tutorial: how to print and use pdf sewing patterns

July 1st, 2015


Have you guys downloaded the FREE Veronika skirt sewing pattern yet?! It’s available in PDF form, and, yeah, did I mention it’s free? If you’ve never used a PDF pattern before, don’t let that hold you back! I’m going to walk you through how to print and use those digital patterns so that you can get to work on your very own Veronika skirt. Not to mention, all of the Megan Nielsen Patterns are available as PDF downloads. So once you have the hang of it, maybe you will find you prefer the digital method! While it does takes a little extra work,  it is also cheaper, has no shipping cost, and allows you to re-print your pattern pieces if mess up or lose them. Worth it, right?

Ok, let’s get started.



When you purchase a PDF pattern from Megan Nielsen Patterns,  your pattern will available immediately in your account after checkout (it will also be emailed to you). Make sure to save it to your computer so you have easy access to it.

You’ll receive 3 separate files with each pattern: 1. an overview of the pattern pieces 2. the actually pattern pieces 3. the instruction booklet

When you click on your files, they should automatically open in a PDF reader such as Adobe Reader. This is where you’ll be able to print from.



Do you have the Megan Nielsen app? If you do, save the paper and skip printing the instructions! You can scan the QR code from the instruction file to unlock and access the sewing instructions and pattern information right from your phone or tablet.



Ok, so now you need to print the pattern pieces. But to start, and this is very important, you will need to check the calibration of your printer. To do this, find the page that has the 2” calibration square (on Megan Nielsen Patterns, this should be the first page). Print only this page with the following settings. All computers and printers are different, but in general, you will want to make sure that your page scaling is at 100%. It may be that you have to set  page scaling to “none”, or page scaling is “turned off”, or set your size option to “actual size”.

The point of this is to make sure your pattern pieces print at the correct size.


When you print the one page with the calibration square, measure said square to make sure it is indeed exactly 2” / 5cm. If it is not, double check your page scaling again. Play around with the scaling if you have to.


Once everything is correct, you can print out all the pages of the pattern pieces.

And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a cute little printing assistant like I do :)



Time to patch your pages together! Start by trimming every page along the frame line at the top and right sides only.


Line up each page so that all the little numbers and triangular marks match up (1A with 1A, 1B with 1B, etc). Apply glue to left side margins to keep each page attached to the next. Or simply use clear tape to hold them together.

As you are doing this, not only make sure your marks line up, but make sure everything else is lining up straight and the papers are laying flat.



Once you have every page assembled, you should have one big paper that resembles any other printed pattern. You can now cut out your pattern pieces along your size line as you normally would. Or if you prefer, trace your size onto another paper so that your original pattern remains intact. This way, you can always try out another size if you need to!

But remember, the beauty of digital patterns is that you alway have a backup. It’s always there if you need to re-print it!

maternity pattern name updates

June 28th, 2015

Erin maternity skirt sewing pattern

As a part of our rebranding – one of the small changes i decided to make was updating the names of some of our maternity patterns. It’s a small thing – but most of them had a long names that simply don’t fit on our new pattern covers. Since we’re changing the look of everything i figured this was a good time to update them to be more inline with the rest of the catalog.

So for now here are the patterns that have updated names:

MN1006 Ruched maternity top is now CARA

MN1003 Wrapped maternity top is now ALISSA

MN1008 Ruched maternity skirt is now ERIN

I’m hoping this won’t be too confusing for anyone – the patterns all remain exactly the same, just the names have changed.

Cara maternity tshirt sewing patternAlissa maternity sewing pattern

one year old

June 26th, 2015

One year old BirdieOne year old BirdieOne year old Birdie

That’s right – my little baby Birdie turned one last month. I really don’t know how this year went so fast! Which is basically the definition of motherhood i think… years going too fast. I’d like to freeze them for a second or two and soak in more moments! I’m pretty sure it was yesterday we brought her home.

The main problem here is that I can’t seem to stop myself from calling her a baby – even though i know we are well into “toddler” now.

I love seeing how different all three of our kids are – Birdie is by far our quietest. She is the shy little dove – very content to watch the big kids and giggle at their antics. She is cautious, and it takes a bit of assessment before she warms up to someone she hasn’t met before, but once she is sure, get ready for a smiling cuddle fest. She’d be quite happy if i held her all day i’m sure hehehe.

Her favourite place is the garden, her favourite food is peas, her most treasured possession is her little giraffe whom she sleeps with – and her favourite toys are her siblings. We have a ridiculous collection of baby/toddler things saved over the years, but nothing compares to Bunny and Buddy in her little world.

In my incredibly biased mummy opinion, she is nothing short of awesome. Happy birthday to my littlest love!

One year old BirdieOne year old Birdie

a simple trick for evening out the hem of a circle skirt

June 23rd, 2015

Any time you make a garment cut on the bias there will some stretching out along the bias. If you hem your garment immediately, then this stretching will result in a very uneven hem over time. It’s always best to let your hemline stretch out before hemming – but then the trouble is, how to even it out properly.

