Fabrics-Store has many well designed patterns to inspire the possibilities of what to make with their lovely linen. In my over two decades of sewing I don’t think I have sewn more than one piece that is cut on the bias. The NICO Dress Pattern was a very good pattern for me to stretch myself on bias cut pieces.
My first impression was “oh my word this wastes fabric”. Ha! It’s true, maybe my grandmother’s frugality is showing itself a little or the influence of my daughter ever since she transformed our family into a more eco-conscious mindset fifteen years ago. BUT have no fear, I will use the extra pieces for gift wrap linen ties, baby items or tiny handmade toys as I enjoy re-purposing scraps for all of these items. The simple fact is, you MUST cut this pattern on the bias (or diagonal to the selvage edge) to get the beautiful drape!
The NICO Pattern has two dress length options and one top. All three are cut on the bias. I decided to make the first one for my youngest daughter Amanda. My daughters call this style a “slip dress” and she had been asking sweetly if I could make one. She is a stunning 6’1” and because of her great shape, we found that she needed two different sizes per the pattern measurement estimate given: one for the bust, one for the hips. We went with the higher size and then took in the top under the arms to the dart once we started the side seams.
The NICO Pattern directions were well written and easy to follow. I made a few alterations per my preferences to the pattern as designed and instructed. We needed to lose a full 2 inches on the shoulders which surprised us considering her height. That was easily adjusted by adding a new seam an inch lower on the shoulder and trimming away before adding the seam binding on the neckline and armholes and this brought that neckline and under arm right up where we needed them. We thought the back scoop could be lowered to expose more back, so we mimicked the same shape and lowered it about 2 inches. We drew the new line with a chalk pen then cut away the excess.
One of the larger changes I chose to make was the use of bias tape rather than cutting out the binding strips. Making your own bias tape from the same fabric as your piece is very simple with a ½” bias tape maker, rotary cutter and cutting mat. The strips are cut as well diagonal to the selvage edge, fed through the bias tape maker and ironed creating folds. Sewing that bias tape to the right side of the fabric in the “ditch” the fold creates, pressing with the iron around the curves folded back toward the inside of the fabric before that finishing stitch. I made the bias tape to the same length of fabric as the binding strips shown in the NICO pattern and this method provided the right width of bias tape and the folds that are so helpful for a polished look on the inside of the garment.
Amanda and I are both impressed with the NICO Dress and its possibilities to pair with so many outfit accessories like the Paola Jacket. The dress does drape so beautifully. As always, we are also delighted with the feel of the FS Black Signature Finish Linen. I am sure I will be making more Nico Dresses and Tops in the future.