Vintage Sewing

Very 50s Dirndl skirt

March 24, 2007

It seems like cheating to post a Dirndl because they are so, so easy. Plus, this was a border print so I didn’t even have to hem it! The fabric is vintage from Ebay – if you can’t make it out, its a medieval couple with a cart full of flowers pulled by a St Bernard. I so covet vintage border print skirts like this – especially since Prada did a similar line of “travel” themed skirts a year or two ago that were just gorgeous – but the Prada is definitely out of my price range, and even vintage skirts of this type go for a lot on ebay. Plus, they are usually in teenager sizes (25″ waists). I was pretty excited when I found the fabric and was able to make my own!
Here I’m dressed for work. It turned out to be a 14-hour day, which reminded me of another perk of the dirndl: So. Comfortable.
  1. I love your skirt and it brings back memories for me. I was in Junior-High in the 50’s. I loved to make these gathered skirts. We wore a “can-can” underneath to give the skirts a bit of poof. The skirt would swish beautifully when I walked and it was a perfect way to show off a lovely print.

    This is how I made my skirts: I used a two widths of fabric that roughly equaled 4 times the hip measurement (or one the desired width if cut on the cross-grain to show off a border like yours), the length included hem and seam allowance. I gathered this and stitched to the waistband after inserting the zipper. A quick top-stitched hem completes the skirt.

    This skirt style suits you very well. I hope you make some more.

  2. I love this skirt!

    I found one like it at the thrift store with Degas ballerinas on it. The best part was they had grass skirts sewn over top of the printed tutus!

    Did you make up the pattern yourself, like patsijean suggested above?

  3. I don’t really use a pattern. I cut the waistand first and sew it into shape. Then I sew the two ends of the fabric together, and gather it to fit into the waistband. I sew the waistband on, add a zipper and hook and eye, and its done.

    Fabricwise, I don’t use as much as PatsiJean suggested. My standard is 90″ (usually because I use two widths of 45″), but this one was 2.5 yards, which was just the length of the piece.

    The one danger of these skirts – which I wear a lot – is that of having a “Marilyn Moment” when going down the steps to the subway. I always wear a slip, having once had my underwear briefly exposed when going to lunch with some coworkers.

  4. I’m officially in love with this skirt and am determined to do something similar. You have completely inspired me. Thanks!

  5. absolutly stunning – I wish I had one. Here in South Africa it is very difficult to find ‘vintage’ fabrics – so it is hard to make these skirts too look just rught.

  6. You can also easily sew a dirndl without a zipper. One pocket (the left) is left open at the top of its seam. The skirt laps over the opening and the waistband is closed with a hook and eye.

    Love this skirt! such great fabric and the whole outfit is wonderful and flattering.

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