Brumby Skirt in Ladybugs

ladybug skirt full view
Oh, nevermind the phone and record player cords piled up on the floor to the left of me, ok?

The Brumby Skirt is Megan Nielsen’s latest pattern, and um…it’s SO OBVIOUSLY my kind of skirt. It’s feminine and sweet, and Megan Nielsen’s version takes a pretty standard silhouette (dirndle skirt) and adds a couple of lovely details, like the wide, deep pocket option, and the double stitching on the front seam. Brumby was pinned on my “Patterns To Sew” board for a while, but it wasn’t until I stumbled across this FANTASTIC silk at The Fabric Store ladybug fabric that I actually bought the pattern and decided to make it. Funny thing, that silk- I had fallen in love with it the first time I saw it at the store, but I didn’t buy it since I didn’t have a plan for it (still trying to get out of the habit of making impulse fabric purchases, blah blah blah). I kept thinking about the fabric for the next several days (dreaming about it really), and then The Fabric Store had a big seasonal sale a week or so later, so my plan was to pick up a couple of yards of it when I went to buy other stuff. I arrived at the store the morning the sale began, and guess what- NO MORE LADYBUG SILK PRINT! I looked everywhere for it in between picking out my other pieces, but to no avail. I finally asked Brooke, who is manager of the LA store (who, by the way, is always incredibly helpful and thoughtful and an excellent ambassador for great customer service) what had happened to the ladybug print. She said it had all gotten snatched up pretty quickly…but then she reached under the cutting table and pulled out a folded pile of ladybug goodness. She said “it’s only a yard and a half, though- will it be enough?” and of course I, without a second thought, said “I will MAKE it be enough!”

Cut to a couple of weeks later, where I am literally squeezing all the pattern pieces onto the fabric to try and make it fit. One and half yards would have been plenty of fabric if it weren’t for the fact that the silk was paneled, so every yard or so it had this column of flowery design pasted across from top to bottom, separate from the ladybug print, which I had to work around. To make things even more difficult, it was a really slippery silk so I had to sandwich it between paper to be able to cut it out efficiently. The paper and silk trick works like a dream, but it can get really messy once you start cutting, with slivers of paper and silk just piling up all over the cutting table- it’s hard to tell what’s what, and I don’t know how I successfully got all my pieces cut, but I did (praise be to the sewing goddesses).

Because this is a delicate silk and I used a matching thread color, you can't really see the detail of the stitching on either side of the front seam, but I put it there anyways.
Because this is a delicate silk and I used a matching thread color, you can’t really see the detail of the stitching on either side of the front seam, but I put it there anyways.

Because the silk was see-through, I bought some bemberg rayon to line the skirt with, but in my haste to finish the project, I didn’t walk through the steps beforehand. As a result, I cut out the lining pieces weird- I should have put the pocket facing pattern piece onto the skirt front and cut it out as a whole, but instead I cut out the regular skirt front pieces with the pocket chunk missing, so I basically had a gaping hole on the inside of the lining. Does that make sense? But whatever, it was an easy fix- I just hand sewed the open pocket area of the lining to the actual pocket of the skirt to close the gap, and voila!

Can you see where the pocket of the lining was cut out (it has a pinked edge)? I had to handsew it to the pocket piece beneath it so there wouldn't be a huge hole.
Can you see where the pocket of the lining was cut out (it has a pinked edge)? I had to handsew it to the pocket piece beneath it so there wouldn’t be a huge hole.

And THEN guess what happened! I totally sewed the waistband onto the skirt upside down! Call it one of those brain glitches where you stop making logical decisions when you have been sewing for too many hours straight. Whatever it was, it was ridiculous and also hilarious. I remember staring at the waistband and then staring at the drawing in the instructions…and then staring at the waistband again…and then back to the instructions…I could not for the life of me figure out if the waistband curve should tilt up or down. I was ready to blame the instructions for not being clearer, but honestly, it’s something that I should have been able to figure out myself since I have made so many skirts in my lifetime. Once I realized my mistake, I pouted and cussed. Then I ripped out all my stitches and re-attached the waistband the right way; the longer I spend being annoyed at myself, the longer it takes to actually finish the skirt in the first place.

ladybug skirt back viewIn general, I hate sewing with silk, because I am not very competent at it. It’s so damn fickle- it snags easily, slides around when you’re trying to sew layers together, stretches out if your fingers tug at it the wrong way, puckers up all the time- it’s kind of a nightmare for me. But silks feel SO good against your skin, they are shiny and fancy and glamorous, and since I am trying to add more red carpet-ready items to my wardrobe, I know I need to get better at working with them. So! This was my third project in a row of working with silk, and I could definitely see my progress with each one. All in all I consider this pretty little skirt an absolute win! My plan is to make a Nettie Body Suit (ClosetCaseFiles pattern) in a nice soft navy knit to go with it. Stay tuned…


8 responses to “Brumby Skirt in Ladybugs”

  1. cj Avatar


  2. kathryn Avatar

    This version of yours was one of the ones that inspired me to make this skirt. I love the fabric you’ve used! It looks so neat too! I just wish I’d read your post again before I started sewing as I too sewed my waistband on upside down, twice! Finally fixed it though and it looks great.

