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A simple black Zinnia


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Well, I found it.

For years, I have been knitting myself these little cropped sweaters from vintage patterns from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The style is usually short, with a wide band of ribbing at the waist for a cinched in look, made in a fine gauge yarn. Some are lacy, some are simple, some are colorful. But they are all cropped.

I am addicted to making them and think they are utterly adorable. But I usually have no clue what to wear them with. I’m actually not a big skirt person (I prefer dresses) and pants are never high enough for tops this short.

But this super simple Zinnia is it. It’s so comfortable. It balances out my bust, but isn’t too fluffy. It has pockets. And it actually reaches my waist, so there’s no danger of belly flashing. I’m so into it and can’t wait to wear it with my other sweaters.




The leaves are glorious in right now, so I had Kenn take these of me on a walk through the neighborhood. It was a rare sunny day, the best sort of October afternoon here in Oregon. I even had to wear sunglasses.




We met up with this guy on the way. His name is Escobar and he has a brother named Pablo. He was purring and kissing my nose, causing Kenn to exclaim, “OMG, you look like a catfood commercial right now!”



If you’re curious about the sweater, I’m afraid I knitted it a few years back and don’t recall the vintage pattern. It’s knitted in a cotton/cashmere blend from Colour Mart, and has these amazing Czech glass buttons. I backed the placket with grosgrain, but it ripples like crazy anyway.

By the way, I changed my hair up a few weeks ago. It tends to get a bit wavy when it’s shorter these days, so I’m going with it.


The details:
Skirt: Zinnia by Colette Patterns, in black rayon
Top: Hand knitted, vintage pattern
Bag: Vintage Coach
Tights: Foot Traffic signature cotton tights, my favorite right now
Shoes: Sofft (from a few years ago)

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 52


Beautiful Outfit! I adore knitting little vintage sweaters like that but similarly to you find myself having trouble pairing them with things. My solution has been to lengthen the body to make them long enough to wear with my jeans but I think this ruins the vintage silhouette a bit so zinnia it is! I have already picked up the pattern and toiled it and I love the shape :)


Lovely skirt!

lisa g

this looks great together! i love the zinnia in a solid color, and what a beautiful sweater. lovely pictures!


love the outfit (top and skirt), looks gorgeous and so easy to wear!! j’aodre!!

Amy Peck

Thank you for posting these wonderful pictures! I was a bit unsure about the Zinnia and how gathered it is at the waist. I don’t have much of a waist, and find that skirts like this make me look heavy… however, seeing it in the rayon gives me hope! I own tons of your patterns and this post has convinced me to give the Zinnia a try.

p.s. I LOVE your new hairdo… I am in desperate need of something new and you may have inspired me to go for it :)


Lovely outfit!


Beautiful pictures, and I love the wavy hair!


I also had some doubts about Zinnia style but your pictures are very convincing. The whole outfit is wonderful. And your wavy hairstyle with brighter highlights is a true success. Superb!


Ooh .. so so pretty!!! The whole outfit is just perfect. :) I love that light rayon – this skirt will go with so many things this fall! And those LEAVES.. I’m having major autumn envy right now.. Beautiful photos – thanks for sharing!!


I made a navy wool crepe Zinnia for fall, but darn if I don’t need one in black rayon after seeing this. So much for not buying any more fabric this year! Thanks for sharing your version, fall in Oregon looks beautiful!


You just gave me a great idea! I just remembered I have a black and white plaid wool crepe lying around from last Winter, and it’s the perfect amount for making Zinnia!

Gail Ann Thompson

Hello – I too am very interested in knitting those lovely old patterns from the 30’s and 40’s. I am especially fond of the suits, and until JUST NOW, I have struggled to find suitable yarns. Thank you for the Color Mart linc. Which has led me to wonder if I’ve been missing out on similar lincs for fabric?????? Could you please publish a Resources List??? For many of us, especially those of us living in “fly-over country” we have few opportunities to buy fine fibers and fabric. Jo-Ann’s having run them all out of business.


I’d love to do this. I could include our lovely retailers, since of course they have great taste!


What a perfect fall outfit! I just got my Zinnia pattern and am so excited to start looking for fabric. I might have to make many many versions to get all my visions out!


Too cute, Sarai! Both the sweater and the skirt look fantastic, and they’re absolutely lovely together.

Rochelle New

Haha! You look exceptionally more stylish than the women I’ve seen cracking cans of Friskies, and I’m sure the classic skirt and sweater combo have everything to do with it ;)


Love the sweater. I wish I had the patience to knit (but I do crochet). I can, however, make the skirt. It will definitely be in my next order!

Sarah C.

You always are lovely, and I think that this ensemble may be my favorite look on you ever. It really is perfect, and I love the hair. Really, this entire photo shoot just says “autumn,” in all the right ways.


Thanks Sarah, that’s really sweet. :)


Okay, you got me — I also have a ton of cropped sweaters knitted from vintage patterns (in Colourmart yarns, no less!) with nothing to wear with them. And all this time they’ve been waiting for a knee-length Zinnia!


