The Eva – Nikko dress

Woman wearing grey dress and white sneakers walking along a large window. She is swinging an orange tote bag and smiling.


Hello there, I hope everyone is doing well. While I am writing this it is snowing again (in April!) but I’m more than ready for spring!

I wanted to check in to share some news (if you haven’t seen them already on Instagram): we started an online shop for deadstock fabric! It is called Stoffkollektiv and went live last week. The idea behind the shop is to make interesting fashion fabric available to home sewists. For a more sustainable approach we are only selling deadstock fabric, i.e. fabric that is left over from the fashion industry. Most of the fabric that I personally use is deadstock, but during the pandemic I wasn’t able to visit my favourite shops anymore. That is why we decided to offer fabric online. “We”, that’s my husband and I, my brother and his partner. With curated fabric collections and lots of sewing inspiration on the website, we hope to encourage more people to sew their own clothes. I would love for you to check out the shop!

While this will stay my private blog, where I will share all sorts of projects, once in a while I will blog about garments that I made from our fabric. This dress is part of our first collection “let’s go!”, a colourful collection of stretch fabrics. If you have been following me for a while, you know that I mainly sew with woven fabric in neutral or earthy colours, so this collection is a bit outside of my comfort zone. When Miri and I looked through samples at our supplier, we were drawn to the bright and optimistic colours, desperately needed after a long winter. Pushing ourselves to explore new shapes and colours was so much fun and I love how the collection came out!

Woman wearing grey dress and white sneakers sitting on a flight of grey stairs. Next to her is an orange tote bag. She is smiling and looking down.

This dress is the most neutral of the bunch. I used our cotton rib knit in stone grey, which is a medium weight rib knit with great recovery thanks to a small amount of spandex. The two sides of the fabric are different shades of grey and I went with the darker one. Even though the fabric is lighter than our other rib knits it works perfectly for both tops and bottoms. Make sure to go on our website to see the pair of leggings that Miri made from it.

I’ve been wanting to make the Eva Top by Cool Stitches since it came out; I’ve seen so many great versions online! I thought it would be fun to extend it into a dress using the Nikko Dress by True Bias Patterns as the base for the skirt portion. The Eva Top has a bustier design with exposed seams, which I had never tried before. I didn’t want to make a muslin, so I decided to first make the top on its own and see if I needed to tweak it before committing to a dress. The pattern only consisted of pattern pieces and a YouTube video for instructions when I made it. I found that completely sufficient to make the top, I know though that Nicole has since then updated the pattern with an instruction booklet. The trickiest bit when making this top is the curved seam under the bust. As recommended, I basted it first and then overlocked it, which worked perfectly. To make the overlocked seams lay flat I stitched them down with a zigzag stitch within the overlocked seam, which isn’t really visible but gives a cleaner look.

Luckily enough, the top fit quite well without any adjustments (I made a size 42 based on my bust measurements). I am still breastfeeding and my bust is a few sizes larger than usual. Fitting that area is thus a bit of a challenge, as my size will change again in the near future. That’s why I decided not to spend too much time on fitting. If you want the perfect fit though I would recommend making a quick muslin. You want that under bust seam to sit in the right place.

Once I knew the top fit, I moved on to the skirt. Ideally, I would have added it at the waist but I was short on fabric (For a fabric shop owner that’s quite ironic right? But you have to know that our fabric storage is not here in Karlsruhe but with Miri in Albstadt and we need to send fabric back and forth for projects). Anyways, I wanted to keep the skirt as long as possible, so I attached it where the top ended. To make that slightly awkward waist/hip seem sit as flat as possible I topstitched it down with grey thread. Now it’s not that obvious anymore.

I wanted the exposed seam detail to run through the skirt as well, so I cut the front skirt in three pieces, transferring the seams from the top and extending them to the hem by following the side seams (and adding seam allowances). I assembled it the same way as the top and then joined the two, making sure to align the exposed seams.

