Pavlova For All Seasons : Merino | Tulle & Tencel | Linen | Cotton

Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt | Final Day of Pre-Sale

It’s the Final Act in the Pavlova Circus & Pre-sale!  I hope you’ve had fun getting to know the Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt pattern this week.  If you’ve missed out on any posts, you can see a great lineup of all the Acts & Sideshows at the Pavlova Circus Information desk.

Today, I grabbed a few hours to stitch up a pink tulle Pavlova Skirt and a winter-green merino Pavlova Wrap Top.  I’ve been mentally stitching them both for weeks, it was such fun to bring them to life!

Wintergreen Pavlova | Twirl Shot 3 | Cake Patterns

I mentioned before that the Pavlova separates work well for a variety of fabrics- this post is all about the fabrics I used for these samples and how they behaved.  You’ve already seen the Pink & White versions of the Pavlova separates, and I decided to mix them with the new Pavlovas so you could see the effect.

Wintergreen Pavlova | Twirl Shot 2 | Cake PatternsWhen I was playing dress ups for you today, I really wanted the gray wool windowpane skirt and ivory merino top to mix it up even more.  That’s not possible, however, because those samples are now in the possession of a certain Duchess.

Wintergreen Merino Top

Wintergreen Pavlova | Tulle Pavlova | 3 | Cake Patterns

I’m actually wearing Mikhaela’s Wrap Top here.  In the Skype session that started our work on the Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt, I told Mikhaela I’d send a sample to help with the production from their end to create the artwork.  Tiramisu logistics issues cropped up and 8 weeks later it was still a pile of merino on my work table.

Wintergreen Pavlova | Tie Detail | Cake Patterns

Thank goodness she doesn’t mind me modeling it for you, because I really dig the bright green and pink!  (And check out the smooth line on the knit waistband…)

Wintergreen Pavlova | Tie Detail 2 | Cake Patterns

I couldn’t find overlocking thread to match the shade of green well and rather than blend badly I went for high contrast pink thread.  Mikhaela was totally cool with that.

Wintergreen Pavlova | Neck Detail | Cake Patterns

I followed my own instructions and made a few last tweaks as I stitched up the Pavlova Wrap Top– it was super quick to put together and the fusible webbing I used to set the lapped neck seam made things even simpler.

Wintergreen Pavlova | Neckline Detail | Cake Patterns

I’ve had a few questions about the neckline on the wrap- how deep it goes, over or under-boob, which side wraps on top.  Here, I pulled the neckline down a little lower.  It could go lower, but this is the internet!

 Really, the neckline is whatever you make of it.  This is a densely woven (though very fine) merino wool version.  It has a fair amount of elasticity and recovery, and it’s “freshly made” rather than “worn in.”  I’m thinking it will make a nice winter blouse for Mikhaela.

Pink Tulle & Tencel Pavlova Skirt | Perfectly Quick Knit Waistband

Wintergreen Pavlova | Tulle Pavlova | 2 | Cake PatternsI also made a drapey tulle Pavlova Skirt today and took the photos for the Perfectly Quick Knit Waistband visual tutorial.  I lined her with some pink tencel crepe I had lying around to test.   The lining hem is intentionally cut unevenly for a little veiled hem interest- I double-rolled-hemmed the lining, too.

Tulle Pavlova | Back | Cake Patterns

While I used tulle and the tencel is technically a woven, the cut edge of the waist on most wovens is fairly elastic.  I used this knowledge and made a soft, simple knit waistband.

Perfect Knit Waistband 12 | Pavlova Circus | Cake Patterns

I took a string of “instruction” photos for making the knit waistband using Pavlova Skirt pieces- this tutorial is currently being uploaded on as I complete each photographic step.

Softly Draping Pink Pavlovas | Aged Linen

Strawberry Pavlova | Tulle Pavlova Skirt Geometric | Cake Patterns

The pink tulle isn’t as hot as I feared it would be- I suspect it’s because tencel is a magical fabric woven by enviro-elves in an enchanted beechwood forest.  But really, Tencel is a really interesting fabric with great sustainability cred.  I’ll be playing with more Tencel this summer…

The Pink Tulle Pavlova Skirt is a “Position 2” use of the Pavlova skirt.  When I was thinking of the perfect pairing for the Pavlova Wrap Top, I couldn’t quit thinking about the basic circle.  But what kind?  Layered? Tulle? Regular Circle?

Pink Tulle PhotoBooth

we had very strange dreamy light for photos this afternoon, but I like it…

Well- rather than actually decide, I have the 5 Positions of the Pavlova Skirt all ready to go once you all have the pattern in your hands.  They’re little hacks, different ways to use the fabric and your time to create a pile of these without looking like you’re wearing the same thing all the time.  You’ve seen the 1st in stiff cotton, and now the second in seamless super-drapey tulle. (pictutorials to be uploaded soon to

The final 3 will be revealed when Pavlova ships out in February.

