release date + big news to come

May 15th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Patterns release date

[photography by Sabatomic]

Hey babes! Mark it in your calendars! Next weekend (May 23rd) we will officially release our new printed patterns and launch our rebrand!

We also have one more really huge announcement for you, which i am ridiculously excited about and I’m glad i won’t have to keep quiet about for much longer.

That’s all i can say for now, but stay tuned over the next few days!

If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you sign up for our newsletter to be notified when the new patterns are available and be the first to hear our big news!

Excuse me while i go hyperventilate. So excited!

Now & Then // The Favourite

May 9th, 2015

The favourite now and then

When i posted last week about my Rebozo style baby carrier, i couldn’t help but note that the last time i had worn that dress was almost exactly a year ago, when i was 9 months pregnant and waiting for Birdie to arrive.

I have to admit, i get a real kick out of seeing a piece of clothing make its way through the different stages of life!

(Also i think someone’s balayage needs a freshen up hehe)

Tutorial: How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby carrier

April 28th, 2015

How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby carrier // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

photography by my Chris

I’ve been meaning to post about Rebozo style baby carrying ever since i made this carrier for Baby Birdie when she was 6 months old. I actually barely take a pram/stroller with me in the car, I just throw this carrier in my handbag and we’re off. Given the lovely small boutiques and cafes in Perth, it’s been a real life saver. Plus not gonna lie, i just love carrying her snuggled up against me. I’ve tried the Baby Bjorn, and i’ve tried the stretchy wrap styles. Nope. Not as good. This style is so much easier, so much lighter, and in a hot summer we both stay so so much cooler. Also it’s negated the need for me to carry a nursing cover, when i need to nurse i just untie the wrap and throw it over my shoulder. Also also, you guys it’s way prettier. Boom. Winning.

So, I discovered Rebozo baby wearing one morning before church, in desperate panic induced googling. Baby Birdie typically falls asleep in my arms during church, but at 6 months old she was getting too heavy and my arms were starting to ache. I wanted a quick fix. A baby carrier i could use that morning, and would be comfy for her and me. So i started searching for carriers that (a) i could make, and (b) didn’t require any specialized hardware.

Enter the Rebozo. If you haven’t heard of a Rebozo, it’s a large woven traditional Mexican shawl. It is used for a lot of things, one of which is tying around your body to carry your baby. The beauty of this kind of baby sling is that all it requires is a large enough shawl / piece of cloth, and a special knot and you’re good to. I like that you’re not relying on the strength of a sewn seam, or a piece of hardware. It’s all on you, you feel how tight things need to be, your arms are around your baby keeping them safe. I like that.

How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

And honestly, after using this sling solidly for 6 months, i can’t see why anyone would spend money on a sling. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed. Out of all of the things i’ve made, this is the one people stop me in the street (constantly) and ask me about.

So today i thought i’d share with you a little tutorial for how to make one and how to wear one. Since tying the knot and seating your baby is easier to understand visually this is a pretty picture heavy post.

You have been warned! Lets do it!

(more…)

the inside out neckline finish

April 25th, 2015

The inside out neckline finish // Megan Nielsen

[photography by Sabatomic]

One of the many things i love about stretch fabrics is that you can break the rules a bit. You can skip the hemming! You can skip seam finishes! It’s pretty liberating. And sometimes, i just like experimenting a doing things a little differently for fun. Which is how i ended up with this neckline finish!

I love that it’s a little rough looking. A little unfinished. A little edgy. I really want to try this on some different styles like perhaps a terry jersey Briar sweatshirt. (You can tell it’s getting cold i Perth because my mind is all about sweaters! )

Ok so, if you’d like to try out my Inside Out Neckline, here we go!

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rebranding + patterns in print!

April 18th, 2015

You guys! I’m so excited to tell you about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes over the last few months (not this hehe).

Our patterns are going back into print! We’ve redesigned our branding and made our patterns even better! can you see me dancing! ALL CAPS EXCITEMENT

There’s a lot i want to tell you, but here’s the most important part: we will have paper patterns in May! You will be able to buy them through our store directly and also through local retailers (sidebar: if there is a store near you that you want to see our patterns in, tell them about us, and tell us about them! And if you’re a store reading this, email my right hand babe Sarah). As always we will announce the patterns to our newsletter subscribers first, so if you’d like to know as soon as patterns are available, make sure you sign up!

Ready to dig in to details?

Last year we decided to jump back into selling printed patterns again. I’m really glad i took a break from print patterns during my pregnancy and baby time, it was important and valuable. But I’ve missed paper, and i know you have too! As i alluded to before, during my maternity leave we used the time to assess our patterns and how everyone uses them. Which led us to putting a lot of time into finding a better way to print our patterns and a better way to get them to you. I feel like i know more about you, my amazing friends and customers, and myself since i launched my sewing patterns way back in 2010. So instead of doing things exactly the same as we had before, i decided to hit reset. Use everything we’ve learnt and create an even better brand, and an even better sewing experience. Though it’s been stressful at times, I’ve really enjoyed the process of rethinking our brand and what i want it to look like right now.

