Archive for the ‘DIY tips & tutorials’ Category

quick fix// jewelry display

February 21st, 2014

quick fix// jewelry displayYou may have noticed that i pretty much always wear a chunky dangly necklace. More often than not, by Merl. The problem with these kinds of adornments is that they’re kind of hard to store.

I have a truly amazing jewelry box (shown above) that my parents had made for me in Hong Kong for my 16th birthday, but unfortunately even though it is huge it just can’t handle all the chunk. I needed a better solution.

I’d seen a lot of cool jewelry hangers around, but they never had enough space – six hooks? Umm no. i need more. In the end i realised i needed to make something in order to get what i really needed.

This frame was originally used to display my brothers Paratrooper flag – but when he had the flag removed and restored to its original condition, the frame wasn’t needed anymore. I love it when fortune strikes! I bought a little bag of hooks from the hardware store, measured out as many spots as i thought i could squeeze on the long edge of the frame, and just spent a few minutes twisting them in by hand. Since we were renting i used the same trick as i did for my spool racks, and hung it with some 3M hooks – which made even the installation quick. Now that we’ve moved into our own home, it has a more permanent home on my wall. It was crazy easy, and it’s been so incredibly useful.

The hilarious part is that i almost need a second one, as i still have to double up a couple of hooks to get everything in! I think it makes getting dressed much easier because i can see all the options right in front of me – plus theres that important benefit of keeping my rugrats out of my necklaces hehehe

tutorial: the two seam dress

January 24th, 2014

So excited to share this tutorial with you today!! I’ve mentioned this before, but during pregnancy i have like a million more “i hate everything in my closet what am i going to wear” days. Thats what happened on the day i made this dress. I was frustrated and i wanted to wear something flowy and chic and i wanted it 5 minutes ago. So i came up with this nifty little dress. It involved 2 seams, some clever cutting and voila, chic easy going maternity wear.

I will absolutely be making more of this little number and its so easy that i feel that a tutorial is very very necessary. This is one of those pieces that works just as well for the pregnant gal and the non-pregnant gal, can be made shorter to be a top instead, and fantastically is perfect for beginners who want quick results with very little sewing knowledge or effort required.

Sometimes simple is best! Am i right?! Okay ready to learn how?


Quick tip: gathering stretch fabrics

January 20th, 2014

So have you ever had trouble getting nice gathers on stretchy fabric?

Well here’s my little trick: put a bobbin of elastic thread in your machine instead of your regular thread, and sew two lines of stitches at the longest stitch length. I normally sew them at 3/5″ from the raw edge and just under 5/8″ from the raw edge. The fabric will gather up automatically and evenly! Perfect gathers every time. It even helps prevent those icky wavy seam joins that can happen with knits. Just make sure that that the elastic basting is hidden in the seamline, and don’t unpick your basting – it will help keep everything in place. Also – don’t forget to experiment! Heavy knits will take more rows to gather up well and lighter knits may only need one.

Fabric wrapped christmas presents: Year 3!

December 12th, 2013

Fabric wrapped Christmas presents

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about my fabric wrapped Christmas presents. WELL i’m really excited to say that we’re in to the third year of doing this in our family, and i love it even more! There’s something really satisfying about pulling out my little bag of wrappings and knowing that i won’t be throwing any of it in the trash, and i didn’t have to rush to the store to buy paper at the last minute. YES!

So here are the posts i’ve done about my fabric wrapped presents:

Fabric wrapped Christmas presents: year 1The original post where i first tried the idea

fabric wrapped christmas presents -  year two tips

FAQ’s and Tips for wrapping presents with fabric (This time i’ve really perfected my wrapping technique to completely remove the need for using another other securing device than just ribbons and the fabric itself).

Last year i also added reusable felt gift tags, and i’m so glad i did, this year wrapping was such a breeze

Also if you’re feeling really crafty, here are a few other ways i’ve tried to make our Christmas more handmade. I was hoping to add more to the list this year, but I guess moving house and being pregnant has turned out to be enough for me to handle this December hehe

handmade Christmas stockings[TUTORIAL: handmade Christmas stockings]

Holly christmas garland[TUTORIAL: Holly garland]

Another Holly garland[TUTORIAL: Another Holly Christmas garland]

how to felt + leather acorn[TUTORIAL: Felt & leather acorn ornaments]

[Storing handmade garlands and buntings]

[Holly tree skirt]

[Handmade ornaments]

AND Kelli over at True Bias is hosting a handmade ornament exchange again this year – and a bunch of my favourite bloggers will be sharing what they made and their tutorials for their creations very soon (heres the list of bloggers), so make sure to keep an eye out! Last years were absolutely amazing and i know this year will be too (my kids had an epic battle this year over who would hang Jen’s Narwhal ornament hehe)

Any other handmade Christmas things on your radar this year?

what bra to wear with the crescent blouse

August 6th, 2013

What bra can you wear with the Megan Nielsen Crescent blouse?

It feels totally weird writing a blog post about bras, but I know there are a number of you that have been worried about what bra you can wear with your Crescent blouse. I’ve had comments from quite a few people about their hatred for strapless bras, and how that leaves them confused as to how they could wear the Crescent.

Well guess what folks, i never wear strapless bras. They’re freaking uncomfortable!

Thats why i designed the Crescent to be worn with a regular bra – the inner shoulder straps are drafted to lay over the bra straps of a cross over bra. Want to see? Here we go…


Isn’t that cool?

Don’t have a crossover bra? Easy baby, you can pick up these little bra converters for almost nothing. I got mine for $3 at my local pharmacy – there are literally tonnes on Amazon.


I mentioned this in my original post about the Crescent, because a lot of thought went into the exact placement of the shoulder straps. But hey, if you missed that, now you know! I hope that alleviates some of your worries. Yay for not having to wear rib crushing straplesses that require constant pulling and proding to stay in place! hehehe


August 1st, 2013

bookshelf headboard // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

When we moved back to Perth we were very harsh about what we brought. We tried to keep everything to a bare minimum to make the move easier and lessen the burden of international moving costs – which of course meant we ended up with a bit of shopping list when we got here!

But i’m not going to complain – i really enjoyed it! It was really fun to go out and purchase things for our home with older eyes. I know that sounds silly, but my tastes have changed since we were first married and first started accumulating house things, and it was really nice to have an excuse to start fresh.

I completely fell in love with this bed – but it didn’t have a headboard – which is a total bummer. I knew i wanted something a little unusual, so i left it blank for a while. Until i started trying to fit a bookshelf into our very small bedroom. We own a lot of books and special little things that i wanted in our room – and i just couldn’t fit a bookshelf in anywhere (which of course i discovered after i had shoved the bookshelf into our room). Then it hit me – put the bookshelf behind the bed! Make it the headboard. YES!

Honestly, i could not be more thrilled with this “headboard” and it didn’t cost me anything (extra bonus!).

I just love it! All the junk we usually try and cram on tiny bedside tables is easily accommodated – plus i can keep a much larger reading selection at the ready than usual (normally we both have piles of books spilling onto the floor next to the bed). I’ve got my magazines, my sewing resources, my special knick nacks – whatever random junk i decide i need!

Awesome right? I kind of love it when crazy ideas turned out well!

bookshelf headboard // Megan Nielsen Design Diary