May 3rd, 2009

Welcome to Design Diary! The blog behind Megan Nielsen Patterns. Here you’ll find lots of DIY and sewing tips and tutorials, styling ideas and sneakpeeks behind the scenes of the Megan Nielsen brand

We love sewing and we love fashion – we’re on a handmade style mission, and we’d love for you to come along for the ride!

We’re so glad you stopped by! We love hearing from you so feel free to leave a comment to say hi, get involved in discussions on posts or shoot us an email!

If you’ve made anything from one of our patterns or tutorials, join our Flickr group to share your creations! Don’t forget to stop by the  store and sign up for the store mailing list if you’d like to be updated on collection releases, sales and stock updates and a monthly update of whats going on behind the scenes plus freebies and discount codes. If you’re pregnant or soon to be pregnant, come visit the tangent blog DIY Maternity, for lots of tips and tutorials on creating your own maternity and nursing wear.

Want to meet the girls behind the blog? of course you do :)

Meg is the designer behind Megan Nielsen Patterns –  she likes making pretty things. A lot.

At the beginning of 2010 she launched her brand with a debut ready to wear collection – it was an instant hit. Since then she’s released 5 ready to wear collections, and in 2012 added a line of modern and easy to use sewing patterns based on her designs.

Other than that, she’s 28 (eeek!), an Aussie, a passionate Christian, and lives in sunny Perth, Western Australia with her wonderful hubby Chris, and two beautiful kiddos (“Bunny” and “Buddy”).

When Meg’s not hanging out at Design Diary adding way too many exclamation points to everything, you’ll find her:


Holly is Meg’s wonderful creative assistant – she works hard to create fantastic tutorials, tips and features for Design Diary. She loves bows and she’s completely adorable.

With a Bachelors in Fashion and Textile Technology from Buffalo state, and an Associates in Fashion Design from FIT in NYC,  she really knows her stuff.

Holly has her own line of jewelry and and accessories, and lives near  Boston, Massachusetts with her wonderful husband “Boo”.

When she’s not at Design Diary being generally awesome, you can find her:


29 Responses

  1. Kaylene says:

    Hi Megan,

    I live in Washington State, just out of Seattle. I am from Melbourne, and have been living here since 1993. I loved the Quantas ad. Bought tears to my eyes. I think home sickness never goes away…. I work as an occupational therapist. I am originally from the bush and I mean real bush. So I live on 10 acres, because although I have lived in apartments, I am more comfortable with a bit of land around me. I am a country girl that loves to visit the city. I forgot to say, I am an avid sewer

    Take care,


    • Meg says:

      Hi Kaylene, it’s always so nice to hear from other Aussies over here in the states! I totally understand the need for space, I don’t know whether it’s an Aussie thing or what, but I always feel claustrophobic when I don’t have a good bit of land around me (which is probably why our house backs onto a farm!). I’m also a little skeptical as to whether the homesickness will ever go away, but I guess I can’t complain because it really is lovely over here (I just need to avoid Qantas ads!). Anyway, thanks for saying hi, and I hope you are enjoying yourself in Seattle! xoxo

  2. Kaylene says:

    You can take the girl out of Australia, but you can’t take the Australia out of the girl.

  3. Ashlee says:

    Hello there, Megan
    I just came across this today, I have no idea how, and have looked through everything you’ve posted. It’s absolutely wonderful, and I figured this was the easiest way to say so. I could go on and on about what specifically I like, and what I love, but I won’t. I’ll just say you have a new follower. One who will be politely stealing, and altering to make it more “her”, some ideas from here; and leave it at that.

    <3 Stay Young,

  4. Caroline says:

    Hi Megan! I fell in love with your paper bag waist skirt on Wardrobe Re-Fashion, but the link you provided for the how-to isn’t working, and sadly I can’t find the instructions on your blog. Any direction you can give would be so appreciated.


  5. Judy says:

    Hi Megan, Do you have a recommendation for a dress form? It might help my sewing.
    Thanks for any suggestions.

  6. Tibbe Smith says:

    So it looks like we have more in common than just the passion for fashion and designing; my boyfriend is also a software engineer.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  7. Vi says:

    Hi Meg,

    I’ve been a silent fan of your blog for quite a few months now and wanted to finally say “hi” (I’m a bit shy myself and kept putting posting a comment off). I just want to thank you for putting up such an awesome and fun blog about sewing and fashion! I am a beginner sewer and I love the tips and ideas you put up. I’m also a college student that loves fashion but has a tight budget so sewing and re-fashioning just called out to me. Now I love sewing and do it as a stress reliever.

    Anyhoo, I’ve noticed you’ve done a layout change to the blog (which is great!) but a section that I really liked is now gone. It was a section where you explained some sewing terms and techniques. Any chance you could bring that back?

    Thanks for the inspirations & laughs,

  8. Emily says:

    Hi Megan!

