Amanda vs Zinnia Skirt

I am a total creature of habit come summer. To me summer means gin from the freezer, fresh made Mexican, Iris shorts and Verve Remixed albums. But every now and then you need to get crazy and mix it up. For summer 2014/15 it’s mojito season, we’re noshing on fresh Vietnamese food and listening to Boy & Bear. Let’s be honest, though – the biggest challenge to my summer routine I’m facing is moving away from shorts- they’re my old faithfuls! But sometimes a lady needs to be living life sans crotch seam and a skirt is in order. Thankfully, the designers of my penultimate shorts pattern have a great summer skirt staple- the Zinnia.

Colette-Patterns-Zinnia-SkirtThis is the Zinnia Skirt by Colette Patterns. I went Version Two which is a pleated, knee length number. Let’s be clear up front- as I used a gorgeous striped fabric I did a bit of a redraft and turned the curved skirt waist and hem into a straight rectangle. Even with these changes it was still such a quick and easy pattern and totally beginner friendly!

Zinnia-Skirt-CloseupThe fabric used is an amazing, gauzy seersucker from The Fabric Store in Sydney. This was picked up the morning after Frocktails when the Canberra crew made a ninja stop before getting the bus back home. And the best bit was this ended up being the remnant at the end of the roll so it was cheaper. And then I spent the money saved on merino. Whatevs. In the words of Steve Tyler, wordsmith for the 80s/90s band Aerosmith, I was living on the edge!

The one downside of this fabric is it is a little sheer and can be a bit peekaboo at times. As such, I went crazy finicky when cutting and made sure the pockets matched the stripes on the shell. Not sure it makes much of a difference but it keeps my inner neat freak happy.

Zinnia-Skirt-PocketsWhilst the pockets were an absolute win I may or may not have not been paying attention when lining up the panels and cut out the back pieces on the fold and the front as separate pieces. Ugh. I ended up using the back piece for the front and the front pieces for the back. This made my front panel way too voluminous and the back a little scant. I fiddled around with the pleats a bit and fixed them up but those pockets are crazy far back. Whoops!

Zinnia-SkirtOne consistent comment that came up in the reviews I read about the Zinnia was the waistband seemed too short for the pattern. I decided to go renegade and added three inches to the length of mine (and used two inches of this extra by the end). The instructions for the waistband insertion are a bit peculiar so instead it was freestyle construction over here. There may have been some stitching in the ditch too. I know, I know. Things got crazy. Try not to get too flustered from reading about it!

Zinnia-Skirt-DetailsWhat I liked about this pattern:

  • How crazy fast it went together! Who can say no to a one afternoon project? Not this ninja!
  • The pleats. I love them with fabric with some body. They’d look super sweet in a drapey fabric but I am #teamstructured for sure!
  • Pockets. There is nothing better in this world for holding things than pockets in a skirt. Though if I could train an spider monkey to follow me round and hold my things that would be better than pockets. Note to self- get spider monkey and ditch pockets.

What I would change next time:

  • Grosgain ribbon for a waist facing (if I go structured fabric again). Truth be told these pictures are taken with the waistband folded down. Not having this on the curve means that the pleats nip right in and makes the band superfluous (on me).
  • Try the curved waist and hem version. I think this would have a really nice drape to it.
  • I don’t know. Maybe cut the pieces the right way so the front is one piece. I am such a sewing renegade.

The Details

Pattern: Zinnia Skirt by Colette Patterns

Fabric: 1.1m cotton seersucker from The Fabric Store

Notions: 9” zip, random button, thread

See also: Idle Fancy, Sew Caroline, Jolies Bobines

Zinnia-Skirt-SideSo there you have it. The ZInnia. I’ve already knocked a second together using some insane mustard, pink and navy batik fabric from Langkawi. I have a feeling this summer is going to be the one of tank tops, pleated cotton skirts and flip flops. I’ll just need to add some beach time… Oh, and mojitos!

