From The Workroom / Handmade Wardrobe / Inspiration

New Opal Shorts & The Perils Of Working In A Fabric Store

Naomi's Opal shorts

So recently I just finished off a gorgeous pair of Opal shorts and they are everything I’ve been needing this summer and more! They’re made from this gorgeous thick linen twill that’s to die for and that I had been in love with since the moment I laid eyes on it. That tends to happen to me a lot. The falling in love with fabric thing. My fabric addiction is fully fledged and I know a lot of people can relate to that – but to make it worse, I also happen to work in a fabric store.

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Working In a Fabric StoreThere’s no escaping it. The pleasure and pain of my job is real, and it’s a day-to-day struggle not to go home with fabric! Especially when new fabric comes in – ohh the joy of new fabrics. The only thing that holds me back is the almost audible sigh I sense from my bank account and the disapproving glare of my fabric storage shelves which are full to capacity and almost groaning under the weight. So – I’m responsible, I resist, and then…it backfires on me. Suddenly, someone comes in and scoops up the fabric I’ve been lusting over and leaves me with that missed-fabric-opportunity heartbroken feeling. Isn’t it just the worst!?

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Fabric In Our StudioMegan Nielsen Patterns - Our Design Assistant Naomi In The StudioSo the story of my new Opal shorts starts off with a little bit of that fabric heartbreak, but spoiler alert, it all works out in the end!

In the weeks after the roll of gorgeous linen twill walked into my life (was carried through our studio doors by the lovely delivery man) I had been busily daydreaming up my plans for it. It was just screaming to be made into a pair of Opal paper bag waist, tapered leg pants – and who was I to deny it’s true calling in life? But I was holding off until I knew I definitely had the time to make them up. Otherwise, it could easily fall into the big pile of “was definitely going to be a project at some point” fabrics in my stash, which also happens to be right next to the “started, half-finished, forgotten” projects pile.

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Gorgeous Linen TwillMegan Nielsen Patterns - Naomi Cutting Fabric In The StudioAs days went by, a little of the linen got sold, but not enough to really spark my fabric “fomo”, until one day when a lovely lady came in looking for some advice. She had made a gorgeous top from a beautiful blue & pink striped linen and was looking for a fabric to make a pair of Flint pants out of to create an outfit.

She looked at me hopefully and my heart fell. I knew exactly what she should make her Flints out of. I knew exactly what would match the blue stripe in the linen perfectly and what would look amazing – queue heartbreak – THE LINEN TWILL! Not to worry I thought to myself, there will be plenty leftover! But as I pulled the roll from the crate, I got a little less confident – maybe I’d be able to tetris the Opals in!? Then I began rolling out the metres she needed and it was at that point I knew I’d be out of luck.

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Naomi Working In The StudioThe fabric was cut, the lady – who was absolutely ecstatic with her perfect purchase – left the store, and I was alone to assess the remnant I was left with and to lament over my shattered plans of Opal pants. I knew I had done the right thing and that the linen was exactly right for the lady. Helping people find the perfect project or fabric for them is one of my favourite parts of my job! and getting to be involved in peoples creative processes is an absolute privilege…but there was also selfish part of me that I’m not proud of who wished I had squirrelled it away for myself *cut to an image of me, but I’m Smaug the dragon on a giant pile of fabric, refusing to share*.  Oh boy, not a good look – I told you that working in a fabric store was perilous! 

After that initial wave of disappointment though, with a deep breath and a second look at my piece of linen twill, I realised it wasn’t a complete disaster. The piece I had left might not be enough for pants, but it was definitely still workable for a pair of shorts! At first, I must admit, the idea of the shorts didn’t quite fill the tapered-pant-shaped-hole in my heart, but after having a browse through the incredible community Opal makes on Instagram (especially this gorgeous linen pair made by @stitch_em_, another awesome Perth maker!) I was feeling a lot more inspired.

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Up-Close Details Of Naomi's New Opal ShortsThis inspiration then turned to joy as my gorgeous shorts quickly took shape and I began to realise that they were an even better addition to my wardrobe than what the pants would have been! Sometimes it’s hard to see the bright side when we encounter roadblocks during projects, but something I’ve been slowly learning is that when you’re patient, flexible and imaginative, things often work out even better than you could have planned! 

Megan Nielsen Patterns - Naomi In Her New Opal Shorts

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

Screech! Did you invade my mind? How many times I have faced that same warring in my heart. Yes I too have adjusted my plan and made something that truly fills the hole where that once lusted after piece of fabric resided, but loved the final result. I know the fabric godesses were smiling at me their good little acolyte

Rose Hesp
Rose Hesp
3 years ago

Such a great story. I get that fabric ’fomo’ feeling often and don’t work in a fabric shop! Thanks for sharing.

Marie Gillan
Marie Gillan
3 years ago

I too work in a fabric shop! I am very strict with myself-I don’t allow myself to stash, only to purchase for specific projects that I am going to make right away. It is so hard! I love so many fabrics, I have so many ideas…