Inspiration / Sewing Community

Sewing community project: Meet Alice!

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

I’m so excited to share our first sewing community feature!! I met Alice at the first Perth Frocktails hosted by Nat of Sew For Life. She is such a warm person and an amazing knitter and sewer! It’s hard to talk about Alice without also talking about Deepti – their friendship is one of those beautiful ones that is infectious and full of sunshine. They call themselves the sewl sisters (get it?) and which just adds to the delightfulness! I love these two ladies and how they do community together and I can’t wait for you to hear all about Alice and her sewing journey in her own words below!

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

What did you choose to sew for this project? 

I chose to make the Dawn Jeans with a River top. I chose separates because I find them to be more versatile with my every day and while I would love to wear dresses more, it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I also bullied myself into committing to making some jeans, I’d been meaning to make some for years, and this community project meant that I was able to finally take the plunge! The fabric didn’t stray too far from what I’m usually drawn too. Admittedly though, I did know that Deepti and I would be in the same shoot and I couldn’t help but consider her fabric choice! I would say both the top and the bottom are a bit more like the clothes I’d like to wear all the time, than clothes I typically wear – I feel very put together when I wear them together and casual at the same time.

Were there any new skills you picked up using your pattern/s?

OMG YES! I was in that mindset of “I can’t” with jeans! Surprisingly, I loved making them so much more, and in learning all the new skills along the way I was filled with excitement rather than dread. I did a lot of happy dancing with the zip fly construction which I just assumed I would get wrong and I didn’t! I got it first time!! I managed to smash one of my rivets, which was probably down to a bit too much enthusiasm! The others following were fine though and I figure, nobody will notice and if they do…then they’re probably too close! Haha.

What do you think about your new outfit?

First and foremost, I love the way it makes me feel. I know that the reason I feel so good in them is down to the fit. Like so many others I’ve never had a great relationship with jeans – the difference between my waist and hips is quite large and often jeans shopping has me feeling like my body is the problem rather than the clothes. The pattern adaptation I had to make to achieve a good fit was simple thanks to the Sewalong tutorial and I had success grading from a 6 at the waist to a 10 at the hips!

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

When did you start sewing?

On and off 2010, more seriously since 2014.

How did you learn to sew?

Good ‘ol fashioned trial and error! Usually with help from YouTube and the internet.

Who got you into sewing?

It was my Dad. Those that know me well know I’m mad for knitting all day every day. One day in a shop my dad asked me while stood in front of a sewing machine if I would ever like to try sewing since I love knitting so much and that following Christmas I was given a trusty Singer.

What do you mostly sew/who do you mostly sew for? What’s your favourite things to sew?

I mostly sew for myself but more recently have been sewing for my little girl who is almost 2 and I have plans to sew up a few things for my husband, but then a wonderful pattern gets release and bumped to the top of the sew list….ooops? Hehe.

I love sewing all sorts of things, simple and wearable additions to my wardrobe. I like sewing cake! Although I definitely think there is room in my life for some icing.

What do you love about sewing?

I love that sewing is a hobby that I can enjoy on lots of levels. I love that I can *accidently* find fabric when travelling and bring it back home and create it into something that will remind me of a place. I love that it makes me reach out to people I don’t know on instagram and chat away to them! I knew very little people when I first moved to Perth with my husband back in 2013. It was members of the sewing community that reached out and we met up to go for dinner and it was wonderful to hang out with others who enjoyed it just as much.

What in sewing makes you fist pump and happy dance around your sewing space, patting yourself on the back?

Happy dances always occur after perfect pattern matching!

What do you hate about sewing?

I hate sewing darts. No idea why, darts are great, they give wonderful shape, but sewing them? Nope. No thanks.

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

What’s your sewing kryptonite/what in sewing makes you want to burn everything and crawl under your table to cry?

When pattern matching doesn’t quite work out, I reach for the unpicker.

What do you wish you had known when you first started sewing?

