From The Workroom / Inspiration

Rowan + Naomi – A Love Story

Do you ever fall in love with a pattern and suddenly start seeing fabric for future versions everywhere you look? That’s currently me with Rowan. Every stretch fabric I see is just another potential Rowan, waiting to happen. Since making my first Rowan tee at the very start of this year, the situation has snow-balled. My current count is sitting at around 11 completed tees, with 2 half made and fabric bookmarked for around 3 more – making Rowan, without a doubt, my most repeated make ever. I just can’t stop & frankly I don’t want to.

So as a formal declaration of my love (and an outlet for my numerous opinions on various things) I present to you all:

10 things I love about you Rowan

1. Rowan goes with everything in my wardrobe

I’m the first to admit I’ve made some pretty questionable purchases/makes in the past and that I’ve got too many things in my wardrobe that sit there sadly because it’s just never quite the right occasion. Or aghhh the one pair of pants they look good with is in the wash!

This doesn’t sit well with me. I’m passionate about sustainability and that means working hard to be conscious about my consumption, to reduce my waste and to use the resources I have access to in the most respectful way possible. So one way I’ve been trying to work on this is by implementing a new rule when picking garments to make – they need to be wearable 3+ ways. Do I have 3 pants/shorts/skirts that will go with this top? Can I dress this garment up or down 3 ways with different shoes/jackets/accessories? Essentially – am I going to be able to love and wear and mend and wash and appreciate this garment to death!

It’s not always black and white, I’m not always perfect at sticking to my own rule and I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for a special occasion dress, but I can say with absolute certainty that Rowan has ticked these boxes for me. Whether it’s Rowan + jeans, Rowan + skirt, Rowan + shorts, Rowan underneath a strappy jumpsuit, or Rowan + Pj bottoms, I know I’ll always be able to pull together a great outfit with Rowan in my corner and any Rowan I make is going to get it’s fair share of wears.

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's First Short Sleeve Rowan Tee2. Headache free & lightning fast

Whipping up a Rowan tee is so quick and so easy, it’s ridiculous. The only thing that slows me down is if there are stripes for me to fuss over matching, but that’s just because I’m pedantic.

I have a pretty short attention span and usually when I love a garment I’ve made, I plan to make a million more but then get distracted and never do – so the fact that i’ve made 11 is telling. It’s so fast and such a satisfying little make that it somehow manages to keep hold of my attention and keep me motivated.

Even though I love sewing and it’s basically my whole life, I still struggle a lot with motivation. I’m sure it’s something we all deal with, but it’s also not something we talk about that much. I just see the constant flow of everyone else’s productivity and creativity and sit there, struggling to wade through my ocean of low energy levels and anxiety, or sometimes just the powerful magnetism that seems to exist in my couch, wondering what’s wrong with me? Plot twist, it’s ok to feel like that and heaps of other people are probably feeling the same. We all know that what we see on social media is just a small part of a bigger picture, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that fact and make sure that it’s not adding to our motivation blockages.

So with all that going on, I think the fact that Rowan is such a quick and easy make has been a big factor in why it’s been such a winner for me. It’s a make that helps me get back into the swing of things if I’m in a sewing lull, and it’s a make that can just be simple and fun for those moments when you need that.

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's Mustard Rowan Ringer Tee3. Comfortable

Yep, Rowans are pretty dang comfy. They’re stretchy, they’re soft and because I have about negative 2 bosom I generally don’t bother wearing a bra with them, so a Rowan wearing Naomi is a comfortable Naomi.

Comfortability is pretty high on my priority list because I think we’ve been putting up with being uncomfortable in clothes and being told by the ready-to-wear industry that it’s normal, for way too long. Being comfortable in our clothes shouldn’t be a bonus, it shouldn’t be privilege, it should be a right! Everyone should have access to clothing that fits and that they can go about their day in without being made to feel awkward or pained or frustrated. I think the world would be a better place if everyone wore more comfortable clothes and in my book, that includes Rowan.

4. It’s versatile & hackable

Rowan has 6 views included which can also get mixed and matched as you please, so if my maths skills serve me correctly, there are technically 18 different combinations you could make! That’s alot. But even with all those options, I still couldn’t resist making my own tweaks for some of my Rowans. I’ve lengthened the Turtle-neck to make two that fold down, lengthened the short sleeve slightly to make more of a retro style for a few, I’ve extended and tapered the neckband for a couple of others and I’ve made 3 different Rowan Ringer Tees (go check out the tutorial if you want to make your own!).

They are all super simple changes to make but Rowan’s such an awesome base to use for more extensive hacks too! Did you catch the amazing tiered gathered dress or bodycon dress hacks that Nastasia and Mel made? Go check out their tutorials if not – they’re awesome and packed with inspiration!

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's Rowan Hacks5. Small yardage, small risk

I love a project like Rowan that doesn’t use much fabric! It’s efficient, less expensive and because I’m overly precious about my fabric, it feels like less of a risk when a project only uses a little bit of it! If something goes wrong, it’s easier to learn from it and move on when it was using 1m of jersey, rather than 4m of expensive silk. It also means that when I’m being indecisive and can’t chose between projects for a piece fabric, sometimes I can squeeze in both!

