Taking the Zinnia out for a spin

I’m on a bit of a roll, bit like buses I guess, nothing for months and then 3 at once. Hopefully my sister won’t read this entry until she get’s her present. If not- then I apologise already that I put your gift on various bits or ground and dirt all over Canterbury.

Again this is from the shops blog so a little bit promo esque. There is a few extra things I’ll say, I have difficulty reading pattern instructions at the best of time and this is down to my impatience generally. But I occasionally l have problem with the way a bit is written. This happened with the waist band for the Zinnia. I just went with my gut instinct because I couldn’t make heads or tails of the instructions.

I think sewing is quite instinctive- I follow a lot of patterns to a point but then go off on my own with the bit of knowledge that I have. For me it’s how I learn I suppose.  I think many sewist’s develop their own ways of sewing and that comes from learning from your mistakes. It’s like anything really.

Anyway off we go!


I must admit this wasn’t the first fabric choice that came to mind when I first decided that Colette Patterns Zinnia skirt was going to be my next project. That honour had gone to  beautiful Les Fleurs folk birds fabric in canvas. But then I was afraid  about cutting up such expensive fabric without at least test running it first. Second choice was Melody Millers Trinket Telephones in navy.


But this is where I ran into my first hurdle. The pattern layout was to be cut on the crossgrain and in the opposite direction of the print. Not being a seasoned sewist , I had an idea of how to solve the problem- but not having the confidence or ever working on the cross grain before- I was worried that if I had cut the fabric on the grainline that I would somehow mess with the structure of the skirt.

Luckily my Colette rep is awesome and very lovely and understanding to answer my novice questions, with the above photo attached. I was told that my gut instinct was correct and it will work. I was still too scared to cut into folk birds (they did suggest that if you do use the canvas / linen that I should put a lining in also. I’ve never put a lining in before- bit scary)

So it was my sisters birthday and I promised her a skirt. She liked the Les Fleurs Tapestry in black– so here was my chance to do a test run before I tried the linen.


So I laid out the pattern like in the picture and then had to Frankenstein sew the corners cut from the sides to the edge to get the full coverage. Due to the busy pattern you couldn’t really see where the joint was made thankfully.

Pleats went in easily, and the body of the skirt- including the brilliant pockets (using some of my table runner fabric again!) was finished really fast. But I started to look at the finished panels and thought – this is not going to get around my waist. I sized it up against the waist band and it came up too small (and I had cut the pattern a size up in parts). So out came 2 of the pleats from the two back panels and that remedied the problem.  Always check before you attach the waist band! Zip went in fine, thankfully…I don’t like zips.

We come to the waist band. I’m not really a follower of instructions. The waist band instructions need a bit of concentration. It was late- so instead I winged it. I folded down the seams  by about 1/4 of an inch (old quilting ways die hard) facing the wrong side of the fabric the attached it to the raw edge of the body of the skirt and top stitched it into place. It worked, it probably doesn’t look as good.



This does cause a small problem when you have to attach the button but it would have been fine, had my machine not given me so much grief….But although millimetres off, I’m ok with that.



I’ll be making the zinnia again, now I know it’s quirks and it knows mine. It’s an easy pattern- but may be worth doing a practice run first before you cut into your gorgeous rayon.



4 thoughts on “Taking the Zinnia out for a spin

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