Nikko Top -Sewn by Paprika Patterns

A Tale of Three Nikko Tops

Mock turtleneck shirts had not been on my radar for a while, and really I’m not sure they ever were in the first place. But then they came back on trend, I got one for a photo shoot and discovered that they are very comfortable. Especially if you are a scarf-wearer like me, who like to have their neck covered all the time in three of the four seasons. When my RTW turtleneck basically fell apart in just a few weeks, and Kelli released her Nikko Top pattern at the same time, it was obvious to me that I should just sew a couple! And that’s pretty exceptional for me too, since I rarely sew the same pattern twice. I made no less than three, and because I made them in three different fabrics, I thought it would be interesting to show you the differences. I apologize for the serious face, I was holding in my belly in all the shots so it would show you how the top should fit! Apparently that takes up too much concentration to smile at the same time.

To start, I’ve made some adjustments to the pattern that are standard for me: lowering the neckline in the front, lengthening both the sleeves and the bodice by an inch (2.5 cm). It’s so helpful to have figured these basic fit issues out, I can always make them to any pattern without making a muslin first.

Let’s get into fabric details! They really matter for a top like this, as I’ll show you.

  • Blue: sweater knit, 55% Rayon / 25% Nylon / 20% Polyester, 100% stretch, size sewn: 10-12 (Blackbird Fabrics, no longer stocked))
  • Yellow: cotton jersey, exact contents unknown, 50% stretch, size sewn: 10-12 (Local market)
  • Brick: bamboo jersey, 95% Rayon from Bamboo / 5% Spandex, 70% stretch, size sewn: 8-10 (Blackbird Fabrics)

So according to the measurements, I should sew an 8 at the bust, and a 10 at the hips. Let’s talk about the blue one, my first version. First mistake: I thought it would be nice if the sweater knit version (blue) would have a slightly more relaxed fit, so I sized up to 10-12. If I had paid attention I’d seen that it already had more stretch than the pattern called for, so it was really too baggy. I also enlarged the neck opening, don’t know why but I really shouldn’t have. It sags and it bothers me. Second mistake: not bothering with a nice hem. I’ve had trouble getting a twin needle hem to work and I didn’t have the motivation to tackle it at that point.

How I fixed it: I took in the shoulders and armhole but it’s still a bit too wide. I didn’t fix the hem, and the collar.

The second one version is just one giant mistake. First, I chose a colour that doesn’t go with my complexion at all. Which I knew. Second, I used a knit with not enough stretch. Which I also knew. The pattern calls for 75%, I had 50%, this being a cotton jersey. I thought if I sized up it would be OK, but it just doesn’t drape as nicely as it should. It’s not as comfortable to wear, and though it basically fits, you can see from the wrinkles that this is not how this top is supposed to fit. Really, if I had not already been pregnant when I made this, I’d ask myself: What was I drinking? Or maybe it actually was the hormones and I just wasn’t thinking.

How I fixed it: I took it apart (fortunately I had only basted it) and will be making a Jade skirt out of it. I can wear mustard when it’s not close to my face, and this way I can pair it with the brick Nikko top. Lesson learned: sizing up does not always fix a too low stretch percentage!

The third one is pretty spot-on. Bamboo knit is the kind of fabric perfectly suited for this pattern. I really like how this fits, except that it is slightly too narrow in the shoulders. Although the model in the product photo’s seems to have the same fit. If you compare the three tops, this one clearly stands out, although I also wore the blue one quite a bit. I’m a bit bothered by how every seam underneath the top shows through (i.e. bra and in this case maternity band), which is a feature of this kind of drapey fabric. I also took my time to really figure out the twin needle hem. It still tunnels a bit as you can see, but it’s 100% better than I used to get. The secret was turning the bobbin screw more than 360°, so it is really very loose. I also used woolly nylon.


I had wanted to try and sew fall/winter clothes throughout the year to work on my handmade wardrobe, because my summer wardrobe was much more complete. This top was a part of that plan, but my pregnancy is of course messing everything up. I’m due in December so hopefully I get to wear it for the last leg of winter. Right now I’m back to sewing a summer and fall maternity wardrobe. I have the privilege of trying out some great maternity and nursing patterns we sell at Maternity Sewing! I’m excited to share these with you, and the new patterns I’m developing.

Have you sewn the Nikko Top? Did you make the right fabric choice?

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