Anyone who knows me personally knows that i’m a little bit of a nut about recycling and reusing things. I hate waste. I hate throwing useful things away. I would much rather drive ages out of my way to dispose of something in the best possible way, or find some way to reuse it, or someone who will reuse it, than throw it in the trash. I hate trash. HATE>
To me, scrubbing sponges are just trash. Gross trash. I hate sponges, they gross me out, they’re synthetic and they only get used a few times before being thrown in the trash. I also hate fabric scrap waste. I end up with so so many fabric scraps, serger scraps, cut offs – and i also hate throwing them in the bin (sidebar: i’d really really like to get a massive compost bin at some point so i can include all my natural fibre scraps in it, ah the dream!).
So a few years ago i made the decision to take my fabric scraps and try to find a useful way to reuse them. This was one of my projects! I took my serger scraps, joined them to make balls of “yarn” and knitted very basic square washcloths. Over a period of about three years i’ve made many more, and now we have a nice little stock pile of reusable wash cloths for the kitchen. They are imperfect. I like that. Some of them are made of a mix of different fabrics, which actually works quite well for scrubbing. When they get dirty they go in the wash with the tea towels, and the cycle continues. So far i’ve only had one die, and that was because we used it to scrub our airconditioning unit and it literally fell apart. I think thats fair enough hehehe.
I’m really happy with this project. It makes me proud to have found a way to use up these “useless” pieces of fabric, and i’m thrilled that we haven’t bought a sponge in three years.
Remember a few months ago when i advertised for an assistant? Well today i am so excited to introduce you to Sarah! If you’ve emailed Megan Nielsen Patterns in the past month you’ve probably spoken to Sarah already. She’s been doing an awesome job of keeping things running smoothly behind the scenes. I feel really blessed because Sarah is probably the nicest person ever – and actually lives 10 minutes from me, which has made working together a breeze and so.much.fun. (though i must admit i have a tendency to try and turn weekly meetings into Morning Tea instead hehe).
As well as being a wonderful wife and mum and helping me keep my head on straight – Sarah also runs an awesome business Teddies to Treasure turning baby clothes into keepsake teddy bears. I absolutely recommend you find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Anyway, before i ramble on too long – i’ve asked Sarah to share a little bit about herself below. We’ve got a big year ahead and i’m so thrilled to have Sarah as part of the team!
Hi everyone, I’m Sarah, Meg’s new Operations Assistant. I’m here to do all the boring but important background admin work so Meg can get on with creating gorgeous fashion forward designs for you all to enjoy. I first came across Megan’s blog when searching for the best place to buy fabric in the local area and have been avidly following her updates ever since. I was so excited when she said she needed an assistant so jumped at the chance to apply … and here I am!
A bit about me, I’ve been a hobby sewer for years ever since my mum taught me to use a sewing machine when I was about ten and I love all sorts of crafty things that involve fabric, yarn etc. So, naturally, after leaving Uni I joined the Royal Navy! After spending 10 years running the logistics for a number of military operations and organising the lives of various senior officers (seriously, Admirals need A LOT of looking after), I decided to leave when I had my son in 2012. I used my resettlement grant to complete a diploma in Professional Curtain Making and Soft Furnishings at the National Design Academy and was happily making curtains and cushions (in between baby naps and feeds) when the opportunity to emigrate to Australia came up at the beginning of last year.
Since then I’ve been enjoying life in the sunshine and making teddy bears from cherished baby clothes as part of my side business Teddies to Treasure.
Anyway, that’s me. I’m really looking forward to getting to know you all. If you get in contact with Megan Nielsen Patterns, chances are you’ll hear back from me and I’ll be updating our Facebook pages too. So, if there’s anything you think we should be featuring, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Buddy turns 5
My kids birthdays always hit me hard – but i honestly can’t believe Buddy is 5. It’s somehow hard to come to grips with the fact that he is a for real big kid now. I think in my mind he was still like 2 or something. Yikes.
I’ve really missed having him home with me this year – full time school is such a big jump, and not just for the kids! Spending time together during the day reading books, playing legos and hanging out in cafes was precious to me, and i miss it like crazy. But on the plus side, I love seeing him thrive and make friends and watching who he is becoming.
Carrying on with the tradition i started with Bunny on her 5th birthday, we took some photobooth style face snaps (in his favourite tshirt and next to the advent calendar we took down way too late hehehe). I’m really loving this little tradition, it’s just so cool to capture their sillyness each year, and i feel like this set is such a perfect representation of my little Buddy.
