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?
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.
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.
ByHandLondon 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.
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 .
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!
I 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.
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?!
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!!)
So 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