Tag Archives: Megan Nielsen

I made ALL THE UNDERWEAR

If you don’t follow me on YouTube (or Instagram) you may not have seen that I have made rather a lot of underwear in the last few weeks! I have a whole new underwear wardrobe, which is awesome because I was getting a bit low on pants – does anyone else find lots of pairs seem to wear out all at the same time, leaving you with barely a week’s worth? Well I no longer have that problem, lol.

Fair warning: there are a lot of photos in this post. You can see a video of all the combinations on YouTube or Instagram Reels.

The 2 patterns I used for all of these makes were the Sophie Hines Axis Tank – which I took off 5cm from for the bralette versions and added 7cm to for the vest versions; and the Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants – which is free, and which I added 4cm to the rise of as I like my pants to sit slightly higher. The Axis Tank goes up to a 50″ bust, 42″ waist, and the Acacia Pants go up to a 48″ waist and 58″ hip. It’s free to newsletter subscribers.

I decided I wanted most of my underwear to be made from nice, breathable jerseys. I did use some random stuff from the stash (the navy, mustard stripe and navy stripe) but I also ordered some bamboo jerseys from Ray Stitch, plus the mustardy-peach was a different organic jersey (but not bamboo).

This was my first time sewing with bamboo jersey and while it is really soft and lovely to wear, it wasn’t my favourite to sew with, if I’m honest. It’s very slippery and I’m often a bit slapdash with cutting out so some of my pieces maybe weren’t quite the exact right shape/size but it all seemed to work out okay in the end. I’m happy to have a break from sewing with it though!

I bought a bunch of foldover elastic from ebay and it obviously isn’t the best quality but it’s good enough and the thicker stuff I bought is actually a little too strong so it’s a delicate balance finding the right elastic, imho. I did have some bright blue elastic which was just about enough for one pair of pants so I used it on a white pair for maximum contrast and I do love this pair!

I know it might be kind of a boring colour, but I think the grey ones might be my favourite. I only ordered white, black and navy elastic so I decided to use white elastic on the grey (I briefly considered black but it didn’t look as good) and I’m really happy with how they look.

I just realised I didn’t mention the sizes I made – I made the size xs of the Axis tank and the size 2 of the Acacia pants. My measurements are 32″ bust, 25″ waist, 35″ hip.

At some point in the last 18 months/ 2 years or so I decided I didn’t want to keep wearing underwired bras. In the Winter, working in a freezing cold bookshop, I’d be wearing 8 layers of clothes on average, so it really didn’t matter whether I had a bra on or not and I got used to not wearing them. Then when I tried after a break, I felt like the wire was REALLY digging into my ribs – I guess that was always the case, but I was used to it? I then decided I needed some soft bralettes for when I want a layer underneath my clothes. Luckily I don’t feel like I need the support of underwiring.

I had a mammoth cutting out session of cutting out all the things before I moved (at the beginning of May) so I would have some projects ready to go for after the move. I thought batch sewing would be fun – and the actual construction seams are really minimal across both patterns (2 gussets via the burrito method and side seams for the pants; and one back seam and 2 shoulder seams for the tank). But then there’s the hem bands and the elastic. I definitely would be happy to not sew any elastic for a while!

In total I made 4 pairs of pants in each plain colour (black, white, grey, navy, mustardy-peach) and 2 in the mustard stripe. Then I made 2 bralettes and one vest in each of the plain colours, plus one vest in each of the striped fabrics. It definitely should keep me going for a while! I could maybe cut out individual items when I’m next making a knit project to use up any scraps but I don’t want to batch in the same way again!

This striped fabric is actually a ponte and it doesn’t really have enough stretch to be as easy to get on and off or as comfortable to wear.

I am digging how from the back it looks like an old fashioned style swimming costume! I was thinking before I took all these photos that actually these 2 patterns could make a good bikini-type swimming costume. I would leave the pants as they are and maybe use the original length of the Axis Tank for the top – I think the vest is a little too long and the bralette a little too short. Not that I ever wear swimming costumes, but I’m kind of digging the idea now I’ve thought of it! I might keep my eyes open for some nice swim fabric (oooh, maybe a mix and match set with 2 pairs….)

I do really love this fabric. It’s been sitting in my stash for ages, waiting for the right project and I’m glad I’ve finally used some up. I think I might still have enough left for a t-shirt so I might have to move that to the top of my to-make list. I’m definitely craving some simpler projects to cleanse my palette from the endless elastic and hem band sewing!

I said for the longest time that I wasn’t going to bother making underwear as it would be too fiddly, I can buy it and there are more fun and exciting projects to make! But then last year I was furloughed for months and months and so had the time to work through my whole back-catalogue of projects I wanted to make and so suddenly making underwear seemed useful instead of a waste of time. I maybe could have made fewer items (lol) but at least I’m all set for a good while. Now I’ve finished them all, maybe I can make some completely frivolous frosting makes to try different fabrics? Or do some proper full on tailoring? Or some hand sewn projects? Who knows…..