I wish I knew about staytitching. So. Many. Ruined. Tops.

If you could be someone’s fairy sewing mother, what gift of knowledge/skill would you bestow upon them?

Press….press….press. Also….probably….press cloth

What’s been the best piece of sewing advice you’ve been given? Who gave it to you?

I think I heard it on a podcast, although I’m not sure I can cite it correctly:

Sewing is about manipulation of fabric whereas knitting is about creating a fabric.

I love to think that knitting and sewing can compliment one another rather than be either/or. This helped me more with a mindset approach rather than a specific skill or technique.

What’s been the hardest thing to learn in sewing?

Hand sewing – oh my….hand sewing is one thing, neat hand sewing is another thing entirely. Gotta get over it though and appreciate that I can only get better by practice, not by stressing about it not being perfect…..otherwise, we get nowhere.

Do you have a favourite sewing story?

Fave sewing story definitely has to be some of the crazy sewing late nights with my friends Deepti and Belinda. We have stayed in a house in the country a couple of times, just the three of us with some machines and lots of snacks and food and its just the best. I couldn’t even tell you what we made, we definitely regress and are quite childish and giggly on these trips.

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

How are you involved in the sewing community?

I am a member of the Australian Sewing Guild and love to sew with my local sewing group, the Vic Park Sewcialists at meet ups in our local community hall. Typically, we meet once a month for an afternoon and it really is the best! I have met so many wonderful people in our group. I really think everyone who can, should join a group. They are a wonderful gathering of like minded people and we also having sewing camp, classes, oh…..and cake!! I love instagram for social media and online community, it’s a wonderful app. I’ve met so many people in real life after having connected with them through insta! More recently, I have set up a group called Pints and Needles for members of my local sewing group to attend midweek in the pub. We catch up and do needlework of any kind in the pub and sit a chat. It’s fabulous!

How did you start getting involved in the sewing community?

I think it was through comments on instagram, that I got in touch with many local sewing people which then led to the first Perth Frocktails. Similarly that is exactly how I got into sewing as a member of the Australian Sewing Guild. A member of the community reached out to me and asked if I would like to join a local sewing group, since joining, haven’t looked back.

How would you recommend new sewers get involved in the community?

If you’re in a country that has a local sewing group, definitely seek it out and join. Might seem scary at first, but you will soon get over that. The Australian Sewing Guild is awesome and I have nothing but good things to say about it. Failing that, look up to see if your town/city/area has a local frocktails.

What’s your favourite thing about sharing sewing with friends?

Talking! Definitely all the talking. Can’t underestimate the funny chat I have with Deepti (especially around others who don’t sew) with comments like “are they xxx Pants”…” Is that the new xxxx?, “check out this pattern matching”…” wanna see my pocket bags? They’re made of Liberty Tana Lawn scraps I’ve had in my stash for ages” … haha!

Oh that last one happened while we were on our shoot and I just casually undid my jeans in the middle of a park to show Deepti – hilarity ensued.

Definitely share a lot of stuff. Sewing fails that don’t fit, fabric stash – often help and encourage one another to just buy the fabric! Deepti and I are also pretty good with pattern Tetris, Deepti is the best though! I have benefitted more times than I can count from her wonderful scraps. She truly is the most wonderful sewing friend, she has spoilt me with so much beautiful fabric presents. There is a lot of joy in sewing when sewing with others. There is great sewing resources out there for online and they’re great too, but if I’m honest it’s only when I started sewing with others that I was able to really enjoy it. Sharing the fun is the best bit!

Celebrate the sewing community! Read our community spotlight on Alice! Megan Nielsen Design Diary

I really hope you enjoyed meeting Alice! You can find her on Instagram @alicemakes

I can’t wait for next week to introduce you to the next Community Project Feature!! 

Meg xo

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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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4 years ago

Loved this interview! Agreed sewing friends make it all the more fun!

4 years ago

So good go hear about Perth sewists! I need to know about the beautiful dress in these photos – whaf pattern is it??