NEFFY CARDIGAN & NIKKO DRESS
Every once in a while, I run across a piece of fabric and instantly get a vision in my mind of what I want to create. But when I see two different fabric textures that are identical in color, my mind starts doing back flips. Hahaha!!! I knew, immediately, what I wanted to make when I saw these delicious fabrics — a bodycon dress and cardigan. The Neffy & Nikko were the perfect patterns to bring my vision to life. To say I’m satisfied with the outcome is truly an understatement. This outfit screams Fall. The two pieces together are amazing, and I can’t wait for you to see the other styling options. But first, let’s get into the details of these garments. Warning: This is a photo-heavy blog post.
Pattern Information - Nikko Dress
The Nikko, by True Bias Patterns, is a mock turtleneck that can be sewn as a top or dress. There are four different views to choose from to create your look. Views A and B are fitted tops. Views C and D are ankle-length dresses that are fitted through the waist and hip. The dresses have knee-length slits on both sides. Views A and C are sleeveless with a racerback style. Views B and D have long, fitted sleeves. This pattern is available in both Print & PDF, ranging in size from 0 – 30. Finished Garment Measurements between the top and dress are (Bust: 28.5″ – 54″ | Hip: 30.5″ – 59″). This is a beginner-friendly project. If you have basic sewing skills, you should be able to complete the dress following the simple pattern instructions. Also there is a written sew along series on the True Bias website, START HERE.
Pattern Information - Neffy Cardigan
The Neffy Cardigan by Allie Olson Patterns is a flowy outerwear garment with fitted sleeves, a shawl collar, and asymmetrical hem. The pattern is available in PDF only, ranging is size from 0 – 30. Finished Garment Measurements are (Bust: 52″ – 75.5″ | Hip: 76″ – 99.5″). This is a beginner-friendly project. If you have basic sewing skills, you should be able to complete the dress following the simple pattern instructions. If you don’t like putting together PDF Patterns, check out PDF Plotting. This is where I have all my PDF patterns printed.
Inside the Garments
The insides of both garments have clean finishes and I’ve posted some closeup images. But first I want to show you how I stabilized the center back collar, neckline, shoulders, and hems of the Neffy Cardigan. I chose a very stretchy sweater knit fabric, so it was crucial to stabilize these stress areas to prevent the garment from stretching out of shape during wear. If you’re not comfortable working with sweater knit, I have a great tutorial for beginners on my YouTube channel. It’s called 4 Tips for Sewing with Sweater Knits. I also have a video with 3 Tips for Sewing Sweater Knit on a Serger.
Inside the Neffy Cardigan
I used my Baby Lock Zeal Sewing Machine to sew the entire garment with a narrow zig zag stitch (2.5 mm length, 1.0 mm width). I used clear elastic to stabilize the collar, neckline and shoulders. I chose the elastic because I wanted these seams to have a little give without losing their shape. For the center back of the collar, I sewed the elastic along the seam line on one side only, on the wrong side of fabric.
Next, I sewed the two fronts together at the center back collar seam , trimmed the seam allowance, pressed it to one side, and finished with a 2.0 mm zig zag stitch to hold the seam allowance flat.
To stabilize the neckline and shoulders, I sewed clear elastic to the seam line on the cardigan back piece.
After sewing the back to the fronts, I trimmed the seam allowance and clipped into the corners where the neckline and shoulders meet. This opens the seam allowance so that it will turn to create the angles you need at the shoulder/neckline points.
Here’s a look at the back after clipping the seam allowance. I cut away the points and excess seam allowance at the corners afterwards.
Finally, I pressed the seam allowance toward the back and finished with a 2.0 mm zig zag stitch to hold it flat.
Here is the finished center back seam at the collar. I stabilized the collar because of how it wears across the neck. You wouldn’t need to do this with a more stable knit fabric. But for more stability, I would recommend taking this extra step if sewing with a stretchy sweater knit.
I finished all the seam allowances by trimming, pressing to one side, and finishing with a 2.0 mm zig zag stitch.
The sleeve hem was sewn with a 2.0 mm zig zag stitch.
I stabilized all the hems (only bottoms shown here) with 1″ strips of Knit Fusible Interfacing. This helps to prevent the fabric from stretching out of shape while sewing.
Using the interfacing as a guide, I pressed up the hem allowance and finished with a 2.0 mm zig zag stitch.
Inside the Nikko Dress
The Nikko has very simple seams. I used a zig zag top stitching to hold down the seam allowances where the collar is attached, and at the armhole hems. It adds a bit of interest to the finish also. I used a straight stitch to hold down the seam allowances on the shoulders.
Here’s what that zig zag seam looks like on the outside. Beautiful.
Let’s start with the Neffy Cardigan. Allie Olson Patterns recommends soft, fluid knit fabrics with substantial stretch for this garment, such as: Rayon, Bamboo and Tencel Jersey with at least 50% stretch. I fell in love with this beautiful Orange Plush Rib Knit that I picked up from my local JoAnn Fabrics. It’s super soft and perfect for the Neffy Cardigan. The texture and drape make it a great choice.
