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?