Tag Archives: Pavlova skirt

Tropical jungle explosion- scuba circle skirt!

I have already shown you this skirt… hanging on rather a run of the mill wooden coat hanger against a rather mundane white door.  But this, I think, is not a mundane skirt.  Absolutely not.

This wild scuba fabric  was a surprise gift from Josie at Fabric Godmother – she picked out something that she thought I would like.  Such great gift-picking- it is totally me!  It’s positively bursting with vibrant colours, lush tropical flowers with a very cheeky blend of leopard skin thown in!  I know of quite a few people who would be drawn to this fabric hahaha!

scuba circle skirt 1

So, this is scuba, and to be honest I had been a bit unsure of scuba.  What to use it for?  I did not really think I was a bodycon dress wearer.  Marie at A Stitching Odyssey made a scuba skater dress (in fabric that looks very similar too!)  But as it was coming into Spring, did I really want to make a dress out of something so “polyestery”?  And that’s where my imagination stopped.  Until that is I saw a post on the Fabric Godmother’s blog where she used black scuba to make a Hollyburn skirt.  That really opened my eyes – you mean scuba can be used for skirts….with pockets?  (I am wary of assuming  knits can handle pockets – side seam pockets & even the front pockets as on a Hollyburn- because I think you need a knit with some kind of a structure for the latter & am still uncertain about side seam pockets per se for most knits ….but that’s probably my own experience & not having cracked it yet).

scuba circle skirt 2

OK, sorry, back to scuba and skirts.  I googled ‘scuba skirt’ & then narrowed in on either a scuba circle skirt or a scuba skater skirts.  It became clear to me that I had enough fabric to make a circle skirt & that the scuba would give it structure, yet its weight should allow it to hang pretty well but with a sleek waist.  No more prevaricating.  The whole decision process possibly took longer than the making once I had decided.

scuba circle skirt 3

I used the Cake Pavlova skirt as I had previously made it in jersey (& linen here) & the jersey skirt has had a lot of wear & it is one of my faves.  It has two seams & a waistband.  The waistband is elasticated for the knit version.  I omitted the pocket this time as I thought it would mess up the already wild print  & would take extra time!  This skirt, people, took next to no time to make!  But this is just a circle skirt, people.  In a knit, perhaps one of the easiest skirts to make- seriously.  No fastenings.  Sew with a stretch stitch/ narrow zig zag or an overlocker & you’re away.


And guess what else saves time?  Following Josie’s example I have left the hem unsewn & unfinished.  [Gasp]  I let the skirt hang a few days before measuring up from the floor ….& I just cut the hem at the length I wanted.  It feels kind of naughty!

scuba circle skirt 4

Now wearing this skirt is like a breath of fresh air.  It really does hang beautifully & being a circle skirt is not too bulky around the waist.  I hate to say it but the elastic waist is also very comfortable (OMG I must be getting old!!!!! )  I would love to be wearing it as I am modelling it, wedges & bare legs- but I’ve had to layer up & stick leggings underneath it to stop the May chills.  In my view though this is one of those pieces that glams up causal wear! (even with leggings on!)  And being a circle skirt it is so much fun moving around in it, letting the wind catch it (encouraging the wind to catch it too!), swooping down the stairs.  Heaps of pleasure for those of us easily pleased 🙂

Now I understand if this fabric isn’t quite to your everyday wear, but there are quite a few scuba fabrics at Fabric Godmother – some more prints as well as some gorgeous solid colours with embossed details in them (so not “plain” at all but very practical !).

I am no longer fearful of scuba!  Hurrah!  I get it!

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

My right royal jersey Pavlova skirt

I’m back! I’ve been off line mostly – sorry! I had such a busy weekend and beginning of the week that kept me away from all the fun. I know it’s not even a week, but it feels like it. I missed you all and will enjoy catching up! So, to remedy my absence …here’s a recent make.

