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.

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!

Sewing for Hibernation

Hello everyone! Wow, it’s been a while. I mean, I don’t know if anyone notices apart from my mother, who has my blog as her start page and complains regularly that I don’t write blog posts anymore but only share stuff on Instagram (give me a follow over there if you are interested).

Anyways, there is a big reason, why I haven’t been blogging lately. I’m 24 weeks pregnant and completely lost my sewjo throughout the winter. It was such a new experience for me to not constantly be sewing or at least be thinking about sewing; I just couldn’t find the energy or inspiration. Truth be told, I didn’t really feel like myself. I guess that’s quite a normal feeling for a lot of people in their first trimester. But fear not, my sewjo has come back full force, so I will have more to share in the future.

It’s not that I didn’t sew anything at all though. I did, but a lot of comfy and practical stuff, that does not necessarily lend itself to an interesting blog post. Which is why I have decided to do a little roundup here of all the pieces I have sewn over the winter, before I move on to the more exciting spring/summer sewing. While I wasn’t heavily inspired (or maybe because of it) I did end up with a lot of practical stuff that I wore non-stop throughout the winter.

So what did I make?

The Ruska Dress was the one reason why I finally decided to get the Named Clothing “Breaking the Pattern” book and it didn’t disappoint. The version with the knotted overlay is such a cool design and the plain version is a great staple. I made the knot dress version first in a wonderfully heavy tencel knit. I got it from “Stoffmarkt Holland”, a travelling fabric market when it came here to Karlsruhe last autumn, and I wish I had gotten it in all the colours. It’s a great fabric to wear and it barely wrinkles, which has made it the perfect dress to wear on business trips. I graded between three sizes to give my hips enough room; other than that I sewed it up as drafted. Some hand-sewing was involved to get the points of the ties to look neat and crisp, which I didn’t mind though. It’s always worth putting in the extra effort for a nice finish.

The plain version of the dress is made from a navy herringbone wool knit (which you can’t really see in this picture) that I picked up at “Die Stoff Scheune” a small fabric shop close to my parents place, with a great selection of designer deadstock fabric. For this version I left off the overlay and added a little turtleneck, based on the Nikko Top. It has a curved turtleneck, which in my opinion has the best shape! Again another comfy dress, perfect for work on cold winter days.

The Toaster Sweater, is another pattern I’ve been wanting to make for ages. When I found this heavy viscose knit at “Stoffmarkt Holland” I knew the Toaster would be a great pairing. However, I was envisioning something with balooney sleeves and a bit more oversized than the pattern is drafted. So what I did was to sized up and make the sleeves wider and longer before gathering it in in a cuff, slimmer than drafted. I played around with different gathering and pleating options and settled on one box pleat with two knife pleats on each side. This sweater is exactly what I’ve been wanting to wear all winter; super soft and just very cozy.

The Nikko Top: I can’t believe it took me so long to make this pattern. I love wearing turtlenecks in winter and have been experimenting with a lot of different patterns from my stash and also self-drafted versions to get the perfect fit, but never 100% achieved it. Then I tried the Nikko and it was almost there on the first try. Next time I would shape the side seams to follow my figure more but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s perfect, especially in this Acorn merino jersey from The Fabric Store. I’m still obsessed with all the brown colours and this is gorgeous; it perfectly pairs with my denim Persephone Pants.

Corduroy has been on my mind all winter, and I’m super happy with the two corduroy pieces that I made.

I really wanted to make a pair of corduroy trousers for winter but struggled to find the right corduroy (I wanted something really heavy) in an interesting colour. I looked everywhere until I realised that I had a suitable fabric in my stash, two pieces of heavy cotton corduroy that I had picked up at a flea market. In theory they would have been too small to fit the pattern; however, I am not one to get defeated by fabric limitations. Instead I got creative, chose the slim legged version, cut the waistband on the cross grain, the fly pieces from lining fabric (which was a wise move with this heavy fabric in any case) and left the legs as long as would fit on the fabric (which was shorter than I needed, but I decided I’d rather have cropped trousers than none). So in the end, everything fit, including back pockets, ideal! Next I had to tackle the colour of the fabric. It was a very uninspiring beige-grey. However, with a packet of Dylon dye in Emerald I was able to turn it into a dusty teal, which actually works perfectly with my wardrobe.

As I had read a few times that the Dawn runs small, I chose to go up one size. I made a quick muslin and realised that that would not have been necessary, so I took some width out again through the side seams. In the corduroy the trousers still turned out a little big, especially in the waist. Since I knew at that point already that I was pregnant though, I decided to leave them as they were, to be able to grow into them. And I’m so glad that I did, as they are the only pair of normal trousers that I’m still able to wear. They have been a life saver in the cold winter months. My husbands calls them my “sofa” trousers, which is fair, as this fabric most likely was upholstery fabric. I don’t mind since they are so warm and cozy.

Finally, this olive green dress. Some of you might have a slight deja-vu. Didn’t she make the same dress last winter? And you are right. I made a dress very similar, which I however, gave to my sister as she liked it so much. I figured if I really missed it, then I could recreate it again. And it turned out I did. So when I was visiting “Die Stoff Scheune” over Christmas (which is where I got the fabric last time) I was delighted to see they still stocked the exact same fabric. To switch things up, however, I decided to try a new pattern.

The original dress was self-drafted but in one of my Japanese Sewing books, I saw an almost identical dress, with a deep v, which looked interesting. I raised the neckline a little, left off the pockets (though I might add one still) and added some length. Other than that sewed it as drafted. I love Japanese pattern books! The diagrams are so clear, that within just a couple of pages, all the instructions are covered. There wasn’t even a need for me to translate any of the text. The fit of the dress (a size L) turned out to be great too, the armhole shaping is perfect for this pinafore style.

Phew, that was a long list of projects after all. As I said in the beginning, I’m super happy with all these pieces and have been wearing them a ton. It showed me, that with winter sewing it all comes down to the fabric. Cozy, high-quality fabric in combination with simple/comfortable patterns is the key to a perfect winter wardrobe. It kept me comfortable throughout the dark winter months. While I really can’t complain about my first trimester (just some constant nausea and tiredness), I still was very grateful for a wardrobe that felt like a warm hug.

I’m so glad though that we are now heading into spring. Dressing and sewing for the warmer months is still what I enjoy the most. So expect some pregnancy friendly sewing projects on the blog soon.

Finally, I of course have to mention the crazy situation we are in right now. I can’t believe how much the world has changed over the last few months. Being pregnant during these uncertain times is definitely scary. We are already affected by COVID-19 through things like my husband not being allowed to join for the big ultrasound I had a couple of weeks ago, hospital visits being cancelled and prenatal courses having to switch to virtual. I’m glad though that the birth is still a while away (due date is in August) so hopefully the situation is a little bit clearer by then, especially the question of whether fathers are allowed to be present at the birth. There are positive sides to this situation too. Thanks to lock-down, my husband is not allowed to travel, and being out of a job for the foreseeable future he has all the time in the world to look after me and really be present for this pregnancy, so I’m not complaining.

For any other pregnant mothers out there, I hope you are holding up ok. I’m sending you all the love!