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Great job! So glad you made a beautiful version of this! I just finished a second Brumby in a really beautiful silk linen with a peacock print on it, and this time around I did NOT sew the waistband on upside down, but I did sew it on backwards- the interfaced piece is on the inside instead of the outside, but I was too lazy to take it out and sew it on properly, hahaha. Maybe my third version will actually come out perfectly 🙂

      1. kathryn Avatar

        ooh I can’t wait to see your next version, silk linen sounds just lovely! Haha, well at least your mistake this time didn’t mean lots of unpicking. I’m sewing a pair of shorts at the moment and spent yesterday evening trying to work out why I couldn’t get my pocket bags to line up with the short fronts, took me about 3 hours, and quite a bit of unpicking, to work out I was trying to sew them to the back of the shorts!

  3. Jennifer Avatar

    I LOVE your fabric choice – looks fantastic!

    I am working on my first Brumby now and still cannot figure out which way the waistband is supposed to go. I have pinned and re-pinned and I’m still second-guessing myself. This is my first contoured waistband and I can’t find a good explanation online anywhere. Any chance you could settle this for me so I stop driving myself insane!?

    1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

      Not sure if I can explain it well in writing without pictures, but here goes…

      The contoured waistband is sort of in a U shape- one side of it hugs in and is smaller than the opposite side, which is more spread out and is a bit longer. The shorter side of the band (the inside of the “U” shape) should be the top of your waistband. If you think of your figure, it is most likely smaller at the waist and then it curves out slightly to the hips, which are wider. The waistband mimics that curve, so the smaller/shorter side of it is the part that will hit your waist, and the wider part will hit closer to your hips. I cant remember if I followed the instructions for the Brumby waistband or if I just inserted it in a way that I was more familiar with, but essentially all you need to do is sew the BOTTOM of the interfaced waistband (the edge that is slightly longer/wider/outside of the “U” shape) to the gathered edge of your skirt. The curves will seem like they don’t want to match up, but don’t worry about that, you are doing it the right way as long as the longer edge of the waistband is being sewn to the top of your gathered skirt pieces. Then you can iron the seam allowance of the gathered skirt up towards the waistband. Next, sew the waistband facing to the waistband piece, right sides together and matching seams at the TOP of the waistband pieces, which is the shorter end, or inside of the “U”. Press the seam allowance of those two pieces and then press a 5/8″ seam allowance on the bottom (wider) edge of the waistband facing. Fold your facing piece to the inside of the skirt and then slip stitch the 5/8″ seam allowance you just pressed down to cover the inside seams of the gathered skirt edge and interfaced waistband piece. Depending on what kind of zipper you are using to close the skirt, you may need to alter the above steps (like, you most likely wont handsew the waistband seam allowance until after you have inserted your zipper, but as far as waistbands go, these steps are pretty standard way to do them, and once you get the hang of it you will be able to recite the construction from memory (like I just did! Ha!). Not sure why the instructions for the Brumby are so confusing on this step. I just made this skirt again a few weeks ago and I definitely had to stop and think the steps through so I didn’t mess it up again. Which, by the way, did NOT help- I still ended up putting the interfaced waistband piece on the inside of the skirt and the facing on the outside! LOL. I think it’s because the contoured waistband is being attached to a gathered edge, which means the width of the thing it’s being attached to isn’t stationary. When I put contoured waistbands on pants or a pencil skirt that has no gathered edge, you can see exactly what length you have to work with so there is only one side of the waistband that matches the edge.
      Anyways, good luck on your skirt, and I hope this helped 🙂

      1. Jennifer Avatar

        You are the best!! This is how I have my waistband pinned right now, but I wanted to be 100% sure before stitching. It makes sense in my head that the smaller part would be the top of the waistband, but it looks funky when pinned and the picture in the instructions is a little misleading. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this so thoroughly. I’m sure many others will find it helpful 🙂 Thanks again!

        1. Jasika Nicole Avatar

          Yay! SO thrilled that this was helpful! I figured that you were on the right track. Brava!

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