Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Colette Zinnia

I'll admit, I was kind of "meh" about the latest offering from Colette Patterns. A gathered, button-front skirt? An awkward-looking pleated skirt? For $16? Meh.

But of course, the more I thought about it, the more the button-front skirt appealed to me. I have several pins on Pinterest of similar skirts. In fact, earlier this year I wanted to make a similar skirt. So, why all the hating on a pattern that was almost exactly what I wanted just a few months ago? I'm not sure, really.

Well, anyway, two weeks ago, I got a wild notion of making this skirt (Version 1). I stopped by Made Sewing Studio to pick up the pattern. Then I took a trip to The Quilting Loft for the chambray. The chambray is lovely. It's from Robert Kaufman, part of the Interweave Chambray collection that popped up around August. I got it in Mustard (width = 44"). It's the perfect shade of mustard for my skin tone. I already had the buttons in my stash.

I was so very excited about this skirt. Very, very excited.

The pattern is cut on the cross-grain, which means this skirt is a lot fuller than it appears. I wish I had taken heed before I started cutting. I got the exact amount of fabric required. It wasn't quite enough. I had to cut the waistband on the straight grain to fit it in. After everything was cut out, I had just enough to make some bias tape for the hem.

The instructions for the Zinnia were good, but not great. There was some confusion when it came to attaching the waistband. It's not the standard way you see in just about every skirt pattern on the planet. It's not exactly hard to do but the instructions were seriously lacking in diagrams--the only one made absolutely no sense in conjunction with the written instructions. Again, I was able to figure it out and I did like the result. But still, beginner patterns aren't supposed to confuse intermediate to experienced sewists.

I've read other reviews that stated the waist band was too short (perhaps it's only for the pleated versions). I did not have this problem with Version 1. I made a size 16 in the waist but graded down to a 14 for the rest of the skirt. I ended up hacking off two or three inches (can't remember which) from the hem. It looked too matronly otherwise.

During the sewing process, I was quite content with this pattern. All my skirt fantasies would soon be realized and in a color that I had hunted down for years. Side note: I did not realize how hard it would be to find fabric in shades of mustard. Anyway, after all my sewing was done, I tried on my skirt.

Looks cute, doesn't it? Lies. All lies.

I fucking hated it. No, for real, hated it. Like could not stand to see it on my body.

The chambray is lightweight but has a crispness to it. The gathers did not like this, and even with pressing (it was pressed until I crumpled it and threw on the floor for a week), did not flatter my mid-section at all. It actually adds a few pounds.  I can't wear long cardigans with it. All my cardigans are long. It seems like you can only buy them in two forms: long enough to cover your ass or cropped just enough to reach the bra line. When I wear a cardigan with this skirt, it bunches up in the back and causes the dreaded "shelf booty".

Oh mustard skirt, how you mock me.

I tried it on with other shirts and pullover sweaters to no avail. This skirt just does not look good on me.

I was beyond pissed. This skirt cost me around $45 (pattern + fabric). That's not cheap for something that I absolutely cannot stand to wear. Wadders be damned. I don't understand why it didn't work as I have made plenty dresses with gathered skirts. Argh.

Well, you live, you learn. And if you carry any weight in your midsection, you might want to skip this one (or use a very lightweight fabric) or try Version 2 with the pleats. I won't be trying any other version of this skirt. Once has been quite enough.

I'm fighting the urge to cut it up and make something else with the fabric. But I think I'll just shove it into my closet for a while and revisit it in a couple of months.


  1. I hate that this pattern didn't work for you, but you did an awesome job on the construction!

  2. Thats such a shame! You really did do fantastically on the construction even with confusing diagrams! I've got one cut out but I think I may have to make some drastic changes for it to suit me too! x

  3. Oh no! Neemie, I'm so sad to hear that this pattern didn't work for you. That is the most frustrating thing ever. Not going to lie, I'm just about to cut into the gathered version of this pattern in the same size you used, and have been terrified of the same thing happening. Perhaps I may grade in at the hips, as well...

  4. Boo! The cost, the labor! Ugh. Sorry it didn't work out.

  5. Neemie, I'm so sad it didn't work out! I was quite excited when I started reading this post too as Alex over at "Sew I'm New To This" has created a yellow skirt gang and this would have fit on with it prefectly! No good if you can't wear it though :( I'd say leave it a while & revisit the fabric later in hopes of using it for something else? You're right about it being hard to find the right shade of mustard! x

  6. Aw man. That's too bad. The skirt looks cute in the dress form. Thanks for sharing the review.

  7. Thanks for the review. Because I have been toying with the idea of a mustard yellow skirt (no lie) and I've been trying to come up with the right pattern. You made the exact skirt I was thinking of making. Thanks to your efforts (which I know was frustrating), I will definitely bypass this pattern in this fabric!

  8. I keep going back and forth about this skirt, so I'm glad to see that someone doesn't like it, since I've seen so many raves about it. But I'm sad that you spent the time and money on it and didn't like the result. I've had that happen and it's such a bummer. Maybe in a softer fabric with more drape - like rayon - the result would have been different? It might lie closer to the body and might solve the issue of the poofy gathers at the waistline?

  9. I know this is an old post, but can you elaborate a bit on how the waistband attaches? I would consider myself intermediate as well and I am just stumped. I think it's the diagram that's tripping me up. And advice?

    And I did find that the waistband was too short for the pleated skirt. It didn't match up at all the first time, but thankfully I made a muslin since I'm using some expensive fabric.


Thanks for commenting with thoughtfulness and maturity.

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