    I was born in Perth and despite the fact that I grew up in the US (in Minnesota) I still identify as an Australian (and I have an Aussie passport to prove it). I love your designs, and the names of the items in your fall collection bring tears to my eyes because I miss Australia so much. I am definitely, totally going to write about your collection on my blog (I just started it, but I’m kind of paying homage to everything Midwestern and everything Australian) and I feel so happy that I came across your blog/site!



  9. Celia says:

    Hi Megan,
    I really like your designs, I only wish I could be as creative.
    I just wanted to let you know that I bought the pattern for a maternity wrap top a few days ago. The payment went through Paypal but I still haven’t received my pattern. I know it’s Christmas and everyone is busy but I just wanted to let you know before too many days pass (plus, I’m really excited to see if I’ve got what it takes to make this!! I’ve wanted a wrap shirt from Isabella Oliver for EVER!). Thanks a lot.

  10. Rebecca says:

    Hi Megan,

    I am just wondering if you could please comment on the design software you use to make your patterns. I bought a couple and they are really professionally done so I thought I would ask you to discuss this a bit. Thanks so much!


  11. Sophie says:

    Wow, I THINK there’s been some mistake and you’re actually living the life of MY dreams. I’m a sewing extroidinaire wannabe, 24yr old mum with two kids, from Australia, pining for the USA. Love your design aesthetic…

  12. Sai says:

    Hi Megan,

    Thank you so much for sharing amazing stories, tips and inspirations. I am myself an aussie who have moved and now living abroad (Madrid, Spain to be exact). I´ve just started out paving my own design dream too, and I just want to say it is so lovely to know that it can really happen. I am glad i stumble upon your blog :)

  13. Alyssa Nielsen says:

    Hello, your blog caught my eye while searching for some beginner projects …Nielsen always catches my eye, especially when it’s spelled correctly. :) I’ll be heading over to your DiY Maternity blog…as I am 4 months along. I’m looking forward to exploring your sites!

  14. Freda says:

    Dear Administrator,
    I am very interested in your site. Do you sell text link ads on your site? Can we publish advertorial on your website? Is there any Iframe, nofollow, or JS code?
    Hope to cooperate with you!

  15. Marina says:

    i’m so stupid,i forgot here and ended up talking on a post.(so stupid)
    so…if you can’t read my comment,here is it:

    “Hi Megan!
    first,i want apologize for my english,is not very good,because i’m brazilian,yes,your blog is sucessful here too!
    I just want to say that your blog is soooo amazing!and although i don’t understand english very well (for what exist the google translate,right?)i read and love your blog,gives me inspiration and ideas.
    i could not send e-mail for you,so…i decided to comment the first time (i’m nervous,so silly),if you can to send e-mail for me…oh god,i’m very happy,really,and if not ask for much…i want to talk with you(nervous!nervous!nervous!and very very happy),because i don’t admire only your blog and your ideas,i particularly admire you,what you are.”

    i seems insistent,speaking both,but i really want to meet you,oh sir,i’m euphoric now.

    (now yes)”oops,i wrote too much!
    So,i stop here…
    hugs from a big fan!”

  16. Sarah says:

    Hi Megan,
    Now that you’re in Australia is the shop moving?? Been eyeing up your patterns for ages but postage cost to Melbourne from USA always put me off, does the move mean interstate post will be an option?
    Fingers crossed!

  17. Roxy says:

    Its great to see a Perth girl living her dreams. I’m in Melbourne now but often long for the Swan Valley. Now that I have found your blog (thanks to Tilly) I can get my daily dose of home. Good luck with your business!

  18. Katie says:

    Hello Megan!
    My sister introduced me to your site, I am in awe. I really do love it your site, it is very inspiring. I do a lot of the same things you do; I sew clothing and accessories, design and make clothing patterns. I am annoyed at using the junk-y, thin patterns, too.:D Reading your blog and site, I am really inspired to continue on with my dreams! I would really love to sew for a living, but I know that’s not really a ‘career’ per se, but I have been thinking of ways to keep sewing but earn a living…and I think I found it! Thank you!
    Best of luck to you!
    Thanks again

  19. Stephanie says:

    Dear Megan,

    A few months ago I needed something to do (as I’m a teacher and had an 8 week summer break to fill). My grandmother showed me some small sewing tricks when I was a lot younger and now I wanted to take it up again. I didn’t want to take any lessons because I didn’t want to spend my time making pencil- and pillowcases to practice and they were really expensive. I really wanted to make my own clothes because I had a hard time finding clothes that I really liked.

    I got my boyfriend grandmother’s old sewing machine and I was ready to go. Problem was that there aren’t a lot of great sewing books in Belgium (where I’m from), only project based books (which I hate) and the sewing magazine I bought every month had a frustrating lack of explanation. So each garment ended up ‘being figured out on my own’. I hated it, I was never really satisfied with anything I made and most of the time it didn’t survive the first washing. My friends and family thought I was doing great and were surprised I made that many clothes (I had to since it only looked good once).

    But last week I accidentally came across your Banksia pattern in a Belgian online shop and I loved the design, it’s so me. So despite the fact that I was afraid that I wouldn’t be completely happy again I ordered it anyway and I must say… It was amazing!

