Megan Nielsen Dash: A white denim dream come true

No, that isn’t a typo. I am aware that Megan Nielsen’s two mega popular jeans patterns are Dawn and Ash. And yes, I combined them to make my white denim dreams come true. Allow me to explain the origin of Dash.

White denim is scary. Not only due to the implied potential for catastrophe brought on by spills and leaks, but white denim jeans can be brutally unforgiving in what they reveal of the wearer. You know what I mean. All of that said, the unattainable nature of the perfect white jeans has only elevated their desirability. Wouldn’t you agree? Your favorite pairs are pinned endlessly and saved to Instagram. Only you aren’t sure if they’d look as good on you as they do on the model. And you’d really love to customize them to suit you better, but what fabric would you use? And honestly, are they practical for your lifestyle, that doubtful voice mocks you.

My inspiration photo hung out in the back of my mind for about a year when I stumbled upon a bolt of 10oz white bull denim at Jo-Ann. I knew bull denim was being widely used for non-stretch pants patterns but seeing it in person really helped me to visualize my plans. I pictured the thick, structured material hugging my dimply thighs and I was encouraged. This can hold me in, I thought. I brought it home and began to plot.


I had in my mind a cropped flare version from Megan Nielsen to match my inspiration but I had confused the option for Ash (stretch) as one for Dawn (non-stretch). Fortunately I had both patterns on hand already and was easily able to graft on the Ash legs to my adjusted Dawn pattern, which I began a couple of inches above the knee.

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As far as adjustments go, I started with a straight size 10 and added a one inch full thigh adjustment, same as on my Ash jeans. I did not add any extra seam allowance, and in the end let out the hip and thigh area by decreasing my seam allowance to about 3/8”. The fit is tight, but good I think and while the denim is non-stretch it does give some. When they were finished I enjoyed some major 1989 flashbacks as I squatted and wriggled around to loosen up the fit. That’s the way we used to do it before all this spandex entered our world, and somehow we made the best of it, eh?

My pocket lining is a very thin cotton lawn in pale peach and I had a little fun with a bright orange YKK zipper from my stash. I think the nude-ish pocket lining was a perfect fit as I also prefer nude undergarments to white for a better blend. They don’t show through at all from what I can tell. The hardware is from Threadbare Fabrics in the color brass. I went with a raw hem a-la inspriation photo and at the last minute did narrow that flare for a more subtle look.

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I can’t not mention the top I’m wearing here: the Grainline Hadley in Dotted Rayon Cotton Voile from Blackbird Fabrics. I’ve had this pattern forever but kept lagging in making it. I knew I needed to raise that V neck and it turned out to be super easy. I make a size 6 which is what I usually go for with Grainline, but it felt really tight around the armscye so I scooped into it a bit to give me some extra room. I also hacked off about 3 inches from the length and I find it to be the perfect crop for short-waisted me. I’m not 100% sold on this silhouette for me, but a long necklace does weigh down the front a bit to keep it from looking maternity, and I do think it pairs super cute with my jeans. I took a few shots to explain raising the neckline, with some bare-bones instructions. You’re smart, you’ll get it ;)

1. Cut out the center front section

1. Cut out the center front section

2. Slide up the cut section the desired number of inches

2. Slide up the cut section the desired number of inches

3. Tape in place and add extra paper to fill in the gap.

3. Tape in place and add extra paper to fill in the gap.

4. Use a dressmakers curve to smooth out the new line.

4. Use a dressmakers curve to smooth out the new line.

Wannabe Fashion Jackson

Wannabe Fashion Jackson

I’m pretty happy with the result, and clean or dirty I’ll wear them with pride.

xo April

Here Comes the Sun: a fresh Spring look with IndieSew

The projects that follow were made in collaboration with Indiesew.  The blouse fabric and jeans pattern were provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I write, my head in a perpetual fog brought on by too many days without sun.  This California girl is a true sunflower, and when she begins to wilt must find a way to brighten her view. Today this great new outfit is the golden remedy to my current blues.

The top is a modified Hey June Key Largo in striped goldenrod rayon crepe from Indiesew.  Choosing this fabric was a no-brainer.  It practically chose me. Perfectly drapey and lightweight with that subtle crepe crinkle, it promptly identified itself as a statement blouse for spring.  I toyed with a couple of pattern ideas before stumbling across the Key Largo.  Unfairly overlooked all this time (at least by me) Key Largo is classic Hey June:  a separate that fits effortlessly into any wardrobe, with comfortable practicality and subtle stylish versatility.  The pattern as written was almost exactly what I wanted, with the exception of the neckline.  Eager to replicate a Madewell top I’d been eyeing, I just needed to modify Key Largo into a V.  A more patient maker may have gone about this in a more methodical way, muslining and such.  But that just isn’t me.  So while I can’t provide you with a reliable tutorial for this hack, I will let you know what did and didn’t work.

