Tag Archives: coverstitch

In non-sewing news: The One with the Dirndl

363 days in the year, I’m a “Home is where the heart is” kinda girl. As long as I have my family with me I think I could be happy anywhere (well, maybe not ANYwhere, but you know what I mean). But for two days a year, the two days where my town celebrates its local parish fair, I’m fiercely patriotic. In honour of St. Kunigund, the local patron saint, I put on my dirndl and throw myself into the celebration:


Why have only one ice cream when you can have two, I’m sure you agree!

The procession is mainly horse-drawn carriages, music bands and kids groups (all the local primary school kids get the day off in order to attend!) and it’s just a lovely occasion full of local pride and great fun.




Well, that’s all very well, but enough of that, I hear you say. Let’s talk about clothes, shall we?!

Well, I have to admit I didn’t make my dirndl, I simply went to the shop and bought one. Shocking, ey? But I thought I might show you the workings of an originally Bavarian dirndl all the same:

IMG_8700The actual dress has a princess bodice. Before dirndls became a fashion item the bodice would have a built in corselet function so that the dress could be bound more or less tightly in order to accommodate more or less breathtaking work. In my version the chain is only decorative, the bodice as already fitted as it is. Interesting detail: You always buy your dirndl one size down from your usual RTW size, how else are you gonna get your boobs to spill out of the top otherwise?  😉


The bodice finishes about 5cm above (!) the natural waist, basically just a little below the rig cage. This means it can be quite tight without being restrictive because most of the tummy is below the bodice. That’s also the reason why muffin top is not existent in a dirndl and why  larger women actually look better in a dirndl that skinny ones. You get the vavavoom of the decolletage but you don’t even look below.

My favourite detail is the trim: it’s called “Froschgoscherl” which means “sweet little mouths of frogs”.

IMG_8703I already love the word!

A dirndl gets worn with a blouse which, in the olden days, would have been the only item to be laundered, together with the apron.

IMG_8705You get blouses in all styles, mine obviously is a festive style. And this is how you wear it:


The blouse finishes just below the bust in order not to interfere with the dress that goes over it. If you go for the full on dirndl look you can get special bras which are basically extra-extra-exaggerated push up bras to fill that neckline. I kinda felt that would have been a step too much for me, so I am going with the “subdued look”. 😉 .

Of course I’ve been checking out the competition.


As you can see, some of the nubile young things wear their dirndls a lot shorter. I might have done too, 25 years ago, but fashion dirndls didn’t really exist at that time. As it is, I’m happy with my longer length.

While Bavarian women are rated according to their neckline, a proper Bavarian lad is meant to have big calves bulging out of his leather pants. What do you think about this specimen:


And because it’s not too long since the 4th of July I thought I might end this post with a little nod across the pond to my American friends.

A red, white and blue greeting from Bavaria to the States!



In the next post, normal service shall resume with a post about my finished Jalie jeans!



La Mia Boutique 1/14 (German Edition): Hello Sailor-Peplum Top

Recently I came across a sewing magazine that is new to the German market: La Mia Boutique in a German version. It does not seem to be the same as the Italian edition – at least my news agent’s had a different version in Italian. I was a little wary about trying their patterns as my measurements make me fall in three different sizes on their size table (while with Burdastyle I may need to grade between two sizes for a tight fitting dress, otherwise I can stay within one size with no or minor alterations).

But because I had the magazine and I wanted to give the peplum trend a try before it goes completely I made up this little number:


Although my version looks quite different:

IMG_6435I made up their size 44 at the bust, grading out to a 46 at the hips, which corresponds to the German sizes 40 and 42. I normally wear a 40, but the measurement chart put me into this size, so this is what I made. Turns out I would not have needed to grade out at all, the top is plenty big enough as it is in a size 44/40.

IMG_6438I obviously put some sleeves on the top, they come from a dress in the same edition which has practically the same arm scythe as the top, so there was no problem there. I also lengthened the peplum by about 4 cm, and looking at the pictures I think it could have done with even more length.

I think the top is quite sweet and I am definitely going to wear it, just because I love the sailor look anyway. But I think I have got the peplum look out of my system now – I think it really looks better with something really formal and quite structured – and that’s something I am rarely going to wear.

Burdastyle 1/14 #122 : Asymmetric Top

To be honest, I have not really felt the Burda vibe in any great way recently. Although I have sewn a few things from the latest editions (none of them blogged yet – sorry…), there was nothing I was really excited about, nothing where I saw the preview and had fabric and notions ready on the day the magazine arrived, traced the same night and completed sewing a couple of days later. But dutifully I made the top from the cover – in fact I made it twice!

No 1 was from a ponte jersey that I bought online (in order to qualify for free shipping – yes, it was that cheap) and that was clearly a mistake. I like the look of the fabric, but the quality is a rather horrible and quite stiff polyester. So I thought I should use this to practice my coverstitch skills.

Because the fabric is so stiff the top actually came out a little tight although I cut a size 40 – often for knit tops I go down to a 38. The construction is extremely easy and the whole top came together in no time.

I finished the neck by simply turning the hem over and then coverstitching it, no fussing with a bias tape or anything like that. I am starting to get the hang of the coverstitch machine, although I feel there is still quite a bit to learn.

No 2 was started on the same night. I had some leftover fabric from a rayon jersey and the original project I wanted to make turned out a fail so I was keen to make something wearable out of the rest of the fabric.


I had to do some slightly creative cutting because I did not have the required width for the front part left, but I think I got away with it.


The top is about 5cm shorter than the first one, but it comes out a little loose. Oh for the variety of fabrics!! Just goes to show that simply making a muslin may not even be enough, because different fabrics behave so differently, even if they are broadly speaking the same type.

IMG_6464So there you go: Some words of wisdom that I am sure I will forget before I make up the next version of this top, if ever there is one – I like the sewing of it better than the wearing. Does that ever happen to any of you? Or should have my sewing head looked into?