Deja vu // a culotte story

June 6th, 2015

Megan Nielsen tania culottes // V3Megan Nielsen tania culottesMegan Nielsen Tania culottes sewing pattern // version 3Sometimes when i’m sewing everything goes perfectly, it’s like magic, and everything falls into place and i wonder how anything could ever be hard. Sometimes, its a fight. For reasons i can’t explain i will have the opposite of the Midas touch. Have you been there?

The first time i made these culottes it was a fight. Like this dress, i used fabric i had been “saving” for many years – and it was just a disaster. Like a bone head i didn’t bother pattern matching the pleat seams. I’m not nutty about pattern matching or anything, sometimes i think it’s really worth it (like here and here) and sometimes i just really couldn’t care less (like here or here). This time, it just ended up looking like a hot mess. Those perfect little rows of flowers looked ridiculous when they were off kilter. Then hemming became this big thing, and no matter what i did the fabric just kept slipping, and as soon as i’d think i had it straight i’d leave it another day, and bam! wonky again. I cut off so much it ended up knee length. And as the final straw, i hadn’t secured the zipper enough and it started coming loose at the end.

So. Deep breath. I decided to call it quits. I started again.

This isn’t something i will do very often, but this time, it was really worth it. I carefully and painstakingly matched those silly little flowers on that silly slippery fabric. When it came time to hem, i left it for weeks on my dress form before evening it out.

Megan Nielsen tania culottes // V3

And here is the final centre front pleat. (Here’s a close up). As much as it was frustrating to completely throw away a garment and start all over, i’m really happy that i did. These have quickly become my favourite pair of culottes. I think the lesson here is that it pays to be careful from the very beginning of a project. Taking the time to lay out and cut your pattern pieces properly sets you up to win for the rest of the project. Now here is hoping i have that much wisdom next time Birdie goes down for a nap and i think OOOOOH time to make some culottes! hehee

Megan Nielsen tania culottes version 3Megan Nielsen Tania culottes sewing pattern

[photography by Sabatomic]

[Make this look]

Culottes: Megan Nielsen Tania // get the pattern
Blouse: Banana Republic // similar pattern + similar fabric
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens // T strap sky high in natural
Sunnies: Rayban // RB3025 in red

Tutorial : how to insert an exposed zipper

June 3rd, 2015

exposedzipper1

Hey everyone, Holly here! I’m so excited to be back and sharing some tutorials with you guys to go along with the new pattern relaunch and app release. Speaking of which – how awesome is Meg?! Seriously, that app is amazing. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, do it now.

Anywho, I’m going to start off today by walking you through how to insert an exposed zipper. This will especially come in handy with the Brumby skirt, as it’s the recommended zipper application in the pattern instructions. If you’ve never done one before, don’t fret! While it may be one of the more advanced zipper options (for something more simple, try a centered  zipper), it really isn’t that scary. And it definitely adds a nice detail to your garment, especially if you are using a fun colored or metallic zipper!

*note that I’m using a small sample piece for this tutorial, not a full Brumby skirt. So there are no gathers, but I did include a waistband and the necessary interfacing for your reference*

Ok, let’s get started…

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always a darling

May 30th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3

It kind of doesn’t matter how many things i sew, i always find myself coming back to the Darling Ranges pattern with as much love as when i first drafted it. Funny how some things are just really close to your heart hey?

This fabric is actually left over from the Matilda Bay dress from my Perth Collection – i stupidly did not keep a sample of that dress for myself, so i kept some extra fabric for years so i could make myself one. Do you ever save fabric like this and then wonder why you’re being so obsessive? just me? I seem to do this a lot where i’ll earmark fabric for a project, and then have piles of fabric that i can’t use because its being “saved”. This year i’m trying to be better at not doing that, because fabric that isn’t being used is just being wasted, right?

If you follow me on instagram you may have seen a behind the scenes peek of this particular version. As often happens i had one of those moments of “oh no what was i thinking?!” when it came to the topstitching. I made version 3 of the Darling Ranges (leaving off the sleeves). I’m a huge fan of topstitching so of course you give me some chambray and i just pull out the denim topstitch thread without a second thought… but after going over the pockets i did kind of freakout. A lot.

Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3

But I pushed on, and once i was done i really loved it (phew!). Which is good – because if you’ve ever unpicked topstitch thread you’ll know it’s a massive pain in the butt!!

