Completed: The Brumby Skirt

29 May

Raise your hand if you love Megan Nielsen and are excited about her return to printed patterns and the release of her new sewing app. All I can say is – YAAAAY!!!

Brumby Skirt

To celebrate these big launches, Megan also dropped a new pattern into the mix – the Brumby skirt. She asked me a few weeks ago if I’d like to try out/review the new pattern – as well as the app – and considering I’d been stalking this pattern for well over a year (it’s not too hard, since she kept posting teasers of it on Instagram!), I was all YAAASSS. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish the skirt – let alone post about it – before I leave for my trip next week, but curiosity got the better of me and I found myself dedicating an afternoon to Brumby Heaven.

Brumby Skirt

Brumby is a simple little gathered skirt pattern, with a couple special details to make it stand a step above your basic DIY-drafted-dirndl. For one, there’s those pockets. How good are those pockets?! They are nice and deep, and what really pleases me about them is how they kind of stick out away from the skirt and give it this interesting shape. The instructions also include how to insert an exposed zipper – which, honestly, I didn’t realize there was actually a specific method on how to do this. These instructions give you a nice clean finish and a strong zipper.

The skirt has a curved waistband with side seams, as well as options for varying amounts of fullness in the gathers and different hem lengths.

Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt

What I’ve always loved about Megan’s patterns is that there isn’t necessarily anything ground-breaking about the designs – it’s clean and simple design, the building blocks of your wardrobe, to be made in a myriad of different fabrics. There are special details to make the pattern stand out above all the other similar ones available on the market – such as the curved hi-lo hem of the Briar tshirt, or the floaty circle skirt of the Tania culottes, or even the awesome pockets in this skirt. The directions are clearly laid out so that even the earliest beginner can manage them, but they also lend themselves well to customization so even an advanced sewer can find joy in making them up.

Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt

To make my Brumby, I cut the size XS and sewed up Version 1. This version has less gathers and is intended for heavier fabrics, however, I used a pretty lightweight fabric in it’s place. I’m not a huge fan of gathers at my waist – I think they add bulk in weird spots and just don’t look very good on me – but I thought the wide waistband combined with less gathers in a lighter fabric would probably work. And I think it does! My fabric is a total stash-bust, leftover chambray that I used to make this shirt last year. I bought it locally here in Nashville at The Fabric Studio, and I’ve been hanging onto the remaining yardage because I wanted to make a floaty little summer skirt with it. It’s *very* lightweight chambray – like, voile lightweight. It’s borderline sheer – with my button up, I have to wear a nude bra or you can see everything underneath haha. Anyway, it has a lovely sheen and a nice drape and it’s soooo good to sew. Making it up into this skirt was a good idea. Sorry if it’s a little wrinkled – these photos were taken after a day of wearing it.

Oh! And I also made that top – it’s my very first Butterick 5526. I hated the length of the sleeves and never wore it, so I finally just cut them off and finished the raw edges with bias facing. Much more wearable now!

Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt

Back to Brumby! I knew I wanted topstitching, but chambray is notoriously hard to thread-match, and I didn’t want my topstitching to be the first thing you noticed when you saw the skirt. I actually ended up using denim thread to topstitch this – a lightweight denim thread, but denim thread nonetheless. It’s that weird blue/navy Gutterman thread that they sell with the denim thread. The variances in color were good enough that they went well with the blues in the fabric, and they contrast nicely but they don’t really stand out. The thread is light enough so it doesn’t make the topstitched areas hang weird, so that is nice. I used white all-purposed thread in the bobbin which also probably helped.

The topstitching goes all over the skirt – down the center front, down the side seams, around the pockets, across the hem, all around the waistband, and of course, holding the zipper into place. I wanted to offset the delicate, floaty fabric with a some casual construction, and this is it! All seams are topstitched at 1/4″. I just eyeballed it on my machine, but I think I’m pretty certain I want a 1/4″ foot next time I go to the Bernina store. Feeeeeeetβ™₯

Brumby Skirt

Brumby Skirt

I am really happy with how nicely the zipper went in! Like I said, there are directions in the pattern for getting a good exposed zip – and I totally didn’t realize there’s a method to doing this. I put an exposed zip in one of my tops last year (and I totally thought about wearing that top with this skirt, peplum tucked in, but ughh it won’t work because there are 2 exposed zippers and they’re different metals and wah), but that was really a matter of pressing seam allowances back and topstitching the zipper in. Poor peplum top, didn’t even have a damn chance.

