Pattern Review: True Bias Nikko Top and Dress

Last updated on January 20th, 2024 at 02:12 pm

Nikko Top in Bamboo Rib Knit

Funnily enough, True/Bias’ Nikko Top & Dress pattern was one of the first patterns I purchased after starting my sewing journey this year. I had no idea how to sew knit fabrics, but I loved how elegant the different versions of this top (and dress!) looked in Instagram photos. Ten months later, I finally got to stashbusting and made the long-sleeved version of the top.

Hopefully, you find this review helpful – and just in time for True/Bias’ 20%+ off Black Friday sale!

2024 Update: I’ve since made the Nikko Dress as well, and have updated this post with those details.

Nikko Top

Materials

  • Fabric:
    • Stonemountain & Daughter Fabric Wide Bamboo Rib Knit in Olive
    • Note: I purchased 2 yards at 49″ width. Because I was able to fit the pieces for Size 2 as directed for 58″ width fabric, I have enough extra fabric to make a sleeveless top.
  • Thread:
    • Matching Gutermann all-purpose thread (Stonemountain does thread matching!)
  • Additional Notions:

Pattern Difficulty

I found this pattern to be very straightforward, especially since I had made other tops before. Learning to work with knit fabric was more difficult than learning the pattern itself. Normally, I like to make toiles or muslins before diving into a new pattern.

However, I didn’t have inexpensive practice knit fabric (does that exist?), so I dove right in and hoped for the best. The trickiest part was figuring out the best tension and adjustments on my machine for this medium-weight, slightly slippery rib knit material.

It’s easy to accidentally stretch the fabric while sewing, causing wavy / misshapen hems. I tested a bunch of tension before arriving at a least offensive (but still slightly wavy!) hem when sewing horizontally (the direction with most stretch). I tried fiddling with my quilting walking foot, but found that it actually made things worse. So I ended up using my regular foot at the lowest foot pressure setting.

True Bias Nikko Top Pattern Review

As you can see in the photo, my hem is slightly wavy with some puckering. I bought some Stitch Witchery fusible bonding that I may try using to redo the hem – but would appreciate any other tips or advice! This doesn’t bother me immediately, because I’m mainly wearing it tucked in, so no one can see it.

What do love about knits is the fact that the fabric doesn’t unravel! So none of the seams needed finishing, which makes it a quick sew.

Fit

I made no adjustments when initially cutting out the fabric and went with my usual Size 2 for True/Bias. Overall, the fit is great – I wanted something formfitting but not too tight, and the Size 2 worked almost perfectly.

I chopped off 2″ from the bottom hem – a common adjustment I make since I have a short torso. Surprisingly, the sleeves were plenty long, even for my gangly arms. I made no adjustments here, though I might shorten them an inch in the future – still debating!

Future Modifications

When (and it will be a when, not if!) I make this in the future, I’ll likely make the following adjustments:

  • Narrower shoulders on the bodice pieces. This is opposite the adjustment I normally make (I usually have to widen the shoulder / underarm area). However, the horizontal seam stretched out a little bit when I sewed it (especially with the stabilizing elastic), and it’s slightly too big. Additionally, I think shoulder seams that sit higher up on the shoulder will mask the fabric bulk at the seams, which is still visible when I move my arms around.
  • Smaller rib knit fabric. This isn’t a true modification, but more of a variation. I’d like to make more of these in a lighter weight fabric as layers underneath sweaters / jackets. Something like this organic rib knit (sadly, out of stock for now!) or this sweater knit. It’s tricky finding jersey material with enough horizontal stretch. Very important, because otherwise you won’t be able to get it on!

Overall, I think the True/Bias Nikko Top is a great pattern for any beginner+ sewist. I can see this becoming a tried and true pattern in my collection (like the Ogden Cami), and am excited to make more.

Nikko Dress

When Blackbird Fabrics first posted this confetti mesh deadstock, I knew immediately that the a simple mockneck dress would work perfectly for it. Overall, I love how this came out! It’s easily my favorite make of 2023. Deceptively comfortable for how glitzy it looks in real life.

Sizing

I traced out the Nikko Dress pattern in size 6 and graded the hips to a size 8, sizing up a generous two sizes from my current size 4 (yes, when I originally made the Nikko Top in 2020 I was still a size 2 ha). I didn’t want a full bodycon fit, especially with the skirt, so I decided to cut looser and take in as needed.

Fit & Modifications

I should have read this blog post from the patternmaker, True Bias, before embarking on this project! The Nikko Dress has a much looser waistline than the Nikko Top, which I realized as I began trying it on. Ultimately, here are the final modifications I made:

  • Length:
    • Shortened torso length by 2” at the waist area
    • Shortened skirt length by 6” for a long-midi length
  • Width:
    • I ended up taking a lot in, due to the looser pattern drafting for the dress, and also the high stretch in fabric. While the Blackbird Fabrics lists cross-grain stretch as 70%, but in reality is closer to 100%. Additionally, this is a heavier (though not heavy, by any means) material that naturally pulls down a bit.
      • 4” total adjustment on the sides, taking in the waist area
      • Additional 2” taken in with back darts, so that the fabric would sit flush against my back
  • Shoulders: Since I was sizing up mainly for the looseness of the skirt, I took in the shoulder width by about .3” on each side to make it fit like size 2/4

Lastly, I wanted to maintain the softness of drape at the bottom hem, so I actually left that unfinished except for the side split hem. I like to think that the patterned fabric makes it hard to notice 🙂

Welcome!

Im Kristy, a marketer based in sometimes-sunny San Francisco ⛅ This is my personal blog, where you will find my random musings, in-depth reviews, and latest sewing endeavors.

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