Vintage Sewing

A ‘Rectangular’ Skirted Dress?

July 10, 2009

Just recently I’ve come across a number of dress patterns that have a skirt which is just 2 rectangles of fabric, sewn together & then gathered to attacht to the bodice. Has anyone made a skirt like this before? How did it turn out?

It’s odd that I’ve been collecting patterns for a while now & never seen this method of making a skirt, then all of a sudden I seem to have about 4 of the things! I’m not sure if I like the idea or not. If anyone has pics of this kind of skirt it would be very much appreciated!!


  1. Hi! I've seen lots of 50s patterns with skirts like this. They can be quite full, but aren't usually as twirly as the drawing on the pattern envelope implies. On the other hand, they are much easier to hem, don't need to be hung before hemming and are a great way to show off a border print.

    I made Simplicity 3912. Finished photos here and here.

  2. It's often referred to as a dirndl skirt (after the popular traditional German peasant style of dress).

    If you google that you might find more examples of it. Good luck!

  3. They're very easy to make but can be unflattering if you're at all bottom-heavy (as I am). And of course, the more sweep you want in your skirt, the bigger the rectangle you need and the more gathering you'll have around the waist.

  4. I agree with Latter-Day Flapper, it does end up with a lot of fabric around the waist, because you have to fit the entire hem width into the bodice at once. Personally, I'd curve the side seams at least to cut some of that down.

  5. I have several patterns with this type of skirt. They typically are only flattering if you wear them with a big, puffy crinoline. If you don't intend to wear a crinoline, it would be more flattering to use an A-line or circle skirt from a different pattern.

  6. I've made several skirts like this. They are really fun to wear with all of that fabric billowing around you – but you will end up with A LOT of fabric gathered around your waist.
    You could use a circle skirt instead. That way you still have the volume in the skirt but not so much around the waist, and no headache gathering all of that fabric.
    Here's a drindle style skirt I made:
    And a shirt waist. This skirt pattern was exactly what you described:

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