Dirndl Update: Blut, Schweiß, und Tränen / blood, sweat, and tears

This dirndl was never going to be a simple weekend project. I knew going into it that I would have to learn around a dozen new sewing techniques, and you can bet that I have worked my butt off! I am proud to say that I am not giving up, and persevering despite the challenges.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that sewing in piping is fun! and somehow makes sewing on the curve easier. I really like the finished look that it gives to my seams (here you can see I did the back seams first).


Then it was time to sew the arm holes, which went smoothly, and then the neck line. This went well, and then it was time to turn the whole thing inside out and see the results! I did this by pulling it through the open bottom and through the shoulder hole (see below) – this sort of thing always makes my head spin a bit as it’s so funky to look at, but it works!



While I was admiring the glory of my piped bodice, I noticed something odd…


This evil bit of piping had escaped! and right smack dab in the middle of the front panel – luckily I kept my cool and positioned it properly and sewed that devil into submission.


AHA! VICTORY IS MINE! I thought as I stood admiring my bodice (over my old dirndl blouse). Then I began to see the error of my ways…that by taking the side seams in quite a bit, I had inadvertently pulled the front seams too far toward my arms, and now my boobs were not happy. ↓


So it was back to work for me, and a nip and a tuck led to a much better fit. I think part of the trouble was that this pattern, like all patterns, is made for some person out there who is NOT ME. Naturally I have to alter it to fit perfectly, and I am happy with the results. But it took me quite a while to achieve the proper look; I was frustrated until I had the brilliant idea to put it on OVER my old dirndl in order to decide where to place the buttons! (This was the sweating part).

I carefully finished the edges of my front panels and folded them over and sewed them down. Then I carefully marked the positions of where the buttonholes should go (this required math, so bonus points here). I pulled out my sewing machine manual to refresh my memory on how a buttonhole foot works, and quickly recalled my distaste for the finicky plastic thing. After much patience and swearing, I had 9 relatively straight buttonholes that needed opening. In order to do this, one must cut the fabric very carefully, so as not to cut the thread as well. The manual, and my own experience, said “use your seam ripper!” Well I really wish I hadn’t because on the third buttonhole the blasted thing ripped straight through my fabric and INTO MY HAND. (This was the blood and tears part).


I may have screamed out in frustration, and I definitely called my hubby to complain for sympathy. This mess happened right on the front of my bodice; I am very lucky that the thread I have matches perfectly and it is pretty much camouflaged unless you really look for it.  A small pity party was thrown at which I drank a beer and ate junk food, and immediately felt better.


The easiest part of this whole thing has also been the most satisfying – sewing on the buttons! I chose little silver hearts because they are adorable and it is almost Valentine’s day, so why not? Here’s a pic of what I have accomplished so far! Stay tuned for (hopefully) the final chapter of the dirndl dress saga!!!


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