5.28.2015

sherbert

Brumby skirt & tank

Hey Gang! How's everyone's May been going? It's been pretty dreary here the past few weeks - there's been a lot of rain and flooding throughout Texas (I hope my fellow Texans are safe and dry and on high land! Y'all are in my thoughts!) but it hasn't quite been able to make it across the bay to this island I call home.  Instead we've just had endless clouds and suffocating humidity. Gross, but I'll take it over devastating floods... Yesterday the clouds decided to thin and allow some weak early evening sunlight through so I took the opportunity to shoot some pictures of my newest outfit.

Brumby skirt & tank

Earlier this month, the lovely Megan Nielsen sent me a note to tell me about the re-launch of her paper patterns and the release of her new sewing app and asked if I would be interested in reviewing the app along with her newest pattern - the Brumby Skirt (note - throughout the entirety of this post autocorrect kept trying to change "brumby" to "crumby" and it. is. driving. me. insane!!! end note).  I thought the pattern was cute and I have to admit to being more than a little curious about the app - so I said "sure" but there is of course more to it than that.

It's hard to imagine that there was a time when my blog roll wasn't stuffed to the gills with sewing blogs.  In fact, it's hard to imagine that there was a time when I wasn't even really aware that such a thing as a sewing blog existed - but as incredible as it may seem, dear reader, there was such a time. In this younger, naive-er plane of existence I was the voracious consumer of the Personal Style Blog. I loved to click through the images of women putting together outfits from their own closets. Even if my own wasn't nearly as extensive or creative, I found the different looks, the signature way these women wore clothes, and watching the evolution of trends emerge to be both aspirational and inspirational.  Fashion blogs (along with a myriad of other, much more personal circumstances) led me to sewing my own wardrobe.  It was through this channel that I discovered a certain Megan Nielsen.  I remember when Megan released her first ready-to-wear collection, and I remember when her business began to evolve into sewing patterns at practically the same time that my thoughts were turning towards a handmade wardrobe.  It was zeitgeist! I think it's for this reason that I will always feel a special kinship with Megan.  As a reader, I made the evolution from the fashion blog world, to the sewing blog world in tandem with Megan, and for both of us it was here that we found our home.

Brumby skirt & tank

So it's with great pleasure that I present to you my Brumby Skirt! The Brumby is a gathered skirt with a wide waistband, an exposed zipper, deep pockets on versions 1 and 2, and three lengths - above the knee, knee length, and midi.  I made version 2 because I can't say 'no' to a midi skirt and I love a good statement-making pocket.  The fabric I used is some lovely cotton voile that I bought with my monthly Mood allowance in a cool, hand-drawn chevron print.  The colorway of the pattern feels very summery to me. Even though this fabric is somewhat sheer, because of the volume of this skirt I left it unlined and it works really well as a single layer.

Brumby skirt & tank

I think this pattern would be a really wonderful first make for a beginner.  I never really understood why people recommend learning to sew by making things like pillow cases or curtains when there are such cute patterns like this one out there that are easy and have a really impressive, wearable, and stylish result. Plus, you'll learn a few tricks, like gathering and setting in a zipper.  I mean, if you really love pillow cases and curtains, than you do you friend! But this isn't all that much more difficult, and  -  look how cute!! 

For my purposes, I could see myself wearing the midi version just as I'm wearing it here - as a casual summer look.  I really prefer dresses and skirts in the summer, but I don't always want to feel like I'm dressed to the nines, so this is a nice medium.  I can also see myself using this pattern to swap out with other dress bodices from my stash. So even though I feel like a gathered skirt might be the kind of thing I could draft up myself, it's always nice to have the option of a professional pattern ready to go.

Brumby skirt & tankBrumby skirt & tank

I feel like a big part of Megan's re-launch has been about thinking about the way sewers actually use their patterns.  Her new paper patterns are not all that different from the Big 4 patterns we're all familiar with - they're printed on a thin white tissue and come folded in a paper envelope along with a page of instructions printed on a slightly heavier newsprint.  I know this is highly subjective, but I actually really like this type of packaging. It's certainly not made to look pretty on a shelf, but it's unfussy and functional, and quite frankly, both of those things are more important to me in my sewing patterns than designer packaging.  

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The one thing that I do feel sets a brand above the rest is the quality of the instructions, and the extra information (sew-alongs, tutorials etc.) that they provide the home sewer, and this is where Megan's approach is pretty interesting.  The instructions that come with the paper pattern are certainly sufficient and straight forward, but she's also released her sewing app which acts as a companion to all her patterns.  In the app you have access to all the pattern specs, fabric requirements, and a neat little shopping list you can check off as you go, cutting layouts, instructions and other fun things like ideas for customization, and links to tutorials and sew alongs.

