Tag Archives: Lining meringue skirt

Not such a plain black skirt: Colette Meringue skirt with extras

I’ve not had a plain black skirt for years & have managed along quite happily without feeling the need.  But then you’ll see soon that I’ve made another shirt which got me thinking differently.   And when you see the shirt (later this week, I promise) you’ll understand.

meringue skirt

A little black skirt can be soooo versatile, can’t it?  Easy to pair up with a blouse or sweater of most colours (& I know that Susannah & Trinny would tell you otherwise & not to wear colour with black, but I happen to like wearing all sorts of colours with black myself…blues, reds, cream – is that a colour?) So, an urge was born.


The idea of a black skirt grew, & I knew that I had a suitable piece of fabric residing in my stash bought from the Birmingham Rag Market a while ago.  This fabric was originally bought for some Clovers as it has some stretch in it, but it has the most gorgeous drape, even if I have no idea what its composition is.  The important thing is that it feels nice & not too polyester – ridden.

meringueWould you like to know what the grey dots are on the wall to my right?  Well….they are the result of us being *really bad* at darts!

My little black skirt though was not going to be *just a pencil skirt*.  If I was to make a plain black skirt, the design of the skirt had to give back a bit of detail.  It was either going to be a Charlotte (but not enough fabric for the ruffle) or the delightful Meringue skirt in the Colette Patterns Handbook.  I have lived in my pinstriped meringue & love it.

meringue skirt

I decided that I should make it again, in plain black, with polka dot lining & a waistband again (I like waistbands, although the Meringue pattern is drafted with a faced waistline).  I learnt a lot about how to line my first Meringue skirt  through trial & error,lining the full skirt right down to the scalloped hem (read about it here) & acknowledged that this is not the best way to line the Meringue skirt.     This time I would keep the lining free from the hem & use the pattern facing.

meringue skirt

OK, the plan was hatched.  Just one more detail occurred to me: velvet ric rac.  Oh yes!  Another way to bring some pizazz into a plain black skirt.  I would add velvet ric rac to the waist seam as if it was piping: an echo of the scallops below but in smaller form.

meringue skirtCheck out the almost polka dot button! Scoop!

So it all went without a hitch.  I followed Lladybird’s invisible zipper method which has an added safety measure of marking stitching end points both sides of your zip to get balance (genius).  Now that worked even better for me, & it will be a sure new technique added to my sewing armory now.  Thank you Lauren 🙂

meringue skirt

How it’s possible to make a plain black skirt, not plain.

meringue (2)Happiness is ….turquoise shoes.  I’m telling you, it was confirmation that the Spring is coming getting these babies on!

Lining my Colette Patterns Meringue skirt

This is the inside of my Pinstripe Meringue.

Lining meringue skirt

I’m finding it very hard to contemplate making a skirt without lining it, especially something that will be winter weight & very much dry clean only.  I’ve lined a few skirts so far, & through wear & sometimes even in tear I have learnt along the way.  Undoubtedly it is recommended to use a shiny slippery lining fabric for any skirts that you will be wearing with tights.  My cherry red Beignet (wool)  is made with a cotton lining & it drags on tights – & on long walks into town actually ends up spun around & hiked up round my pants- not ideal & actually is more comfy with a slippy slip.  And then I’ve made the mistake of not allowing any extra ease in the lining resulting in the inside seams pulling/ fraying a bit when the fabric is a bit delicate.  And that’s such a shame.

So, I have Edinburgh & the Crafter’s Ceilidh to thank for a. putting me in touch with Alanna from Lazy Stitching who recently posted about lining her skirt with some extra ease & slightly gathering the lining to the waistband.  That was such a well timed post, thank you Alanna!  Edinburgh also provided me with the opportunity to purchase a couple of lining fabrics, with a wonderful emerald green shiny lustrous poly lining & the magenta version you see above.


But making the Meringue with a lining was not straightforward & required a few attempts & a little bit of brain work.  And think I did.  Should I cut the hem facing, or should the lining duplicate (with extra ease) the skirt pieces?  I opted for the latter approach, although I think this was the possibly the route less travelled.  But, cut skirt pieces I did in lining adding an extra couple of inches to the width.  I did not cut a hem facing.

More thinking was then undertaken – the sawdust was smouldering I tell you – to work out the order for sewing, trying to understand the feasibility of being able to get at the hem + lining to attach both through scallops as well as being able to attach the invisible zipper & machine sew the lining to the zipper (using the Colette Patterns approach).  I’d worked out that it would be possible, if a little skirt contorting, to insert the zipper before the hem.  Sewing the invisible zipper worked out fine – I could attach the lining via the machine stitched route (as shown in the Handbook & on the Colete Patterns website).  This was done before attaching the lining to the skirt at the hem.    


