Colette Sewalong: Perfecting Scallops for the Meringue

This post just wouldn’t be complete without a dodgy toile/muslin photo! So here is my completed Meringue toile, right on time as per the sewalong’s schedule. I cut an 8 at the waist and a 6 from the hips down, and it fit like a charm. No fitting adjustments required!

As I was haphazardly throwing this together, I clipped, trimmed then ironed the scallops without really thinking about how it would look. Of course, this didn’t yield a very attractive result – with me being unable to get a smooth curve on my scallops:

I then remembered reading sometime ago a fabulous article on the Threads Magazine website by the guru Susan Khalje about getting a good finish on scalloped edges – it’s definitely worth the read. Here’s how she does it:

1. Before clipping, ‘set’ the seams by pushing your iron inside the scallop and pressing over the scallop seam. I did this twice – once for each fabric side of the scallop. (I rushed ahead and clipped before I should have though…naughty). Doing this before clipping apparently strengthens the curve, whilst clipping it does weaken the seam to some degree. Having the form already ‘set’ will also help to give a smooth curved shape.

2. Clip! The important thing here is to ‘stagger’ your clips, rather than do both seam allowances together (like I did the first time). Susan also says it doesn’t hurt to be generous with your clipping:

3. Turn your scallop around, ‘roll’ the seam between your fingers to position it correctly then press! This clearly gives a far superior visual result to my first non-thinking attempt:

So. I love the skirt on its own, but truth be told, I’m not over the moon about it on me. I’m considering some rather drastic changes:

I’m going to add a waistband (which will be in the lilac linen for contrast), and I’m making it a two-tiered affair – with the scallops just above the half-way mark, and the skirt ending just above the knee. I’ll have to change the width of the scallops anyway so they fit in with the cutout pattern on the cream linen, and do some fancy pattern matching to get a nice even look about the skirt.

I’m going to nickname it the Pavlova – which is an Australian/New Zealand dessert, with a meringue base and a cream/fruit topping. So as the Pavlova dessert is like the Meringue + cream and fruit, so this skirt is the next iteration of its parent. Smart, eh?

I basically have two Meringue skirts here, I’ve kept the scalloped part and raised it up, taking in the side seams so they match the circumference at the waist and look relatively non-poufy. The one underneath just has a straight hem and I’ve tapered it slightly (ok, majorly) to be a little straighter.

I remembered the Coletterie Blog did a tutorial on making a waistband for their Meringue a while back which I followed too.

When I make this in my actual fabric though – I’m going to need to change the scallop design. Colette’s scallop has a frequency of 12cm (the length of the pattern repeat) whilst the cutout pattern on my linen has a repeat of 11.2cm. You wouldn’t think 8mm would make much of a difference, but it does!

So I’m off to do some number crunching and curve drawing to knock out my new ‘pattern’. Hopefully my modified version is still in the spirit of things and I’m not kicked out of the sewalong! :)



  1. Oh I love the pavlova idea it is a great way to balance the scallops! I too just made a scalloped hem dress (haven't taken photos yet) and I feel like I look a little cartoonish. Your pavlova version looks really stylish without looking silly! Great idea, well done!

  2. I absolutely love the Pavlova! I haven't tried the Meringue, because I was nervous about how the scallops would look on me, but the idea of a scalloped peplum instead is genius. I can't wait to see it in your chosen fabric!

  3. I love, love, love this idea! The peplum really balances the skirt out and is adorable. I agree with the others that there's a lot of potential for mixed prints and mixed textures. Fantastic idea!

  4. This reminds me of a skirt I made some time ago below the waistband! Not that it's terribly visible here haha

  5. What a brilliant idea, I love this version. I am still fiddling with getting the pattern sized and sorted so havent got as far as my muslin, but I too intend to add the waist band so it sits better. Thanks for the tutorial on the scallops.

  6. Oh, how cute! I love the idea of the Pavlova, both in concept and in name.Your muslin looks so good! Thank you for the tips on turning the scallops. I was contemplating making everything more complicated by using a cardboard scallop template to iron around, but you managed to get the scallops formed beautifully just with your clever tips. Thank you for sharing!

  7. great variation! reminds me of the burda style handbook skirt (which i am obsessed with right now) with a fabulous extra bit of flair. thanks for sharing this great idea!!

  8. Thank you so much for help with the scallops. I wish I had read this before I sewed! I actually lengthened the whole skirt four inches and it looks much better than showing my puffy knees!

  9. I saw your review on PatternReview, and recognized your skirt from the Colette Sewalong :) Great idea, thanks for sharing your experiences! I had issues with my scallops too, but did some other tweaking to get them to work LOL… I love the pavlova idea… very clever! :)

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