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Sewing Community Project: Meet April!

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

Hello Friends it’s my favourite day of the week – Sewing Community Project day! – and I’m so happy to be introducing you to the very lovely April! April and I got to know each other through Instagram, and I’ve loved getting to know her better through in person events like Frocktails. She is an absolute joy of a person, and I love following all the things she is making for herself and her gorgeous little girls. For our community project, April made a beautiful and incredibly simple hack of the Darling Ranges dress using the Seaweed Linen from my store. This dress involves such simple alterations to the pattern that you could totally replicate this yourself at home with very little effort. First she sized up for a loose fit, then she sewed down her placket and sewed buttons on the bodice only. The sleeves are just cuffed, and the hem is shorter. That’s it! I told you it was easy and I just love how it turned out!

I really hope you enjoy reading all about April’s project, her sewing journey and how she interacts with the sewing community!

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

What did you choose to sew for this project?

I chose the Darling Ranges dress with the gathered skirt option. It is definitely something within my usual style — I don’t usually stray far! Even the colour and fabric choice are very consistent with the rest of my wardrobe. I couldn’t go past the beautiful lightweight linen in this amazing colour!

Did anything go amazingly, and you want to brag about it? 

Can I admit to cheating a little and being a total #lazysewist? I didn’t want to risk messing up my buttonholes (my machine needs a service) so I sewed my buttons straight on without them. The dress slips over my head anyway, so it’s fine, right??

What do you love about your new outfit?

I love how easy dresses are to wear and this one especially felt so cool and fresh in the summer. The ties in the back are brilliant for being able to change the fit and shape of the dress from one wear to another.

What would you do differently if you were to do it again?

If I were making it again, I’d probably try to remember to consider where my side seam label will sit AFTER the dress is hemmed. Though remembering to put a side seam label in at all is an accomplishment in itself!

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

How did you learn to sew?

I’ve been sewing for almost four years now. It all started with a love of handmade clothes for my daughters and with me (stupidly!) thinking I could make them myself cheaper. My girls do wear a lot of handmade clothes now, but my husband will attest that it has not been cheaper! I knew some wonderful mums through playgroup who also sewed and they were absolutely my biggest support and help when I began. Other than that, everything else I’ve learnt is through trial and a lot of error.

Who do you mostly sew for? 

I still sew a lot for my two daughters. They are little and adore everything I make them — especially if it twirls and has pockets! I love making dress ups for them the most… Big princess dresses that get played with every day. And Book Week costumes! Book Week is my thing! I love making for myself too, and having a wardrobe of clothes that I truly like to wear. After a few years of buying cheap “mum” clothes of whatever mostly fits and is quick to buy, having clothes I actually like is such a luxury.

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

I love the finished product and feeling proud of what I’ve done. Strangely, the simplest things make me so happy. Like making a t-shirt. I could never have imagined that I could make a t-shirt four years ago!

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

What do you hate about sewing?

I hate changing my thread, needles or feet. I don’t know why, but something that will only realistically take a minute can put me off starting a project for days. It’s ridiculous, I know.

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

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get the hang of invisible zips!

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

I wish I had understood the importance of pressing, understitching and using fresh needles a lot earlier. The difference in the final product is huge!

What’s been an important lesson you’ve learnt while sewing that’s stuck with you?

I struggled to learn to only buy fabric when I have a plan for it -– and then to buy it in the right length. Actually, I still struggle with this a lot! I end up with lots of beautiful fabrics all in pieces too small to do anything with.

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

How do you interact with your fellow sewers?

Instagram has the most wonderful sewing community. I would absolutely not be sewing in the way I do without it. There’s so much knowledge and support available, as well as new shiny patterns and fabrics, that make it so incredible to be involved. I don’t post or interact as much as others, mostly because I don’t enjoy the pressure of ‘having’ to come up with something to post, but I do enjoy a good scroll.

How did you start getting involved in the sewing community?

Before we moved to Perth, @britasews and I would meet for playdates and talk about sewing. Our littlest ones were born at the same time and we’re in the same online mothers’ group. She’s been sewing and designing for much longer than I have and has so much knowledge and skill! When she started her Instagram account it looked like such a fun community that I joined not long after.

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

Start an Instragram account and start sharing your makes! There are so many fun hashtags and people to follow and so much to learn. Find out if there are any sewing groups in your area and go along, even if you don’t yet feel confident with your skill level. If you can get to one, go to a Frocktails too!

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

I really hope you enjoyed meeting April! You can find her on Instagram @aprilmade__

Looking forward to sharing the next Community Project Feature with you next week!! 

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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Kathy Clarke
Kathy Clarke
1 year ago

She is adorable! I’ve been sewing my whole life and lately back to clothing. I finally bought a dress form as I hate trying on my garments. I love having small pieces to really test my creativity. Being a quilter, I love a challenge of putting together different fabrics. I’ll have to get my hands on some of that linen!

Sue Stoney
1 year ago

Another lovely post in this fun series Megan! That Darling Ranges dress is beautiful!