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The Zinnia (Skirt) Blooms Again

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Gray Zinnia 1 Here we find my second Zinnia skirt,  made this time from a gray, microfiber, mystery fabric.  The last time I made a skirt from this pattern, I used a flowered chiffon (here for a more specific pattern review). While working with the fluttery, slippery layers of the chiffon Zinnia, this single-layered, more sturdy skirt began to form in my mind. I knew the drape of the gray microfiber that I already had on hand would be perfect with this pattern, making for a more fluid yet more substantial skirt.  The fabric was another clearance find from G Street Fabrics. It is medium weight but very drapey and needs a bit of a press after washing. Gray Zinnia 2 Along with the change in fabric, I shortened the skirt by several inches. I generally prefer an above the knee length, and with this fabric, it only makes the skirt more swishy (swishy is a very desirable quality, in case you were wondering).  This skirt also includes the optional pockets  that come with the pattern.  The pockets are great, but the pattern belt loops are kind of awful. I made my own, much less fussy belt loops by folding over a strip of fabric rather than turning anything inside out. This skirt is turning out to be a reliable, year-round wardrobe staple – it works with a tank top and it works with tights. But that might just be the pockets. Wardrobe staples are always better with pockets.

Most of the project pictures on this blog have been taken by my mother. It’s hard to take pictures of clothing you are actively wearing that aren’t terrible, especially without a tripod or something similar. Inevitably, we get a bit silly, and for once I am including documentary evidence. Be careful kids. Don’t try this at home.

Really, the main problem, is what on earth are you supposed to do with your arms?

April got crazy busy, so I will be fitting in two posts here as May ends to make up for the lack of an April update. The post a month goal will be met even though “month” is now rather loosely defined. I promise to resist the punning urge with the next title. Honest.

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Zinnia Skirt

In the last post, I mentioned working on a Zinnia skirt from Colette Patterns during that ridiculously cold streak. Sewing chiffon feels absurd when the thermometer hovers around zero. Now that the weather is evening out to more typical DC winter temperatures, I’ve been wearing the skirt with cozy sweaters. The finished product is comfy, and it looks adorable with both a heavy sweater or a tank top. I think we have a year-round skirt here (success!).

flower zinnia 5

Photo-taking credit goes to my helpful and notoriously modest roommate – the one with opposible thumbs

I got the pdf version of the Zinnia pattern, printed it out and pieced it together. Of the pdf patterns that I have assembled, this one was easy to put together accurately. The skirt pattern is nothing earth shattering, but it is well-designed and simple to work with. The pleats are intelligently placed, giving the skirt fullness without being too fluffy (fluffy skirts are highly objectionable). The pattern comes in two lengths: knee length and just below knee length. I made the knee length version,but next time I might shorten it further. The pattern calls for a button to close the waistband above the zipper, but I used a hook and eye instead.

flower zinnia 1

The pattern includes optional features like patch pockets or side seam pockets and belt loops. I forwent all of these in favor of maintaining my sanity when confronted with chiffon. The pattern directions walk you through working with a lining and adding pleats at the same time; the most important thing is treating the lining and the top layer as one piece of fabric throughout. This lovely camel chiffon with the little white and red flowers came from the PA Fabric Outlet trip. It is a very soft chiffon, and I knew it was destined for a skirt as soon as I saw it.

flower zinnia 3

I found the chiffon fussy to work with, but not particularly difficult to use. Chiffon simply requires patience. It is prone to slipping and stretching out of shape, but a careful approach while handling it prevents most of these problems. I didn’t treat the fabric with any stiffener before working with it. I  did trace the pattern pieces onto the fabric before cutting them out, which helped significantly. Once there is at least a double thickness of chiffon involved, my sewing machine had no problem working with it. But when there was only one thickness of chiffon, specifically when stay-stitching the waist edge, it slid all over the place. I didn’t worry about this much as that mess is hidden in the seam allowance.

I am very pleased with the skirt, which shouldn’t be surprising. By the time my projects make it to the blog, I tend to have worked out whatever may have been frustrating me along the way. I do have a few hibernating projects that I am not speaking to at the moment. They know what they did. There is another, mostly finished Zinnia skirt in the works, at least on baby sweater, and I suspect a coat pattern will be cut out very soon. This year I am chasing consistency and plan to make at least one blog post a month. Fingers crossed.

Hypoallergenic Ginger Skirt

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Last summer I acquired three yards of 60 inch wide red imitation linen fabric from a fabric store in PA. I’m reasonably certain it is entirely polyester. While this means the garments I’ve made out of it aren’t magically cool in the DC heat and humidity, it also means that they are not maniacally wrinkled every time I move. I am alright with the trade off and will save the challenges of sewing with real linen for another day.

Just how many garment can you make out of 3 yards of 60″ wide fake linen? Well, I managed three. Working very, very carefully I just managed to cut out a Ginger Skirt  from Colette Patterns in addition to the dress and the blouse I already posted. Ginger skirts have been blogged to death, so I suppose this is my rite-of-passage skirt post.  As I was trying to conserve fabric, this skirt is cut on the grain with the narrow waistband. I’ve made a Ginger skirt cut on the bias before, which is equally versatile and wearable.

Fun fact: I’m a bit allergic to ginger, especially if it’s uncooked, but the last thing this skirt does is give me the hives (or, you know,  anaphylaxis).

I will certainly be making more of these skirts in the future, especially now that I’ve worked out how long a zipper is necessary. In my first Ginger skirt, I used a standard 7″ zipper. Because the waist is so high on the skirt, a 7″ zipper doesn’t leave enough room to pull the skirt over the hips. I’ve since resorted to pulling that first skirt on over my head, but this pretty red one has a longer zipper and doesn’t share that problem.

Overall, the red fake-linen was terrific to work with because it takes a press easily but doesn’t spontaneously wrinkle if you breathe on it wrong. I have a whole new appreciation of just how many pattern pieces you can squeeze onto 60″ wide fabric as opposed to 45″ fabric. Of course, not needing to contend with a directional print that required matching helped to conserve fabric too.

New Goal: Sewing something that is not red.

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