Making Period Pants

As I mentioned in my YouTube video about making underwear, one of the reasons I wanted to have a go at making underwear, and pants in particular, was to make some period pants – it seemed like this is a rare instance when making something could be cheaper than buying it!

Sophie Hines has some great tutorials on her website to help you know what supplies you need and how to alter your favourite pattern to be period pant friendly.

The main change you’ll want to do is to lengthen the gusset so you get better coverage than a standard gusset. I guess if you have some really light days you might be able to use a standard sized gusset for some pairs. I made 5 pairs in total, all with the lengthened gusset so I’d have flexibility for when in my period I choose to use them. I also bought a menstrual cup to have a fully sustainable period and I’ve been using that on the first couple of heaviest days, then the pants when it’s lighter towards the end.

You’ll also need to change the front and back pattern pieces by an equivalent amount to take account of the new longer gusset. I added around 6cm to the back and 5cm to the front of the gusset, then reshaped the other pieces accordingly. I made the size 2 of Megan Nielsen Acacia Pants, which is a free pattern and goes up to a 48″ waist and a 58″ hip. I already added around 4cm to the rise as I like my pants to sit a little higher than the pattern is drafted for.

The next thing you need to do is collect your supplies. This was the part I was most anxious about as I didn’t want to order the wrong things and discover at an inopportune moment that the pants didn’t function as I wanted them to. Muna and Broad also have a lot of good information about the kinds of supplies you need, which helped me a lot. Basically you need 3 layers: a moisture-wicking fabric, an absorbent later and a waterproof layer. Bamboo jersey, which I used for my underwear is actually a great moisture-wicking option. For the absorbent layer I ordered Zorb, which is a popular fabric for resuable nappies and period pants alike. I ordered a metre and I definitely didn’t need that much – you could definitely get away with half a metre (or maybe even less) for 5 pairs.

For the waterproof layer I ordered PUL (ProSoft Waterproof) in black – again I ordered a metre, and again I didn’t need anywhere near that much! I ordered both fabrics, which I’ve also linked in their names, from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, which I had not heard of before but they have lots of niche performance fabrics, so it would definitely be worth a look if you’re after some high performance fabrics (and you’re in the UK). Looking at their website today, it looks like they now have some recycled fabrics now, which is pretty exciting! The waterproof fabric has a right side and a wrong side, btw, and should not be pinned – I used some of those handy clippy things.

And here is the finished article – they’re not the most glamourous thing, and they look kind of badly made flat on the table, but they look okay on. I did have some wider fold over elastic for some of the pairs (but I ran out before I could do them all), also from Cuddle Plush Fabrics, and it was definitely better for the leg seams as they end up quite bulky and trying to neatly enclose everything with narrow foe was rage-inducing to say the least!

Galentines Outfit (for the Pink and Red Party

I used Megan from Pigeon Wishes’ Pink and Red party as an excuse to make a new outfit – because why not when I’ve been sitting in my house for 11 months and have slightly lost my sewjo (because I sewed all the things I needed for my wardrobe last year!). So I made a sort of a suit!

I talked about my inspiration for making a colour-blocked suit in this YouTube video (I’ve resurrected my YouTube channel after making one video 2 years ago! Lol!)

 

I used the Joe Jacket pattern from Ready to Sew for the jacket – which is also the pattern I used for the jacket of my corduroy suit. I used a suit with a more smoking jacket-type jacket worn by Claire Foy for my inspiration and so this involved a little pattern hacking.

I sat for way longer than I would care to admit trying ti figure out how to hack the pattern to get it to overlap at the bottom – and then it turned out to be relatively simple! I just slashed up the pattern front, from the hem to almost the neck line, and pivoted the whole front edge outwards – simple! But lots of head scratching to figure out if this was correct!


I added patch pockets instead of the welt pockets – which is actually way easier than welt pockets! I used the pocket pattern piece from the Honetone Coat as a guide.

 

I also, of course, added the tie to keep the jacket closed, as in the inspiration one. I thought about adding a couple of belt loops on the back to hold it in place, but figures this was an unnecessary step as I don’t think I’ll really wear it open, so the belt doesn’t need anything to keep it in while it’s untied, if that makes sense?

I talked about the construction and fabric etc in this YouTube video:

 

The fabric was all from Fabric Godmother and the pink and blue fabrics are Tencel twills and the lining was a cotton (with a little stretch). The Tencel is very drapey so possibly wasn’t the best choice for something as structured as a jacket, but it is a pretty relaxed style of jacket – and I made sure I interfaced absolutely everything that would get any wear or that needed structure. There is quite a lot of interfacing in a jacket anyway, so that certainly helped.

