BHL Kim: The Waxprint Dirndl

It’s been the day of our local festival again, and noone who’s ever been to Bavaria will be at all surprised that beer plays a major role.

However, I stuck it out with the kids and not a drop crossed my lips! Instead I went to show off my nex wax print dirndl, which started life like this:

The blouse and apron were recycled from my rtw dirndl, which you can look at in more detail here, if you are so inclined.

The story of this dirndl started last year, when I got obsessed about the thought of making a dirndl in non-traditional fabric. Now, although I live in Bavaria I don’t live a traditional kind of life and consequently don’t wear a dirndl more than once or twice a year (and, on a side not, dirndls were never really traditional attire, but started life in the 19th century as the kind of dress the towns people wore when they played at being peasant, much like today).

In order to make the dress more wearable I decided I needed to make one that was wearable on its own, with out the dirndl trappings.

So I decided on using the By Hand London Kim dress pattern for the dress. It’s cut a lot higher than a normal dirndl, which, worn without the blouse would be somewhere between undecent and undressed.

I took a lot of trouble on pattern placement and matching. The front bodice is made up out of strips of half-circles across the border of the print that were painstakingly matched to make up the full circles. At the same time this creates the criss-cross effect that on normal dirndls is normally achieved by threading a metal chain or ribbons through loops in the princess seams. Oh, those seams are piped to add an extra little embellishment

Here you can see the border of the skirt – rotate it by 90 degrees and you get half of the bodice centre.

I made the dress last year in autumn, but never got round to wearing it, so this summer it had its first few outings. I have to say I prefer the dirndl look, with the apron – I’m not crazy on a plain dirndl skirt on me, I prefer something slightly more tummy skimming. Having said that, the dress is just a lot of fun, and because the wax print I used isn’t quite as heavy as most, the dress is swishy and very, very comfortable so if the nice weather continues I’m sure it’ll get worn loads.

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12 thoughts on “BHL Kim: The Waxprint Dirndl

  1. Chris Schwab July 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Stunning use of pattern and you stitched it like a pro! Love this, and your forethought in making it a practical dress for more use. I had always assumed wax prints were on the heavy side , not prone to swishing at all so thanks for that (likely to be expensive! But fun…) bit of information.

    • Chris July 3, 2017 at 10:59 pm Reply

      to be honest, all the wax prints I had bought before were heavy and rather stiff, so I guess I was lucky with this one.

  2. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) July 3, 2017 at 4:55 pm Reply

    your use of the pattern on the fabric is absolute perfection. Love this colorful dress on you!

    • Chris July 3, 2017 at 11:03 pm Reply

      Thanks you Beth!

  3. tialys July 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm Reply

    Did you have to pay a lot for your fabric – it’s dead cheap in the U.K. if you go to the right place? I often look at it and wonder what I could make with it but, so far, have chickened out and went for some viscose with a ‘wax fabric’ look about it. You’ve worked miracles with the pattern placement – well done and thank you for the little ‘history lesson’ on peasant envy.

    • Chris July 3, 2017 at 11:03 pm Reply

      The fabric itself wasn’t that expensive, but of course with postage that almost doubled – but hey, you only live once. Whenever I do go to England I have a look out for wax prints, but feel either over- or underwhelmed by the choice and come back with nothing or a panic buy that lingers in the stash. So I suppose this purchase paid for itself. Also, this is the first garment I actually managed to pull off, like you, I chickened out on all the other wax prints and made them into quilts and the like…

  4. Chi! July 3, 2017 at 11:25 pm Reply

    This is so creative. I look forward to sewing my clothes someday.

  5. SewingElle July 3, 2017 at 11:49 pm Reply

    Oh you are so clever! A dress that can be a costume if you need it to be! Love the colours and the pattern placement.

  6. niqueknackss July 4, 2017 at 4:36 am Reply

    This is simply amazing!
    The bodice is so cool; I love how you mimicked the criss-cross.

  7. Hila July 4, 2017 at 7:27 am Reply

    Oh Chris! I love this and am swooning! Beautiful. 😍😍😍

  8. Marianne July 4, 2017 at 10:33 am Reply

    Beautiful! When I saw your dress on Instagram I thought how lucky you were to find a print that mimicked the traditional criss-cross. Now I know this had nothing to do with luck but everything with your excellent eye for pattern matching, brilliant!

  9. I love the pattern placement. Just perfect! I agree – it’s nice to have something that is more useable for other occasions too!

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