The Brumby Skirt

May 26th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Brumby Skirt

With all of last weeks excitement, announcing the app and the print pattern release, i completely forgot to spend some time telling you all about my newest pattern, Brumby!

As per usual, i thought i’d share a bit with you about the development and ideas behind this pattern. It’s been a staple of mine in it’s many forms, and appeared in two of my ready to wear collections (back in the day! hehe). I hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

The original Brumby skirt appeared in my Perth ready to wear collection, during a time of particular homesickness i was inspired by my home and all its rugged beauty. It feels kind of full circle releasing patterns from this collection.

Brumbies have always held a romantic charm for me – they are wild roaming horses of Australia, and are all descendants in some way or another of lost or escaped horses dating back to our first settlers. They’re rugged and hardy and beautiful.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt

This is one of those patterns that i’ve spent probably years refining, and has formed a great portion of my wardrobe. Version 1 and Version 3 both appeared in ready to wear collections, and i have made them over and over again for my own wardrobe. The new addition for the pattern release was Version 2- i really wanted a longer option with the pockets, but more fullness. I started playing around with it and there were a few peeks on the blog here and here – did you spot them?! With those early experiments i found that i liked the fullness much better with lightweight fabrics – as in the version i included in my Maker tee editorial.

I see testing as really important – and so it was great to see what our pattern testers came up with and the feedback we had from them. One of the refinements i made after the testing process was to deepen the pockets (no-one wants stuff falling out!) and tweaked the waistband fit. For the testers i actually added a bit more ease to the waistband – as i wasn’t sure if everyone loved the close fit i always go for in waistbands – and funnily enough almost every single tester picked up on the fact that the waistband didn’t fit as my pattern usually do. It was a good reminder to always stay true to your aesthetic! So the waistband was brought in again to it’s original fit.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing patternMegan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

You guys know i am ALL about the variation potential – and this pattern has it in buckets. Though each variation has a recommended length, feel free to change it up! Personally i really want to try Version 1 in a midi length! Version 2 in maxi? I can’t even handle it!

Don’t forget a different hem can change the look entirely – I think a scalloped hem would be amazing. Wouldn’t lace trim like on these culottes be really gorgeous?

Another cool thing i’d like to try is moving the zipper to the centre front. The Brumby uses an exposed zipper in the centre back, and since Version 1 and 2 both have a centre front seam, why not simply swap out where you put the zipper?

And of course fabric – it’s amazing how different a pattern can look in a different fabric. I recommend medium to heavy weight fabrics for Version 1 – it has less gathers and includes instructions for gathering those difficult fabrics. Versions 2 and 3 have more fullness and i recommend lighter to medium weight fabrics. But just because those are the fabrics i recommend doesn’t mean you can’t change things up! I’m always blown away by the creative ideas you guys come up with.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

As with all of my patterns – the fit is snug on the waist. I like a close fitting waistband. The waistband is contoured, and the top of the waistband should sit on your natural waist (ie the narrowest part of your abdomen). However, if you like a low rise skirt, you can just as easily cut a larger size and wear your skirt lower on your hips. Since the waist is contoured you have this flexibility – yay!

I would call the fit on the hip “free” as the skirt is gathered and as such there is a lot of room for movement around your hips.

Length wise, there are a few options and you can also mix and match the lengths of each variation if you so desire. Version 1 sits above the knee, Version 2 is closer to midi length, and Version 3 knee length.

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

Alterations on the Brumby should be fairly straight forward. If you need to adjust the waistband, it’s easy to bring it in at the side seams as an “on the fly” adjustment – if you want to adjust the actual pattern pieces before sewing, i recommend adding or removing from the centre front. The same goes for the skirt panels – for all 3 versions. If you want to add additional fullness or remove fullness from the pattern pieces, add or remove from the centre front of the pieces before cutting your fabric. The great thing about gathered designs is that they are quite forgiving, so you shouldn’t feel too stressed about changing things up.

Extending or shortening is also really simple too. For Version 1, the hemline is straight so simply add or subtract from hem – no need to slash and spread! For Versions 2 and 3 the choice is yours – if you want to say extend the hemline of either, you could slash and spread the pattern horizontally to keep the same hem width – or alternately, if you simply extend the pattern pieces you will end up with a wider hemline. But as mentioned before, the visual difference won’t be too distinguishable due to the gathers and volume of the skirt.

Given the gathers and the amount of ease around the hips, if you find that your hip usually falls in a larger size range than your waist (hello pear shapes! me too!) i wouldn’t bother cutting a size up in the skirt panels. You’ll be fine :)

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

Its no secret i’m a huge fan of high waisted skirts. HUGE fan. So i could go on about styling this one for ages.

Here are a few ways I’ve worn my Brumby skirts in the past:
WINTER [ one // two ] SPRING [ one // two // three ] SUMMER [ one // two // three ] FALL [ one ]

This skirt is awesome for tucking, we all like tucking right?! I’m a tucker! Tucking a Eucalpyt or Banksia (i know still out of print, please don’t throw rocks at me) or Briar into this skirt are obvious choices, but i’ve also been wearing it to death with Briar crop tops and my cropped Crescent blouse. During summer crops are the way to go in my opinion.

Due to the volume i don’t really like to wear long untucked shirts, but a longer cropped style tee is another cute look – you know something that hits the bottom of the waistband, and probably not much more.

Layering for me is all about cropped sweaters, open cardigans and blazers. The nice thing about this one is that you can wear it all year round – tights and boots are the perfect addition for the winter months. Now that we’re basically into winter in Perth you’re probably going to see some winter versions popping up – i have some new Brumby’s i haven’t yet blogged and i’m excited to share with you!

