MN2102 Banksia / Sewalongs

Banksia Sewalong: Preparation!

I’m a great believer in good preparation – I honestly think if you don’t prepare properly for a project you’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure. Here’s the super quick checklist I go through before I begin sewing:


To me, this is the golden rule of sewing. Do not skip this step!!! Every fabric will undergo some amount of shrinkage when it is washed – and some fabrics shrink A LOT. So if you don’t get that out of the way before you cut your fabric, your end garment will end up too small and misshapen. It’s happened to me – and it’s pretty much the saddest thing ever. There’s nothing worse than spending hours on a dress, to then wash it and end up with… something super tight and indecently short. yikes!

When prewashing, treat your fabric exactly the same as you will once your garment is made. Do you plan on washing warm and then tumble drying? Then do the same to your fabric before you start sewing. Is your fabric more delicate – will your garment need to be hand-washed and lain flat to dry? Then do the same with your fabric. Easy peasy. Want some tips for washing delicate fabrics? Check out this post.


Sometimes it can be confusing to figure out what size to make a pattern in. Never go with a gut feeling about whether you are a small, medium or large etc. Always, ALWAYS measure yourself to figure out what size will fit best.

At this point, you’ll also want to consult the finished garment measurements and decide whether you need to make any pattern alterations. It would be nice if patterns could fit everyone perfectly, but unfortunately, our proportions can vary quite significantly (sigh). But never fear! We will be covering some standard alterations like bust adjustments, in the sewalong.

If you need to make any adjustments to the pattern I recommend tracing the pattern first to preserve the original pattern.


This seems like a no-brainer – but honestly, the number of times I’ve had to run out to the store because i’m missing a little notion for a project. It’s just not even funny!

What you’ll need for your blouse:

  • Fabric! Make sure to keep in mind your fabric width when buying – obviously for the narrower fabric you’ll need more, and for wider fabric less. Check the pattern details for yardage requirements. I’m having a tough time choosing my final fabrics – I might end up making way too many blouses!!
  • Buttons! If you’re making V2 or V3 of this pattern you will need buttons for the placket. The pattern recommends three 5/8″ wide buttons, but you can really use any size you want and any number of buttons you want – just keep in mind how it will look on your finished garment, and also that you may need to change the spacings of buttonholes etc.
  • Bias tape! This pattern includes a pattern piece for a bias tape facing, but you could just as easily use store-bought pre-made bias tape. If you decide to do this, you’ll need 1/2″ single-fold bias tape.
  • Needles! If you are sewing with a delicate fabric don’t forget to switch out to a ballpoint needle!
  • Thread! Duh, you know you need thread – why am I reminding you?? Because maybe you don’t have the right colour in your stash! uh oh! Check if you do, you’ll be so irritated if you’re ready to sew and don’t have the right colour.


Once you’ve decided what size you need, gathered all your supplies and prewashed your fabric  – cut out your pattern pieces. You might need to iron your pattern pieces with a dry iron before you cut them out so that they’re nice and flat. Also, make sure that you iron your fabric before cutting it out if you want to stay friends with me. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes to the end size and fit of your garment. Cutting out wrinkled fabric will truly misshape your garment.


Some other tutorials you might like to check out:


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About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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11 years ago

Wow! I love the long sleeve version. I have a fabric and have thought of several ideas for making a dress version, but now I saw that long sleeve version and want to make one of those too. I have not even had time to look for buttons :) I might make a couple different versions too.

11 years ago

I’m so excited!! I can’t decide what fabric to use, though…

11 years ago

I have just received my pattern in the mail and admit I have cut it out already! I will join you in this venture, I already have plans for a dress, woven top and knit top, just need to find some decent buttons. For the dress I gave up, this one will not have the placket!

11 years ago

I think it would look lovely in the butter yellow linen.

Cirque Du Bebe
11 years ago

Hey Megs! I’m taking part woo. I’ve got my floral op-shop fabric. And I’m thinking I’d like to do a placket-less, capped sleeved, dropped back hem version…

Cirque Du Bebe
11 years ago

Another thought…I’d love to know how to move the bust darts down 1-2″…if you’ve got any ideas!

11 years ago

I looked at my stash and found two fabrics I could use one is a gigham and another a quilting cotton. I had only planned on doing a blouse but now I am also thinking of doing a dress. I will start my cutting this weekend.


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