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Introducing: The Megan Nielsen Patterns App!

May 24th, 2015

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

Big news you guys! Things have been very busy at Megan Nielsen Patterns HQ (hence my quietness over here!). Today we are sharing possibly our biggest surprise yet!

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

[Available in the App Store right now and Google Play for Android in June]

During my maternity break i had spent a lot of time looking at my brand and how you interact with my patterns. Well one of the things we kept coming back to was this disconnect between technology and sewing patterns. We all live with our phones and tablets by our sides, and more and more we want digital. We want instant. It’s time that sewing patterns stepped up and became more relevant to the age we live in.

The Megan Nielsen App

That’s why we created this app. We are closing the gap between traditional sewing patterns and the technology that is being used more and more by modern sewers.

We’ve been working on this for close to a year, and it’s been a lot of work. But i’m so proud of how it turned out and i think you are really going to love it.

Install it, create an account, have a look around – and tell us what you think!

Bonus: You must create a new user account, but if you use the same email address you use for purchases on www.megannielsen.com then you will immediately have access to all your previous pattern purchases.

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App[photography // Madalynne Studios]

how to match stripes on the Ruched maternity skirt & top

February 16th, 2015

Megan Nielsen maternity style // Ruched midi skirt

A question i get a lot is how to pattern match designs with ruching and gathers (specifically for my Ruched Maternity skirt and Ruched Maternity tshirt). I know everyone wants their stripes to be matched perfectly all the time, but when it comes to these designs the ruching is not symmetric, so perfection in pattern matching just isn’t possible. Sorry.

You can get close though :)

The same is true for any seam that includes gathers, you can pattern match seams that are equal distances, but once you hit those gathers, everything is going to be off kilter.

So if you want to sew a ruched maternity skirt in stripes like i did when i was pregnant and have them nicely matched up at the side seams, you can only do so up to a point.

Here’s what you do: start from the hemline and go up! When you hit the ruching notches stop trying to pattern match and instead go with the flow. Once the ruching is completed, the ruched sections will be all gathered and the pattern mismatch won’t matter, but everything below it will be nice and straight! It’s that easy :)

darling ranges tunic as maternity

December 14th, 2014

I was really really missing my Darling Ranges dresses when i was pregnant, so i decided to try the Darling Ranges tunic version as maternity wear.

I really love how it turned out! I absolutely adore this fabric, and i was thrilled when i realised that the dartless tunic version of the Darling Ranges fitted comfortably over my baby bump – and there’s still room- YAY! It didn’t last for my whole pregnancy, probably just till about the 7th month, but it’s been an awesome breastfeeding top now that baby is born (and dare i say it, nicely covered the post baby tummy). I used the variation instructions in this post, and made it “tunic” length with short sleeves. Totally perfect for wearing with leggings! Unfortunately i do regret not bothering to match the pattern on the side seams… but hey… sometimes i just can’t be bothered, anyone else in that boat?

Also, these leggings are another maternity make. I used my Virginia leggings  pattern and made them in the maternity/low rise option. I’m a little disappointed that you can’t really tell in these photos, but the fabric is this really cool black shiny lycra. It’s the same family as the lycra from the silver coated leggings i’ve worn to death, but obviously much more subtle. I like that they have kind of a liquid look to them. Kind of wished we photographed in the sun so you could actually see what i’m talking about. I’m not going to get much wear out of these leggings now that it’s blisteringly hot – but i literally lived in them over my morning sick period when it was still cool – and they were awesome post partum wear when baby was born.

[Make this look]

Tunic: Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges tunic // Sewing pattern
Leggings: Megan Nielsen Virginia leggings // Sewing pattern
Shoes: Swedish Hasbeens // T Strap Sky High
Necklace: Merl Kinzie // Clydes Rebirth 

tips for making a baby bump diary

November 17th, 2014

It’s become a little tradition for us to document my growing baby bump each pregnancy. I’m really glad we’ve done it – because though we started it for ourselves, just so we would remember and could show family – it’s become something our kids really love looking at. I really want to get my act together and print out a full collage for each kiddo to put in their baby books. It’s amazing to me how much my body has changed each pregnancy and then gone back to normal again – I feel like every part of baby’s journey is such an amazing miracle.

So now that i’ve done this 3 times, i thought i’d share with you a few tips!