When i got to the end i got a bit lazy. There is only so much you can get done in baby naps – so i called in the easy option and used snaps on the placket instead of buttons, so i could get this dress DONE. And can i now declare my undying love for snaps?! I will probably be doing this on everything now hahaha. lazy lazy lazy. But seriously, it was so nice and easy and I feel like it give the dress a very different look than my usual inclination for shell buttons.

Overall i’m really happy with how this dress turned out, and it was definitely one of my most worn items over the summer. Next up i think i’ll be making a straight up Version 3 with the sleeves, because its just way too cold in Perth right now to go sleeveless anymore!

Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges sewing pattern // Version 3

[photography by Sabatomic]

[Make this look]

Dress: Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges // pattern + similar fabric
Shoes: Swedish hasbeens // T strap sky hi in natural
Sunnies: Ray Ban // RB3025 in red
Bag: vintage Coach 

The Brumby Skirt

May 26th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt

With all of last weeks excitement, announcing the app and the print pattern release, i completely forgot to spend some time telling you all about my newest pattern, Brumby!

As per usual, i thought i’d share a bit with you about the development and ideas behind this pattern. It’s been a staple of mine in it’s many forms, and appeared in two of my ready to wear collections (back in the day! hehe). I hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

The original Brumby skirt appeared in my Perth ready to wear collection, during a time of particular homesickness i was inspired by my home and all its rugged beauty. It feels kind of full circle releasing patterns from this collection.

Brumbies have always held a romantic charm for me – they are wild roaming horses of Australia, and are all descendants in some way or another of lost or escaped horses dating back to our first settlers. They’re rugged and hardy and beautiful.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt

This is one of those patterns that i’ve spent probably years refining, and has formed a great portion of my wardrobe. Version 1 and Version 3 both appeared in ready to wear collections, and i have made them over and over again for my own wardrobe. The new addition for the pattern release was Version 2- i really wanted a longer option with the pockets, but more fullness. I started playing around with it and there were a few peeks on the blog here and here – did you spot them?! With those early experiments i found that i liked the fullness much better with lightweight fabrics – as in the version i included in my Maker tee editorial.

I see testing as really important – and so it was great to see what our pattern testers came up with and the feedback we had from them. One of the refinements i made after the testing process was to deepen the pockets (no-one wants stuff falling out!) and tweaked the waistband fit. For the testers i actually added a bit more ease to the waistband – as i wasn’t sure if everyone loved the close fit i always go for in waistbands – and funnily enough almost every single tester picked up on the fact that the waistband didn’t fit as my pattern usually do. It was a good reminder to always stay true to your aesthetic! So the waistband was brought in again to it’s original fit.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing patternMegan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

You guys know i am ALL about the variation potential – and this pattern has it in buckets. Though each variation has a recommended length, feel free to change it up! Personally i really want to try Version 1 in a midi length! Version 2 in maxi? I can’t even handle it!

Don’t forget a different hem can change the look entirely – I think a scalloped hem would be amazing. Wouldn’t lace trim like on these culottes be really gorgeous?

Another cool thing i’d like to try is moving the zipper to the centre front. The Brumby uses an exposed zipper in the centre back, and since Version 1 and 2 both have a centre front seam, why not simply swap out where you put the zipper?

And of course fabric – it’s amazing how different a pattern can look in a different fabric. I recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics for Version 1 – it has less gathers and includes instructions for gathering those difficult fabrics. Versions 2 and 3 have more fullness and i recommend lighter to medium weight fabrics. But just because those are the fabrics i recommend doesn’t mean you can’t change things up! I’m always blown away by the creative ideas you guys come up with.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

As with all of my patterns – the fit is snug on the waist. I like a close fitting waistband. The waistband is contoured, and the top of the waistband should sit on your natural waist (ie the narrowest part of your abdomen). However, if you like a low rise skirt, you can just as easily cut a larger size and wear your skirt lower on your hips. Since the waist is contoured you have this flexibility – yay!

I would call the fit on the hip “free” as the skirt is gathered and as such there is a lot of room for movement around your hips.

Length wise, there are a few options and you can also mix and match the lengths of each variation if you so desire. Version 1 sits above the knee, Version 2 is closer to midi length, and Version 3 knee length.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

Alterations on the Brumby should be fairly straight forward. If you need to adjust the waistband, it’s easy to bring it in at the side seams as an “on the fly” adjustment – if you want to adjust the actual pattern pieces before sewing, i recommend adding or removing from the centre front. The same goes for the skirt panels – for all 3 versions. If you want to add additional fullness or remove fullness from the pattern pieces, add or remove from the centre front of the pieces before cutting your fabric. The great thing about gathered designs is that they are quite forgiving, so you shouldn’t feel too stressed about changing things up.

