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The Black Nikko Turtleneck

Admittedly, this probably isn’t the most inspiring or interesting piece I’ve ever sewn. I’ve normally got an eye for pattern and color, and I love matching up beautiful shades of bright colors. However, over the past few chilly months, I found myself wishing for a simple black turtleneck to pair with so many of the pieces I was choosing to wear.

I’m always so driven to save my sewing time for those pieces that I consider to be “frosting,” and to simply pop into a store and pick up a ready to wear item when I’m looking for simple basics. My sewing time is limited, so making things that spark my excitement, and that I can’t likely find in a store, always takes priority for me. However, every time I’d get close to heading out to hunt for a ready to wear black turtleneck, I’d start thinking back to my Nikko dresses and how much I love them.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and make up my own. I realized that although this may be a very basic piece, at the end of the day, it is a classic item that I am going to enjoy wearing often, and hopefully through many seasons. I feel so much pride when I am wearing anything that I’ve made myself, so I decided that this was the perfect piece to sew. It might not be bright or bold or colorful, but it will spark a different kind of joy, and that’s pretty special, too!

I chose this Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric from Minerva - it is listed as a medium weight fabric, which is exactly what I wanted for this piece. I wanted it to be form fitting, and able to easily tuck into skirts and jeans, so some spandex content was a must! I loved the weight when I unpackaged it - it is soft and stretches beautifully, but it has a good weight that will keep me warm in the cool months. Even better - it maintains its’ opacity when stretched! As always, I threw the fabric into the washer (on cool) and dryer (on low) to pre-treat it. I was concerned that the black fabric would come out a bit faded after the wash, but I didn’t find this to be the case. I also didn’t find that everything else in my load of laundry had turned black (thank goodness!).

I made the size 6 in the Nikko Top, since this size fit so well in the 2 previous Nikko dresses that I’ve made. The rib knit I used in both of my dress versions was thinner and stretchier than this fabric, but this actually worked out perfectly - I feel like this fabric offers a bit more stability, and does a good job of making everything look nice and smooth. It is sturdy but soft, and truly perfect for a long-sleeve shirt or turtleneck. I don’t think that I would use this same fabric for a t-shirt, as I prefer thinner knits for tees, but I have been looking at the other colors offered in this fabric and thinking that the Teal or Cream Fabrics would make great basic turtlenecks, or maybe even T-Shirt dresses.

I’m so happy with this make, and just as I’d imagined, I get way more pleasure out of this basic top knowing that I made it myself than I would if I had simply picked one up at the store. Though I still prefer sewing frosting pieces, I intend to add a few more basics to my sewing plans this year in an attempt at a more well-rounded handmade wardrobe.

This has given me a fun opportunity to focus on the accessories in my closet, as well, and to think about how I can play up a basic piece with some fun jewelry, hats, or shoes - like these earrings here from Flying Cactus!

This top, in particular, is also a good base piece to pair with some of my other more frosting-type me made clothing. I’m planning a pair of Lander shorts this spring in a super fun cheetah print linen blend, and I know this is going to look perfect with them.

No matter where you’re at in your sewing journey, maybe it’s time to think about sewing a few basics? Whether solids and neutrals are simply your style, or you’re looking to bulk out your base wardrobe pieces, or maybe you just need something to pair with all of your frosting - this fabric is a great starter point.

XX Elizabeth @pinsandpinot

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