And, welcome to the final post of the Zinnia Sewalong. In today's installment we'll be showing off our finished Zinnia skirts and (drum roll please) we'll be announcing the Five finalists for our Zinnia Competition!
But first we thought we would pause to reflect a little on the events of the last few months and the process of this, our very first sewalong.
A First Time For Everything
It's taken us longer to get here than first anticipated, but now that we've arrived we can finally look back and say that the Zinnia Sewalong has been a enjoyable venture into the unknown and a big learning curve for all of us.
When we first decided to take on the challenge of writing a whole, step-by-step tutorial on how to make a skirt, we probably thought of it as a fun filled Friday afternoon activity. But as it turned out, there was a lot more to it than that.
Our first surprise, even to ourselves, was how much detail we actually wanted to go into on just about everything! Not content to gloss over the basics, we spent much of the first few tutorials explaining some foundational sewing techniques. And throughout the process continually found ourselves agonising over the words to explain things in the most understandable way.
"Should we say right side, of the left-hand-side, of the back?"
Although time consuming, the beauty of this effort is that we now have some basic sewing tutorials that we can re-post individually to cover the essentials, and then use them as reference points for future sewalongs. The result, hopefully, should be less exhaustive, more regular posts that concentrate on the making of the garment.
So yes, we are planning to do more sewalongs in the future. We've been absolutely thrilled with the response we've had to the Zinnia, and are pleased as punch with the resultant content. We've also discovered that our posts are an invaluable online resource to the students that regularly attend our studio in Glasgow.
So while we probably won't be starting the first tutorial next week, or even sometime this month, the Stitchery Sewalong shall return to these pages. And who knows, maybe some day we'll make something that our technical editor, Matthew, can wear; a small prize for all his head scratching!
Our Finished Garments
As the Sewalong has progressed you've had a chance to see our own garments progress too. And with what seemed like a rare bit of Glasgow sunshine this week, we grabbed the opportunity to step outside and take some snaps of our finished Zinnia Skirts.
In case you've not been following our sewalong, we've had two versions of the pattern underway: One made by Stitchery Owner, Cassandra Belanger, and the other made by our lovely intern, Naomi Kwant.
Naomi's cotton poplin skirt is based on Version 2 of the Zinnia pattern. She's used a lace trim on the hem and slip stitched down the waistband, rather than top-stitching it. With its pastel colour and feminine, yet slightly girl-next-door elegance, this skirt is definitely a Naomi outcome.
Naomi's input throughout this sewalong has been invaluable. She wore a myriad of hats throughout the process: seamstress, photographer, tea lady, proof reader, and holder of daylight lamps in awkward positions. A big thank you to you Naomi!
Cassandra's Zinnia is based on Version 1. A lover of contrasting fabrics and the heritage of Scottish textiles, she was inspired by this colourful plaid print and used it for the skirt back, waistband and button placket.
She experimented a little with different pockets, deciding in the end that her skirt worked best pocketless. The garment was finished off with some golden top-stitching and buttonholes, and some dark wooden buttons; all of which compliment the flashes of walnut than run throughout the plaid.
The Zinnia Competition
We were more than delighted with the response to our first ever Sewalong competition and would like to thank everyone for their hard work. The entries that came in were not only a display of great workmanship, but also of the wide variety of creative things that can be done with just one sewing pattern.
In the end, hard as the decision was, our panel of judges had to decide on a set of five finalists. These entries were the ones that they felt best exemplified the following:
- Fabric choice
- Quality of construction
- Embellishments and/or style alterations
And now that we've whittled it down to five skirts, it's time for the public to vote on a winner. To keep this as fair and unbiased as possible, we're allowing two groups of people to vote:
- Anyone who entered the competition
- Anyone who is, or has been a student at The Stitchery (including those booked into upcoming courses).
If you fall into one of these categories then you can visit our VOTING PAGE, enter your details and select your favourite from our list below. Voting will be open until Midnight on Wednesday 11th June, and we'll be announcing the winner on Friday the 13th June.
As a reminder, the winner of this fabulous competition will receive a CXL301 Sewing Machine from our sponsor Janome, and we will also be giving them a £50 gift voucher to spend on anything Stitchery. Our runner-up will win a £50 gift voucher from our other sponsor, Mandors Fabric Shop, plus a £50 Stitchery gift voucher. Our bronze prize is a £50 Stitchery gift voucher.
A big thank you to both our sponsors for providing these prizes. All of the machines we use at the Stitchery are manufactured by Janome and Mandors is the go-to store for many of our students.
The Final Five
So here they are: the five garments that our panel have chosen to be finalists. And remember, if you're eligable to vote, you can do so by visiting our VOTING PAGE and selecting your favourite. Enjoy!
This is Laurie, a resident of our fair Glasgow, and she's chosen to make a vintage inspired cotton skirt, based on Version 1 of the Zinnia pattern. She's decided against the prescribed pleats on the patch pocket, instead opting for a plain pocket with a lace appliquéd flap and button. She's also used complimentary fabrics for either side of her waistband. In terms of construction, she's chosen to hand sew the hem and has used French seams.
Eva lives in Langbank, on the banks of the River Clyde. Her Dutchess satin skirt is based on Version 3 and is decorated with black floral lace, hand appliqued along the hem. She has chosen to use French seams and has slip-stitched her hem by hand. To match the black lace, she's used a black decorative button for the waistband tab at the back.
This next entry is from Sharon, who lives in Lennoxtown. Sharon's cotton, seashell print skirt (available at Mandors Fabric Shop) is a combination of the gathered Version 1, with the waistband and button/zipper closure of Version 2. She's used a light blue, matching ribbon on the waistband and around the hem. She's also embellished the waistband with some small silver seashell charms and made her own fabric covered button.
Originally from the UK, but currently living in Switzerland, Siobhan has chosen bold, contrasting fabrics for her take on Version 1 of the Zinnia. She's used the yellow floral print to make her own fabric covered buttons and has matched this with a bright yellow top-stitch.
This is Yvonne, who lives in Bishopton. Her Japanese floral print, chiffon skirt is based on Version 3 of the Zinnia pattern. But she's opted to use her lining fabric for the waistband because of the directional print of her main fabric. She's used French seams and has hand stitched her delicate hem. She'd also added belt loops.
Well those are our finalists. And we hope you agree that they are worthy of being in the final five. We're thrilled that they represent a broad spectrum of aesthetic tastes. And it's worth mentioning that there were a few more that just missed out on a spot in the final. The standard was high and some people went to great lengths to make their garments stand out from the crowd.
Thank you to everyone who took part. And we look forward to more sewing adventures in the future!