
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Following my dye experiment, I couldn't wait to turn the cotton into something wearable so this top happened shortly after!
The Pattern: Striped Linen Gathered Blouse Tutorial (free pattern!) by Fabrics Store
The Fabric: 100% cotton sheet, avocado dyed
The Process: After dyeing the fabric I simply cut out the pattern and followed the tutorial to create the blouse. I did 3 rows of gathering stitches and got the best gathers I've ever done!
Modifications: I made the smallest size and the shoulders and elbows were a little snug. So i let them out 1/4 of an inch into the 5/8 inch allowance and all was better!
Styling & Versatility: I haven't gravitated toward blush pinks or feminine gathers much lately. I've been drooling over clean lines and neutrals. But the natural shade of this pink is very appealing to me and the style of the tops seems to work well with it. I will wear this under sweaters, with a scarf, and hopefully enjoy it into the spring! It seems like a great top to wear around Easter when it's still cold, but you want those lighter colors.
Overal Review: For the pattern, I might suggest sizing up b/c of the slim fit of the arm, but overall it was a quick and painless make. The tutorial calls for linen but this heavier cotton worked very well. I am happy with the top and proud I branched out to try my hand at natural dyeing! I will deifintely be doing it again!

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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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