Colette Sewalong: The Pavlova Revealed!

Colette Meringue 13

The modified (beyond recognition) Meringue – the ‘Pavlova’ – is revealed! Linen really is such a beautiful fabric to work with.

Colette Meringue 11
Not quite sure what I’m doing here…
but it’s a good shot of the skirt!

When I went to put on this skirt, I realised after dumping my entire wardrobe on the bed that I have NOTHING to go with this skirt. I had specifically made this top to wear with it, but turns out it looks better out than tucked in… 

So I’m going to need to make something to wear with it – something other than this boring grey cotton top. I’m thinking a pale yellow Sorbetto. I haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet, so it’s about time. I keep seeing everyone else’s and the pale yellow is in line with the original inspiration for this skirt – the Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW collection (via

As you can probably tell, I ended up making a LOT of changes to the Meringue. 

Colette Meringue 4

Summed in short, I moved the zip from the side to the centre back, added a vent and a waistband. The straight hemmed Meringue was tapered to make it look more like a pencil skirt, and the scalloped Meringue on top has been hoiked up and adjusted to match the side seams and waistband.

Colette Meringue 7

But the biggest challenge by far was matching the scallops to the cut-outs in the white linen. The Colette scallops were about 12cm wide on the size 6 skirt I used, but the repeat of the cut-outs in my fabric was 11cm in width. I wanted to ‘match’ the linen to the scallops – Calamity Central! The 11cm repeat meant I’d either have a peplum-skirt that was too big or too small (multiples of 11!). In the end I compromised and I have one mini scallop at the back. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this – it does look a wee bit odd!

Colette Meringue 14

On the other hand – check out the seam matching at the back:

Colette Meringue 6

I’m pleased to say this is yet another garment where I’m as happy with the inside as I am with the outside. I love seeing the insides of other people’s garments, so indulge me whilst I show you mine:

Colette Meringue 3

To try and reduce the bulk around the hips, I made the top half of the underskirt from silk I had left over from a previous project that just happened to match. Lovely!

Colette Meringue 9

Sadly for me, this is where my participation in the 5 month long Colette Sewalong ends… I just have too many other projects on my mind – and then at the end of March, Mr poppykettle and I are heading off to South America! Whoohoo!

It’s been a stinking hot weekend here in Melbourne – but perfect beach weather. Shortly after these photo’s were done and dusted, Mr. poppykettle & I enjoyed a lavish picnic whilst watching the sun set…



Pavlova on the cutting mat, and in the Oven…

Construction of the Pavlova is well under way. After nearly suffering an apoplexy over trying to get the lace to match the scallops and whatnot, moving the zip to the centre back and adding a waistband, I’m at that horrid stage of wondering whether or not this is going to pull together and be wearable. I’ve come close to throwing in the towel and just going with the ridgy-didge Colette pattern that many times…

I decided to use some interfacing on the scallops – linen does tend to be a bit floppy after all. This should help to sharpen up the curves. Has anyone else felt the need to do this? 

I’ve also interfaced and used some horsehair in the waistband, and tried to lighten the linen load with some leftover silk from lining my Lady Grey Coat, which just happens to match rather nicely :)

I’m so close though, so all should be ready for the big reveal on Tuesday next week!

Today is also Australia Day!! Marking the occasion when the First Fleet (11 ships with the first load of penal convicts) landed at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation that the lands belonged to England’s King George III. The French were in hot pursuit behind the Brits – apparently the Brits could see the flags on their ships on the horizon as they came ashore. It’s bizarre to think how different things would now be had the French got here first!

Seeing as I’m making a wearable Pavlova, I may as well make an edible version too. It’s a dish that is claimed by both New Zealand and Australia (although I believe New Zealand has the rightful claim) and named after the Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova, who toured both countries in the 1920’s.

For those not in the know, the Pavlova is a meringue base (crisp on the outside, soft on the inside) topped with cream and then fruit – usually something tart like passion fruit pulp, pomegranate seeds or berries, which offsets the sweetness of the meringue deliciously. I like both toppings, preferably all at the same time…

A previous years Aus Day Pav wilting in the heat: Bon Appetite!

My favourite Pavlova Recipe:
4 egg whites at room temperature
pinch of salt
250g of castor sugar
2 teaspoons of cornflour
1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
a few drops of pure vanilla
300ml of cream, firmly whipped

1. Preheat your oven to 180 deg C, Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper.
2. Beat the egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form.
3. Beat in the sugar a third at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
4. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla – then fold in lightly.
5. Mound onto the paper-lined baking tray within the circle, flattening the top and smoothing the sides.
6. Place in the oven, immediately reduce the heat to 150 deg C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120 deg C and cook for 45 minutes. 
7. Turn off the oven and leave pavlova in it to cool completely. Invert the pavlova onto a platter (this means you get a crunchy base and the soft meringue mixes wonderfully with the cream!), pile on the cream and spoon over your preferred topping – passion fruit pulp or berries. 

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! :)

The Colette Sewing Handbook Sewalong!

The Meringue via Colette Patterns

Lucky me was the ever-so pleased recipient of the Colette Sewing Handbook at Christmas! Thanks Mum :)

On Tuesday morning I happened across the Coletterie blog to notice that Sarah from Rhinestones and Telephones and Erin from Miss Crayola Creepy have joined forces and will be doing a 5 month sewalong – one month per pattern from Sarai’s book. First up? The Meringue skirt.

Apart from loving a good sewalong, it seemed fortuitous that on Monday I had bought some fabric that was specifically for making my own Meringue, so it would seem silly not to join in!


I’m planning a double layer Meringue (I might have to call it the Pavlova, hehe), with the lovely lavender zin linen underneath, and the white linen with floral laser cutouts on top. Beautiful, non? Both from Tessuti.

I pulled these gorgeous fabrics together after being inspired by some Louis Vuitton skirts, dresses and pastel colours from their Spring 2012 RTW collection:

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW via

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW via

Louis Vuitton Spring 2012 RTW via

The time line as set by our illustrious sewalong leaders:
January 12 – Taking measurements and sewing the muslin.
January 19 – Fitting the muslin.
January 26 – Sewing the final garment.
January 31 – Meringue Parade – show off your finished garments.

So all I have to do today is take measurements and kick start my toile – from the Finished Garment Measurements table, it looks as though I’ll be cutting an 8 at the waist, grading down to a 6 at the hips.