Brumby Skirt

I will be totally honest here and tell you that I tried the skirt on about 3/4 of the way through construction (after attaching the waistband, but before I put in the zipper) and I was COMPLETELY underwhelmed with how it looked on me. In fact, underwhelmed is too nice of a word – I hated it! It was extremely unflattering and the length made me look dumpy. Part of that was because the waistband was a little bit too big – big enough to slide around and not sit into place, and make me look wider than I am. I did some quick waistband surgery to remove about 1/4″ total from the side seams, and then I took another 1/4″ out of the zipper seams when I was inserting it. That was enough to make the waistband fitted, but not so fitted that it’s uncomfortable.

The length was another issue – I just don’t do midis, and while I did cut the pattern for the mini, there’s a huge-ass hem included so it was really long before that got turned up. I know midis are ~in~ right now, and you can tell me all you want that they might even be flattering on me – but I’m all legs when it comes to skirt length and I just.can’ Honestly, I didn’t really love this skirt on me until the hem was turned up and topstitched into place – and then I was twirling around my sewing room in excitement like a big dork. It’s funny how much the hem can affect how something looks. Anyway, that’s a big part of the reason why my hem is serged and topstitched – I wasn’t if I’d love the finished skirt, so didn’t want to spend tooo much time on the last steps. At any rate, the serging matches the rest of the guts so whatev.

Birthday Brumby!

Sooo in the end, I loved the finished skirt so much that I wore it for my last hurrah of my 20s. Notes about this picture:
– That’s not what you think it is in my hand. It’s hot chicken.
– I love Giorgia Tsoukalos.
– And America.
– And also aliens.
– My coworkers at Elizabth Suzann are awesome and know how to throw (me)the best parties.

Megan Nielsen app

Before I jump off here, let’s talk about the Megan Nielsen Patterns app!

I will admit – other than my love for sewing blogs, I’m a bit of a paper girl when it comes to sewing media. I like paper patterns and I like having hard copies of the instructions that I can scribble notes (and mustaches) all over. While I think this app is a completely brilliant idea and may very well be the future of sewing patterns – I wasn’t sure if it would actually be useful to me (I’m old-fashioned in that sense, and I’m ok with it). However, I was willing to try it. For science. Also, it’s a free app soooo it’s not like I had anything to lose if I ended up hating it.

Megan Nielsen app

Megan Nielsen app

The main drive behind the app is basically digitizing the instructions you get with your pattern (paper or PDF). Everything from the required materials, to the cutting layouts, to each step of the instructions (cataloged in a way that’s easy to get straight to the section you need, instead of relying on the Endless Scroll) is included in the app. There are also options within the app (and each individual pattern) to view other people’s makes of this pattern, customization suggestions, and links to the tutorials that may be useful while constructing the garment.

Megan Nielsen app

While I probably won’t switch out my paper instructions for digital (again, mustaches), I actually do find bits of this app useful! It’s SUPER handy to have when you’re shopping and need to reference a material’s list – in the past, I’d scribble everything down on paper (all right, I still do that. No shame!), but then you lose your paper, or you find that perfect fabric that doesn’t go with anything on your “make” list, or you forget that you also needed a zipper. I love the tutorial links, as I do use a computer to look up things while I’m sewing – but more often than not, I end up spiraling down this long internet rabbit hole, where I click on links on links on links and then I forget that I was sewing! Lame! So it’s nice to have a direct link in the app, where I can go straight to the tutorial, get the info I need, and get back to the task at hand. Another thing I love about the app is that you can access any tutorial/instructions for any pattern that you own – which is awesome for when I’m using a Megan Nielsen step in a different pattern, such as stealing her Briar neckline binding for my traced tshirts. In the past, I’d just pull the paper instructions out – but I’m always afraid I’m going to lazy out and forget to put them away and eventually lose them (I mean, it must happen – I think about all those vintage patterns we buy that have the wrong instructions or extra pattern pieces in them. Yep!). With the app, everything is in one place and I can quickly find it. So I like that!

