Dawn Jeans – Megan Nielsen | Pattern Review

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

Hi everybody, hope you’re all doing well. Apologies for missing Saturday/weekend posting, my project was actually ready and I originally wanted to take the photos outside, but alas the weather has been sooo rubbish! It has been gloomy and wet all week, I couldn’t get good light indoors either. *sigh* Anyways, I am back with another pattern review today. And I am so excited about this one… I always say that, don’t I? Hahaha. I finally finished my Dawn jeans, y’all! My FIRST EVER pair of me-made jeans! OMG I MADE JEANS!!!

Jeans have been on my sewing goal list since last year, but somehow I kept delaying the project. I felt so intimidated by jean-making, even though I have done a few denim projects, namely the Clementine skirt, the Jenny Overalls, the Yanta, and my Maritime shorts (I must get around to write about this pattern).

It’s funny how sometimes we think a project is daunting and then you do it and you find out it’s not really. That’s how I feel about this project. If I wasn’t plagued with insomnia and persistent headache as the result of the said insomnia, I would’ve finished this project in less than a week, a lot less – instead of the almost two weeks it took me. Although to be fair, I also had to postpone the project for a couple of days because we had to go down to London.

I bought the Dawn pattern during the Christmas sale from Megan Nielsen, it was a BOGOF deal and I chose the Ash jeans as my second one. Apparently I was that determined to tackle jeans. So, let’s get into the deets, eh? πŸ˜‰

The pattern.
Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.
Image: megannielsen.com

The Dawn Jean pattern is designed for non-stretch or rigid denims. It comes in four views; tapered leg, straight leg, wide leg, and shorts – in tall or regular, cropped or full length. The jeans are high-waisted and quite close-fitted on the waist and hips. You also have the options of button fly (hidden or exposed) and zip fly.

I printed the pattern out through Netprinter and there are four pages to print on A0. I opted for regular black and white, and single-sided, it cost me Β£1.50 per page plus delivery.

I found the instructions to be very detailed (and organised!), clear and filled with notes/tips. If, like me, you choose to print out the instructions instead of keeping the file open on your computer/tablet/phone while working on the project, you can use the booklet as a sort of planner for this project too. It has got sections on shopping list (regular thread, topstitching thread, zipper, etc), notes on the stitches used (topstitch stitch length, bar tack stitch width and length, buttonhole, and tension) based on your (or your machine’s) preference to keep the stitches uniform throughout. I found these really helpful. The cutting layouts are also very detailed for each view. There are sufficient notches and markings on the pattern pieces too. All in all, I think the pattern is well-drafted.

A little additional note, the back pockets are plain, unlike the Merchant and Mills’ Clementine skirt where you get a template for the decorative topstitching. On the flip side, this is a blank canvas. You can decorate however you want. I have been thinking of trying hand embroidery on them. Ooooh that’d be lovely!

The fabric.



I used the same fabric as my Yanta Overalls for my Dawn. It is a medium weight (8oz) washed denim in blue and it’s 100% cotton. At first I was worried as the pattern calls for rigid denim (I think the fabric I used for my Jenny Overalls would be perfect for this!) and my denim is quite soft. But it turned out to be alright, I actually love my soft denim. Very comfy to wear. For the pocket lining I used leftover quilting cotton from my Rosa dress project.

If you are interested in this fabric, I purchased mine from Fabric Godmother. It is priced at Β£5.50 per half metre and I bought 2m of it, though in the end I only used 1.5m. If you’re curious about my threads, I used GΓΌtermann Sew All and Topstitching threads both in shade 412 (mustard gold). I always have a few reels of this colour in my sewing box because of the versatility, I can use it basically on whatever colour plain denim.

The sewing experience.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

I made mine the straight leg (View B) and with zip fly. I was a bit naughty with this project; I didn’t make a toile! *insert shocked emoji here* I was too excited to start so I just did a bit of measuring on the pattern pieces (paper) and compare them to my Jenny overalls (being also high-waisted). I did however do baste-fitting first to check the fit and I made changes as I went along.

As I said, had I not been distracted by so many (some unpleasant) things I’d have finished this project in less than a week with my regular pace – even with baste-fitting first. Cutting denim and sewing denim are not fiddly, I find (unlike viscose/silk), I think of them as thicker version of quilting cotton. πŸ˜€

The clear instructions made the project go smoothly. The only problems I encountered were:

  1. When my machine refused to make buttonhole using topstitching thread and I had to use my seam-ripper on the buttonhole stitches a million times! Ugh!
  2. Β When I had to install the rivets. It was a nightmare. I used a hammer to do it with the help of this clear tutorial video from Fabric Godmother, and I was still struggling. I ended up only putting on 5 rivets instead of 9, I didn’t put rivets on the front pockets except for the coin pocket. I love making the jeans and I want to make some more, but I am not sure I’ll go with rivets again. Maybe if I invest in a rivet press?? Let me know if you have this gadget and how you like it, please.

As you can tell, those aren’t the pattern’s fault at all.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

This project requires you to swap between regular thread and topstitching thread often. But worry not, the instruction will hold your hand, and Megan kindly put this in bold font each time so it’s easier for you to spot. Little things, but I do appreciate it.

I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this project (excluding the buttonhole and rivets) and it has definitely changed my mind about making jeans – and wearing jeans. I didn’t know wearing non-stretch jeans could be this comfy!! I used to wear Levis’ with no stretch and I never really enjoyed them. I can see my future wardrobe having multiple pairs of jeans now.