The sleeves, the hem and the side slits were all finished with a narrow zigzag stitch, which is my preferred method for sewing knits. All inside seams are finished with my overlocker. Sewing this fabric was surprisingly painless. I’ve had terrible experiences with rib knits in the past, but this one here is actually easy to handle. My top tips for sewing rib knits: steam seams back into shape and use a walking foot. I’ve had my machine for 7 years now and only recently got a walking foot. I have no idea what took me so long! It really helps to avoid stretched out seams.

Photograph of a woman wearing a grey dress standing on a flight of stairs. She is smiling and looking toward another woman. The second woman is facing away from the camera, wearing a garment with yellow and white stripes.
Close-up of a person wearing a grey rib knit dress, shown from mouth to the thighs.
Close-up of the legs of a person wearing a grey dress and white sneakers, holding a tote bag with an orange pattern.
Woman wearing a grey rib knit dress and white sneakers. She is swinging an orange tote back and smiling. Behind her is a large window showing reflections of a lake.

I really like this dress. Despite its extravagant seam lines it’s actually really easy to wear. Dressed down with a pair of sneakers it looks sporty but cool.

Shooting this collection was quite an adventure. Don’t be fooled by the pictures; it was freezing cold! But the light was lovely and thanks to our two photographers (my husband and my brother) we were able to wrap up the shooting quickly. I’ll leave you with this behind-the-scenes picture of me warming up between outfits with blankets and a hot-water bottle.

The photograph shows a woman wearing sun glasses sitting in a red vehicle. She is wearing a grey jacket, white sneakers and is wrapped in a red blanket. She is clutching a blue hot-water bottle and smiling. Behind her a body of water is visible.

The Shacket

Hello everyone, I’m back.

Are people still writing blog posts? Whenever I open my blog reader app these days I only see posts from businesses and rarely any hobby sewists anymore, which is a shame. I love reading detailed blog posts on garments, Instagram can’t fully replace that in my opinion. The other day I had a conversation with someone on Instagram who told me that they and their mother had been long time readers. They even remembered my second blog post ever (it’s this one from the Refashioners in 2015)! Messages like this make me so happy and even if there are not many people out there reading it, make it well worth keeping up this little blog.

So what have I been up to? The obvious really; I gave birth to my little son Theo early in August. It’s been a crazy and fun ride! Giving birth in times of Corona is scary. In the end we were relatively lucky with the hospital rules at the time. My husband was able to attend the birth and even visit us for a couple of hours each day. The birth wasn’t the easiest (he was a very big baby, as predicted) and recovery was slow. It’s all well now though and little Theo is bringing us so much joy! He’s growing up so quickly though, I already miss my little newborn baby.

Getting back into sewing happened relatively quickly. I’m lucky enough to have a husband who is on parental leave with me until the end of the year. This means he can look after Theo between feeds, which gives me good chunks of time to work on my projects. In between the baby sewing (I just got started on my first cloth diapers, so fiddly!) I even managed to make a few things for myself.

The latest project was this wool shirt-jacket / “shacket” (such a weird word!). Shackets are everywhere right now and I love it! They have the same work wear vibe that I’ve been loving lately but made winter suitable with thick wool fabrics. I also had a perfect fabric in my stash to make one, a deadstock wool from Brora, that I picked up at their Oxford shop ages ago.

It took me quite a while to settle on the design (if you want to see the process, check out the story highlight on my Instagram). In the end I decided to go with the Paola Workwear Jacket from Fabric-Store. This pattern is free and I had seen many great versions online, so I was intrigued to give it a try. It has the perfect classic workwear shape. I did make some changes to it though. From all my inspiration research, statement pockets were the one thing that I got really excited about, so I drafted breast pockets with flaps and angled hip pockets (similar to the ones on the Elizabeth Suzann Harper tunic, but slightly less dramatic). I also added roughly 9 centimetres to the length. I made a size 12/14 based on my current hip measurements, aiming for a good oversized look. I’m happy how it turned out; wide enough to layer a jumper underneath. Best of all, it is big enough to also fit my husband, I love when we can share garments.