I declare that everyone needs a jersey full (or even better – circle ) skirt. I mean it’s easy to wash, super easy to wear & it just looks & feels a million dollars with all its wonderful drape & swooshy qualities. It makes me feel like a ballerina. You’ll have to bear with me on these photos – I was trying to capture the movement, the fluidity & jellyfish-like qualities it has when coming down the stairs….

Cake Pavlova skirtBut that’s the best I could do!

Mine is made from purple jersey acquired at the Rag market a while ago. It’s the most beautiful “royal” purple – would not look out of place alongside some ermine (if I ever let dead animals near me that is).

Cake Pavlova skirt

I took this deepest purple jersey & transformed it into a Pavlova circle skirt of Cake patterns. This is the first time I’ve made it after being intrigued by Steph’s different positions for the same pattern – one being jersey- her “nice and knit” position. I wasn’t sure whether I’d need a zip for the jersey variety of this skirt, but took a leap into the unknown, being reasonably confident that I could deal with it if I needed to.

Cake Pavlova skirt

I was able to cut the skirt out of two pieces. In theory this pattern allows for a circle skirt made out of four quarters. Or two halves, or if you are really clever, just one piece. I hope one day to graduate to the single piece, but this time around made mine out of two halves.

Cake Pavlova skirt

I love the shell-like pocket, but made a mistake about where I located it in relation to one of the two seams. Sadly, I followed the pattern markings , which requires zero thought if you are making the four quarter version – the pocket will always be close to a seam. However, in my skirt my placement resulted in there being a centre front & centre back seam, with no side seams. It’s a design detail of course!

Cake Pavlova skirt

I also stitched the cute pintucks but placed them on the inside of the pocket so that the “ridges” are hidden & the shell detail is seamed. I think this was laziness on my part. Maybe it had something to do with the way that I marked it (I used a tracing wheel & carbon paper- maybe I was hiding the markings!? ). Anyway, being a solid colour, the seams look lovely still on the pocket.

Cake Pavlova skirt

So, did I need to insert a zip? The answer is no! but this skirt has an elastic waistband. Shock? It looks neat I think. I followed Steph’s alternative quick knit waistband instructions & think it works out fine, & makes this skirt even easier to wear. In the pic below you can just about see that it involves attaching the right length elastic to the waistband with a triple stitch zig zag …

I want to emphasize that I don’t feel like a toddler or a granny wearing an elastic waisted skirt.

Cake pavlova skirt

All in all it was a fairly quick make- make & attach pocket, two seams and then the waistband.

 Hem marker

The hem was an interesting adventure. I let the skirt hang for a couple of days before working out how long I wanted it. I then looked at the expanse of hem that needed to be set. I gulped. I looked at it some more then the lightbulb appeared. Isn’t this just what a dummy with a hem marker is for? I scrabbled around looking for the strange gadget that I have never used in the 18 months that I have had this dummy (Oh Barbarella, I am so sorry I have neglected to use your full potential). I then had to locate the bag of chalk.

Hem marker in action

Strangely enough I found them both relatively easily despite my sewing room looking like a bomb has landed & sprayed thread shrapnel amongst all of the piles of projects in various stages of conception. Tell you what – this hem marker is awesome! Just attach it to the dummy’s stand at the desired height & every now & then puff chalk onto the hem as you turn the dummy around. Little lines of chalk markers are left behind to join up at the desired hem level. Works like a dream.

Cake Pavlova skirt

Once marked I could trim & press under the hem before sewing with my normal machine straight stitch. And then wear. But there is a lot to trim & a lot to hem – the circumference is massive. I kept the length I trimmed off to measure it. It’s a whole 4.5m long!

Cake Pavlova skirtNot a desired prop for the photos …

I have worn this quite a lot now – it is one of those skirts that is a transition piece – great for work or play! And soooo girly! I’d strongly recommend making it in jersey.

These pics show me wearing it with my Liberty top (Simplicity 2614) made earlier this summer.

Pavlova top and skirt

Here it is with my first  Pavlova top, I have also made another, but haven’t worn it yet as – (I am just loving writing this)- the weather has been too warm! How cool is that! Real summer in the UK!!