6. A Rowan for every occasion, in every colour, in every fabric

I like to get my moneys worth when I buy a pattern and getting multiple garments for different occasions out of one pattern makes me feel like I have. I have Rowans I wear to work, Rowans I wear around the house, Rowan’s I wear out to bars and restaurants on nights out, to the park, out to coffee – basically everywhere. The same pattern can make a simple jersey gym tee as well as a dressy turtle neck in a luxe rib to wear with a swishy skirt and heels – transformed by the power of fabric choice and accessories! Rowan can handle really lightweight jerseys as well as thicker, chunkier fabrics – as long as it’s got enough stretch and decent recovery, you can’t go wrong!

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's White & Red Rowan Ringer7. It’s ready to rumble, straight from the washing line

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of linen and do enjoy the occasional crisp finish to a garment. But there is something damn good about something I can grab on the go and not have to bother ironing (saying that, it’s not like I iron my linen either…but it’s nice not to have worry about whether i probablyyy should have).

8. It’s an All-Year-Rounder

Ok, I don’t know if everyone had a Mum who’s idea of keeping warm in winter involved multiple jumpers and 5 minutes of sweeping rather than the heater, and keeping cool in summer involved minimal clothes and cold drinks instead of aircon, but I did. And the wisdom she lovingly forced upon me was that you have to LAYER, LAYER, LAYER. Enter Rowan stage right. Rowan is perfect for layering – whether it’s a short sleeve Rowan on a warm day with a light jacket for the evening, a 3/4 sleeve Rowan and a cardigan for a cool day, or a long sleeve turtle neck rowan, jumper and jacket for when its frosty. At any given moment, you can be the exact right temperature if you have layers to take on and off as needed.

Also, as someone who as a kid was constantly having their undershirt tucked in by a Mum obsessed with keeping kidneys warm, I would have greatly appreciated the kind of fandangled technology that is a bodysuit – impossible to accidentally become untucked! Genius!

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's Rowan Tee Working Hard9. I like making essentials

This reason is a bit of an extension of #1 and my thoughts on sustainability – so sue me – I’m up to #9 and I’m running low on ideas.

I love making Rowan because its a basic or an essential. It’s the type of garment that get’s sold by fast fashion outlets for unsettlingly cheap prices which when possible I’d like to avoid, but that I still can’t quite afford  to spend big portions of my budget on from awesome ethical & sustainable brands. Sometimes I can fill this gab with op-shopping (which I love to do), but it’s often hard to find basics & stretch garments in decent condition second hand. So when Rowan, the love of my life, came on the scene, I had the realisation that sewing for myself didn’t always have to be intensely detailed garments and dramatic outfits, I could also just make simple things for my everyday, that will get loved and lived in. Who would have known! (probably everyone but me, but oh well).

Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Naomi's Stripey Rowan In The Studio10. Fact: Everyone looks awesome in Rowan

Based off the very extensive and very scientific research I’ve conducted (i.e. going through all the tester photos and looking at everyone’s makes on instagram going Oooo! Awww! Yessss!), I have concluded that it’s an irrefutable fact that everyone looks awesome in Rowan.

This fact is backed up by my strong believe that people look their most awesome when they are feeling comfortable, and as previously addressed in my #3 thing, Rowan is very, very comfortable. Furthermore, a comment that one of our awesome testers, @nique_et, made in their feedback was that Rowan “feels empowering to wear” and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a little at that. That might sound silly but the fact that I got to help in the development of something that made another person feel empowered is genuinely a career high for me.

Some parts of fashion can be frivolous, wasteful and harmful – there’s no denying it – but it’s an industry I decided to get into anyway because I’ve always believed in the power of our clothing. There’s not a lot else in our lives that so thoroughly combines functionality, culture, personal expression & mood, history, art, and the power to make us feel something. It would be silly to dismiss its importance, the impact it has on us, or the fact that if you feel empowered, it’s an undeniable fact that you definitely look awesome.

Naomi X
Rowan + Naomi - A Love Story - Rowan On Rollerskates!
About Author

Naomi is the Design Assistant here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and our resident helping hand. She stays busy assisting Meg with pattern development leg work, getting super excited about good instructional diagrams and making green coloured fabric suggestions for every sample we make. She’s a problem solver, a fabric addict, a serial tea-forgetter and a passionate maker.

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3 years ago

I love your Rowans with contrasting binding, Naomi! Looks super cute!
Also, I have to agree with pretty much every point you made – the Rowan is 100% my favourite knit pattern as well!

Anne Lindsay
Anne Lindsay
3 years ago

Your post just saved me a lot of frustration. My absolutle favourite t-shirt/mock neck has finally gotten too ratty to wear, and I was trying to make a pattern from it. The Rowan is a match for my comfy, somewhat dressy top. Clothes should fit, be comfy, a look good enough to go out in.