  1. Choose a consistent & maintainable backdrop. You are going to be taking these photos for 9 months, so you need to make sure you can keep your backdrop the whole time. We used the plainest wall in our house, and removed all the pictures when we were taking photos.
  2. Keep each picture the same size. An easy way to do this is to make sure whoever is taking your photos is standing at the same distance from you every time (We measured each time).
  3. Set a regular time to take your photos, and then give yourself a break! For my first two diaries i tried to take photos once a week, which was kind of a disaster because who has that kind of consistency? not me :) This time round we made it the first week of every month, it was easy to remember and a much more maintainable interval. And even then, we missed one month when i was really morning sick – but such is life right?
  4. Use some photo editing software. You don’t need photoshop, there are some free programs like GIMP, or even Picasa that allow you to edit your photos a bit. You may need to adjust the lighting a bit to make your photos consistent. I also like to crop them a little, and use photoshop to edit out picture hooks on the wall. I made this diary black and white because i think i think it always looks a bit more emotive, and it helped disguise the fact the lighting wasn’t perfectly consistent in each shot.
  5. Wear the same outfit. But choose wisely! You need to make sure that whatever you wear will still fit in 9 months time.  The last two times i’ve done this diary i just used super stretchy tops – but this time i decided to make my own top using my Ruched maternity top sewing pattern. I’m really glad i did because it worked sooooo much better! The last times it was kinda hard to fit the tops over my full term belly, but this time it was a breeze. I don’t know why i didn’t think of using my own design before – so silly!

So did any of you do baby bump diaries for your pregnancies? Or have a favourite? For some other ideas about how to record your growing bump check out our post about DIY pregnancy photo series!

How to make a ruched maternity dress with Clio & Phineas

November 10th, 2014

I’m so excited about todays guest post! Clio has been making the most gorgeous maternity wear during her pregnancy. When i saw that she had merged some maternity patterns to create her own maternity dresses i got really excited and asked her to share how she went about combining patterns to make maternity wear. Clio writes over at Clio and Phineas, so when you’re done reading her tutorial please head on over to her lovely blog and check out the rest of her fantastic maternity makes. So much inspiration there! Ok over to Clio.

First off, I was really excited when I was invited to write this guest post. When I learned I was pregnant, I immediately started thinking about and planning a maternity wardrobe even though it was months before I would actually need maternity clothing. So, it’s something that I really thought about and started working on long before I even announced my pregnancy.

I had a lot of grand ideas at first, but in the end I found that focusing on a few key patterns that were easy to sew, were versatile and that I could use again and again was the best way to quickly build a wardrobe that I love and still feels like me.

(more…)

DIY cloth baby wipes

November 5th, 2014

I have been cloth diapering my Baby Bird since she was about 2 weeks old, and i noticed very quickly once i started that i didn’t have enough cloth wipes. In a mad panic i ordered more, waited and waited, and then realised: I CAN SEW.

Moments like these i kind of want to bang my head against the wall for being so silly. I mean seriously meg?? My stash of soft flannel fabric is huge and this task simply could not be easier. Grrrr.

So i quickly sat down, cut a bunch of 7″x7″ (18cmx18cm) squares, rounded off the edges, serged/overlocked the raw edges and we were good to go. It was just that easy. So if you use cloth wipes for your babe, or are thinking about it, don’t forget to check out your fabric stash before you buy! Personally i like using flannel or terry cloth for my wipes. It’s always such a good feeling when you can make something rather than buy it right?

Now feel free to giggle at me for forgetting i owned a sewing machine and scissors.

the two seam top

October 27th, 2014

I’ve had a few questions about what the Two Seam Dress looks like unbelted, so i thought i’d quickly share with you another version i made, a two seam top!

I wore this top during my pregnancy almost once a week, and now that baby is out and I am feeding all the time, i’m also happy to report that this top makes a fantastic nursing top and cover up – i will have to take a few photos to show you what i mean! This one was made with more ease than the final tutorial i shared, and is also using a thicker stiffer jersey with much less drape. I think it shows pretty well what i had mentioned in the tutorial, with regards to the design working better with a thin drapey jersey.

To recreate this look use the Two Seam Dress tutorial but at the appropriate length for a top, and add a pair of DIY maternity shorts by remaking an old pair of shorts using one of our great tutorials:

Happy sewing! XOXO

DIYMaternity style // Two Seam top using the Two Seam Dress tutorial from DIYMaternity.com + DIY maternity shorts from old shorts using tutorials on DIYmaternity.com