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For this review I just used the sewing app rather than the instructions that came with the pattern (although I gave them the once over just to see what's what).  I have to confess, I'm not the most technologically advanced person, and I wasn't quite sure how much an app could bring to my sewing experience.  But what this really made me realize is how often I do tend to look up instructions, tutorials, or pictures of finished garments on my phone as I sew.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  The fact that it was all right there in one easy to access place, rather than doing a million different google searches, was definitely convenient and really pretty cool. I think the app is going to be especially handy for those who purchase the PDF pattern.  I don't know about you guys, but I always feel really guilty printing out instructions and whatnot after I've just printed out 50 pages for a pattern.  It always feels really wasteful to me, so knowing that all that information is easily accessible on my phone is a big bonus.  I have to say, I viewed the app with some skepticism at first, but it really won me over.  Megan may have just discovered the future of sewing patterns!

Brumby skirt & tank

I wanted to make a quick little something to go with my Brumby skirt so I had a look through my stash and found this white cotton jersey of unknown origin - probably one of those things I bought thinking it seemed like a practical thing to have around and then promptly forgot about because... boring.  But it's really a pretty nice quality so I decided to do a rub-off of an American Apparel tank I've had for years and don't necessarily love but for lack of anything better seems to get a lot of wear. I tried to fix some of the things that bother me about the original tank, while still keeping the sexiness of the deep scoop neck and armholes.  All in all, I'm really  pleased with how it turned out! I especially love it tucked in like I'm wearing it here.  The original tank just had serged edges for the neckline and armholes, but I wanted a more finished look for mine so I used a binding. I think it's an improvement on the original for sure!

Well guys! I think those are all my thoughts on this one! I hope wherever you are you are enjoying some early summer weather and sunshine! And what do you guys think - does a sewing app seem like the future to you? 

xx

45 comments:

  1. My word. Texas is so beautiful, especially with you prancing around in it! Love this make - the fabric/pattern melange is on point. And obviously it's interesting to hear your take on on Megan's relaunch given our recent discussions.... And the app is such a great idea. To be honest, I was like "I wish I had thought of this first!" Who knows, maybe all us indies will have an app before long!

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  2. man, those pockets are great. there's nothing like a nice detail like that to make a simple pattern really stand out! the outfit is super cute!

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  3. Love every detail of that skirt.

    Liv

    www.livforstyle.net

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  4. I love this skirt and the fabric you used. I am so happy Megan is doing patterns again, I have always loved her patterns plus I remember her RTW collection, too. I didn't see the app in Play Store, hope it is coming soon for Android

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  5. Really gorgeous skirt, and pics too! It just looks so balmy... unlike London. Interested to hear about this sewing app; one of the things I like most about sewing is that it's when I finally put aside all my gadgets and do something that doesn't leave me reaching for my phone every three seconds...

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  6. That skirt is absolutely stunning! I might just have to look into making one for myself!

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  7. i love the skirt - that fabric is amazing and the fit is really great - and love the tank too! amazing how few knit tank top patterns there are; maybe that'll be the next indie bombardment. haha. re: the app - i save all of my PDF patterns into dropbox and then access them using their app for the instructions, so if you have others you want to be able to see on your phone (while fabric shopping or sewing), that works well for me!

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  8. Ohhh, that fabric!


    It's hard to imagine how much smaller the pool of sewing blogs used to be a few short years ago. I feel pretty spoiled by the wealth of style inspiration and technical info available to me!

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  9. oh my, that fabric is insane, i love it! love the top too.. have made few similar tops, and i believe that these are my most worn garments ever

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  10. That's a really cute skirt, so pretty on you. I've been wanting to make skirts exactly like this lately, and i can't be bothered to self-draft but really feel like it's a waste to buy something so basic (I was actually going to reuse the MN Kelly with some extra ease turned gathers...). I like the idea of the app - I never print PDF instructions, just get them up on my iPad screen, so this seems the next logical step. Nice to have the pattern info when out shopping too.

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  11. You always make the cutest things. And, I'm excited to think that sewing and technology might be able to work together to make better products. I can't wait to see how this new app plays out!

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  12. Lovely skirt! And I am intrigued by the app, though also a little concerned that I might not be able to access my couple of patterns on there since my Darling Ranges is an older one that I may not have bought directly off her site, and my maternity top is the Simplicity version. I'll have to wait to check it out until it's released for Android, though!

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  13. Such an adorable skirt, I'm in love with the print!! Never thought I'd be into a gathered skirt like that but your changing my mind...

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  14. I love everything you make! That is the perfect sunmer skirt!

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  15. I love the midi version of this skirt in a drapey fabric. I'm not a technologically minded person but I think the app is an awesome idea that even I could cope with. I often end up in the fabric store or craft store wishing that I had my patterns with me so I could get what I needed/wanted. I love the tank too!

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  16. The colours in that print are so lovely together. I think you found the perfect fabric+pattern match.

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  17. Absolutely lovely, Sallie! That voile is such a dreamy match for this pattern. Your whole outfit looks both chic and sublimely comfortable. Gorgeous.