When we decided to go back into print, i knew i wanted to rebrand/redesign our packaging. I have absolutely loved my branding, but it was time for a fresh look. I worked with the incredibly talented Yvette of YB Creative, and i absolutely love the clean minimalist design she created for us. Working with Yvette was such a pleasure, i feel like she really understood what i wanted, and added so many special elements. We spent a (very) long time going over every single detail of our pattern instructions and cover packaging to make sure all the info you could ever need was covered. They’re simple to use, and if you ask me, gorgeous. That matters to me, i really enjoy using beautiful things and i’m sure you do too. These are some little peeks at the proofs, and i’m really thrilled with them!

Artwork wise, i made the big move to creating my own cover art. Sketching is one of my favourite elements of design, and for years Chris has been pushing me to do my own cover art. I’m so grateful for his nagging encouragement. Sometimes he knows me better than i do. It was such a rewarding and enjoyable process to work on my own cover art, and it feels so good to look at my pattern covers and feel like they are truly a reflection of me. This has also allowed me to show more variations than i have before which i’m really thrilled about!

We have also moved to a manufacturer that can handle the large print runs we require (i talk a little bit about our old production house in this post if you are interested). I’m really excited about this move, because aside from the fact that we can now order patterns in larger quantities than we ever did before, our new printer uses a larger print plate. Which I am seriously geeking out over, because it means i can offer more and larger pattern pieces that i have previously. In the past i’ve been held back by the size of our print plate, and haven’t been able to produce patterns with very large pieces, or large number of pieces. It was frustrating. But now, we can do more! Which means i’ve been able to update some of my patterns to include more pattern pieces and more variations. YES.

Our first print run will include the Darling Ranges dress, Tania culottes and our newest design the Brumby skirt. And the rest of my pattern catalog will follow.

The Darling Ranges was the first pattern i released, and has continued to be one of my favourites, and one of my most popular patterns. Since i now have a larger print plate to work with, for this release i’ve added new pattern pieces so that the dartless variations are easier to achieve! You can make the gathered waist dress, dartless dress and dartless blouse as before, except with full size pattern pieces. YES.

The Tania culottes are one of my favourite designs ever. I remember when i originally released it two years ago i was so nervous about how it would be received. It was so different to everything else! Little did i know culottes would soon have their moment, YAY! Since then i’ve had a lot of requests for longer culottes, so in this print run i’ve added two new variations to the pattern, and new pattern pattern pieces. Knee length culottes and midi culottes! Culottes for everyone! hehe

And here is our newest design! The Brumby skirt! I feel like i’ve made you guys wait so long for this one – I’m sorry – at least now you know why! This one will include three variations, as above. It’s one of my favourite designs from my 2010 winter collection (check out the full lookbook here), and it will be awesome to finally share it with you!

The last thing we’ve changed is where we store our patterns. As much as i loved having local storage in Perth, and as much as i love Australia, our shipping costs are insane. I couldn’t make it work. I suppose thats the downside of being a gorgeous island in the middle of the ocean hehe. Though you probably didn’t realise it before, i heavily subsidised all the shipping rates in the past in order to reduce them, and i still couldn’t bring them down to what most people would consider a reasonable level. sigh. So from now on all of our patterns will be stored in the USA and ship from the USA. This will mean lower shipping prices and shorter transit times for everyone. And if you live in Australia and are worried about what this will mean for you, we’ve done some extensive testing and found that the transit times to Aust and (shipping costs) are not too dissimilar to when i ship from Perth, so i’m hoping you shouldn’t notice much of a change at all.

Ok that’s it! What do you think?!

[Actually that’s not the last thing, i still have one surprise up my sleeve that i can’t reveal yet. I’m also winking but you can’t see that through the internet]

cropped crescent blouse

April 13th, 2015

I’ve been meaning to make myself a cropped Crescent blouse for ages – i have been living in crop tops this summer and i knew that this would be a really easy pattern variation.

Since the pattern already has a waist seam, it was as simple as leaving off the included hem options and doing a rolled hem.

I love a quick project!  I can see myself making another of these – though admittedly the whether is getting cooler in Perth from now on, so i may need to save my next crop top for a few months.

And apparently i live in my midi culottes at the moment! Sorry not sorry!! hehehe i love my Tania culottes

Also don’t forget – if you’re a bit worried about what bra to wear with your Crescent blouse, check this post out  (Not to get all TMI on you, but i was wearing a nursing bra in all these snaps and you can’t tell. *scandal* )

[photography by Sabatomic]

[Make this look]

Crop top: Megan Nielsen Crescent blouse // Pattern + how to sew a rolled hem
Culottes: Megan Nielsen Tania culottes // Pattern + tutorial for midi length
Shoes: Madewell
Necklace: Thrifted
Bag: Vintage Coach