The Brumby skirt by Megan Nielsen was one of the first ‘indie’ patterns which caught my eye last year when I first discovered the world of sewing blogs and fabulous independent pattern designers. However, although this type of full skirt was a silhouette I admired on others, I wasn’t sure if it was quite right for me and it took a while for me to take the plunge and cut into some precious fabric.
This Monday was a holiday in the UK and after a beautifully sunny weekend which finally seemed to herald the start of warmer weather, Monday saw a dismal dip! But lucky me – the children disappeared down the road to play with some friends and left me in peace for 5 hours! I spent a blissful day taking my time to get this skirt just right.
I sewed this skirt in a very gorgeous lightweight denim. It has a stretch to it and I was a little worried about those trademark giant Brumby pockets stretching out as I have noticed on a few I’ve seen on the internet. I have recently fallen in love with making my own bias binding as it provides such a perfect finish, so I added this to the pocket edges. Stretching a little as I went, it provided the perfect amount of control to these large curved pockets.
When I took my measurements for the Brumby I seemed to fall between the medium and large, but I went for the medium size (I’m a UK size 12 in general) as I haven’t made a ‘large’ anything for a while! However, when I began to assemble the waistband I pinned it around my waist (also pinning the zip to it) and panicked that I wouldn’t be able to breathe. I duly cut a new waistband in the large size. The beauty of this pattern is that the skirt is gathered to fit the waistband, so I didn’t need to make any other adjustments.
I’m not sure why I was so concerned (I did have a large bank holiday breakfast I suppose!) but even with the larger waistband, I used only a 1cm seam allowance. Nothing worse than a skirt that is uncomfortably tight! Unfortunately, when I had finished the skirt and tried it on I decided that I had been far to cautious and ended up taking the waistband apart in order to take 1cm off each side seam. This really is a skirt designed to sit at your natural waist, and anything lower is just unflattering it seems. It was really worth the effort to get this right as the fits feels great now.
I used the long basting stitch method to gather, sewing two rows of stitching and drawing the threads in to get the right fit.
I’ve never sewn an exposed zipper before, but the instructions with the Brumby are perfectly clear and straight forward and I’m pleased with the result. I did skip one of the zip insertion steps though. Before top-stitching around the zip, the instructions direct you to sew the zip from the inside, but I found it tricky to get things perfectly aligned. Instead, I simply pinned and basted the zip into position from the right side, top-stitched, and then added the hidden inside stitches afterwards for added security.
I’ve seen and admired many Brumby skirts on blogs and on Instagram, all in varying fabrics and lengths. I struggled to decide which length to sew, but in the end I chose the longest (version 2), deciding to take a gamble on whether it would suit me. In the end I really wasn’t sure, but I turned to the sewists of Instagram! Thanks to everyone for their honest opinions and advice. Below left is the photo I took of the full length skirt. This was also before I took the waist in so you can see that it sits too low. On the right, is the revised length.
I do quite like the longer length, but this was the best shot out of a few where it just looked too long and actually quite frumpy on me! While the majority of comments kindly said that it was perfect and suited me, a couple suggested taking a little off the length. I don’t think I would have worn it at the original length as it just felt too long and full, and rather out of my comfort zone. I would consider making this length again in a very lightweight fabric, perhaps without the pockets.
So, I chopped off 1.5 inches and re-hemmed. I have to say, hemming this skirt was a joy. I’ve had my Elna 444 Coverstitch machine for several years but it always seems to cause me grief. However, after a ‘making friends’ session at the weekend I sussed out a few things with the tension, tried some better quality threads, and things seem to be running smoothly now. I often use it for jersey, but really it prefers a nice crisp fabric! Here is a shot of the cover-stitched hem:
So with it’s new shorter length, super fit, and awesome pockets (I do love pockets!), I think this skirt will get a lot of wear. Bring on the sunshine!