Megan Nielsen Brumby skirt sewing pattern

So tell me what you think?! Do you love it as much as i do? The Brumby skirt is available now in store in both paper format and PDF format, and don’t forget, the use of the Megan Nielsen Patterns app is free with all purchases.

Also lovely Holly will be back again very soon with some Brumby tutorials to help you out if you get stuck! YAY!

If you have any questions at all about this new pattern let me know in the comments!

introducing: the Megan Nielsen Patterns App

May 24th, 2015

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

Big news you guys! Today we are sharing possibly our biggest surprise yet! The last piece of our rebrand/refocus:

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App

[Available in the App Store right now and Google Play for Android in June]

Remember at the beginning of the year when i wrote this post, and  told you that during my maternity break i had spent a lot of time looking at my brand and how you interact with my patterns? Well one of the things we kept coming back to was this disconnect between technology and sewing patterns. We all live with our phones and tablets by our sides, and more and more we want digital. We want instant. It’s time that sewing patterns stepped up and became more relevant to the age we live in.

The Megan Nielsen App

That’s why we created this app. We are closing the gap between traditional sewing patterns and the technology that is being used more and more by modern sewers.

We’ve been working on this for close to a year, and it’s been a lot of work. But i’m so proud of how it turned out and i think you are really going to love it.

Install it, create an account, have a look around – and tell us what you think!

Bonus: You must create a new user account, but if you use the same email address you use for purchases on then you will immediately have access to all your previous pattern purchases.

The Megan Nielsen Patterns App[photography // Madalynne Studios]

Print patterns now available!

May 23rd, 2015

Megan Nielsen Patterns
Well my dear friends, I couldn’t be more excited to announce that our newly rebranded print patterns are now available in store!

The first patterns in print are:

More patterns will be added over the year!

Don’t forget that the Darling Ranges and Tania culottes now include more pattern pieces to help you create all the variations, but if you own the older versions, tutorials are available right here on the blog to alter your existing pattern.

Our other PDF patterns have also had a gorgeous makeover consistent with our new branding – but the pattern pieces and instructions themselves have remained the same.2015-05-rebrand3

A few more things to note: Though our business is based in Australia, all patterns are stored in the USA and ship from the USA – shipping costs are calculated once you enter your shipping address. Also, when you head over to the store you are now able to choose what currency to view prices in. When you check out all orders will be processed in Australian dollars. Any more concerns? Check out our FAQ’s here.

If you are looking for a store closer to you, you can find a list of all of the lovely stores that stock our patterns here.

Also stay tuned! We have a really big announcement coming tomorrow! We’ve been very tight lipped about this one – all i’ll say is it’s the product of almost a years development and i think you’re going to love it! I’m so excited! Pop the champagne!

release date + big news to come

May 15th, 2015

Megan Nielsen Patterns release date

Hey babes! Mark it in your calendars! Next weekend (May 23rd) we will officially release our new printed patterns and launch our rebrand!

We also have one more really huge announcement for you, which i am ridiculously excited about and I’m glad i won’t have to keep quiet about for much longer.

That’s all i can say for now, but stay tuned over the next few days!

If you haven’t done so already, make sure that you sign up for our newsletter to be notified when the new patterns are available and be the first to hear our big news!

Excuse me while i go hyperventilate. So excited!

Now & Then // The Favourite

May 9th, 2015

The favourite now and then

When i posted last week about my Rebozo style baby carrier, i couldn’t help but note that the last time i had worn that dress was almost exactly a year ago, when i was 9 months pregnant and waiting for Birdie to arrive.

I have to admit, i get a real kick out of seeing a piece of clothing make its way through the different stages of life!

(Also i think someone’s balayage needs a freshen up hehe)

Tutorial: How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby carrier

April 28th, 2015

How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby carrier // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

photography by my Chris

I’ve been meaning to post about Rebozo style baby carrying ever since i made this carrier for Baby Birdie when she was 6 months old. I actually barely take a pram/stroller with me in the car, I just throw this carrier in my handbag and we’re off. Given the lovely small boutiques and cafes in Perth, it’s been a real life saver. Plus not gonna lie, i just love carrying her snuggled up against me. I’ve tried the Baby Bjorn, and i’ve tried the stretchy wrap styles. Nope. Not as good. This style is so much easier, so much lighter, and in a hot summer we both stay so so much cooler. Also it’s negated the need for me to carry a nursing cover, when i need to nurse i just untie the wrap and throw it over my shoulder. Also also, you guys it’s way prettier. Boom. Winning.

So, I discovered Rebozo baby wearing one morning before church, in desperate panic induced googling. Baby Birdie typically falls asleep in my arms during church, but at 6 months old she was getting too heavy and my arms were starting to ache. I wanted a quick fix. A baby carrier i could use that morning, and would be comfy for her and me. So i started searching for carriers that (a) i could make, and (b) didn’t require any specialized hardware.

Enter the Rebozo. If you haven’t heard of a Rebozo, it’s a large woven traditional Mexican shawl. It is used for a lot of things, one of which is tying around your body to carry your baby. The beauty of this kind of baby sling is that all it requires is a large enough shawl / piece of cloth, and a special knot and you’re good to. I like that you’re not relying on the strength of a sewn seam, or a piece of hardware. It’s all on you, you feel how tight things need to be, your arms are around your baby keeping them safe. I like that.

How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary How to make and wear a Rebozo style baby wrap // Megan Nielsen Design Diary

And honestly, after using this sling solidly for 6 months, i can’t see why anyone would spend money on a sling. It’s amazing. I’m obsessed. Out of all of the things i’ve made, this is the one people stop me in the street (constantly) and ask me about.

So today i thought i’d share with you a little tutorial for how to make one and how to wear one. Since tying the knot and seating your baby is easier to understand visually this is a pretty picture heavy post.

You have been warned! Lets do it!