True Bias Patterns recommends Medium Weight Knit Fabric with about 75% stretch to sew the Nikko, such as, Rib Knit, Sweater Knit, Bamboo Knit, or Stretch Velvet. I chose this Orange Double Brush Poly from my local JoAnn Fabrics that’s the same color as the sweater knit I used for the cardigan. A total color match WIN!
In addition to the required notions, I used Clear Elastic to stabilize seams on the cardigan, as discussed earlier.
I cut a Size 0 on the Neffy Cardigan and did not make any alterations. For the Nikko Dress, I cut a Size 8 at the bust, merged to a Size 0 at the waist, then merged back out to a Size 6 at the hip. I wanted a skin tight fit for this dress to wear underneath my cardigan. Therefore, I cut a size that would give a good amount of negative ease. If you’re a new beginner, negative ease is the amount of inches smaller than your body measurements. For instance: If your bust measurement is 38″ and you cut your pattern at 36″, you will have 2″ of negative ease on that garment which will give you a fitted finish in the bust.
One of my favorite parts of sewing is styling. If you’ve been following my sewing blog for a while, then you know I like to style the garments before I sew them. It’s so much fun going through my closet, pulling out accessories, holding the fabric next to shoes and purses, and trying different pieces of jewelry to get a vision of how the garments will look after I’ve completed them. These pieces came together beautifully and I have even more styling ideas for wearing them separately. Here are a few options I had fun playing around with during the styling phase.
Styling Option 1
First, I styled the Nikko Dress with a pair of animal print pumps; a matching felt, fold over, clutch that I made a couple of years ago; a silver statement necklace that I’ve had for years; silver stud earrings; bangle bracelets; and a rhinestone ring.
Styling Option 2
Next, I removed the necklace and added a large straw belt that I purchased at a local fashion show earlier this year.
For many years, I wouldn’t wear belts around my waist with dresses because I didn’t think they looked good on me. I’m glad I changed my mind because I love this look. I prefer BIG belts, but I started wearing smaller ones too.
Styling Option 3
And THIS is the vision I had when I first saw the two fabrics together. Oh my goodness! The color and fabric textures together are absolutely beautiful. So, I layered the cardigan over the dress and love it so much. When the weather gets cooler, I will wear this with tall boots. Can you imagine this look with a pair of beige, pointed toe boots the same color as the belt. I’ve already started looking for the boots. I must find them. This cardigan would also look great with the Allie Olson Weaver Skirt. Check out the Weaver Skirt from my last blog post HERE.
Styling Option 4
Adding the straw belt around the cardigan adds another WOW factor. I wore the combo styled this way to a local event. I’m a member of a group in my town called Business Women of God. We gather to encourage each other, to learn from one another, and grow while seeking to do business God’s way. I was honored to be a Sponsor for the event this year. I set up my vendor table and added sewing elements this time. I’ll post a few photos here for you to see. It was a beautiful event and I felt so pretty in my Neffy & Nikko.
Styling Option 5
Wearing the Neffy Cardigan with jeans and boots for this fall is a whole vibe. I plan to wear it with flat boots and booties too. Here I’m wearing a pair of skinny jeans, white bodysuit, silver chain link belt; black, thigh-high, chunky heel boots; black, crossbody purse; animal print baseball cap; simple silver chain with “love” charm; silver and gold bracelets; silver and gold rings; and big silver hoop earrings. Oh, how I love a versatile garment. I’m already planning to make several more to add to my wardrobe. It’s such a great piece for any season. Just change up the fabrics and you will be ready for cardigan fabulousness.
Styling Option 6
Here’s another option for when the weather is cooler. Wrap the cardigan across your chest and add a belt to keep it closed. When it’s really cold, I would add a long sleeve Nikko top and a pair of leather gloves to finish off the look. This would look great with leggings too. Oh, let the fun begin.
What do you think?
Which styling option do you like the best? I would love to hear your feedback. Scroll to the very bottom of this page to leave a comment.
Thank you for stopping by today! 💕
Don't Forget your Sewing Project Checklist
Did you know that I created a Sewing Project Checklist to help you stay organized while sewing your garments? If you missed the video where I shared 3 Steps to Time Saving Sewing for Beginners, check it out to learn how you can streamline your sewing process. Tap the link below to get a Free PDF copy of the Checklist.
Links to Products, Posts & Tutorials
Here are links to products, blog posts, and tutorials mentioned in this post.
- Nikko Dress Pattern
- Neffy Cardigan Pattern
- Dress Fabric Option
- Cardigan Fabric Option
- Sewing Project Checklist
- Learn to SEW Course
- Baby Lock Soprano
- Baby Lock Vibrant
- Baby Lock Euphoria
(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.).)