The construction of this was slow going (baby breaks) but uneventful. I took my time with pattern matching, to do this fabric justice, and really enjoyed it. The seams are flat felled except for the armhole which I just overlocked to avoid bulk.

You may notice that the jacket doesn’t have buttons yet. I didn’t have any suitable buttons in my stash, but being back in lockdown, going to the shops wasn’t an option and shopping online for only a few buttons I didn’t want to do either. So no buttons it is, for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t stop me from wearing it though, since this was always intended as a cardigan-like middle layer to wear around the flat when I get too cold.

We took these pictures at an abandoned airfield turned nature reserve here in Karlsruhe. It was the perfect back drop for this jacket. Together with the grey and stormy weather I felt like being in Scotland (where this fabric is from) only missing a flock of sheep to look after.

Unexpected Leopard Print Love

Oh wow – This post was supposed to go live months ago. I completely forgot about it and just now found the draft. While I’ve had my son over three months ago (more on that in a future blog post), I really want to share this dress since it was my absolute favourite dress during pregnancy.

This dress started with a trip to Paris over my birthday last December. Remember those times when we could just jump on a train to visit other countries? Ok, to be fair, it wasn’t that easy either. At the time a big strike was going on in France, my train was cancelled and I had to take an overnight bus to get there. But I managed and met up with my husband and friends only half a day late. That weekend also was particularly special because it was the first weekend that I suspected I could be pregnant. As soon as I realised it might be the case, I felt completely different and we spent quite a surreal weekend with the prospect of having a baby (I took the test only when I got back from our trip).

I had been to Paris a few times before, so we didn’t do the typical sightseeing. Instead we spent a quiet Friday to explore the fabric shops around Sacré-Cœur. There are so many shops in that area, but you really have to sift through a lot of ugly/bad quality fabric to find the good stuff. In the end I only bought fabrics in a shop that Saki (@sakijane) had recommended to me: Sacrés Coupons Au Gentleman des Tissus et Cuirs. They really have a great selection of beautiful wools, viscose and silks. I settled on a mohair wool fabric for a coat (which I haven’t touched yet and probably won’t until next winter) and this viscose leopard print fabric.

I’ve never been one to wear animal prints. But with every trend that sticks around for long enough, I’m slowly changing my mind and was intrigued to try it.

The Roscoe Dress by True Bias was the obvious choice for this fabric. I had made the blouse version in a linen before (see my blog post here) and was interested to see how it would work in a more drapey fabric. I also had plenty of fabric, so I decided to try the long dress version.

I decided to make the same adjustments for this dress as for my previous blouse version, i.e. grade out from a size 6 at the bust to a size 10 at the hip. The pattern has a lot of ease as drafted, but especially with the pregnancy, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have the extra space.

The one change I made to the pattern was to introduce a centre front seam on the bodice. This seam will give me the possibility to unpick part of the front top and add some hook and eyes to make the dress breastfeeding friendly. For now though I have kept the seam closed. This was a tip from Alyse (@maeandbjorn) who you should definitely give a follow on Instagram. Her wardrobe is amazing!

Not having sewn with animal prints before, I was very hesitant whether I would like the print for a whole garment but once I put it on, I was completely won over. The dress looks elegant and is super swishy to wear. To emphasize the baby bump, I also made a quick tie from the remnants, which gives the dress a little bit more shape. Though I like it untied too.

So all in all, this dress was a big positive surprise. I’ve loved wearing it, even if it is just to sit on our balcony and enjoy the beautiful spring days we’ve been having. It also helps that the bump finally looks more like a baby bump and not just extra weight due to all the quarantine food. It is finally time to emphasize it. I’m really excited to make more maternity friendly clothing like this. It’s so comfortable but still looks put together.

Hope you are enjoying the sun, wherever you are!