Tutorial // how to raise a neckline with lace
Every now and then you will most likely find yourself with a neckline that is a tad too low for your liking. It may be a garment you’ve made or it may be a store bought garment, but the key is to ensure that your alteration looks intentional. This dress is one of my favourite Darling Ranges variations, but these days it’s a little too large for me, and that has resulted in the neckline being too low cut.
It can be a little challenging to add to a garment without it looking obviously like an add on, which is why i often turn to lace. As a decorative notion lace looks appropriate when externally added, whereas other methods can look really “homemade” and contrived very quickly.
Much like the culottes i lengthened using lace (tutorial here) i was careful to choose a lace that complimented the original fabric and look of the garment so that it wouldn’t look out of place. I have to admit, i am really thrilled with the end result and i actually love the altered neckline better than the original. YAY!
Click through for the tutorial!
you are so awesome
Basically that’s all i wanted to say today :)
Just checking in to tell you all how moved i am by the response to my Maker tees. You gals are awesome, and i am beyond excited! Thank you for supporting me and this project. Things went so well with the initial release that i’ve already put in another order for more tees. My hope is to continue and possibly add different tees too (maybe totes bags even?) in the future. If there is something you’d be interested in seeing let us know!
Till then, thank you SO much to everyone who bought a tee or told a friend about this project. Thanks to everyone who sent me an encouraging email, IG, tweet or comment. It’s awesome to see how many people are getting behind this project!
introducing // the maker tee
Please excuse me while i hyperventilate a bit.
You guys! I am SO excited to announce the release of my Maker tees and share this little editorial with you!
These tees are part of a greater vision i have for supporting humanitarian efforts through my brand. They come from a burning passion i have to help women and children who are stuck in sex slavery and human trafficking. They are made in the heart of the red light district in Kolkata India by women who have escaped sex slavery, through an amazing organization called Freeset. Each shirt is sewn and screen printed by them on site, and created using only organic fairtrade cotton. Workers are hired based on their need not on their skills. They receive on the job training and support to help them build a life.
Behind each shirt is hope and freedom and dignity. I am thrilled to bits!!! My hope is to continue selling these tees, and branch out into more designs so that i can continue to send business to the women of Freeset. Many people have asked me about other ways they can get involved – the Freeset Trust accepts donations - which they use to provide healthcare and childcare to Freeset workers and teach them to read, write and budget.
I know this tee has a mission behind it – but I also wanted it to stand on its own as an awesomely designed tee. Something that i would want to wear every day. I came up with the “Maker” slogan because it’s something i’ve wanted on a tshirt for a long time. That’s what we do after all, we make things. And i feel like it encapsulates so many people, not creatives or just sewers or knitters.
For a long time I’ve adored the work of typography artist Jasmine Dowling, so i jumped at the chance to commission her for this project. And i couldn’t be more thrilled! She was a joy to work with and somehow managed to read my mind perfectly. I can’t wash mine fast enough to wear it again. We actually also have another “Maker” themed design that is more masculine that i am thinking of releasing for the guys, what do you think about that? I would also love to release some kids tees as Bunny is quite miffed that she doesn’t have one hehe.
Other than that, here are a few of the boring (ha!) details you may like to know.
- These tees run true to size for Megan Nielsen Sizing. So if you usually wear a Medium in my patterns, you are a Medium tee. My gorgeous model has a 36″ bust, and wears a size small and you can see it is a nice close fit. If you want a looser fit size up :)
- Sizes run XS – XXL (that’s one size larger than my patterns!). I have ordered every size they have available hehe
- This is a product i plan on continuing indefinitely – if your size is sold out you should see the option to preorder a tshirt, which means that it will be about 4 weeks away from being delivered to you. If it’s not working give us a holla at email@example.com
- They are super soft organic cotton, and can be laundered as a regular tee. I am a little more careful with mine because i love it so much – so i wash cool and hang to dry (no tumbledrying for me)
Thanks so much for all of your support! I am so excited about this and can’t wait to do more!! If you’d like to purchase a Maker tee, you can find them in my store HERE
PURCHASE A MAKER TEE AT MEGANNIELSEN.COM
Artwork: Jasmine Dowling
Model: Megan Crosby // Megan Crosby MUA
Hair & makeup: Megan Crosby // Megan Crosby MUA
Photography & Styling: Megan Nielsen