But it was the length of the hem that was the problem.  Alert!!  Lining this skirt is tricksty this way!  If it wasn’t for my Valentine, Barbarella I don’t know how I would have managed.  Getting Barbs to model it I could see that the length of the lining was pulling up the hem in a minor (but unacceptable) pseudo puffball effect along the scallops.

I would not have seen this very well when wearing it – possibly only noticing it as I was taking photos to post on the blog (how frustrating would that have been?!)  The picture above shows the first attempt at a finished skirt before I recast the waistband.  It was actually complete & wearable (if you go for puffballs that is!)  What is happening is that the lining & the skirt were hanging at slightly different lengths & the lining, being a bit too short was pulling the skirt to “bag” at the scallops.   Usually with a lined skirt the skirt & lining are only attached at the waist (& zip) & from there hang interdependently of each other at the hem.  With this skirt, the lining & the skirt are attached at both waist & hem & if their relative lengths are at odds with each other this happens.

Gosh was it an effort getting this right.  I tried hanging it upside down by its scallops to get the length equal.  That resulted in some of the hem being OK, but not all, so it ended up being worked as a three phase hem.  What worked best for me was to use Barbs & to work my way up from the hem to the part of the waistband that needed shifting.  Working on a 3D form was more successful than the coat hanger approach above!  But – hoorah! Barbs was most helpful, & as I said, she saved my Sewniverse.

Now, it made me think how should I have done this?  What if I didn’t have a dress form?  In the comments to the last post lovely Lauren from LLadybird (whose awesome piped Meringue I remember gushing over) let the secret slip out.  Avoid all the pain of this by 1. using the hem facing as usual & 2. lining the skirt as normal with an inside lining attached at the waistband but loose at the hem.  You can of course make the facing out of lining fabric to gain that splash of oo la la should you wish.  Should have checked that out before I started.  Simples.

My pinstriped Meringue Skirt (Colette Patterns)

So following on from explanation of my inspirations last time which would have made a single post overlong, it’s time to see what I did with the skirt of many curved edges, that is the Meringue skirt.

This Meringue is such a pretty style that I wanted to mix it up a bit & use a masculine pin stripe with the very feminine hem detail.  I’d bought some wonderful wool pinstripe, a very dark navy, from my local fabric shop last year.  This fabric was a bit more expensive than my usual cheapness & I wanted to do it justice.

And do it justice I did (in terms of reworking bits that didn’t cut the mustard first time around.)  Yes, I actually unpicked the finished waistband, replete with buttonhole & button sewn on to correct the hem & the waistband seam that slightly missed the straight edge of the pinstripe.  But I am not expecting any praise for this, don’t get me wrong.   It’s the kind of thing any decent sewster  covers off every make.  I am just usually lazy!

meringue 2

This was my first make using Barbarella.  She is stellar.  She is already saving my sewniverse.  The fit on this skirt is perfect & it if it wasn’t for her I think I would have really struggled to get the lined hem right.

I plan to follow up this post with a post devoted to lining this skirt as I found it quite a challenge & think it deserves discussion.  This post will be purely a show & tell.   But Barbs, I LOVE YOU!!!!  You are my valentine 🙂

Look, it’s got a satiny cerise lining – coo!!  Do you like the vintage button?


 It slightly peeks out at the hemline in a slightly flirty (tarty?!) way…

meringue 4I wore it to a Senior Board meeting at work (in a supportive role, I am really not an important work person)  & inside I trilled to think I was unconventionalising my pinstripes.   The conversation might have been *very important & strategic* but I was wearing a secret bird of paradise.

And this is the waistband that I recast.  I had to spend a lot of effort on the hem (more in the post to follow on lining this madam) which meant unpicking the waistband.  Which was actually a good thing in my efforts to be a more perfect sewster, as you’ll see the waistband is sewn on the crosswise grain & the first time the stitching didn’t quite follow the pinstripe.  It was obvious.  It had to come out.  How did I get it right this time??

Well, in a similar way to sewing piping I machine basted along the line of the pinstripe on the outside of the waistband piece with bright thread so that when I came to attach it to the skirt I followed the basting as my stitching line.  It works so nicely.

Apologies folks – I had used Flickr to link some of my pictures, but I have since taken them off Flickr, hence the lack of pics here now.  I don’t do this anymore, it was an experiment that didn’t work out for me!