Minerva Make: Floral linen Pavlova circle skirt

Oh my but it has been a busy week.  Not content with beasting myself shuffling 22 miles on the previous weekend (& taking all week to regain any semblance of being able to stay awake beyond 5pm) I had the mother of all birthday parties to organise.  It was my youngest son’s 21st party: an all day pizza oven garden party with family to be held on the Saturday just gone.  And all the planning, preparation & cooking combined with all the other special ingredients to exceed our already excited expectations.  It was the pizza oven family garden party to beat all other pizza oven garden parties – a ball was had by all & I have the recycling crate overflowing with the empties & the gazebo still remaining on the grass to prove it.  Now I’m not going to share any stories of the party itself except what we cooked in our all-day wood fire.  Just in case you’re interested.  (If you’re not, easy enough to scroll down to the next para 😉 ) With the assistance of the Wood-fired Oven Cookbook by David & Holly Jones we had pizzas to start ( in a very hot oven): a couple of recipe pizzas to share- Eastern spiced lamb with feta then a butternut squash & mozzarella pizza.  Then we made up our toppings as we went with a wealth of different cooked meats & veggie-suitable combos.  It was non stop pizzas for a good hour plus (they take minutes to cook)!  After that we used the falling (but not insubstantial) heat in the oven to slow cook a sumptious (I’m told) lamb kleftico, a roast chicken internally basted by a can of beer (that’s the polite way of describing cooking it with a can of beer up the chicken’s jacksy) & a mushroom risotto.  We could have then cooked all sorts of other cakes or even meringues in the even lower heat but by the time we moved onto the evening meal it was dark & the lure of creating the most memorable spotify playlist was a distraction of a different kind.  There.  That was the edibles – plus toasted marshmallows over the fire basket.   And it’s over now, all I have to focus on over the next month is doing the right things for the Great North Run this weekend followed by the marathon itself on 6th October (survival is the goal).

There hasn’t been much sewing over the last week to be honest.  But what have I to show you?  Something I made a little earlier?

Pavlova skirt

Why, the time has come around all too quickly to present to you my second Minerva make with the Minerva blogging network.

Now what I have mused on recently is that in choosing my Minerva makes I started with the fabric & then I brought in the pattern afterwards.  I didn’t think “Let’s make a strapless boob tube” & then look for stretchy fabric covered in gold sequins.  Therefore, I hope that I’ve matched the right patterns to the delights I fell for on Minerva’s website.

This month I was suckered in by some beautiful floral linen/ cotton blend.  Yes it is bright.  Yes the flowers are all over & yes the linen is a lovely quality – perfect for a dress or a skirt, but is more leaning towards medium weight & perhaps less suited to a floaty shirt.

Pavlova skirt

Once I had selected  it, I chose to make it into a circle skirt – perfect September wear.  Whilst I have the Pavlova pattern by Cake Patterns you could use other patterns you may already have or look up some tutorials online for how to draft your own circle skirt pattern.

Pavlova skirtByHandLondon has an excellent tutorial and sewalong for drafting different types of circle skirts, I would also recommend Casey’s comprehensive sewalong  to make a circle skirt.   The Pavlova pattern has four seams at quarterly intervals which I guess makes it less heavy on yardage, although I think it would be easy to have cut this skirt out on the fold to end up with only two side seams.

Pavlova skirt

Once you have cut your circle segments, making a circle skirt up is pretty simple.  I have used an invisible zip & this particular pattern uses a slimline waistband, (or is it a waist stay?)  although you could easily make a deeper one if you chose.  Of course, the Pavlova also has a cute shell pocket, which totally gets lost in this hefty floral print!  But I know it’s there & it gets used for transporting little daily necessities around .

Pavlova skirt pocket

The most time consuming part of making a circle skirt, I will not lie, is the hem!  You need to make sure that you let the skirt hang at least overnight before marking your hem out so that the fabric has chance to settle as some of it will be on the bias.  I left mine the best part of a week, but that was just because I got side-tracked!  The last time I made this skirt a kind commenter told me that I should try it shorter, so this time that is what I did.  Using Barbarella’s (my dummy 😉 ) hem marker is a godsend for negotiating a circle skirt – or you could stand on a table & let someone help you of course!

Pavlova skirtI aimed to try something new for me as well.  Horsehair braid.  Now I’ve seen it written about on other blogs & kind of get that it makes the hem stand out a bit, gives it some structure.  But I had not idea what to expect when I ordered it.  To the rest of the uninitiated out there modern horsehair braid is not chestnut or piebald.  It is made out of strands of nylon that I can only describe have been “woven together” sort of on a bias – which means the braid can compress & stretch around curves…& stiffen a hemline something rotten.  I looked up a number of tutorials for how to apply it, Cake Patterns here, Sew Country Chick here but I found this method most useful from my Dressmaker’s Techniques Bible.

Sew the horsehair to the wrongside of the skirt’s hem with ¼” of the horsehair to ¼” of the skirt’s hem.

Horsehair braidThen, turn the horsehair braid to the inside & sew again close to the turned edge.

Horsehair braid 2You can do this by machine, but I did it by hand.  Yes, by hand – perfect movie-sofa  activity!

 Pavlova skirt Suddenly felt at home amongst the brash lights of the amusements …

What I will say is that the cut ends of the horsehair braid can poke through fabric – next time I think I would try to wrap them in a strip of bias binding or something to contain the little nylon ends poking my legs!  That was clearly something I did not account for in my research, but maybe you can try to overcome that niggle yourself.  But it’s given the skirt some va va voom, donthca think?!

Pavlova skirtHasta la vista baby

Pavlova skirt

So what do you think?  The linen is the perfect match for this style & I LOVE that it is bright & cheerful.  Look, it even brought some cheer to a dull day at the seaside.  (Well that & firing laser guns at baddies at the amusements with my son!  I know I was his dumb silent partner but I could pretend it was me getting all the shots on target!!)

