Pattern Review,  Sewing,  Size inclusive designer spotlight

Size Inclusive Company Highlight: Megan Nielsen and the Briar sweater and t shirt

 

Hi sewing friends!

I’m not sure how many of you that read my blog follow me on Instagram, but a few weeks ago I posted a picture and then brain dumped about an incident that happened in an indie designer’s facebook group. I asked a question in the group about how the way their sizes were named, it gave the false indication that they were a size inclusive company but when you looked at the actual measurements it was a different story. I was met with comments about how I was entitled, and also how if I wanted clothes that fit me I should go learn how to draft my own patterns.

It really put me in a funk and I started viewing the sewing community without those rose colored glasses.

The majority of plus size sewists turned to sewing because they were tired of RTW (ready to wear) clothes not fitting them and having limited options when it came time to shop for new clothes. I personally spent the majority of my life crying in dressing rooms because nothing fit me like it should and I passed up many a shopping trip with my friends because I could never find clothes in the stores they wanted to go to.

So I was super bummed when I saw that the plus size options in the sewing community were limited as well. It stings when you ask a designer “do you have any plans to expand your sizing?” and you’re written off with a “we have loose plans to eventually expand” or “not at this time” or “it’s just too much work/not worth it” because hi, I’m a person and those answers just told me I’m not worth your time because my body doesn’t fit into your aesthetic of your brand.

So after that incident on Facebook, and spending too long being salty about the brands that don’t want people of a certain size in their patterns, I decided I needed to start highlighting the size inclusive companies in our community.

That brings me to my first size inclusive spotlight…Megan Nielsen. Megan started expanding her sizes in 2018 and her new sizing consists of 2 blocks. Her standard range is sizes 0-20 and her curve range is 14-30. I usually don’t like when a company splits it’s sizing in two because of the extra purchase if you want all the patterns, but I like that there’s an overlap in each so those that need to grade can do so without having to buy the other sizes.

 

 

Megan has been updating her patterns with her new sizing and the most recent to get updated was the Briar and I think it’s going to be a staple for the fall and winter. The Briar is a play on a basic t or sweater and has four views. The Curve sizing (14-30) will fit hips from 42″ – 58″ and requires a knit fabric with at least 20% stretch. The more stretch a fabric has, the looser the end garment will be so keep that in mind.

I sewed up two versions, both were View B because I’m just stuck on crop tops right now…that’s something Leanne of 6 months ago would never have said. I used a rib knit and a waffle knit for my shirts and I’m not sure which one I love more, but I keep staring at them wishing it wasn’t hotter than the sun outside right now (it’s forecast to be 111 degrees today…I know). For my ribbed knit I did my usual lengthening of 1.5 in the bodice and sleeves. My sleeves ended up being a tad too long, but I decided to cuff them wrong sides out and sew a couple stitches on each side to secure them and I love how extra cozy it makes my shirt feel.

I knew my waffle knit was going to stretch out and would make my briar extra loose, so I did do a couple modifications right off the bat to the pattern. The first thing I did was raise the neckline an inch or so. I was really lazy with this and just cut it at a higher angle while I was cutting my fabric out and it worked out well. I also cut the neckband a size smaller than the pattern as I was using because I knew the waffle knit would get really stretched and I wanted a shorter band to snap it back a little. I also took the extra length I added to the bodice and sleeves out to counteract any pulling down the fabric would do because of it’s stretchiness. I’m really happy with how my waffle knit Briar turned out and I can envision walking around in the 80 degree fall weather (I KNOW…ew) and pretending it’s cold enough for a warm chai tea.

I find Megan’s patterns really quick to put together, and her directions are easy to understand and follow along with which always makes for a nicer sewing experience when trying a new to you pattern. I think I might make this my go to basic t pattern, which means I probably should sew up a couple short sleeve versions so I can actually wear them now and not have to wait months, and months.

I’m excited to see which patterns come out next in her extended size range. And I’ll just be over here secretly hoping someone will host a Dawn sew a long so I can finally bite the bullet and sew up my first ever pair of jeans…

Have you tried any Megan Nielsen patterns? Did you pick up the Briar in her new sizing? Tell me where I can see your takes on it, I love seeing all the pretty things our community makes!

 

Until next time…happy sewing friends!

Leanne

5 Comments

  • Betsey

    Your comments about some designers noTV wanting to bother with extended sizes reminded me of a “Project Runway” episodes some years back. The challenge that week was to create something fun and pretty for a plus size woman. I was absolutely livid over the snarky, downright cruel remarks made by some of the designers about not wanting to sew for a fat woman. One of them never get his stupid head around the whole concept and his creation was ghastly and caused the woman it was made for to cry. If I recall correctly, hE was sent home.

    • Leanne

      Ugh…I remember that! On the newest season one of the designers was having a fit over having to design for a plus size model and basically blaming her body for the outfit not looking as nice. People are so awful sometimes, that’s why I want to highlight the people that aren’t awful because we need more of them!

  • Kate

    I’ve been sewing and in the sewing blogosphere for a while and I’m actually really encouraged by the current round of conversations. It seems like some people are actually hearing things, ACTUALLY hearing them and doing things. But to be honest I’m just so burnt out from the last five or so rounds of these conversations, of feeling surplus to requirements or actively unwanted. I will never buy Deer and Doe or Colette/Seamwork patterns for instance, even though they are much better about sizing now (some more than others…) because of how personally hurt I feel by their attitude to me and others asking to be included or at the least considered.

    ANYWAY, more positively. I’d love to see more highlights like this because I really want to spend my time and money on companies with good size ranges. I can often fit into the largest size in a ‘straight’ size range with an FBA and some other adjustments, but that’s not good enough tbh. I want to support companies that are supporting us.

    I haven’t ever made any Megan Neilson but I’ve heard such good things. I actually like the two size ranges thing because I’d rather that than a just scaled up block that doesn’t fit right – as long as there’s that size overlap so we can grade! I recently bought Dawn but I am feeling overwhelmed at the thought of starting – I haven’t had great successes with pants fitting before. Maybe I’ll just bite the bullet and go for it!

    • Leanne

      I completely get it! And it’s okay to be too burnt out or too hurt to support a company that previously made you feel unwanted! The company that I was called entitled in has been saying for YEARS that they are working on a plus size range and like 3 weeks after I posted in their group they are magically ready to test some extended size patterns. Why is it all of the sudden happening? Like good that they’re expanding but I’m having such a hard time not eye rolling that they obviously were just sitting on it.

      I plan to do many more highlights on inclusive brands! I think it’s time to step away from the negative companies and start celebrating those that make us feel welcome!

      I want to make the Dawn wide leg version SO bad but I’ve never made any pants besides culottes so fitted ones scare me. I want a sew a long so I can be hand held dangit, haha! But you can do it! Remember…it’s just fabric. There’s more if you mess up and it should be fun!

  • Lia

    Love this feature, love those tops, and sorry that group was full of a-holes (pardon my abbreviated French)!! Also aaahhhh please tell me there’s no such thing as 111 degrees (we’re having a cold summer, nights in the 60s!).

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