Seashell Pocket in Tulle

Pavlova Tulle Skirt | Whimsical Pocket Detail

I took a gamble and finished the raw edges of the tulle-and-tencel pocket with the same double rolled hem edge I used on the lining.  I’m not sure I love it, but it will be easy enough to change.

I interlined the pocket with tencel for stability, and while I’m unsure about the contrast stitching, I do like the pocket in tulle.  I might make another pocket using pale pink thread and see how she looks…

Grief and Beauty

this is my living room right now!  Mostly delightful pavlova snippests!

this is my living room right now! Mostly delightful pavlova snippests, pretty colors…

Last week, as Mikhaela and I were happily creating the digital drafts for the Esme Petit Four template, we heard the horrible news out of Connecticut.  I have a little girl almost the age of those children, and I’m the same age as some of the teachers.

It’s really hard for me to write about this, but I’ve always shared with y’all what’s in my heart.  After I heard the first reports of this unimaginable tragedy, I went on something of a media blackout.  I simply could not process it.  I had to work.  And work.  And work.  I couldn’t stop.

Esme Face Cloth | Pavlova Circus

I kept working on that Esme doll, thinking that if I could sit down and make some silly dolls and share the raw pieces of them with you all, then we’d have something to do.  Something sweet.   Besides, the holidays are a time to spend with others, and it’s nice to have a fun little project.

Lila And Paper Esme

When my family came back from the country after my work-a-thon, Lila and I played dollies for two whole days.  Once the Pavlova Circus leaves town, I plan to spend the time around the holidays relaxing with my family and yes- making more dolls with my daughter.

Glad Rags on a Silver Platter | Sewingcake

I have a silver cake plate full of raw inspiration to make some very fancy “rag” dolls, I have the dolly clothes pattern and I have the Esme Petit Four doll template.  (The template is available only as a free gift with a Pavlova Pre-Sale purchase, but I plan to make her available a little later on the Cake site, too)

The Construction Gallery

The Cloth Doll Construction Gallery

I also posted a visual guide to constructing the dolly– it needs a little spiffing up but it’s pretty detailed.

Over the holidays I’ll be posting mini-photo-tutorials on how I put together wool wigs and embroider faces.  Nothing heavy- little pieces of Cake, deliciously arranged.

If you’re feeling some of the same shock and grief I am and want to dolly-along, then let’s render pain into beauty and into joyful and mindful time spent with others.  Oona Balloona is right:

Picture 21

I hope my silliness with the dollies during the Circus hasn’t seemed misplaced.   I know that making little toys won’t bring back people destroyed by hate and bullets, but I hope every time I look at my little dolls I remember how important it is to look for tiny, bright details in this dark world we live in.

Besides- it’ll be really lovely to give some of the finished ones away to some little people I know!

3 Hours Past | Esme Futurist | Shredded T-shirt Scraps Stuffing

I hope I didn’t bring down the tone of the Circus with this, but I needed to let you know what’s been behind my little doll “Sideshow” project…

Talk to me!

What do you think?  Which Pavlova combination above is your favorite?

I have great tech shots for all of the techniques I used in this post, which will be added to the Sewing Cake reference as soon as I work through them.

And before I forget- which paper do you prefer for patterns?  Tissue or “kwik-sew” type bond?  I only recently discovered we have the option of either, so vote in the poll now and let me know in the comments.  What are the benefits of one over the other?


  1. I like your version of mourning. In my mind, creation is always the remedy for destruction, and creation of things to make children happy seems very fitting to me.

    I’ve never made/had a tulle skirt before, but I think I’ll give it a try with the Pavlova. Between the ballet-wrapishness of the top, a tulle skirt would make a perfect “casual ballerina” look, which is probably what you were going for given the whole Anna Pavlova inspiration. Me gusta. :D

    • Yes- just that. Creation as a remedy for destruction…

      Yes! That’s what I’ve been thinking, too… We’ll get into that a little more later, it should be fun… :) I’m glad you like it.

  2. Love your post….. love the different incarnations – and want merino knit….. please put some in your etsy shop – I can’t find it anywhere!

    • Hahaha! Might if I can find some on a really good deal, but it can be pretty costly fabric… This particular piece was, but I figured it was a gift/work thing and worth it…

      Plus shipping to you, goodness the mind boggles… Shipping is quite expensive…:( And when I put fabric in my shop, if I mark it up it’s super super costly and if I don’t mark it up I’m running around sorting fabric for free….

