I've been sewing more clothes for myself this year, I like the idea of bypassing the chain stores and having unique one off clothes in interesting and flattering designs. I've been inspired by the blog world which is great at seeking out the really great patterns and making them all different ways so you get a great idea of how they look.
A little while ago I came across indie designer Megan Nielsen via a blog mention. Her brand is quickly becoming an internet favourite for her cute, classic designs. Although new to the pattern world, Megan was a fashion designer before she started selling patterns and many of the designs are based on her previous collections. Her range also includes fashion friendly maternity patterns.
I tracked down Megan's website and bought two of her patterns (Banksia blouse and Darling Ranges dress). I was surprised and pleased to find out she's an Aussie girl. At the time she was living in the US but soon after Megan and family pulled up sticks and came back to live in their hometown of Perth. Since she's been back she's celebrated her one year pattern company anniversary and released two new patterns.
If you haven't read Megan's blog you are in for a treat. One of my very favourite things about her is her generous knowledge sharing. She has done really detailed sewalongs for both the patterns I have, going through the techniques and also explaining how to modify the designs, lengthening, shortening, adding, subtracting and moving sleeves, darts, collars and plackets. She also talks about pressing fabrics, modifying kid's clothes, hemming, machines, threads, fabrics... in short everything to do with sewing clothes.
I can't wait to see the new patterns ahead for Megan. I love her style and I love her generosity when it comes to helping new sewers. Megan is the final Show & Teller for this year, the third year in the series, she is lucky number 30! If you haven't caught up with other interviews you can find them all via the page link above. But in the meantime, read on, thanks again Megan!
1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
Hi there! My name is Megan Nielsen, and I’m a designer. I have a line of clothing and sewing patterns, and I like pretty things. My blog is my design diary – the place where I catalog all the things I design, how I wear them, and lots of DIY tips and tutorials.
2.Why blog? How did you start?
I really love blogging! I started blogging a few years ago, at a time when I was far away from family and friends in a new country. I really missed sharing what I had been designing, so I started a blog as a place to catalog all the things I made. I’ve been pretty obsessed since then!
I’m mostly self taught. When i was about 10/11 I was really dissatisfied with my Barbie’s wardrobe (yes, I still played with Barbies when i was 11, don’t pretend you didn’t too he he), so i started cutting up my own clothing and handsewing outfits for her. When my mom realised I was interested in sewing she gave me a sewing machine (a vintage Elna, that was actually her first sewing machine too!), taught me the basics and then and helped me sew my very first piece of clothing – a wrap skirt! I’ve been addicted ever since :)
As the years progressed I wanted to know more and more, so I began studying pattern drafting and fashion design texts in my spare time. I love learning and I think I’ll be adding to my skills for the rest of my life.
4.Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
I’m lucky enough to have a designated work space. Since my brand takes up so much of our time, we converted one of our spare rooms into my workspace. It works really well because I can work from home and I have everything I need at my fingertips.
5.Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
My shop name is my name! To be honest, when I was deciding what to call my brand I realised very quickly how fickle I was – so I chose the only name I couldn’t possibly get tired of – the name I had been stuck with my entire life!
6.Favourite media/style to work in?
My favourite medium is definitely fabric! I’m an apparel designer – so I always go to that. Within that, I’m a silk superfan – I would spend all my money on silk if I could.
7.Ambitions/future directions/future projects you'd like to try?
In the future I’m mainly focused on releasing more sewing patterns linked to my clothing line. It’s been so wonderful to witness people making my designs!
8.Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
Hahaha well I’m a bit of a combination actually! When it comes to my home, I’m very neat and organized – I like everything perfect all the time. When it comes to my workspace I’m definitely “creatively messy” It’s very rare that my studio be tidy and when it is I parade around it telling everyone I know hehehe.
9.Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
Oh gosh. That’s hard!! I think right now my favourite handmade item is a pile of candlewicking panels that my Ouma made when she was still with us – I plan on making them into a nice big quilt that I can use and remember her by.
I’m a kid at heart I guess – my favourite food is Mac and Cheese and probably always will be!
Pink! Is that too girl??
Oh gosh – I think I’m a Scorpio?
13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
My favourite place is the Swan Valley in WA – it’s my absolute favourite for going and getting inspired. To me its just the most beautiful place.
14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
That’s always a hard one isn’t it? Honestly, I’m not sure I’m particularly good at juggling it all J I tend to focus on my kids and home during the day, and I work, work, work during nap times and at night. I tend to run on a base level of tiredness – but I tell myself it’s for a short time hehe.
15. Favourite designers, artists, artisans, crafters etc?
My favourite indie designer is Merl Kinzie – she makes the most ridiculously awesome jewellery ever and I am developing quite the collection of it. Added to that she is such a sweet wonderful person!
16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done.
It tends to vary pretty regularly – but my current favourite thing I’ve made is this crop top.
17. Three words to describe yourself?
Happy, bubbly, friendly (basically if I meet you I WILL hug you, no exceptions, sorry).
18. What do you like to do besides creating?
I really really love to read! Its something I don’t get a lot of time to do – but when I get a spare moment to curl up with a book, I just adore it. Such a luxury for me.