I, my friends, have finished sewing my dirndl!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a beautiful new dress to wear to the biergarten, and to be able to say that I made it myself. The weather yesterday was unseasonably bright and warm, so I took the opportunity to take some pictures of my latest creation (thank you to my mom for taking the pics)!
My hard work paid off, but it has been quite the road to get here. We left off in my last post discussing the completion of the red bodice. From there I pleated, pinned, and sewed the back skirt panel onto it – I ended up having to completely remove this later in the process to adjust the waist. I’m glad this happened, because even though it took me longer, it meant that I was able to adjust the pleats to have a more flattering appearance. In the photos below you can see how the pleats are a little funky.
Next, I needed to attach the front skirt panels. But I really, really need POCKETS in my dirndl because every girl needs pockets in everything. Fact. So I made them out of red material to be cheeky, but had not intention of letting them show when I’m wearing the dress. So when the side seams turned out not to leave much depth, I added 4 inches of matching blue fabric onto the pocket sides, pinned and sewed them in. It was tricky because each side front panel had to connect to the back panel for about 4 inches, then come away to create the pocket, and then reconnect for the remainder of the skirt length. It was fun solving this puzzle, and as I have never installed pockets before I pinned everything a million times before I sewed to make sure that I was getting it right.
Sadly I only have one picture for the process that was putting together the front skirt panels, because it took so much brain power that I simply forgot to document! After sorting out the pockets, I pinned each front skirt panel into pleats, while keeping about 3 inches free so that I could wrap the fabric around the open bodice front to create a finished front (and a way to get into the dirndl). Then I sewed it all to the bodice and then sewed the two panels together to form a neat seam down the front of the dress. This took patience and a lot of planning, and when I had finished I thought I was done (HA! YEAH RIGHT!)
I excitedly put on my new dirndl and looked in the mirror – and was instantly pissed off. It was too big around! Dirndls should fit nice and tight, and when I tied the apron around my waist, fabric was bunching in the small of my back. It was back to the drawing board!
I decided to take in each side seam by 1/2 inch, which meant that I did not have to undo the existing seams, but rather simply sew a new seam and then cut the old seam off and finish the fabric. However, I needed to adjust the top of the skirt as well to take in the waist, so I ripped the seam out that connected the back skirt to the bodice. After a little work and making sure to be careful, I had everything the way I wanted it. Hooray! Sometimes things are just meant to be. This adjusting of the side seams also gave me a chance to clean up the joining of the piping at the bottom of the arm hole, and I’m now very happy with my craftsmanship on this dirndl.
Sewing a dirndl is not for everyone, since there are so many steps to the process, but I am very glad that I did it and I would like to make another one (because I am nuts!) If you are interested in creating your own, check out this neat group on Facebook: Dirndl & Tracht: Nähen, Trends & Tipps They are walking participating members through the process of sewing a dirndl one month at a time. So cool!!!