The Meringue of Wisdom

Or more accurately, complete lack of it!

Sorry its a bit wrinkled - I should have ironed it before modelling it!

The pattern is, of course, the Meringue Skirt pattern from The Colette Sewing Handbook.  And it is truly one of the cutest and simplest skirt patterns out there – even simpler than the Ginger skirt.


You start making it the day you have one of your wisdom teeth removed.  This makes something as simple as tracing a pattern some what of a challenge!

You decide that you don’t want an invisible zipper (in part because you can’t be bothered to wait and go into town to get one and there’s a perfectly good regular zipper in your sewing room).  So you’ll do a lapped zipper even though you’ve never done one on a faced garment before.  And you’re not going to do the simple version either, but the more involved ‘pro’ technique in the book.

You’re going to add a lining, but use the most unstable, frays as soon as you look at it material you own.

Brilliant recipe, hey?

Here’s how it turned out…

The skirt itself went together smoothly.  I then sewed the facing and lining together.  Again, so far, so good.  Unfortunately by this point the chalk marking differentiating which was the front and which was the back of the skirt had disappeared.  In the future I’ll mark it from the beginning rather than from over half way through, with a safety pin!) I started to try and fit the facing making the incorrect choice as to which panel of the skirt was the front.  This was based on where I’d left the gap for the zipper.

By this point I became convinced that I’d screwed up the facing and so hacked the zip out as it was on the wrong side and I’d already served everything together.  Buh-bye facing mark 1, and the lining.

It wasn’t until I’d calmed down that I realised I should have just unpicked the zipper as I was having to do that anyway and I could have salvaged the facing too.  Gah.  I have to admit I walked away from it for a while when I realised just how stupid I’d been.  And to prevent myself doing anything else quite so stupid again!

So with facing mark 2 I went back to the skirt and it still wasn’t right.  I then got the pattern pieces out again and realised that I was back to front.  This also meant that the gap for the zipper was on the wrong side.  It was on the left rather than the right.

So I re-jigged the facing so the zipper was on the left and inserted it!  So, the skirt is now unlined, but does have a lapped zipper (albeit on the left, rather than the right).

Hand Picked Lapped Zipper

I hand picked the zipper to try and line the plaids up as well as I could.  A happy side effect was that I found it quite therapeutic and it put me in the right frame of mind for…

The scallops.  To my mind this is the area that makes or breaks this skirt.

I thought these would be the difficult bit, but after the facing  / which is the front, which is the back debacle, they were really straight forward!  I took a stitch straight across at the apex between each scallop which helped get a crisp finish. I also trimmed the seam allowances quite closely before notching and clipping using this Thread’s Tutorial on scallops.  I’m really pleased with the result as the scallops look pretty even and well defined.

This is the first time I’ve ever worked with wool and I have to say I’m converted.  It presses well and is a dream to sew.  The stitched sink in and disappear which is brilliant, unless you need to unpick anything!  The plaid wool was a swap with Annabelle and the zip was already being hoarded so it didn’t cost me anything, other than a small amount of my sanity.  I am wiser as a result though…

Adjustments for this version:
Tapered waist to hip for fit
Tapered hip to hem to give more of a pencil skirt silhouette

Adjustments for future versions:
Add a lining
Reinforce scalloped area with bias strips of organza
Try not to be so stupid!

Make Again?

15 thoughts on “The Meringue of Wisdom

  1. Is a hand picked zipper the way to go when trying to line up strips and plaids? I must keep that in mind!

    You can’t tell you experienced a few hiccups along the way. The skirt looks great!

    1. Thank you! I think handpicked definitely helps when lining up stripes etc. I also basted the side seams for the same reason… I got a lot of compliments when I wore it to work yesterday, which was good for the sewing ego!

  2. Oh no, what a time you had putting this together! I am so glad it turned out well in the end and looks just lovely. And I’ve got company in sewing with wool fan club – yeah 🙂

    1. You’ve definitely converted me to the merits of wool! And the construction issues were definitely me being either stupid or impatient or both!

  3. It looks wonderful, and I love how crisp your scallops turned out! Heh, I always make those stupid I-just-want-to-get-on-with-it mistakes, too. And don’t ask how many of my dresses have the zip on the wrong side, because I can never remember which side it is supposed to be on (and it seems I also can’t read or remember instructions…) *g* Anyway, what a lovely skirt!

    1. I am SO glad its not just me who winds up with zips on the opposite side to where they’re supposed to be! Thank you for the lovely comments about the skirt too 🙂

  4. I like that you did it out of wool, and I really like your idea to taper it!! I’m not sold on the A-Line silhouette on me, although if it was a bit shorter than knee length i’d probably be ok with it. I agree that the scallops make or break it, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t really wear mine; they’re a tad floppy cause I chose (dumbly) to use raw silk, which is lovely but quite soft and drapey… DUH lol.

    I think yours is lovely, and is a nice contrast of a “businesslike” fabric with a playful design 🙂

    1. The fabric sounds dreamy. Could you salvage it by loosing the scallops and go for a straight hem? I know what you mean about A line, I’m not convinced either, hence why I tapered mine!

      1. Yes, that’s pretty much exactly what I was thinking of doing! I also need to figure out the best way to take the waist/hip in a bit cause I made it too big LOL

  5. Mine was a bit big too, and I had a NIGHTMARE with the zip but it’s definitely one I’ll be sewing again – maybe shorter next time, as I’m somewhat stumpy and unmolested, the pattern comes down past my knees…..

    1. I’ll be making another one too – once I’ve taken about 2″ out of the waist line of this one… Thankfully I didn’t have to futz with the length, but then I always have to shorten the torso of anything as my waist is practically under my chest lol! Lauren over at Lladybird has recently made Colette’s Parfait and has very little ease in her garments and they always look fantastic – something I may consider…

  6. Was it tough using the regular zipper over the invisible zip? I’ve been having trouble inserting the waist facing and I think my regular zipper may be the problem. Any suggestions?

    1. If you have a look on Craftsy, Sunni (of A Fashionable Stitch) did a free course on zips. Every type of zip and insertion is there and as it’s a video it’s a lot easier to understand than written instructions. Have a look and if you’re still stick let me know and I’ll see if I can help a bit more!

      Sent from my overzealous spell checking phone! Please excuse brevity and typos.


      1. Thank you! I will have a look at that Craftsy video tonight when I start tackling this project again. I was too impatient (re: lazy) to go to the store and pick up an invisible zipper.

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