Extending or shortening is also really simple too. For Version 1, the hemline is straight so simply add or subtract from hem – no need to slash and spread! For Versions 2 and 3 the choice is yours – if you want to say extend the hemline of either, you could slash and spread the pattern horizontally to keep the same hem width – or alternately, if you simply extend the pattern pieces you will end up with a wider hemline. But as mentioned before, the visual difference won’t be too distinguishable due to the gathers and volume of the skirt.

Given the gathers and the amount of ease around the hips, if you find that your hip usually falls in a larger size range than your waist (hello pear shapes! me too!) i wouldn’t bother cutting a size up in the skirt panels. You’ll be fine :)

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

Its no secret i’m a huge fan of high waisted skirts. HUGE fan. So i could go on about styling this one for ages.

Here are a few ways I’ve worn my Brumby skirts in the past:
WINTER [ one // two ] SPRING [ one // two // three ] SUMMER [ one // two // three ] FALL [ one ]

This skirt is awesome for tucking, we all like tucking right?! I’m a tucker! Tucking a Eucalpyt or Banksia (i know still out of print, please don’t throw rocks at me) or Briar into this skirt are obvious choices, but i’ve also been wearing it to death with Briar crop tops and my cropped Crescent blouse. During summer crops are the way to go in my opinion.

Due to the volume i don’t really like to wear long untucked shirts, but a longer cropped style tee is another cute look – you know something that hits the bottom of the waistband, and probably not much more.

Layering for me is all about cropped sweaters, open cardigans and blazers. The nice thing about this one is that you can wear it all year round – tights and boots are the perfect addition for the winter months. Now that we’re basically into winter in Perth you’re probably going to see some winter versions popping up – i have some new Brumby’s i haven’t yet blogged and i’m excited to share with you!

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

So tell me what you think?! Do you love it as much as i do? The Brumby skirt is available now in store in both paper format and PDF format, and don’t forget, the use of the Megan Nielsen Patterns app is free with all purchases.

Also lovely Holly will be back again very soon with some Brumby tutorials to help you out if you get stuck! YAY!

If you have any questions at all about this new pattern let me know in the comments!

introducing: the Megan Nielsen Patterns App

May 24th, 2015

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

Big news you guys! Today we are sharing possibly our biggest surprise yet! The last piece of our rebrand/refocus:

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

[Available in the App Store right now and Google Play for Android in June]

Remember at the beginning of the year when i wrote this post, and  told you that during my maternity break i had spent a lot of time looking at my brand and how you interact with my patterns? Well one of the things we kept coming back to was this disconnect between technology and sewing patterns. We all live with our phones and tablets by our sides, and more and more we want digital. We want instant. It’s time that sewing patterns stepped up and became more relevant to the age we live in.

The Megan Nielsen App

That’s why we created this app. We are closing the gap between traditional sewing patterns and the technology that is being used more and more by modern sewers.

We’ve been working on this for close to a year, and it’s been a lot of work. But i’m so proud of how it turned out and i think you are really going to love it.

Install it, create an account, have a look around – and tell us what you think!

Bonus: You must create a new user account, but if you use the same email address you use for purchases on www.megannielsen.com then you will immediately have access to all your previous pattern purchases.

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App[photography // Madalynne Studios]

Print patterns now available!

May 23rd, 2015

Megan Nielsen Patterns
Well my dear friends, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that our newly rebranded print patterns are now available in store!

The first patterns in print are:

More patterns will be added over the year!

Don’t forget that the Darling Ranges and Tania culottes now include more pattern pieces to help you create all the variations, but if you own the older versions, tutorials are available right here on the blog to alter your existing pattern.

Our other PDF patterns have also had a gorgeous makeover consistent with our new branding – but the pattern pieces and instructions themselves have remained the same.2015-05-rebrand3

A few more things to note: Though our business is based in Australia, all patterns are stored in the USA and ship from the USA – shipping costs are calculated once you enter your shipping address. Also, when you head over to the store you are now able to choose what currency to view prices in. When you check out all orders will be processed in Australian dollars. Any more concerns? Check out our FAQ’s here.

If you are looking for a store closer to you, you can find a list of all of the lovely stores that stock our patterns here.

Also stay tuned! We have a really big announcement coming tomorrow! We’ve been very tight lipped about this one – all i’ll say is it’s the product of almost a years development and i think you’re going to love it! I’m so excited! Pop the champagne!