So love the sweater. Guess I’ll be looking on ravelry for a pattern this evening. Pairs beautifully with your zinnia skirt.


If you can find a copy (maybe from a local library, since they’re out of print), check out the patterns from the Stitch in Time books!


Just wondering because the rayon looks a little sheer in one of the photos – did you line the skirt? Also, does it stick to tights at all? I have a dress I sewed in rayon challis that sticks to my tights horribly. I really love rayon and the look of your skirt, plus I just ordered the Zinnia pattern, so I’d love to be a copycat, but I’m worried about about it not working well for winter.


No, I didn’t line it. The rayon is light, and I think slightly sheer when the light shines directly through it, but given that it’s black, it definitely doesn’t need a lining for modesty.

It doesn’t seem to stick to my tights at all. I think it just depends on the fabric, but maybe you could just wrap some fabric around your waist while wearing tights and try walking around?


Beautiful skirt and photos!

raquel from J.C.

hehehe Pablo & Escobar!


I love the whole look and these photos are all really lovely, especially with the red leaves. This is the kind of look that I like (skirt and sweater) though I don’t get to wear it often enough. I like the ease and fullness of the Zinnia, because I have a difficult time finding a skirt that isn’t straight but at the same time isn’t so full that I look like a child. This skirt seems to have achieved the right proportions for me, especially in the rayon – the drape is quite nice. I think I need to get this pattern and dig around in my fabric stash for a hidden treasure to make this with.


Wow! That outfit looks amazing on you! And, those photos… Just wow!


Wow, these photos have convinced me to add Zinnia to my list. And, possibly knit a cropped sweater as well!

Cicily H.

That sweater looks really great with the Zinnia.
I am so inspired that, on top of your enviable sewing skills, you can also knit something as sweet as this adorable sweater (I’ve yet to attempt knitting anything more complex than a lacy-patterned throw or shawl myself).
I would love to see more samples of your vintage-patterned sweaters. BTW, have you seen the knitting book, “Sweater Girls”? …It’s chock full of similar 40s and 50s inspired patterns.



Nothing unimpressive about knitting lace!

You can see more of what I’ve knitted on ravelry, but I haven’t been great at putting everything up there:


I’ve been considering this pattern but your outfit has convinced me so I’ve just ordered it! Now off to Ravelry to check out cropped sweaters. Thank you for the inspiration.


Love that combination! I just grabbed (well, bought) a couple vintage knitting magazines from an estate sale recently, so I may have to make something similar to this. (:


A wonderful combination! I always knit similar short vintage-styled sweaters but since I tend to end up favoring skirts to dresses and also pants that sit at my waist, I don’t have the same issue figuring out what to wear them with. I could totally see an army of Zinnias in different colors and patterns to match your beautiful knitting! I can’t wait to sew one up myself.

Amy Peck

Where did you buy your fabric? Local or online? I am in desperate need of finding a good fabric source, as right now my option is JoAnn Fabrics and they don’t have anything as far as apparel fabrics go. Thanks!


I bought it locally, here at Mill End in Portland.


I got really excited about this post, until I got to

“If you’re curious about the sweater, I’m afraid I knitted it a few years back and don’t recall the vintage pattern.”

What a tease!!! The sweater is just perfect with a skirt of this style, and as I wear a lot of skirts, this looked so tantalising! The outfit looks great – makes me want to make a Zinnia straight away!

Jade Sheldon-Burnsed

Such a perfect combination Sarai!

Lisa G.

You are an excellent knitter! I’m glad you found the perfect pairing for your sweaters.
That cat is a very handsome fellow!


Yowsa! Sarai you are a smasher. And the skirt/sweater combo is inspired. I love the black rayon choice for the Zinnia–dress up or down.


I love this outfit! I have almost completed a vintage sweater started a year ago ;) I think I will now have to make a skirt to match. I wasn’t too sure about the Zinnia skirt as I thought it would make me look plump, your pictures have convinced me that I should give it a go.

Denise Wood

First of all, I can’t believe that you made that sweater! Love it. Second of all, I paid a visit to Mill End with my daughter while visiting her in Portland. WOW–that place is amazing! I want to go back with a specific project in mind. And thirdly, you’ve given me the idea to use a length of wool crepe I have in a Black Watch plaid to made another Zinnia for myself. Lastly, I love your lipstick color.

Enough said.


I adore this outfit.
I had not considered zinnia as something I could wear until seeing it in this rayon.
Would this be considered rayon challis?


Yes, I’d call it a challis.


I finished my first Zinnia this week (version 2) and it is by far one of the most flattering skirts I have ever had! So excited to make more!


Love the skirt!!
Wish you would show the back view as well.
I would like to make Zinnia to the calf out of a cosy soft fabric… perhaps fine wale corduroy? Or such that would be great to settle into as a comfortable work skirt. I am size 18. How will this look?


Love the combo of the sweater and the skirt. Do you mind my asking what pattern you knit this sweater from? Would love to make both!


I wish I could remember. If I dig it up on my computer somewhere, I’ll let you know!


Thanks so much!

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