I do love a spotty lining! Stupidly, though, when I pre-washed all the fabrics, I put them all in together and the blue Tencel really ran so I ended up with blue spotty fabric instead of white. Sigh – that wasn’t the look I was going for. But after washing it a couple of times with some colour catchers the colour mostly came out. You would think after sewing for so many years, I would have learnt better!

The trouser pattern I used was the Dawn Jeans as I’ve made them a bunch of times and after spending so much time hacking the jacket, I kind of wanted something I knew how to sew for the trousers.

I made the size 4, as I’ve done before, but took it in only 1.5cm on the back seam (as opposed to the I think 2cm I did on my other pairs) and sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance (instead of 1.5cm) as they seemed a bit snug somehow! The waistband miraculously still fit!

I sewed the wide-legged version and I actually can’t believe I haven’t before! There was a while where everyone was making the Persephone Pants – and I made them as the trousers for my suit – but the fit was never great on me and I don’t really wear them much as a result. But I get the same look from the wide-legged Dawns so I kind of want some more wide-legged jeans/trousers in my wardrobe for days when I don’t want skinny jeans!

These are definitely going to become a Spring/Summer wardrobe staple once the weather stops being below zero – anyone else in the UK fed up of being so cold?! I know we’re known for talking about the weather ALL THE TIME but I’m a naturally cold person so when the weather is so cold I get really fed up really quickly! Roll on Summer….

I really hope I get to wear this outfit to an irl sewing party one day! Though I’ll probably use an irl party as an excuse to make another outfit, because why not, eh?!

Did you join in with the Pink and Red Party? Are you like me and you only wear pink (or only red?). I tried to force myself to wear red by knitting a cardigan years and years and years ago but I wore it, I think, twice because you can’t make yourself feel nice in a colour you don’t actually feel good in! Though speaking of knitting, I’ve rediscovered my enjoyment of knitting in front of the TV so maybe there’ll be some knitting projects coming soon(ish)….

A review of 2020

I’ve done review posts (and then planning posts for the forthcoming year) for quite a few years on this blog and I wasn’t going to do one this year (I won’t be doing a planning post) but then I realised it’s been my most productive sewing year so far so it would be a shame not to celebrate all the things I’ve made.

I do want to acknowledge my privilege before I dive into my makes because I know a lot of people have lost friends and family members this year and have lost jobs and had their lives as they knew them fall apart. I myself work in a bookshop and was furloughed when the UK went into lockdown in March and was about to go back to work when we entered the second lockdown in November, but this was delayed until December. I was back at work for 4 weeks and a day when Gloucestershire was moved to tier 4 (today) meaning that I am furloughed again. I have been paid at least 80% of my wages that whole time and my partner and I have relatively low outgoings (and he went back to work in June) so we have been okay financially. I also have a flat to live in and hobbies to occupy me so I was able to enjoy most of my time not working. There were weeks when I was fed up of being in my house, but I did manage to visit family in the Summer when it was permitted and we have my partner’s family close by where we live. I have no children so I didn’t have to suddenly become a teacher over night and this means my time has been my own to do with as I please. I have also had regular online chats with my close group of friends from uni and I feel we have deepened out friendships – usually we try to meet up once per year and have a whatsapp chat but it has been nice to feel like we are close together even when we are (literally in some cases) thousands of miles apart.

With all that said for the first 3 or so months of the lockdown I sewed ALL THE THINGS that I had in my mind to make for probably years. I had bought fabric with specific projects in mind and then never quite got around to them, even with moving to working part-time last June (2019). In 2019 I made 16 garments and in 2020 I made 35 garments (2 of which I haven’t yet shared here) and refashioned one. That’s quite a difference!

I’ll start with jackets and coats – I didn’t realise I made 4!

Sequined Bomber jacket

Houndstooth Richmond jacket


Gold Rumana Coat

Victoria Blazer Coat hack

And of course, no sewing year for me would be complete without a bunch of shirts!

Blue and Pink Popover Kalle

Yellow Geometric Kalle

Faces Kalle


White and Black Checked Blaire

Classic White Melilot

I also did some epic scrap-busting and made a load of Inari Tees from larger scraps I had in my stash.

Silver Knit Inari

Electric Blue Inari

Jungle Print Inari


Crowd Inari


Cotton Lawn Inari


Pink Striped Inari


Yellow Geometric Inari


Black Striped Inari

2020 was also the year of making jeans for me – I made 5 pairs in total!

Ginger Jeans

First Pair of Dawn Jeans


Pale Denim Dawn Jeans


Black Skinny Dawn Jeans


Navy Skinny Dawn Jeans

I also made some other trousers that weren’t jeans!