      I am exploring some shipping and logistics options though, I think I might be able to offer some fabrics later on… :)

      • hon, of course you would have to mark up, otherwise you would be totally dumb – nobody expects that!
        howsabout you don’t stock fabric but you have pics and prices that way you don’t end up with stock on your hands if it doesn’t go? We have a couple of this type of shop here – I call them catalogue shops even though they’re not.
        I was in a mad rush yesterday and have more time to look and think today – I too LOVE that striped top – I just noticed today that the back is a V – yummy! Hope you do eventually put this pattern out too!
        I didn’t get a PDF from you of the dolly – should I have?

        Re this horrible horrible shooting – this is something I cannot fathom – guns aren’t normal here except shotguns for creepy hunters so it’s a total mind boggling event. I have to admit that after the first news, I stopped watching. I am already blue enopugh as Xmas is here and this is a really sad time for me – mummy died on boxing day, Granpa and an uncle on new year’s – I find it easy enough to just sink into a blue funk and stay in bed without watching any news at all, let alone this type. Can’t.

        Back to trivialities – I don’t really care about paper, as I always trace onto greaseproof sheets I buy from the grocer. I kind of prefer the thicker stuff as it’s easier to flatten out – less ironing! – but then it’s also bulkier to store, and my pattern boxes are growing – 2 for the moderns, three for the vintage – cringe in shame! Plus it will obviously put shipping prices up. So I guess it’s a kind of hobb’s choice.

        Anyway – I hope everyone has a peaceful, uneventful, healthy Christmas or whatever you all celebrate, and that next year sees a world where crazy stuff happens much, much less. Hugs to everyone from my little island:)

  3. I have a 6 year old daughter and have shielded her from this particular tragedy. Right or wrong, I cannot answer her questions with a logical explanation that won’t terrify her. So instead we have become immersed in the magic of christmas so I totally ‘get’ your version of mourning.

    On a happier note I love all of the variations but the pink tulle is a little special. But I can totally see a wool or linen blend version of the skirt too. Very versatile. I also must note that I never ever cut a pattern. I trace all my pieces onto a very light sew on interfacing. It doesn’t crush and if needed I can iron it. It also never rips. However, for ease of use paper patterns win hands down over tissue.

    • Yeah, I don’t know what to tell my daughter… I don’t have to tell her anything, and she was very understanding of mommy clinging to her sobbing… It’s just so horrible.

      Thank you! Yes! So many many versions of this skirt. :)

      If I had known I had the option of bond paper earlier, I probably would have done Tiramisu on it. But then I was asking around some of my local sewing buddies and they seemed very passionately divided into the Tissue and Bond camps… So I thought I’d put the question out there and see what y’all think…

    • Yeah! I don’t usually wear this shade but it screamed “Mikhaela” to me… But now I kinda wanna green Pavlova of my own…!

      I was totally thinking of you and your bear costume today… About sewing for others and trying it on. hehe.

  4. I love the pink tulle skirt; so very girly! (Also really like the striped top with square neckline that you are wearing in the picture further down.,. Would love the pattern for that!)
    Re: pattern paper, I now trace my ‘best’ patterns onto Swedish tracing paper, which is similar to a l/w interfacing, so I don’t mind what you print them on – although think tissue will be lighter and therefore cheaper for international mailing.

    • Hey Fiona- Thanks! It’s nice to be turbo girly sometimes…

      The striped top is a design experiment, I think I might look at publishing her online after the holidays… I rather like her. The collar on the front was inspired by a 30’s sweater I found in a knitting magazine… :)

      Yes- there’s the rub! I personally prefer heavier paper, but then it’s… well.. heavier.

  5. Make dolls, not war. Makes sense to me too. This preparation for Christmas time is very special to me – my father died on 12 December 2003 and so it is a time we remember him while doing all the creating and planning, with love and joy and a bit of sadness too.
    I love all the versions of this outfit and cannot wait to get my hands on it!

    • Yes. Dolls not war.

      Have a wonderful lovely christmas, Mrs C… Isn’t it interesting how fine is the line between sadness and joy?

      I can’t wait for you to get your hands on it either! :)

  6. I’m SO glad that you showed the top in a slightly different incarnation, worn styled with a lower neckline, BEFORE pre sale closed! I must admit that the original picture just wasn’t quite ‘doing it’ for me, so I was hesitating over buying it. But now I am sold!
    I also love the tulle version of the skirt – am I wrong, or is this a full circle version?
    Please continue to share with us where you source your fabric from! Sadly living in Australia it can be difficult to find some of the awesome fabric you see in blogs – so any hints on where to source it (locally or o/s) is appreciated.
    I have just started working with heavier paper patterns, & find that this is easier to work with when tracing off.
    Finally, I like your positive & constructive reaction to the Conneticut tragedy. Far better (I’d you can) to focus on whatever positive you can, rather than dwell on the tragedy & sadness.
    Off to purchase my Pavlova pattern now!

