Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Word With Megan Nielsen...

A Word With Megan Nielsen

My little surprise for #kellyskirtfriday !
After the fantastic response to #kellyskirtfriday Megan Nielson (designer of the Kelly Skirt (and many others besides!)) kindly agreed to a little interview (thanks Megan!).  Here's what she had to say...

(I have read) you are a self taught sewer - do you have any background study wise for design/textiles etc?

"Funnily enough, I started my career as an Actuary. Actuaries analyse the financial impact of risk and uncertainty – it’s very nerdy (hangs head in shame). So my original background in study is quite technical – I have a degree in Mathematics and a degree in Corporate Finance minoring in Accounting."

Pattern design/sewing is your career, does it take the fun out of it?

"Sometimes J I adore sewing, and any time I have free time I want to sew and design something – but there are certainly a good many times I don’t’ want to. And that’s when its hard, because you are forcing yourself to do something that used to just be a hobby. These days I tend to sew almost exclusively for work – which is why I’m very careful to make sure I only design things I’m passionate about – that way I can keep the joy of making things I adore.

 Any top tips for those starting out with their own businesses?

"Make a plan, get some seed money, and go for it! I’m a real “go for it!” kind of girl – and sometimes I feel like less thinking and more jumping in is the way to go hehehe."

Where do you take your inspiration from when designing patterns?

"For me inspiration always comes from nature. I like to spend a lot of time out in the Australian bushland, parks etc. I really get my best ideas out in the sun and wind. And for me, a pattern always begin with the design first. I try and forget it will be a pattern, and I focus just on the fashion of it. Then after the idea is fully formed, I work on how it could be a pattern. I feel like that is my trick for making sure I keep things stylish and on trend."

What's your favourite season or occasion to design for? Any soft spots for particular fabrics?

"Oh summer J I really can’t help it. Summer is just so built into the Australian mind – and since over half the year is hot where I live, it just feels natural to design for hot weather as a default."

What sewing tool could you not live without?

"Oooo my iron. I think I could get rid of a lot of things – but that steam iron and I are inseparable. It’s amazing how much of an aid it is in creating professional looking garments"

 We all have our sewing technique nemesis, what's yours?

"Oh gosh that’s easy. Knife pleats. Those b*@%~$*s. I have tried and tried to make p-e-r-f-e-c-t knife pleats and one day I hope to conquer them"

Any patterns/projects currently in the pipeline?

"For sure! I have a new collection coming in a few months that I’m very excited about!"

Any thoughts on #kellyskirtfriday?

"I think it’s amazing! I’m thrilled Sarah came up with the idea and I was just so touched. My hope is always that people will enjoy my designs and feel joy in making and wearing them – and #kellyskirtfriday was such a wonderful confirmation of that. I love it!"

We can't wait to see your new collection Megan!

#kellyskirtfriday III

This week's #kellyskirtfriday...

I love waking up on a Friday morning to Sabs email of her Kelly, this week it's denim...!
Super cute buttons Sabs!

And the wonderful @Freddievonfred, ToTaLLy loving this colour...!

Fantastic winter fabrics (and rocking the snow boots ladies!)

I've been contemplating my next Kelly, thinking I might go for a touch shorter this time!  Once the snow has disappeared I'll be back in mine!  

Also this week I won The Sewing Directory's competition for Abakhan vouchers!  Super thrilled (I may have done a footballer style shirt-over-head lap around the living room to celebrate!).  I'll have to have a good think of what to buy with them *rubs hands together in glee*

Remember to go forth and Kelly Skirt!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Burda Jamie Shift Dress

The Burda Vintage Modern Jamie Shift Dress (my version)

Where to begin.  All was going well until I discovered this is a size too big (even after dropping the pattern size by one.  Why oh why do I always have sizing problems-particularly with dresses!).  I wanted to use my giant buttons for Gillian's sewing dare.

So decided to add tabs to create more of a pinafore (mmm pinafore love).  I managed to break one of the buttons (fear not, I don't do things by halves and still have a good half a dozen giant buttons leftover!) and a needle in the process so resorted to hand stitching.  I detest the hem (with a capital D!!).  Burda said slip stitch, Sarah said no way, and tried to machine stitch.  I realised that was a big mistake and reverted back to Burda's command.  It looks terrible, my hand stitching is just plain awful.

So much excess fabric, the tabs gathered more than I wanted really, oh well.

Big fat wobbly hem.  Invisible zipper wasn't too bad, still having the gaping problem as mentioned in my previous post.

I doubt I'll ever wear this but one has learnt from one's mistakes!

On a more successful note...

Some spots and stripes for a birthday prezzie for a friend.

I do have a little surprise for my next post, I'm still waiting on something but almost there.  Watch this space...!

#kellyskirtfriday II

This weeks #kellyskirtfriday.  

Good effort peeps!

The inventor herself, Megan Nielsen *whoop, whoop!*

The lovely Stephanie - snow or no snow!

Sabs - working some snow boots.  Can't wait for the denim one!!

And spotted...(by Amy!)

Suzy - rocking her Kelly Skirt- we hope you'll join us next week Suzy!?

I have a confession...I didn't partake this week due to snow.  Didn't fancy getting stuck in snow and having to walk home in a skirt, Kelly skirt or ordinary skirt!
Proof of snow (and my mum's snowman!)

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Things I'm working on and a Little Surprise!

I'm working on this little baby for a friend's birthday.  It's a surprise so can't go spoiling birthday prezzies now can we!

