Today I’m so excited to give you the long awaited tour of the Megan Nielsen Studio! Over 2 years ago we moved into the Megan Nielsen Studio on the main street in Wembley, Western Australia and it has been such a joy to work in this beautiful space and connect with our local sewing community. The studio has been very quiet whilst it’s been closed for a few weeks over Christmas and New Years to give my team a well deserved break – so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to show you around ;)
As you enter the studio the first thing you will notice are the beautiful big cutting table and plywood peg wall. These are my two favourite pieces in the studio and they are so special to me. The plywood pegboard is my dream studio storage solution, and was ordered from GBI Holdings here in Perth. They have a CNC machine, and I put together some plans for where i wanted the holes to go including the sizes of the holes using illustrator and they made me up three panels. After that my Dad and i bought some pine dowels which we cut down to size and additional plywood which we ripped down into shelves. My dad helped me install the pegboard wall, and we had a really fun weekend putting it up, cutting all the dowels and shelves and sanding them all. So much sanding! But i think we can agree that the end result was so incredibly worth it! This entire wall is modular and the shelves and pegs can be moved around into any position. I’ve tweaked it lots of times and i’m pretty happy with the position of everything right now. It’s wonderful to have all our tools on display and within easy reach when we are working.
The cutting table was purchased from a local designer friend of mine who had two matching cutting tables made for her studio by a local carpenter. When she downsized her studio she only needed one and was kind enough to sell me one. I love it so much! To make it even more useful my dad added some supports underneath and two shelves so that we could store fabrics under the table. I love how pretty they look peeking out! You would not believe how hard it was to get this table into the studio. We have one narrow door in the front, and we had to remove the wheels, turn it on it’s side and slide it in and it made it through with an inch to spare.
If you look to your right as you enter the door you’ll see our much loved pattern wall. This wall displays our printed patterns and is not only really functional and useful for our local makers who drop in to visit, but is also so pretty. Below the pattern wall we have a few baskets of remnant fabrics – who doesn’t love hunting through a remnant basket?! This spot is my favourite place to take fitting photos with our fit models when we are developing patterns because the light is so good and the background is always consistent.
Next to the pattern display wall we have our big sample display racks. I love having our samples on display in the studio. Our local sewing community love popping in to view the samples in person, and it makes me so happy that people can see all the special details we included up close. This display rack also includes some of our larger notions like big jars of zippers and rolls of elastic. This rack is absolutely jam packed so at the beginning of last year we had to put up another smaller rack on the opposite wall. I love sharing all our samples, but we are definitely running out of room!
On the left of the studio door as you enter we have our big windows which let in lots of natural light. Natural light is so important when you are sewing and it was vital to me that our sewing space was flooded with natural light. By the window we have our notions displays including our Gutermann thread wall which is so incredibly handy.
A favourite detail of mine are our jars. It’s really important to me to make as sustainable choices as possible and reuse when possible. I spent months collecting jars with plain black lids and even spray painted the lids of many collected and thrifted jars to use for our notions displays. I love our jars and will take so much pleasure in how cute they are. For our buttons we simply hot glued one button on top of each jar lid and it makes it so easy to see what you are looking at!
On the very left wall of the studio we have a display area for our Hovea jacket samples, a large mirror and our display crates of fabrics. This small sample rack was added at the beginning of last year as our main rack was overflowing, but it’s very quickly filled up! It was really important to me to have a big mirror in the studio, not just for our team to take selfies haha but also because it helps with fittings, and allows our makers to hold fabrics up against themselves and see if they like how it looks on them! I can’t even tell you how often this mirror is used, it’s so useful.
The fabric display crates are pretty special, and are another sustainable choice. They are actually shipping crates for dishwashers that my Dad noticed were about to be thrown in the bin at work, so he collected up the pieces of a few crates and brought them to the studio. We put them back together and made sure they were as sturdy as possible, and sanded them all down carefully so that no fabric would be damaged. They have lasted so well and I love how unique they are!
Moving back towards the peg wall you’ll find some of our workspaces. I really wanted the studio to be our actual workspace merged with showroom, so that when our local sewing community visit they get to experience us working in our real workspace. Everything gets used by us every day developing patterns, and I love that we can invite our community in to share our space with us.
On the left of the peg wall you’ll find Phoebe’s workspace. Phoebe is our in house graphic designer and I love walking by to see her working on little sketches and taking our branding to the next level. Phoebe also works on a lot of our photography so it’s great to be right in the middle of the action.
The peg wall is our main storage area for our sewing tools, and also happens to be super aesthetically pleasing. I love it when form and function meet. We use this space daily and is where we sew all of our fit samples, test out construction techniques and sew for pleasure. Everything is in reach and easy to find, and it’s really important to me that we always keep it super organised.
This wall is completely modular and we often change things up to take photos or make things more efficient. We keep the most used tools at easily accessed heights, and things that we use left often are reached by standing on the many stools we have in the studio.
To the right of the peg wall you’ll find Naomi’s workspace. Naomi is my Design Assistant, and works hard on many behind the scenes details of our patterns like diagrams, fit samples and calculating yardage requirements. She also manages the retail side of the studio and loves spending time chatting to other makers about sewing and helping trouble shoot sewing issues.