And there are notes sections in the app, for scribbling, but no places that I see where you can doodle on the croquis faces.

Anyway, you can read more about the app in this post and download it in the iTunes store FOR FREE. Those of y’all on Andriods – it’s coming! Don’t worry!

Brumby Skirt

In other news, thanks for all your tips on dealing with my caffeine withdrawals! I am happy to report that I was feeling MUCH better yesterday – no more weird body aches, no more tiredness. I found some great uncaffeinated teas and I only miss coffee the tiniest bit now πŸ™‚ To those of y’all who suggested that I drink decaf – I’m not opposed to decaf (and I drank about a cup a day while weaning off the hardcore stuff), but it does have trace amounts of caffeine in it, and my whole goal was to eliminate the stuff 100%. Mostly to see if I could πŸ˜›

*Note: Megan Nielsen provided this pattern to me free of charge, in exchange for a review. All opinions in this post are my own!


25 Responses to “Completed: The Brumby Skirt”

  1. shesewsswell May 29, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Thanks for your plethora of good ideas. Your explanation of what happens with gathers was right on! Lastly, I too get captured by space aliens when I looking for instructions on the internet and never actually get to what I was working on. My daughter said it’s ADD, I think it’s the rabbit hole. Don’t ever get rid of real patterns… real books…. real lists…. Cheers!

    • LLADYBIRD May 29, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

      It’s totally the rabbit hole. Computers are such awesome tools to have at our disposal, but they’re also REALLY distracting!

  2. Kelly May 29, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    I learned early on not to really judge anything until it’s hemmed and you’re not wearing socks – I had many WTF moments! I love the skirt, perfect casual.

    • LLADYBIRD May 29, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      Omg, totally agree with the socks! What is it about socks that makes everything look super dumpy?! It’s a mystery haha!

  3. megannielsendesigndiary May 29, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    LOL i die – i think our next release of the app *obviously* needs to include a feature for drawing moustaches on the croquis… why didn’t i think of that?! hehehe
    Thanks so much for trying out the pattern and the app – so glad you enjoyed them!!
    Also you seriously do have the best coworkers – no contest!
    hugs babe! xoxo

    • LLADYBIRD May 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

      I don’t know, but good thing you let me take a look-over, amirite? πŸ˜‰ TIME FOR APP UPDATES! haha!

      Thank you so much for letting me try out the pattern and app! Much love all around β™₯

  4. Leticia May 29, 2015 at 10:49 am #

    Love it! btw, Bernina retailers offer 25% off accessories for the month of June. I’ve been waiting to get a walking foot. I love my 1/4″ foot!

    • LLADYBIRD May 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

      OOOH! You make me feel better about not having picked up the foot just yet. I’ll have to run by the dealer when I get back from vacation, then! I get 10% off everything since I bought a machine from them (aka gave them wads of cash… I mean literally hahahaha), but 25% is even better! And you are gonna LOVE that walking foot! I use mine all the time πŸ˜€

  5. monica May 30, 2015 at 4:52 am #

    love it!!!

  6. Bobbi May 30, 2015 at 7:54 am #

    I watch Ancient Aliens just to watch Giorgio. He never fails to entertain!
    That chicken looks yummy. *hungry now*
    Happy belated birthday!

    • LLADYBIRD June 1, 2015 at 6:58 am #

      Giorgio is totally the best part of Ancient Aliens. He’s so freaking excited and you know he’s been waiting ages to have someone to talk extra-terrestrials with πŸ™‚ haha!

  7. Shirley May 31, 2015 at 1:29 am #

    I really like this skirt! I also love watching Tsoukalos on Ancient Aliens! πŸ™‚ I am definitely going to have to get this skirt pattern. Thanks for such a thorough review!

    • LLADYBIRD June 1, 2015 at 6:59 am #

      Thank you! It’s a great pattern – you will love it!

