From The Workroom / Inspiration / MN2009 Protea / Sewalongs

Protea Inspiration & Ideas

Protea Inspiration & Ideas

The Protea sewalong is just about to start and it’s time to start planning out your makes! With so many options included in the pattern though (a whole wardrobe’s worth!) and an infinite amount of ways you could style them, it can be tough to know where to begin. So, today on the blog we have got some fun style inspiration & ideas for Protea to get you kick-started and on your way to deciding on your first make. Shall we dive in?

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Protea Sewalong: Inspiration & Ideas | Bright & Bold
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It doesn’t matter where you are in the world or what season it looks like outside – summer is a state of mind! And nothing conjures up those warm, sunny feelings better than a bold and brightly coloured outfit. The simple shapes in Protea are perfect for featuring a loud, funky print, or if you’re looking for a fun summer project why not try your hand at tie-dying some amazing custom fabric to make into your next Protea piece. If prints aren’t your thing, or you’re looking for something to go with a patterned garment you’ve already made – how about some colour blocking? Be outrageously bright! Have fun with it!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Protea Sewalong: Inspiration & Ideas | Stripe Direction
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If you’re thinking about making a Protea dress or skirt and you’e got a gorgeous striped fabric that’s just perfect for the occasion – don’t forget to experiment with it! By using contrasting stripe directions for different sections of the garment, you can really feature your stripes and create an interesting but incredibly easy-to-do feature. The other great thing about switching up the grain lines between your bodice and skirt tiers is that you don’t have to worry about stripes clashing or matching!

How about we take a moment to tone things down a little and embrace all things earthy. We’re talking terracotta, ochre, olive, sage, camel – you name it – Protea will look amazing in it, and so will you. These earthy tones prove time and time again to be outfit building staples and the cool thing is, if you wanted to have a go at natural dying, you could create them yourself! It’s absolutely amazing what colours you can create with natural sources, some of which may already be in your own home. Avocado seeds and peel, onion skins, red cabbage, artichokes and spinach are just a few examples of what you can use to produce an array of spectacular earthy colours.

Along with natural tones, Protea works fantastic in natural fibres too. Linen is always a favourite her at Megan Nielsen patterns with its gorgeous texture and drape that softens over time, but anything from a wintry long tiered dress in a wool flannel to a flutter sleeve blouse in breezy cotton voile would also be perfect Protea makes.

Gingham has been on trend for a fair while now and we’re still so in love. It’s such a classic look, but in the right colours and with the right styling, it can also being incredibly contemporary. We love playing around with different sizes of the gorgeous check, as well as the different textures it can come in – from a smooth cotton to a cute crinkle linen – and Protea looks great in all of them.

Soothing to the soul and delicious to look at, pastels are what Protea dreams are made of! Lovely lavenders, perfect powder blues or a dash of fresh mint, in whatever fabric type you please, will create a soft and sweet look for any occasion. For something with a little more oomph though, try pairing your delicate pastels with another Protea garment in a fresh & punchy orange or bold yellow, then accessorise with some funky earrings and some snazzy shoes – soft and sweet doesn’t have to be subtle!

The simple and clean design of Protea is one of our favourite things about the pattern and something that makes it perfect for featuring details like embroidery. Whether it’s focused around the neckline, along the hem of the skirt or sleeve, or smack bang in the middle of the bodice, your Protea garment can be a canvas to be personalised and embellished with your handiwork. Gorgeous florals are always a favourite or maybe geometric patterns, but don’t forget that this is your piece of art and you don’t have to just embroider what you’d normally see in the shops. If you want to embroider a delightful swirling pattern of spaceships and bananas, go right ahead. Whatever your design though, here are a few things to think about:

  • It’s easiest to do your embroidery on the flat pattern pieces before they are sewn up, but don’t forget to stay stitch around the edges of the piece you’re working on, to ensure it doesn’t stretch out while you’re working.
  • If you’re a planner and like to mark out your design first, there are heaps of methods to transfer your design from paper to fabric, for example, using a light-box (or a window!) to make the design visible through the fabric while you draw with a soluble pen. Another option is to use water soluble stabiliser that you can draw on and attach to your fabric to then be dissolved later (like in our Hovea design planning tutorial).
  • If you’re looking for some help with your stitching design, checkout the list that Meg compiled in her Jeans Embroidery tutorial!
  • Make sure to tie off your embroidery firmly but also neatly and weave the thread ends back through the stitching on the underside. Even though it’s not the right side, doesn’t mean it can’t look nice and will also prevent any colour or lumps from showing through the fabric and distracting from your gorgeous design.
  • After you’ve finished your embroidery, you may wish to protect the reverse side of your work by covering the section with a lightweight fusible interfacing. This will help to keep your embroidery in good condition during washing and wearing.

Looking for even MORE inspiration? The Protea Sewing Pattern Pinterest Board is full of so many ideas for your Protea make, be sure to check it out! Here is a sneak peek!

Protea Pinterest Board

Don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNprotea and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!


  • Sewalong: Staystitching, Darts & Shoulder Seams
  • Sewalong: Neckline Facing (this post!)
  • Sewalong: Side Seams & Sleeves
  • Bonus Protea Hack: Sleeveless Protea
  • Sewalong: Dress Drawstring Channel
  • Sewalong: Pockets & Skirt
  • Sewalong: Tiered Skirt
  • Sewalong: Attaching the Skirt to the Bodice
  • Sewalong: Dress Drawstring
  • Sewalong: Skirt Waistband
  • Sewalong: Hem
  • Bonus Protea Hack: Elastic Puff Sleeves
  • Bonus Protea Hack: Removing Bust Darts


Order Protea today in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34

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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