Our ironing station is next to Naomi’s desk, partly because it’s the only spot available (we really filled the studio quickly!) and partly because she uses it the most. We’ve got a Laurastar Lift steam generator and really love it.
Past Naomi’s workspace is our “back of house” area which is not open to the public – because that’s where all the secret pattern work happens ;) but today you get a peek!
On the left of the back of house (the other side of the peg wall), you’ll find mine and Anita’s workspaces. I’m on the left and Anita is on the right. Anita is my Operations Manager and she makes sure that everything is running smoothly on a daily basis. She’s your first point of call for customer service enquiries, she manages our production, shipping and inventory and is always on top of everything.
Above our desks is our mega mood board and planning board. This was a really thrifty find that I’m really grateful to my Dad for sourcing for me again. He found this pin board in pieces in the back of his companies warehouse, and we put it back together, painted it white and voila, free mega size pin board! This pin board is not just useful for keeping our inspo at hand, but also as a planning tool. We have multiple calendars and information to help us plan out our production timeline and releases.
Next to Anita’s desk we have our large format plotter printer. We use this for in house pattern testing as well as our A0 pattern printing service. Next to the printer is our little kitchen area, where the very important coffee and biscuits are. This back corner of the studio is probably our least interesting corner. It holds our big storage cupboard (which we shared a little tour of here), as well as our sample rack of patterns that are currently in development, as well as samples we don’t have room to display but like to keep on hand for photoshoots. The big table is our meeting table, lunch table and order packing table!
Next to my desk on the opposite wall is open shelving for items we use regularly. The centre shelves house boxes of patterns for easy access when packing orders. Each pattern gets one box, they are organised in alphabetical order and clearly labelled to make it easy when pulling orders. We keep the vast majority of our stock in the USA to ship to the USA and international regions, and keep a relatively small amount of stock in Perth for shipping domestically to Aussie customers. The left unit houses our filing as well as orders that ready for our local makers to pick up, and any overflow retail stock. The right unit holds the pattern fitting and drafting books that we use regularly, as well as baskets of ironing/pressing tools, in progress samples etc.
And that my friends concludes my little tour of the Megan Nielsen Studio! I really hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions please let me know in the comments and i’ll do my best to answer. I’ll list as many of the sources for our office fit out as possible as I often get questions about them – but if i leave anything out you are curious about let me know!
Office decor sources
Team Computer Desks:
Sewing work station (peg board desk):
- Linnmon Table top 200cm x 60cm
- Ikea Alex drawers
- Ikea Adils leg (provides support in the middle of the sewing desk)
- Ikea large Alex drawers on castors (this does not support the desk it just slips under)
- Peg Board – custom made by GBI Holdings using their CNC machine. It was very affordable, i recall $200 a panel? Wooden dowel pegs and shelves made by my Dad and myself.
- Spool rack – this is two spool racks from JoAnns hung very close to each other using 3M hooks.
- Sewing Machine – Bernina 535
- Overlocker – Bernina
- Coverstitch – Bernina
- Matt Blatt replica Eames chair (Meg’s is “blush” now discontinued, everyone elses is “white”)
- Ikea Kullaberg (6 at the meeting table, 2 at the sewing station)
Large Storage Cupboard at the very back of the studio:
- Large cupboard for fabric stash storage, pattern samples, various sewing supplies, photoshoot props, backdrops, filing… you name it! – Ikea PAX with various drawers and shelves inside
Open Storage Shelves next to Meg’s desk:
- Ikea Fjalkinge x3
- Pattern storage boxes – Ikea Tjena 25cm x 18cm x 15cm (these boxes are our absolute favourite for storing patterns and displaying them. I think they might be discontinued so i’ve been hoarding mine carefully)
- Overflow storage – Ikea Tjena 50cm x 35cm x30cm (we also use these boxes in our big storage cupboard to store almost everything! We even have some just sitting on the floor of the office in the corner and they look great)
- Ikea Knarra baskets in various sizes
General Sewing Supplies:
- Iron – Laurastar Lift
- Ironing board – Laurastar Comfort plus cover
- Pressing Ham – family heirloom from my Mother in Law
- Vintage expandable dress form with static legs – family heirloom from my Mother in Law
- Dress form on wheels with collapsable shoulders – PGM
- Magnetic Pin dishes – Kylie and the Machine
- Pin bowls – Ramekins from Wheel and Barrow many years ago. Here are some similar ones from Kitchen Warehouse
- Salvaged by my Dad and repainted etc.
- Various Maker and sewing themed Art prints – made by us, find them in the store here
- Wall calendar A3 monthly flip – An Organised Life
- Wall calendar Annual A2 – An Organised Life
- A4 day to a page diary – An Organised Life
General Decor and other fixtures:
- Sample racks for Display – Ikea Elvarli in various sizess
- Rolling sample rack at the back of the studio – Shops For Shops Collapsible Garment Rack + Basket
- Large cutting table – Custom made for a designer friend
- Display boxes for fabric rolls – Salvaged shipping crates for dishwashers
- Mirror at the front of the studio – Ikea Hovet
- Low display shelves for notions – Ikea Platsa
- Wall shelves for pattern wall – Ikea Mosslanda
- Jars for storing notions – thrifted and collected over time
- Baskets for remnants – Ikea Snidad