  8. Ruth May 31, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    You quit coffee? The nectar of the gods? I…I don’t know what to say. It’s just so WRONG.

    BUT hey, nice skirt & Happy belated!

    • LLADYBIRD June 1, 2015 at 7:00 am #

      Haha I know, right!? I thought the same thing too – I freaking LOVE coffee! But, it’s been about a week since I quit – and I’m actually doing ok. I am sleeping like a fucking champion and I don’t have gross coffee breath. I still get a little laggy in the afternoon, but I’m hoping that will eventually pass.

  9. Kyema June 1, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Gah! I’ve been eyeing this skirt for FOREVER! and I was so excited to get it but i’ve recently been on a “i’m too lazy to piece together adult size pdfs” phase and i’ve yet to order the physical pattern. Yours looks amazing! So wearable for everyday and the top stitching really brings it together to look extra awesome.

    I legitimately laughed out loud when you said “it’s not what you think in my hand, it’s hot chicken.” I wouldn’t have seen that unless you pointed it out, but yes, it doesn’t look like … chicken.

    The app looks pretty cool, especially because of the links to the tutorials. Then I don’t have to go searching for it. Wonder if it will be for all the patterns i’ve purchased, even the pdfs?

    By the way, what is a DIY-drafted-dirndl? And yes, happy birthday!
    Can’t wait to see pics from your trip, your going to have so much fun!

    • LLADYBIRD June 2, 2015 at 7:41 am #

      I believe the app does link up with all the Megan Nielsen patterns you bought – printed and PDF – so you’ll always have access to the tutorials πŸ™‚ And, GIRL, you have got to start buying the physical patterns! Ain’t nobody got time to be taping together a bunch of PDFs haaha πŸ™‚

      A DIY-drafted-dirndl is a dirndl skirt that you draft yourself (a dirndl is basically a rectangle that’s been gathered into a waistband – like this). They’re reeeeally easy to make, but I like this pattern because the pockets make it a little less basic/simple than a gathered rectangle.

  10. zilredloh June 2, 2015 at 10:55 am #

    I’m on the fence with this pattern – but everything you wrote makes me want to give this pattern a try. I love 3 piece waistbands & I love the fact that she drafted it contoured – such a nice detail to add. And pockets!! YES!!!

    Thanks for the great review lady. πŸ˜€

  11. Rita June 4, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    At first I was kinda ‘meh’ on this skirt since it’s at first glance it’s like so many others, but you got me at the curved waistband, exposed zipper (!!!), and those pockets! I’m buying this pattern STAT. I love skirts, and I have a lovely skirt pattern which has a horrible flat waistband that hangs away from my body and must be hidden with a belt. Who does that sort of waistband work on? Pre-teens? Doesn’t this annoy anyone during testing? Anyway, I digress. Now I’ll frankenpattern it with this superior waistband (once I get my pattern). After making a proper skirt Brumby skirt first out of some dreamy cotton + steel fabric (have you seen the spellbound collection?! OMG!).

    Thanks for another excellent review! πŸ™‚

  12. Miss Cris (@crisperchicklet) February 26, 2016 at 9:15 am #

    Lauren, I know this is old news now, but I noticed it and I can’t help but ask! Do you serge your seams beforehand? I love that detail and have been wanting a serger for ages. This might just tip the scale for me in the future. πŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD March 1, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      It depends on the project, but I usually serge after I’ve sewn the seams together (that way if I cut off any seam allowance, it doesn’t affect my sizing). Serging is the bestttt πŸ˜€

  13. Pink Pamster May 28, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

    Beautiful! My sister has offered to sew a Brumby for me, so I jumped at the offer. I’m very excited to see her creation. I may even tackle one on my own!


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    […] I saw this version from Lauren at LLadybird, and this one from Inder at Inder Loves Folk Art, and this version from @maxantonia on Instagram. […]

  2. The Brumby Skirt from Megan Nielsen Patterns | Pattern and Branch - November 20, 2015

    […] I planned to make it closer to knee-length.Β  I had, however, read Lauren/Lladybird’s post on her Brumby skirt and remembered that she said she had been underwhelmed before hemming, but loved […]

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