Pavlova skirtSo the kit, if you want to make yourself a garish luscious circle skirt is available here and comes with fabric, invisible zip, horsehair braid and matching thread.

See you soon xx

45 thoughts on “Minerva Make: Floral linen Pavlova circle skirt

  1. Rachel

    many happy returns to Mr 21!! The party sounds wonderful, goodness you had me at family and pizza 🙂 Your skirt is so pretty. I really like the horsehair braid. Does it make it feel costume-y, or is it a nice level of flounce? (if you get what I mean?)

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Rachel:-)
      To answer your question about the hem, it doesn’t feel like a costume, and I don’t think it looks too emphasised that people would assume I had a crinoline on. Wearing it, I suppose it’s got a feeling of flounce but as I said, try to avoid the sticky out nylon ends as they poke me bit through the hem!

      Reply
  2. Barb

    Wow! Cannot believe your son is 21 – many congratulations!! Sounds like it was an amazing party and I am positively drooling at the fabulous food descriptions! xx

    Reply
  3. Fiona

    Beautiful fabric and beautiful skirt! The weight of the linen and the braid look like they give it a really lovely full shape and this length looks great on you! Happy Birthday to your son, I can’t believe your youngest is 21!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Fiona…yes, my baby is 21… And I’ve struck lucky with the fabric and horsehair- not having used it before, I didn’t know what it would turn out like…but am pleased with how the braid gives the hem that shape.

      Reply
  4. Marie

    Oh Winnie, you’re a vision of youth and beauty in this twirly number! I’ve totally eyed this fabric up before on Minerva, but just couldn’t justify buying more fabric. Haha! Love the horsehair braid effect too and I’m so pleased your son’s part was a blast!xx

    Reply
  5. Ms. McCall

    Love the skirt – it suits you so well. It’s such a great inspiration to work out a circle skirt pattern too. I’m getting hungry over here reading about the various foods you guys cooked up for the party, they sound really really amazing, lamb with feta on a pizza is totally genius!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Lamb and feta on pizza, was I am told, a radical taste treat but as I don’t eat meat I had to rely on others’ reports. And I can’t take credit for the idea – that cookbook has loads of yummy recipes….
      All credit to you also for working out your circle skirt pattern, I’m sure it felt like a real achievement , all that maths!!

      Reply
  6. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Oh it is SO lovely! I do love a full on floral, me! A word to the wise about horsehair though, don’t machine wash it. It gets crushed and the crushed in bends never come out. A gentle hand wash and drip dry is in order. A workable alternative is facing the bottom either with bias or shaped facings that you’ve fused a heavy interfacing too. Just flick it up, press and sew! But heaps more work!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Oh mrs c thank you so much for this tip!! You know I would have chucked it into the machine without a second thought….I’m v grateful!! And glad you like the floral!! It’s like acidic chintz!

      Reply
  7. Liz

    I love that fabric combination with this pattern super cute. I have never used horsehair and it looks to be worth the effort. Most of all though, I am admiring your Datura, think I may need to invest in this pattern, it looks perfect for summer!

    Reply
  8. Kelly

    My goodness, you’ve been busy! This skirt turned out so wonderfully, I love that fabric. It’s loud, but it works great and has such a happy affect!

    Reply
  9. LinB

    Beautiful make! I’d not call that print especially bright, myself. It is a bit on the subdued side of some fabrics I saw while hunting drapery fabric for DD’s curtains. I’ll admit, I seriously contemplated buying some for clothing for myself — the monkeys dressed in 18th-century finery, hopping amongst golden filigree on a shocking pink background nearly lured me in. The $67 U.S.-per yard price stopped me (thank God!)

    Reply
  10. Amy

    Oooh interesting tips about horsehair braid. And what a fun twirly skirt! Great colours and your gun toting photo cracks me up.
    Can’t believe you have a 21 year old son!

    Reply
  11. Nicki

    Oooh I have been waiting for this, saw the kit on the Minerva website the other week! You do not disappoint, it is lovely. Party sounds fab. Sadly both my kids have birthdays in the week before Christmas so outdoor parties are never an option.

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      People with summer birthdays don’t know how lucky they are! I’m a winter birthday too….no garden parties for me either!!
      Thank you for enjoying the Minerva kit tease!! I’ve done it with the other bloggers too!

      Reply
  12. Alessa

    Sounds like the most awesome garden party. You have a pizza oven?!? I’m totally jealous. 😀
    Your Minerva make looks lovely, such a wonderful fabric, livening up the beachside. And oh wow, horsehair braid. I’ll have to use that one of these days (should I be able to find some, locally). Love the pic with you holding the huge guns. Hasta la vista, baby, indeed!

    Reply
    1. scruffybadgertime Post author

      Thanks Alessa, the pizza oven is the best!
      And thanks for the compliments about the skirt…I’m enjoying it, and it was good to try out the horsehair braid…I think you’ll find it fun when you get to try it too!!

      Reply
  13. Cyndi

    I have nothing but love, love, love for this skirt! The fabric print & color, the pattern (which is new to me) and the length. I love horsehair braid but I’m liking Mrs. C’s suggestion too — I need to be able to just toss it in the wash. I’m following your link to By Hand London’s tutorial – thanks for that!
    Your son’s party gave me wonderful ideas to use for my son’s July birthday next year. I’ll have to be careful though, all that pizza could put me into a diabetic coma,LOL!

    Reply
  14. rachelinred

    I love this skirt, so elegant! I’ve been seeing a few horsehair projects lately and sooo want to try it out! It worked out great on your skirt! Thanks for the tip bout poking through the fabric. Will take it into account 🙂

    Reply
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