    I, too, don't understand why we're always pushing pillowcases on beginners. Egads. As a newbie, I would have much rather sewn up a dishy little skirt, like this one!


    Incidentally, I am so glad y'all have been spared the deluge. We've had buckets of rain up here! I sewed a heap of sundresses, in the last few weeks, hoping to get a break from the gloomy weather. Fingers crossed my crafting sundance works!

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  18. ScruffybadgertimeMay 28, 2015 at 11:37 PM

    Such a thoughtful review ! It's really interesting thinking about the future of sewing patterns, and I'm like you, I also get huge spikes of guilt when printing instructions as well as the PDF pattern pieces. And the outfit looks to me to be the perfect summer style, cool and feminine and comfy. Looks lovely!

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  19. Hi Lori, the app will be available for Android users in the next month or so. Keep an eye out on Megan's social media for the announcement.

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  20. Hi Becky, app will be available on Android in the next month or so. If your patterns aren't available when you download it, drop us a line on app@megannielsnen.com and we'll see what we can do (Sarah, Operations Assistant for Megan Nielsen)

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  21. I love your outfit. I've never used a Megan Nielsen pattern. I wasn't sure about the trend for exposed zips, but your skirt had won me over.

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  22. That's a great looking skirt (& the surroundings aren't half bad either!). I only recently came across the sewing blog-universe & I am so very happy I did! The inspiration & knowledge found these blogs is amazing.

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  23. I love your style so much.
    I think the app is such a great idea for all the reasons you said. Trying to find instructions and tips online while trying to make something up can get pretty frustrating at times.
    And your tank is so simple but it's giving me ideas! *sneaky hand rub* :-D

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  24. LOL oh dear now you've got me curious Heather babe hehehe "bites nails"

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  25. Hey Becky! Yup Sarah is right, all previous purchases no matter what the format or where you purchased them from are covered in the app. If you have any issues unlocking your patterns when the android version comes out we'll just unlock them for you right away :) Meg xoxo

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  26. Sallie! Babe! Thanks for taking the time to review the app and the Brumby - i'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed them! I know the app is quite a new experience for sewing, so i'm thrilled that you enjoyed using it!!
    Meanwhile, your Brumby is absolutely gorgeous - i die! I loooove that fabric and massive applause for your perfect zipper installation :)
    hugs! xoxo

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  27. Ha! I actually got yelled at while taking these pictures - you know, a good ol' fashioned "what are doing with that camera in front of my house" sort of situation!


    Yes, you've definitely been on my mind lately, so I think I was thinking about some of our chats too while thinking about how I use patterns.

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  28. Thanks Julie! I LOVE a good deep pocket as a design element!

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  29. Thanks Lori! I was happy to hear from Megan again too! I've always been a fan.

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  30. Thanks Nina! I can completely see the appeal of sewing as a 'device free' hobby! Knitting is definitely that way for me. I might look up a technique or two, but it's such a slow endeavor that it's mostly just me, my yarn, needles and my thoughts!

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  31. Go for it! It's a cute one, and really quick to whip up!

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  32. Thanks Kristin! I love the fit of the skirt, too. The waistband is nice and snug and it's the perfect amount of volume in the skirt portion.
    That's a good tip about dropbox - I'll definitely have to remember that for my PDFs! And I actually had the thought while I was drafting this tank up that if I were a more pattern savvy person I should try to release this to the sewing public because there doesn't seem to be much out there! Alas, I'm really all thumbs with that kind of thing so I'll just sit here and hope someone else comes up with the perfect pattern!

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  33. Thanks Morgan!
    Couldn't agree more - I remember when a google search on "understitiching" mostly turned up ehow articles! I'm so grateful for all the knowledge that's readily available on the internet now!

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  34. Thanks Mokosha! Yeah, just this week I've worn that tank three times. Obviously I need to make more!

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  35. Thanks Katie! The app really is pretty cool and makes everything more convenient. I envy your iPad though! Phone screen is making me go blind...

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  36. Thanks Amy! It's like the FUTURE!!!

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  37. Great skirt and tank top - and thanks for the review. Your exposed zipper looks awesome! I love Megan's new app - so convenient and such a cool idea!

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  38. That's a very flattering skirt! I'd love one myself! Interesting post too...

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  39. A-ha, I found you again in my bloglovin reader. Everything is well in the world again. I feel a kinship with Meg too... we 'met' online a long while ago, and I always think of her fondly with the sewing/blogging community!

    When I get some cash, I'm going to get a bunch of these re-releases... I love your midi version, and would love to make sometime similar ... xoxo

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  40. I'm loving the skirt! I think this is THE perfect summer outfit!

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  41. I have two pieces of rayon challis that I had planned to make into Midi skirts with exposed zippers. You may have convinced me to buy this pattern rather than "draft" my own. Great job as always Sallie!

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  42. This pattern would be PERFECT in rayon challis!!

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  43. This looks so freakin' cute on you! I've stared at that print many times in the store-- I love it so much!

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