The changes.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

I made a sort of straight size 12. I say sort of because I actually tweaked a few things. My measurements are W31 and H39. For the waist, it puts me on a size between 12 (W30) and 14 (W32), and for the hips size 10 (H39 on the pattern). So what did I do?

Remember in the previous post I mentioned one trick I learned from YouTube that I love so much; the pivot and slide? Well that’s exactly what I did. Click here if you’ve never heard of it and are interested in learning this technique. It is very useful when you need to make a measurement bigger (or smaller) without having to jump to the next size.

So the changes I made are:

  1. I added 1 inch in total to the waist.
  2. After baste-fitting, I found I had excess fabric around the bum that I fixed with a combo of swayback alteration and flat butt adjustment. An amazing tutorial can be found on Hey June Handmade’s Sandbridge sewalong, click here if you’d like to check it out.
  3. I took in a bit around the hips from side seam as I was sewing instead of grading down to size 10 on the paper pattern – I was just lazy, really.
  4. Shortened the legs by 2 inches. I’m 5’2.5″ and the pattern for regular was drafted for a 5’5″ tall model.
The garment.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

With my alterations, I find my jeans to be very comfy to wear. They are not too stiff or tight, although after wearing them for a day (breaking them in) I realised I probably should’ve made the fit slightly closer. I didn’t know how much “tightness allowance” I should give during the fitting so that after the jeans are broken in, they wouldn’t be too loose. This is something I must keep in mind for the next project. I can see now I needed to take a bit more in around the lower back (swayback) and I don’t think I needed that extra inch on the waist after all. But this is more my personal thing rather than the pattern, my waist measurement fluctuates often – I’m lactose intolerant so it’s very easy for me to get bloated. (TMI, I know, sorry)

I think the medium weight washed denim I chose also contribute to the comfort of these jeans. I also think a 10oz non-stretch would be perfect as well, like the mustard denim of my Jenny Overalls. I’ve worn my Jenny loads (obv), I even went to London the other day wearing the overalls all the way there and back and… oh they’re so comfy! So yeah, I am planning my next Dawn already.

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.
Sorry about the booty close up, just wanted to show you my messed-up topstitching around the yoke LOL.

I know this pair is faaaaar from perfect. But I love these jeans nonetheless. I can see lots of areas where I can improve both in my sewing and fitting technique. Even with the imperfections, to me, these jeans are still wearable.

As a maker, I oftentimes get overly critical with imperfections in my makes. And I have to remind myself a lot of what I’ve learned from the project/experience and that is something money can’t buy, and then I “forgive” myself. A very helpful trick I learned is to find three things I love about my creation and 2 things I’d work on. πŸ™‚

Final thoughts.

I’d definitely rate it five out of five!

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans pattern review by The Fair Stitch.

This being my very first pair of me-made jeans, obviously I can’t say this is the best pattern for jeans. But… I can say that this pattern helped me conquer my fear of making jeans and the instructions held my hand all the way through the project. And more importantly (to me), I am happy with the result. As I said, they’re not perfect, but I’m giving myself permission to make mistakes. πŸ™‚

Would I recommend this pattern? Oh yeah! That being said, I am actually planning to do a comparison post of this pattern and Morgan jeans of Closet Case Patterns in the future, and maybe Ash vs the infamous Ginger jeans… Oooooh that’d be fun, wouldn’t it? πŸ˜‰

So, that’s all from me today. I have two more posts coming up this month, one project and one non-project – at least that’s the plan. I’m currently knee-deep in sewing projects, I’m preparing posts ahead of time as we are going to have a short break later this month – fingers crossed it will all go well. Oh and I am going to the York Memade Meet-up on the 26th. Let me know if you’re going too, I am so excited to see other sewists IRL for the first time! Apparently they’re not unicorns who live only on the Internet and in my imaginations LOL.

Thank you for reading. See you again soon and happy stitching.



11 thoughts on “Dawn Jeans – Megan Nielsen | Pattern Review

  1. Oh well done! These are gorgeous! I thought the Dawn pattern was just button fly, but I might try these if they have a zip fly option. 😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done, your jeans look great! One day I will conquer my jeans fear too 😊
    I’m going to be at the York meet up, so hi!πŸ‘‹πŸ» looking forward to meeting lots of other sewists too….and hoping for maybe a sunshine day too 🌝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww thank you! I promise, jeans aren’t as scary as they seem πŸ˜‰

      Yaaay, I’m excited to meet you in person. I’ve been scouring York on Google maps (never been to), oh I can not wait! πŸ˜€


    1. Aww thank you, Helen, you’re too kind. I still have to practice manouvering the fabric when topstitching around thick layers of fabric and doing the adjustments around the hips and lower back. Practice makes perfect, so they say πŸ˜€


  3. These fit you so well!! Congratulations!! I found rivets frustrating at first too, but now I really enjoy them – the thing that helped was switching my work surface. I now hammer all rivets on the base of an old Ikea lamp! It’s super heavy and hard and it’s perfect! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you 😁 I think that was my problem too. My work surface was carpeted floor lined with self-healing mat – so kinda “bouncy”. I have been wearing my Dawn jeans on my holiday and they’re suuuppeeeerrr comfy 😁


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