And as a side note, a big thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in being part of the Sewvember sewing photo a day challenge beginning November 1st. It’s going to be lots of fun and a great way to have a virtual sewing party for a month! I can’t wait to have a sticky beak into everyone’s lives… I mean share some fun times. Yes, that’s it… O_o



  1. Awesome skirt! Loving those stripes. What great colours, and the pockets sell me. I’m a little into purple and fuschias right now – bizzaro since I’ve never ever really liked those colours before. Oh and Vietnamese and Thai food…how I miss you…. I hope your pairing yours with a nice rose 😉

  2. Oh, Amanda, This skirt is wonderful !! Love the print simulating lace in different colors, which make it so much fun. I like the arrangement of pleats in the front, so clever.

  3. Oh I love this Amanda – and noone would know the front is the back if you didn’t say anything. And congrats for staying with it. If I had noticed I had cut it wrong it probably would have ended in my scrap heap. My summer plans: I bought 2L of Pimms duty free last month so summer is set to Pimms and cuffed linen shorts 🙂

  4. No vs here. Amanda + sewing = awesome. Come spend some beach time here and impress all the locals with your hot summer wardrobe and cocktail making skills.

  5. Sewing reviews are sooo helpful aren’t they. Add 2 inches and save yourself heaps of angst. Though I must say cutting the skirt back to front is a good way to add some back *meep*
    It looks great in the end. yeehaa!

  6. This is SUCH a great skirt! I have the Zinnia pattern and have been wanting to try the pleated version in a solid black or royal blue, but who wants to sew solids where there are so many PRINTS in the world! Lol – and this printed fabric is just beautiful. Like you 🙂

    • Naww, thanks, Sal! And the whole prints vs solids thing is an ongoing dilemma. I’ve decided to solve it this summer with white tees and tanks and all the printed skirts!!!

  7. Look at you all sophisticated-like for summer! This is such a great shape on you. Don’t you hate those brain fart moments when you cut something out and then go “ooooooooooh shiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttt!”? That’s what I do anyway. Looks fab as always Miss A.

    • Bwah ha ha! There were curse words a flying when I realised the mistake, J! Seriously. Shiz got real and MA15+ for language. Lesson learned… I hope! 😉

  8. OMG Vietnamese is one of my favourite cuisines and I am hanging for it right now. Not surprisingly there is none to be found in good ol’ Caboolture – boo!
    I have this pattern but haven’t made it yet – I like how it has a narrower waistband, might work for me being short waisted do you think?

    • Good luck in the Cab for Vietnamese… Though Thai Basil used to have pretty decent thai in Morayfield?
      I like the narrow waistband but if you use stiffer fabric you could seriously go without (my batik version has pleats that just need a facing they are that strong and fitted)

  9. Ah, Sewvember is going to be awesome. As is your crotch seam free (bah ha ha!!) summer! Love this skirt and you’d never know you were quite so renegade on it’s pattern pieces or instructions. Definite win!

  10. Love your zinnia! That fabric is awesome! I’m also loving lurking everyone’s sewing spaces on your sewvember Instagram challenge! I’m just following along because I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up each day, but I’m looking forward to all the sewing photos! Such a cute idea 😀

  11. WORST FRIEND EVER. I totes thought I had commented on this amazing skirt already, and yet it appears not. So sorry. Because it’s awesome and gin and all the feels. You really are on a summertime sewing bender – it’s inspiring!! YOU are inspiring.

  12. Confession time. I’ve been stalking your website for some time! I’m not even sure if you remember meeting me through CRDL, but I stumbled upon your Instagram account months ago and I’ve been swooning over your sewing journey ever since.

    I am particularly taken with this skirt! I love the cut, style, pleats, everything. Even thinking of giving it a go myself (best dust off the old machine).

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know…I’m a fan. I would have loved to gotten to know you when you were skating…what’s the future hold?

    Axe Elle

    • Axe Elle! So lovely to hear from you- of course I remember you from CRDL! I hope you’re healing well and will be back on the track next year! After way too many injuries to count (I spent 2/3 of my time with the League off injured) I finally realised my body wasn’t built for derby and resigned. Meh. It totally sucks but was the smart (but not fun) thing to do.

      In regards to the Zinnia- totally give it a go! It is such a gorgeous and easy make and I am yet to see a horrid version! If you ever want a CBR stitch and bitch afternoon give me a holler- always up for a sew 😀

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