    I never really understood why you had to use interfacing, how you finished collars… Now I do! Just doing this one top and I learned so much. Your Banksia top is the first one that looks like it is supposed to look. I tried your Darling Ranges dress as well and it went fine the first time (since I followed the instructions to the letter) but when I started a new one, I got overconfident and decided to change a few things :) Needless to say, it turned out to be a disaster :)

    Because of that I ordered some of the books you suggested and I’m going to start studying as soon as they arrive.
    It’s not my intention to become a designer but I just want to make clothes I can be proud of!
    Next on my list is your Kelly skirt and I can’t wait to be pregnant to start on those clothes too.

    Thanks for your blog and your advice, It’s a huge help!

    • Meg says:

      Stephanie! Thank you so so much for sharing your story! Its so wonderful hearing about your start in sewing, and i more than thrilled to hear that you had such success with your Banksia and Darling Ranges patterns! It’s always been my goal to make my patterns more approachable and acheivable, especially to beginners – and so your feedback has honestly made my day!

      I’m so excited for you, and your sewing journey! It’s such a wonderful hobby, and i hope you continue to make things you love. I know when you get the Kelly you will enjoy it too – it’s probably the easiest to alter and make your own, which makes it super fun!

      Big hugs honey! and thank you so much for your incredibly kind and encouraging words!!


  20. Nicole says:

    Hi Megan,
    I’m pregnant (yay!) and discovered early on the complete lack of pretty maternity clothes in stores (boo!). I found your maternity survival pack and bought it quick smart. Since then I’ve been looking for decent fabric in order to sew them. I live in Tasmania and although there is an abundance of quilting stores there is a serious shortage of fabric stores that sell quality stretch fabric, jersey knit or otherwise. Even my favourite online store has a limited range. Can you please suggest an online store or two that sells a good range of stretch fabric?
    Thanks, Nicole
    PS Knitting is a wonderful hobby to have (I can’t choose between sewing and knitting as my favourite!) and people get plenty of wear out of their hand knitted garments in Tasmania!

    • Meg says:

      Hey nicole!!

      Congratulations!!! So exciting!! I hope your pregnancy is going smoothly!

      Meanwhile, i’m so glad you like the maternity survival pack! I totally understand, finding good knit can be pretty hard. i’ve been in that situation before too where there are tonnes of quilting stores but none that serve apparel. Unfortunately i don’t know of a tonne of online stores that service australia and have good knits. I had a couple i used to buy from in the USA but i don’t think they ship to australia, not sure. They were Fabric.com and VogueFabrics.

      My best bet here in Aus would be Tessuti fabrics – they are pretty awesome. This is the section of their online store with knits http://www.tessuti-shop.com/collections/viscose-fabrics – Tessuti tend to win a lot of points for good customer service, so i’m sure they’ll be pretty helpful if you need help choosing fabrics.

      Another store i love is Kelani http://www.kelanifabric.com.au/index.php?PCID=16818 – i find there knits to be so much prettier than the usual stuff you find.

      I really hope that helps!!!!

  21. Tatiana says:

    Hi Megan,

    I love your blog, your tutorials, and I just bought the Tanya cullotes, I can’t wait to sew it!

    Two questions for you, are you ever going to release you patterns on a PDF format? Another thing, where did you get those fabulous shoes featured on the lookbook for your new collection?



    • Meg says:

      Hi Tatiana!

      Thanks for stopping by and saying hi! I think you’re going to love the Tania culottes! they’re really fun :)
      WIth regards to PDF’s – no we won’t be releasing PDF’s – there are a number of reasons why, but mostly, they don’t provide the sewing experience that we’re trying to create with Megan Nielsen patterns :)
      Shoe-wise – both sets of shoes from the Breakwater lookbook are Swedish Hasbeens – i highly recommend them!!

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  24. Lynn Watson says:

    Hi, will the Banksia pattern be available any time soon? None of your UK stockists seem to be carrying it! Thanks!

  25. Angelica Calderon says:

    Hi Megan

    I just happened to stumble upon your blog after researching ways to start a fashion business with minimal cash and beginner level sewing skills. I’m 34, from Melbourne and have studied a year at Diploma level in Fashion. At this stage still trying to decide whether it’s worth my while to stay at study or have a go at starting my own business. Your blog is so inspiring on so many levels, not just because you’ve done the seemingly ‘impossible’ but also because you’ve managed to do this whilst also balancing a beautiful family!! I read your post on ‘not writing a book’ and nearly cried because I’m also at a stage where my husband and I are deciding whether to have kids or not, it feels like starting a business and having a family would be counter intuitive especially as I know both would require a lot of hard work, time, energy and love (not to mention moola!!) but your blog has inspired me not to give up. My ultimate dream would be to have a family and find a way to be creative and still make a living doing something that I love that is sustainable and all about the idea of ‘slow fashion’. Am putting this out there because maybe there are other women who might feel the same way and just want to say THANK YOU for showing others what is possible :-)

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