Holding up the original front pattern piece to myself, I attempted to measure how low of a V I wanted.  I decided on four inches lower than where the scoop landed and marked that point of the center front.  From there I simply drew a diagonal line starting about where the shirt would hit the collar bone down to that point.  I traced around my new neckline from the shoulder (adding SA) to the point of the V and drafted a facing about 2 1/2 inches wide.  At the same time, I raised the back neckline 1/2 inch, and drafted a back neck facing to match. Instead of one of the binding methods included in the instructions, I attached my facing with raw edges serged, then understitched and topstiched 1/4” from the serged edge to secure.  Once sewn up, I found the V to be much top low for my taste.  Fortunately this was easily resolved by taking up the shoulder seam, leaving my beautifully shaped V in tact.  In the end it seems lowering the neckline 2 inches would have been the better choice.  But it’s true that all’s well that ends well and I just love the finished article.  I made a straight size 8 which is one size larger than my high bust measurement, and that worked well for this relaxed look. 

Now as  to the fabric itself, it is extremely beautiful and lovely to wear.  But if you value your sanity at all,  you may want to avoid projects that require a lot of precision or stripe matching.  Aside from the shifty nature of rayon, the crepe crinkle can make lining up stripes a challenge.  Personally I broke out into a bit of a sweat trying to match the center seam on my front pieces.  Even so, it was well worth the effort and I’d highly recommend snatching up a couple of yards before it’s gone!

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Now what’s that on my bottom half?  Yep, new jeans!  A new-to-me jeans pattern: the Megan Nielsen Ash jeans.  After four iterations of the Ginger jeans, I was eager to check out a different designer’s methods.  The vision was for a very fitted, minimal pair of dark jeans that would be great pared down or dressed up.  To achieve that look I went with version 1 of the 4, the skinnies.  I’m really happy with the result and stoked to add this pair to my me-made jeans collection.

As far as sizing goes, I measured between a size 28 and 30 and my fabric had less stretch than the pattern recommendation.  Having opted for grading between sizes with my Gingers, I decided to take advantage of a clean slate and take a new approach.  I pooled all of my resources on fitting before deciding on a method from Sew Over It’s pants fitting course.  Armed with that tutorial and experience from previous attempts at fitting my body, I decided to cut a straight size 29 with a 1 inch full thigh adjustment.  Next I got some help at mapping out my full calf situation, marking the fullest points on the pattern pieces and grading out the side seams to accommodate the width.  In the past, I’ve felt I needed a flat pubis adjustment, which I did by straightening out the crotch curve.  Finally, I added an additional 3/8” to the outer leg seam allowances to give myself a full one inch as a safety. 

Since I didn’t have enough of my fashion fabric (10oz Indigo Cone Mills slub denim from D&H Fabrics) to make a muslin, I bit the bullet and did the cutting from my adjusted pattern pieces.  After baste fitting, I decided that the flat pubis adjustment did not work, so I went back and scooped out the crotch curve as it was intended.  I also took advantage of 1/4” of the additional seam allowance from the lower hip to the hem, but kept the original 5/8: from hip to waist.  All in all, I think the sizing of this pattern is very true, and any discrepancy was to be expected since my fabric did not have the proper stretch percentage. 

Now I know what question comes next: which pattern do I prefer?  Ginger or Ash. I honestly don’t know.  The idea of both of these patterns is for them to hug all of you curves, so the final result depends greatly on how you choose to fit them.  I will say I favor the pockets of the Gingers: both the front pocket stay and the fact that the back pockets come in different sizes.  But I much prefer the shape and size of the back yoke on the Ash, which I think is a key element to rear end shaping.  I think I’ll have to make a couple more versions of Ash in different fabrics before it’s clear which pattern I’ll keep going back to.  Whichever way you decide to go, both patterns are conveniently available on the IndieSew website.

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If you fancy a chat about sewing Ash or Ginger or need a little direction in hacking your Key Largo into a V neck, feel free to leave me a note.  I’d love to be of support!




my favorite photobomber

my favorite photobomber