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Pattern of the month: Spring calls for more Zinnias!


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I always thought I couldn’t wear full skirts. It wasn’t until recently that I even attempted to sew one, because every time I tried one on in the store, the fit wasn’t right.

With Spring approaching, my thirst for a full skirt returned. Then I remembered Zinnia!

To make it work best for my short waist, I knew I had to minimize the gathering. I simply cut a size 12 for the waistband, and a size 4 for the skirt. Easy! This resulted in a fit that made me feel good, much better than anything I’d tried on before.


What I love most about Zinnia is that you only need to get one measurement spot on (your waist) and the rest of the fitting is pretty simple. Here are some stellar reader makes from Instagram to get you inspired for your next skirt:


  1. @fromcoloradowithlove sewed up version 2 in a fun print perfect for the skirt’s shape.
  2. @hookspinsandneedles chose the perfect palette and layered her skirt for colder weather.
  3. @abinorton is the epitome of cheerful while wearing butterflies!
  4. @bekfink shows how polka dots and stripes work perfectly together.

  5. @milagolke looks like she’s ready for some twirling in her pleated version.

  6. @ampersandcommodities gave an old duvet cover new life with her Zinnia.

The best thing about this pattern, other than how easy it is to fit your body, is that it’s 20% off this month! Just use the code ZINNIAMONTH at checkout.

Have you ever been so frustrated by the fit of a garment in the store that you went home and sewed one yourself just out of spite? Share your tips!

Meg Stively   —   Communications Manager

Meg is here to help you. She's the smiling face behind our customer service and social media. Keeping in touch with our family of stockists, and shipping your orders all across the world, she loves seeing what you're making with our patterns.

Comments 23


ooohhh, thanks for the thought on using a smaller ‘body’ size to achieve fewer gathers. I’ll admit I shied away from version 1 because of the gathers…


I’ve avoided gathered skirts for the same reason, but I love them so much!


I’m short on body and long on legs, so full gathered skirts have never really suited me, but I didn’t know there was a solution to this! Thanks this is a bit of a revelation! *collects gathered skirts armed with seam ripper*


Thank you Meg! I bought this pattern a year ago and just couldn’t find a way to make it look flattering on me. Thank you, thank you for sharing your “hack”. I’ll be adding this to the sewing queue very quickly!


Glad you found it helpful. I’d love to see your skirt when you’re finished :)

Shireen Irvine Perry

A good suggestion Meg. Years ago when there were not many petite sizes in the stores, I went home and made my first jacket to fit me in the color and fit I couldn’t get in the stores. I am currently making a fit and flare dress for my petite proportions for similar reasons. And I wanted the sewing challenge of creating my own pattern using parts of other patterns, my sloper and new sewing techniques.


Envious. I really can’t do full skirts. Barely A-line is the fullest beyond a straight skirt you’re getting on my miniscule frame. Your skirt looks lovely on you.


I too have always avoided gathered skirts and I am in my upper 50’s, 56 to be exact! Am I too old the change, Nah! TFS. Annette


I’m 54 spring, and in the middle of re-imaging my wardrobe and “personal image” – I don’t think 2 more years puts you out of the running! :)
I’m an hourglass shape, and a bit on the plump side, so what I like to do for a full skirt, is use a gore pattern designed with no gathers, and just cut 1 or 2 more gores – this gives a full hem (varies with the flare of the gore, of course) and light shirring at the waist. Much more flattering (and takes less fabric) that the straight-panel dirndl cut.


That’s a really good idea, Sandy. Thanks for sharing!

Alice Elliot

Excellent idea!!! Might even try this.


The pictures above doesn’t have a lot of pleats, I love pleats!! But I like a wider waist band, would this be a good option?


You could definitely widen the waistband!


Lovely skirt Meg! I love this hack!!

For me, I’ve found I have an ideal hip:hem ratio for gathered or pleated skirts, so as long as my pattern falls within that range, I’m good to go — and this seems like a great way to manipulate patterns to get me there. Other ways I make gathered skirts work: depending on the fabric I might change the gathers to pleats (either a series of small pleats or a couple large ones), and depending on the weight of the fabric I might give it a wide hem to change the body of the skirt.


I love your idea to add a wide hem. Definitely going to give that a go next time. Thanks for sharing!


Does Zinnia have to sit on the natural waist? Could I make it to sit 4 plus inches below my natural waist which is where I like to wear my full skirts by just measuring that area by my hip bones as my waist measurement for the skirt? Would that work for this pattern?

Love reading how everyone is altering the skirt to suit their bodies!



I’m sure that would work, but you could always stitch up a quick muslin of the gathered version without buttons to test it out. Full skirts do seem to illustrate how different all our bodies can be. I barely have 4 inches below my waist, and even less above! :)


Thanks, Meg!


This is a brilliant idea, thank you! I just cut out a gathered skirt going by my waist measurement & the gathers are just so full, I might go back and cut the skirt down to a smaller size. I love the fabric you’ve used!


I’ve made two Zinnias and I found that the gathered skirt works a lot better with very light fabric. Stuff like chiffon or lace. But using a smaller skirt size is genius, and totally makes a heavier fabric more feasible for the style.


I think #5 is my favorite, love the pleats, and the fabric looks very nice!


I love the hack and actually cut it out and sewed it as you did and I have to say, I have WAY more gathers than yours is showing. Did you cut out the gathered skirt in a size 4 or the pleated skirt?
I’ll post mine on integral when I get done putting the buttons on this afternoon. (:


I’ll post it on instagram.

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