Gillian's sewing dare to use my accidentally ordered giant buttons is still on my mind but think I may have a solution involving my Jamie shift dress!  Watch this space!

Having some invisible zipper installation problems with the Jamie.  I always end up with a gap here

as the footer gets stuck at the pully bit of the zipper.  Any advice most welcome?

My sister (who incidentally took these photos!) bought me this lovely notebook for Christmas to pop my sewing inspirations into.  Something about a good notebook...mmmm...notebook *dribbles*.  At the moment I'm randomly snapping pics when out shopping to gather my inspiration

              I love these fabrics and colours

I love these styles (I do so want a pinafore!).  I literally pushed a fellow shopper out of the way to snap these!


I must apologise for the ever evolving style of my blog.  I'm still learning Blogger and developing my style.  I still can't get it to show me how many followers I have on the stats page.  I can see bimbleandpimble (hello Amanda!) the widget seems fine but I can't see anything else out there on the internet!  Be nice to know I'm not just posting to myself (perhaps I am!), anyone any advice?  

Hope you all have a good #kellyskirtfriday .  Can't wait to see your photos.  You can send them to me via twitter @notchesnnotions or email

Finally, my next post I am very very excited about.  It's a surprise but involves this little lady...Oooooooo!      

(thanks Blogger for making me re-write (x 3!!) this whole post after you lost it!)

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Burda Vintage Modern Review

Burda, Burda, Burda.

I was lucky enough to get the new Burda Vintage Modern book for Christmas "mastering iconic looks from the 1920s to 1980s" apparently.

The book includes a total of 20 base patterns for items spanning 7 decades.  One of the things that impressed me the most was that it actually includes a couple of patterns for men!  Yes, for all those boyfriends, husbands, fathers and brothers you've been threatening with a little "creation", here they are in one little book!

There are some gorgeous designs, my particular favourites are from the 1920s range

The Amelia Top 

      The Lousia Drop-Waist Dress                

Or if you prefer the 1980s... the Heather Bustier Dress

I particularly like the modern twists to the designs, Burda have a lovely way of stylising their designs.  Gone are the days of floral print-1970s-running through a meadow pattern images and here are funky modern interpretations.

The patterns themselves are all traceable and included in a neat little pack at the back. 
As with all Burda patterns the seam allowance is not included but I haven't had any issues with this so far and the same with the instructions.

I'm enjoying using this and with the graded skill levels looking forward to working my way up.  

Would love to see if anyone has made any of the patterns?

Thumbs up from me!

(why do I always seem to take my photos in the dark!!) 


Welcome one and all to #kellyskirtfriday!  After bumping into other Megan Nielsen Kelly skirt sewers in cyber space I took the initiative and suggested we form an army of Kelly's every Friday! Forget take your child to work day, take your Kelly to the office!  Here are the results...

  The lovely @houseofpinheiro  (note the red buttonholes wit-woo!!)
   The marvellous @stephaniekcr  (working those fab autumnal colours!)
  and of course my good self (wonky waist band nuff said!)

Also in the pipeline for #kellyskirtfriday are @bimbleandpimble  and @almondrock_sews - can't wait to see the results from you guys!!

Our small but perfectly formed international team -  wore our Kelly's with pride and intend to do so every Friday (I'd better get back on the trusty machine asap!. So join us worldwide web and send me your photos!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

In my think tank

What's in my think tank this week? 
Quite simply these...

  • The Burda Jamie Shift Dress - from my new Burda Vintage Modern book.

I'm planning a wool attack on this. This little beauty is on my cutting mat and I can't wait to get started!

  • Gillian at Crafting a Rainbow gave me a sewing dare to use my extra large buttons!  Hmm still in the think tank at the moment.  Maybe added somewhere on the Jamie shift dress??

  • I've also got my eye on Grainlinestudio Moss Skirt pattern.  I love the band across the bottom of the skirt.  I've really enjoyed reading and getting inspiration from other blogs on this!

  • I'm still finding my way around Blogger and working on my presentation skills!  Any advice on this would be most appreciated!  I find it a little tricky to use to say the least!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Corduroy Kelly Skirt

My first ever blog, how exciting!  It's taken a good think for my blog name and first blog content!

I spent, oh, a good 5 minutes thinking out loud on a piece of paper!

I finally finished my Megan Neilson Kelly Skirt. It took me awhile due to button gate... I'm only a little sewer and still learning, the button size suggested by Megan were 5/8". Being afraid of maths, button size measurements were a new thing to me. So I Googled it. How wrong did I get it...

The button on the left is the first attempt I had flown over from Australia for $10 from a company called Buttonskullery via Etsy. Gorgeous buttons but the size of dinner plates! The ones on the right I sourced from my local market. 

I love the Kelly Skirt pattern, it has a really simple instruction book. The most difficult part were the buttonholes. It was my first ever attempt at them. Once I'd figured out how to use my machine on that setting, I was away. Thankfully corduroy is a very forgiving fabric as I must have unpicked at least 10 buttonholes! ( I know what you're thinking -muslin! So am I post sewing!) My machine was not feeding through the fabric and would jam, I guess due to the bulk.  

The wonky waist band is driving me nuts (learning point for next time) This is my inspiration posted by  nice to read I wasn't the only one struggling with buttonholes!

Working with corduroy created a very fluffy machine! I clean mine with this.  How do you clean yours?

Well I hope you had a very nice Christmas, I certainly did and will be working on something from this bad boy for my next blog entry!