Today i’m sharing with you one of my favourite simple tricks for evening out the hemline on a circle skirt!

1) Let your skirt hang for a few days before hemming. I used my dress form, but you can just as easily use a coat hanger, it really doesn’t matter. In my personal opinion the longer you let it hang the better, but having said that, i’m impatient and can never seem to wait longer than 2 days before hemming

2) Lay out your skirt and line up the original pattern piece with it.

3) Using the original hemline as your guide, trim the stretched out uneven portions of the skirt hem.

Seriously isn’t that simple? This trick is perfect for the Tania culottes or Veronika skirt

Introducing // The Veronika skirt a FREE pattern!

June 20th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Veronika Skirt FREE sewing patternMegan Nielsen Veronika skirt FREE sewing pattern

[photography: Sydney Poulton // Modelling: Tania of What Would a Nerd Wear]

You guys! I am so excited to finally release the Veronika skirt sewing pattern to you! for FREE! yayyyyy!

We’ve been working on this free pattern for quite some time, but unfortunately had to push it to the side for a bit as we finished with the rebranding/release of the paper patterns. I’m thrilled to announce that it is finished and ready for you to enjoy!

Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt FREE sewing pattern

In case you don’t remember – the Veronika skirt is a design that originally featured in one of my ready to wear collections. It’s the perfect full circle skirt pattern – a great starter pattern for beginners, or a great base for experienced sewers to use as a jumping off point to add their own details.

It’s one i’ve come back to over and over again – and i think you’re going to love it! I decided to name this pattern after my lovely friend Veronika, whose blog was one of my greatest inspirations during the time i first designed this skirt (though she closed her blog Tick Tock Vintage quite some time ago, all her gorgeous outfits are still available on Flickr and she is on Instagram).

Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt FREE sewing pattern

The pattern includes three variations – Version 1 is for woven fabrics, and features my signature scallop pockets and wide waistband. Version 2 is for woven fabrics and includes a narrow waistband, Version 3 is for stretch fabrics and includes an elastic waistband.

Megan Nielsen Veronika skirt FREE sewing pattern

I really hope you enjoy this new pattern! Head on over to my store and download it for FREE and don’t forget to try out our app when you’re sewing, we’ve included links to lots of tutorials to help you sew this pattern!

Tutorial // how to gather heavy fabrics

June 17th, 2015


Gathering is a sewing technique where the fabric is bunched together to create a ruffle effect.

We all know the basic method for gathering, right? You stitch two or three rows of basting stitches, grab and hold the top thread tails, and push the fabric with your fingers to create the gathers. While this works perfectly well for lightweight to medium fabrics, trying to gather heavier weight fabrics, like denim, might snap those delicate threads. And you know what is perfect when made in something like denim, twill, or corduroy? The Brumby skirt! But not to worry, we have some tips for creating the perfect gathers in even the heaviest of fabrics.

How to gather heavy fabricsHow to gather heavy fabrics

1. sticking with the conventional

If you want to try and stick to the basic method of gathering, there are a couple of tricks to keep those threads form snapping. Really, it all comes down to the stitch length. While lighter fabrics gather better with a length of around 3.5 (you can control the gathers better so they don’t slide), a longer stitch length for heavy fabrics will not be as tight, which will help prevent thread breakage. Try maxing it out at 5.0. Or play around and test out lengths to find what works best for your fabric.

Also, always always use more than one row of parallel stitches.

How to gather heavy fabricsHow to gather heavy fabrics

2. zig zag over cord

An easier way to get those gathers with your heavy fabric is to zig zag stitch over a thicker piece of thread. It could be cord, embroidery floss, very thin ribbon or elastic, or in my case – bakers twine.

Always stitch this one from the wrong side of your fabric. Again, find the stitch width and length that best works for the cord that you are working with. You will want to clear the cord on either side, so that your stitches do not catch it. For the twine that I used, I set my width to 4.5 and the length to 2.0.

Place your cord/string/ribbon in the center of your dresser foot, leaving an inch or so of ”tail” at the beginning, and zig zag over it. Again – be careful not to catch the cord with your stitching.

Then just pull on the cord while pushing and gathering the fabric with your fingers.

How to gather heavy fabricsHow to gather heavy fabrics

3. gather with elastic

Another simple way to create gathers is by sewing over elastic. This isn’t always the best option for all garments, as it creates extra bulk in the seam. But if that is not something you are worried about, this method goes super fast!

Cut a piece of elastic the length of your gathered piece. Pin one end of the elastic to one end of your garment, and the other end to the other end. Find the center of the elastic, and pin it to the center of the garment. Place your fabric underneath the presser foot, and pull and stretch the elastic so that it runs even with the fabric. Stitch down the center of the elastic as you stretch it.

Let me know if you have any questions in comments! Holly xoxo