    • Hehe. I tried to rack my brain and answer all the questions ppl have had about Pavlova… It meant quite a lot of “playing” dressup.. :) I’m glad you like it!

      Yes- all of the Pavlova skirts are full circles. It’s my favorite skirt shape, so we’ll be playing with circles and their possibilities on after everyone gets their Pavlova pattern. :) This tulle one is a preview… And I’ll get those tutorials up today, do take a look.

      Yes.. But by the same token, once we’re in the post-holiday time I plan to go and read and listen to all the stories about what happened. It’s important not to turn away from things that are truly evil, and I think if nothing else then maybe we can all band together and make sure we don’t have to hear the words “There’s been another school shooting…” on the news again. That’s the worst part… The word “another”…

  7. These all look so beautiful on you! Gorgeous!

    I’ve been unable to read blogs or really do much in the wake of the tragedy. Everything that was on my agenda just seemed so trivial and pointless when there are so many families grieving, and there doesn’t seem to be much hope for violence to end. But I think your approach is right– to find spots of light and to work to bring more joy to others in this season.

    • Thanks…

      Yes… I felt much the same, but I had all these things I’d been working on and planning… I didn’t really know what to do or how to process everything… But I couldn’t sleep for two days… I just couldn’t sleep. So what do you do?

  8. I don’t have the capability to comprehend how you would deal with such devastation of family and community. Cherished time with your own loved ones seems the only way to move forward.
    I really don’t know. Too terrible and sad.

    I do love the green merino…that is a spectacular colour on you and I like the longer sleeve option.

    • I really don’t know, either. It’s so senseless, so wicked, and so EFFING preventable. That’s what really upsets me… There’s absolutely no reason not to restrict gun ownership so lunatics can’t have them. Honestly. And people hear America in my voice around these parts and after something like this happens come up to me and ask why- why don’t people turn away from gun-o-philia? Why is it tolerated?. Like I know. (oh yeah- it’s so the King of England stays out of our faces… That is a super awesome reason to allow any old effing nutjob to have a gun….)

      I don’t know why, either. It’s stupid, it’s worse than stupid. Now that the shock and the workaholicism wore off, I’m getting angrier and angrier. This shouldn’t happen.

      • I hear you. And whilst I recognise that the “right to bear arms” is enshrined in the Constitution, I’m fairly sure the Founding Fathers didn’t intend that to be military issue sub-machine guns and the like. A long way from balls of lead!
        I’m most angry at the pro-gun lobby already lawyering up and beating their chests about their rights. What about the rights of the children and teachers who died and their families.

        Oh…it’s beyond comprehension…but hopefully not beyond hope.

  9. The tulle version is even more glorious then I imagined. I need one of these to flounce around in! Because you could not walk in that skirt- flouncing only!

    • Hahah! I like it, I like it more than I thought it would and it’s going in the regular rotation once I change up the pocket edging. :) It feels more floaty than flouncey but either way works!

  10. Hi Steph I’ve preordered the pavlova pattern but haven’t received the PDF for the doll. Did I miss something? I’ve been loving the circus and also would love to know where you bought the green Marino from, it’s just gorgeous and I’m coveting it.
    Thanks for the distraction this week from the terrible tragedy I cannot read about it without crying.

    • Hey Kim-

      I was sending them out manually, so it’s quite quite possible I missed you. I sent your copy just now. :)

      The merino came from The Fabric Store in the valley, Brisbane.

      I can’t, either. I mentally set aside a day next week to sit down and read *everything*. I’m a news junkie, so for me to have gone on a media blackout is exceedingly odd… And now that I’m listening to the news again I’m hearing things from people who think the answer is to arm teachers, what an ass of an out of touch politician. .

  11. I’m not sure if you and Mikaela want to, but have you considered putting the dolly onto a Spoonflower fabric? (I’m not sure how much compensation you get from this.) I know it’s not the same as using up rags but it could be fun for some folks too.
    Anyway, happy holidays, Steph! (I really like the photo of the back of the stripey shirt with the tulle skirt.) Great post, as usual.

    • Get out of my head! :) Keep an eye out, I have some plans..

      Thanks! I loooove this shirt, I think I’m going to have to release it as a download or something. :)

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  13. I prefer thicker paper for patterns – Burda-style, seeing as Burda and other magazines are the only form of pattern I’ve lived with for years. But then, thicker paper might be more expensive to ship, and that’s something to watch out for, too!

    And your form of mourning is perfectly fine. Once, I reacted to something like that by making loads of paper canes, while silently praying. It’s good.

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  17. Hi. Good to see you seem to have stayed dry! I am enjoying all your posts as you develop some lovely patterns. The blue striped tee? Is that a three hour hack? I love it and I have a wonderful stripe coming from Emma One Sock that I want to make into something special.

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