Friday 12 September 2014

Sew It - A Dirndl A Day

Not very long after I moved from my room in Walthamstow to a flat in Woodford, I made a skirt, this skirt to be precise!

I blogged about this skirt (here) and thought this skirt was lovely, so pretty, so colorful and so quick to make. But to my shame I've never once wore it. Oh, I tried it on a few times but always decided and that it made my hips & behind look huuuuge and so stuck it back in my wardrobe and pretended it never existed.

That was until a few weeks ago, I don't have much wardrobe space so I decided it was time to be ruthless, if it didn't fit (waiting for that mythical 'thinner me') or hadn't been worn in ages, it was time to say goodbye. So when I got to this skirt, I knew it was time either to wear it or re-uses the beautiful fabric.

I tried it on and strangely my previous concerns didn't bother me quite as much, I could see past the big-buttedness and knew that this pretty skirt would be perfect for surviving the heatwave we were having. And now that I don't give (so much of) a damn how big my butt looks I have been wearing this skirt to death, it actually got to the point were I was sad that it had to go in the wash, this made me aware of two things:
  1. I am a fickle sod. I'm the same size as when I made this so my derrière must look the same!
  2. I was going to need more of these skirts and quickly to give me a chance to wear them before the good weather here in the UK disappears once and for all!
So I have made some more, well quite a few more, I now have six skirts, that's very nearly one for every day of the week!

All of these skirts have taken just under 2 meters of fabric to make and with the exception of the black one came from Minerva Crafts and cost £2.99 pm.  As before I followed Gertie's Dirndl Skirt Tutorial (Part One & Part Two) I did make a few changes to the pattern. Rather than using the measurements Gertie suggest I came up with my own, due to my hip to waist ratio I wanted less fabric in the skirt so I decided to just double my waist measurement which gave me a nice full skirt but not too full. Also I didn't make a paper pattern for either my skirt or waistband, as once you have worked out correct measurement the pieces, being cotton the fabric can be easily sniped & ripped to the required size, for me not having much space for laying out fabric to pin a pattern to, it really is a huge help!

Right, on to the skirts!

Just looking at this fabric makes me happy, its full of summer sunshine and one of my favourite colours and as far as I can remember this will be the first time I have ever worn yellow!

For some reason making this skirt was more difficult than the others, due to a zip that would not behave, I think it might be that this fabric was just a little lighter in weight than the others but now that I have stitched it into submission, I am so glad I persevered as its so lovely!

This was the most worn, so far, out of all of the new skirts I've made. I really love the way the pinks and dark blue contrast and luckily despite bringing more pink into my wardrobe ( I really thought I hated pink, must be in denial) it goes well with most of the tops I already own, hence why its being worn and worn!

The Fabric was from Minerva Crafts and is still available Navy/Pink Floral Print As much as I love this skirt it is the one where the fabric has not held up to general wear as sadly the colour is fading a little more with each wash but it still looks presentable.

Yes this skirt is covered in yellow Donkeys and Blue Zebras and I love it. Enough said!

This Fabric is Donkey Fabric from Minerva Crafts and I love it! It is totally wacky and kitsch and so to my mind echoes Some of the fabulously Kitsch skirts of the 50's.

As a teen I was never really a goth more of a brit pop tom boy, but my oh my I did wear a lot of black (and by a lot I really mean almost everything) all of the other skirts would have made me sick with fear! It has taken me years to fight back my black compulsion, I'm drawn to it.

So to appease the voice in my head which is always screaming 'make it in black' I made this skirt, it also acts to balance out all the floral funkiness going on with the others. Its made from a lovely black eyelet lace /  broderie anglaise which I have had lurking in my stash for an age so its nice to finally give it some life!

It would not be a craft blog without a fury pattern weight of some kind waiting in the wings to "help", my chosen species of helper is the cat. And the cat in my life, Beau puts his grumpy mark on everything, curtains, carpet sofa, even this skirt (see below) so why not make a skirt that reflected this impact and full outed me as the crazy cat lady I am.

This is Blue Kitty Polycotton from Minerva Crafts, and it is literally covered in kitty cats (it also comes in red and yellow and green) it must meet Beau's approval as he seemed only to eager to 'help' yet again!

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So with all these homemade skirts under my belt, there are a few things I have learnt!

Working with polycotton is a lot of fun, as you can see its available in some wonderful and wacky prints, it tends to be lighter in weight than 100% cotton which makes for cool and floaty clothing and due to the blend of synthetic in the fabric it also means that doesn't need much ironing, so no annoying creases at the back from being seated at work all day! There is a downside to using cheaper printed cottons, be they 100% or of the mixture variety, there does tends to be a bit of colour loss on the darker shades once they are washed.

Top left after the wash / Lower right before the wash
I'd expected a little colour loss, I chose not to pre-wash the fabrics before sewing and so found while working that my hands and sewing machine were getting stained with blue dye, wonky donkey skirt I am looking at you!

Also I found that the printing didn't run true to the grain of the fabric, meaning if you have a very obvious stripe in your pattern you may not be able to get the pattern run parallel to say your hem, which is super annoying if your looking for precision, so its worth bearing these things in mind when choosing your fabric!

Anyway these issues aside I love all my bright and breezy skirts its just a shame, though I love autumn, that soon I will have to pack them away for next year, oh well I am looking forward to cozying up in my winter woollies too!!

Wendy x


  1. wow you have been busy! I love them all but my favourites are the yellow & of course the crazy cat lady one! I have a number of skirts & dress that I don't wear because they make me look tubby, I should just get over it :( xx

  2. Love them especially the kitty one and the yellow roses :) x

  3. I tried making a dirndl skirt once and this reminds me to try my hand again. That yellow one is so pretty and sunny!
    Rowena x

  4. Such a sunny array of skirts, think the yellow one is top of the list here.
    Heather :)

  5. The crazy cat lady print is so cool!

  6. These are all DELICIOUS! I am all for using one pattern and lots of different fabrics :)

  7. Such pretty skirts! Obviously I would have to pick the cat one as my fave! Although a very close second is the black one, which as well as being a yay for stashbusting must be a very versatile addition too :)
    You do so well for holding back with the black compulsion though, I think it's an achievement if I pick grey instead ha ha!

  8. Haha, the Wonky Donkey!! That title alone is super fun!

  9. Wow, you've certainly been busy! They are all very pretty, but I especially LOVE the cat lady skirt :)