Position 5- Embellishment & Applique

All this week I’ve been playing around with fabric and I hope giving y’all some ideas for fabric choices and treatment for the Pavlova Skirt during the 30 Minutes A Day Sewalong.  If you like the top and want to see what I can do with it, tune in next week because I have a nice little series about fabrics to be used for the Pavlova Wrap Top.

Picture 21

Today I worked on our bird and birdcage embellishments for the Position 5 skirt- the one you voted for.  I’m delighted, this design has been rattling around my brain since last year.  Rather than make a new skirt, I started with the Position 2 cotton skirt and treated the applique as a re-fashion.

I built the birdcage over the existing pocket...

I built the birdcage over the existing pocket…

Applique and embellishment are a great way to re-vamp a limp or lackluster garment.  It needn’t be much, maybe a well placed ribbon or patch.  In this case I strategically placed a few of appliques to cover up some old coffee stains.  (I also ripped out the recalcitrant horsehair hem and stitched an ordinary double fold hem.)

When done well, embellishments can turn an ordinary garment into something quite special and unique.  This skirt was an absolute joy to work on- a pin here, an adjustment there, adding layers of detail.  These photos are from the first phase, but I kept tweaking after this.


You can see in the visual reference guide for these embellishments that I used a gluepen and pins stuck into a foam board backing to secure the double sided satin ribbon before stitching.  It was twiddly, but thoroughly satisfying.  I have an idea that the ribbon will ripple slightly and resemble wrought iron.

The longest part of the process was waiting for the glue to dry!  I tried to sew before it was thoroughly set and ended up with gummy needles.  An alcohol swab cleaned the glue off my needle and I left it to dry.


In fact, once I completed the embellishment I had to wash the skirt to remove the glue.  It looked terrible, and washing it meant I couldn’t get “final” photos today.  However- we’re going out tomorrow and we’ll manage a few photos of this skirt on me not in our backyard.  I’m tired of the backyard!

Foreshortened, photo taken hastily before the light went but the skirt is a circle. Really!

Foreshortened, photo taken hastily before the light went but the skirt is a circle. Really!

And I have a nifty little invisible zipper lesson to release over the weekend, the embellishment templates and of course the Pavlova pdfs.  Then I’ll be a bit quiet until the day before the Pavlova Sewalong when I’ll announce the House Prize and we’ll set a few ground rules for entries!  Just a small prize, but nice for a group I think…

Shipping Updates:

More Pavlovas are cropping up in Canada and now in New Zealand and regional Australia, and UK retailer Village Haberdashery just tweeted to let me know they received their stock.

Other Embellishment Ideas (so much inspiration, so little time!):

click for source

click for source

click for source- a very cute ribbon and rick rack embellishment, super easy!

click for source- a very cute ribbon and rick rack embellishment, super easy!

click for source

click for source- not a tutorial though!

click for source and WOW I love this!

click for source and WOW I love this!

Which is your fave?


  1. I have been so enjoying all the inspiration this week! I already have the fabric for a Position 1 Pavlova, and I think a Position 3 (knit) Pavlova is next, since it looks perfect for a day with my very active little one. The birds look lovely! And I think the paper dolls would be so cute if I ever manage to sew anything for my daughter. (With the little time I have these days, I’ve decided to sew for myself instead of her. She doesn’t have any fit issues with RTW! :) ) And one more thing, Liesl of Oliver + S just posted a tutorial on raw edge appliqué: http://oliverands.com/blog/2013/02/customizing-with-oliver-s-raw-edge-house-applique.html

    • Sounds like you made a good choice for use of time. :) I thought the paper dolls were SO cute! Even for a grownup, why not? Or- use a motif repeated and closely spaced, but not paper dolls? Maybe.. Birds? :)

      Thanks for the link! :) There’s sooo many ways to applique…

  2. Loved the rick rack skirt wouldn’t wear it but it looks great on the model. Position 1 and 3 pavlova are for me, when I get my head around how to cut out position three
    Thanks for the link to the raw edge tutorial Tanya. Have a great week Steph.

    • I’d be tempted to do something like that with ribbons, etc.. But then it might not look as good on me as it does on her! But I do like it…

      Position 3… Well.. You can of course cut it with seams, but to cut it seamless you basically fold the fabric into quarters, cut out the skirt and there you go. :)

      Thanks, Lyn. You too. :)

  3. That Birdcage pattern is so adorable – Can’t wait to see the skirt on – I have found placemet of just pockets quite a challenge on a circular skirt – very inspiring Steph!

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