Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dare to Dirndl?

I did (and finally posted the pictures)!

Making a sloper is slow and arduous, so I decided to draft something easy.  Plus I need more skirts.  More solid colored skirts, really.

A few days after the end of the quarter, I ventured back into Patternmaking for Fashion Design (5th Edition) to draft up a dirndl with basic lapped waistband.  Yes, I know a dirndl is just a gathered rectangle skirt, but did you know that for a better fit, you should drop the waistline 1/4" at CB and gradually taper back to the correct side seam length?  Sounds counter intuitive, doesn't it!?  Why would you want to shorted the back piece at the CB?  There's a BOOTY back there!  Well, I learned that the reason for doing so is that your waistline actually does curve down a bit at the small of your back.  When you drape on a form, or draft patterns, you really start to notice these things.  Unless you have an extra ample booty, drop that waistline seam down 1/4" and the skirt will hang nicely and evenly all the way around the hemline!

This is how I drafted my skirt (per Mrs. Armstrong's instructions):

1)  Measure waistline (make sure it is comfortable and there is a bit of ease!) Let's say 26" (I realized that my waist is bigger now, sad!).

2) I chose a 2.5 to 1 gathering ratio so the total skirt width is 65".  At the time I was thinking about adding inseam pockets, but got too lazy.  (I wish I added them!)  I still opted for side seams though.  So I took 65" and divided it in 2.  The front panel is 32.5" and the back panels will be 16.25" each.  I wanted the zipper at center back.  Because of such a large ratio, I ended up fudging the numbers slightly and went with 32" and 16".  I also just assumed 1/2" seam allowance and did not add extra.  What's the point, right?

3) The length I chose was 20": 1/2" SA for the waistline, and a 3" hem.

4) The waistband length or circumference is your waist measurement (26") plus 1" extension, plus 1/2" SA on either side.  A total length of 28".  For the width, I chose 1.5" finished.   To do that, my width was 3" (1.5" x 2) plus 1/2" SA on the top and bottom for a total width of 4".

That's it! Those are your pieces.   Oh, and like I mentioned before, shave off that 1/4" at the CB of both back panels and gradually taper back to the 20" length at the SS.

More pictures of the dirndl:

I love the trim!  I was going to add a dainty crocheted lace trim, but my mom found this one instead.  I think its perfect!
The hem... I sewed a 3" invisible hem and then sewed the trim to the bottom. 
The waistband I topstitched the waistband down from the right side and caught the trim inside just above the gathers.

And this cute black and white vintage button finishes it off!

I really, really do recommend this book!  Well worth the price.

Finally, thanks to Amanda, Jeanettec, Fabiana, Christina, Tiffany Reagan, and Becca!  I know Tiffany Reagan and Becca both have blogs too, but I'm having trouble finding them.  Both are awesome contributors on Sew Retro!


  1. Hi Rebecca,

    The skirt looks great!! Good job!

    I gave you the "One Lovely Blog" Award! Go see what that means here:

    Have a lovely day!


  2. Lovely skirt. I really like the trim.