Black Crepe Evelyn Trousers

Grey Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Hudson Sweatpants

Navy Blue Double Gauze Arden Pants

Mustard Double Gauze Arden Pants

I finally made 2 pairs of Carolyn Pyjamas, the fabrics for which I had had for years and years!

Liberty Cotton Carolyn Pyjamas

Boaty Carolyn Pyjamas

I refashioned my Sew Over It Anderson blouse into a Marilla Walker Mercury top and I very much prefer the new iteration of this gorgeous fabric!

I made another Cleo dungaree dress mostly just to use up some leftover denim. I’m not sure how much wear it will get to be honest!

I also made another Sew Over It Nancy Dress – again not sure how much wear it will get, though it will certainly have to wait for warmer weather either way.

Another makeĀ  I’m not sure will get much (if any) wear is this Sallie Jumpsuit. The fabric is a little too thin and clingy for me to feel completely comfortable.


On the opposite end of the scale is my denim Roberts dungarees which have already had sooo much wear! They’re so comfortable and a good choice for days when I’m mostly sitting at home but don’t want to wear sweatpants!

It’s no wonder after all the sewing – and all the new items for my wardrobe – that I slightly ran out of steam after the first few months! Though a few things were made after the first main batch, the vast majority were made in April, May and June.

I want to try my hand at underwear in 2021 – I bought some supplies to make period pants, to find another way to be more sustainable and reduce my impact on the environment. I did made reusable make-up wipes this year and they have been a triumph!

I also stopped wearing bras really at all last Winter (under so many layers of clothes when it’s freezing at work, who can tell anyway!) but in the Summer with only one layer on I do kind of want at least something else to protect and slightly support my boobs so I’m going to have a go at making some bralettes. I’m lucky that I don’t need the support of underwiring or more supportive bras – when I was younger (like a teenager) I wished I had bigger boobs but now I’m so glad they’re not!

I’ve also got a (rescheduled) wedding to attend in the Summer so I’ll definitely be making a new outfit – I don’t feel like I went out that much before the pandemic but I like having bigger events to go to as an excuse to make something fancier than I would wear in my every day life.

But these are my only plans – I used to plan yearly and monthly my makes but I almost never followed through with the plans so I’m just have ideas for now. And now my wardrobe if necessary items is pretty much complete I might have a go at some more frivolous makes just for fun – and to expand my sewing skills!

Happy New Year! And thank you for following my making journey this year – I’m so thankful I have had sewing to keep me occupied for the vast majority of 2020!

Navy Blue Stretch Dawn Jeans

This is my final pair of lockdown jeans, so if you’re sick of hearing about jeans, you get a reprieve now! This is another pair of Dawn Jeans – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I don’t see that I’ll really ever need another jeans pattern.

I made the size 4, as with all my other pairs, and took a wedge out of the back seam of 2cm as I have with all the other pairs. I took them in on the thighs, like with the black pair, but I left them a bit looser on the lower legs to make sure I could get them on and off!

 

The fabric was also from Fabric Godmother but when I pre-washed it there were loads of streaks on the denim – maybe where it had got folded up in the washing machine. I washed the fabric when I bought it a couple of years ago so I was worried it was from sitting in my stash that it had the marks. I washed it again just before cutting the jeans out and the marks were still there unfortunately. But when I’m wearing them I don’t think it’s super super obvious.

As with the black pair I decided to do matching top-stitching instead of contrasting jeans top-stitching as I’ve had various pairs of skinny navy trousers over the years which don’t look like jeans so I kinds of recreated those.

I really do prefer how the dawn jeans look with a zip fly instead of a button fly as they sit more flush and don’t have the gaping issue, even though these are pretty tight! Though the denim has a nice amount of stretch so these are really comfortable to wear.

You can kind of see the streaks in this photo – pale marks on the fabric. You can’t see them from a distance and I honestly don’t notice them when I’m wearing them, so it doesn’t really bother me.

The stretch in the denim means that these jeans, while they look really tight, are still comfortable to sit in! I find my ginger jeans aren’t as comfortable to sit in and they put pressure on my knees a bit to sit in – but these don’t have that problem! Hurray!

I’m still on furlough from my job in a bookshop and I expect to be until the end of the scheme – it remains to be seen if I lose my job at that point! I spent the first few months of lockdown sewing all the things I planned for my wardrobe for years (and I have a few projects still to share) but I’ve kind of run out of steam for sewing for a while! I think I did a year’s worth of sewing in 3 1/2 months so it’s not really a surprise, though I have sewn a couple of things recently – and remembered how much I really do like sewing! Maybe now is finally the time to make my first quilt since my wardrobe is pretty much set for a good while now!