I was going to work on a dress for my brothers wedding this week. Well, a mock up dress. But a few nights ago I was lying awake, after a nighttime feeding with the baby, and thinking of all sorts of different dress designs. For some reason the thought of a simple jersey dress made in a drapey Greek-style appealed to me. The next morning I did a google search and found this dress, and it is just what I want. So that is taken care of. I'll make mine in either blue or green. Or if I can find it, a bluish-green. Maybe I will just buy white jersey and dye it myself. It's a perfect style. Breastfeeding friendly, slimming, modest. (okay I despise the word "modest", but you know what I mean. It's good for a conservative wedding.) My mom, who is not a fan of historic styles, likes it. My husband, who is not a fan of modern styles, likes it. So we'll go with it.
So I have been working on this dirndl instead. I have never made a dirndl and I found it very, very hard to find out much information on how these things are cut or constructed. I came across a few blogs that showed other's versions of the dirndl; one of the most helpful is here: How to Sew a Dirndl. Some defining features that stood out to me included the V neck at the back bodice, the skirt cartridge pleated to the waistline of the bodice and a center front opening with either zippers, hooks, buttons or lacing. The basic style is a closely fitted bodice with or without sleeves and with a full skirt attached, often worn with a peasant-blouse-type shirt and an apron. Modern dirndls show lots of cleavage and extreme versions look to be more seductive in appearance. I'm not going for that, but I do like the lower cut neckline worn with a white blouse look. It works great for nursing! The image below is from wikepedia.
I found this vintage pattern for a dirndl.
The pic of the pattern pieces gave me a clue as to how the bodice ought to be shaped (princess seams) for this particular style of dirndl.
I used the pattern I draped for my 1910's brassiere as a starting point. I did not have to modify it much and here is the finished pattern:
I plan to use these fabrics. I have had them a while and there is not enough yardage of any of them to make a complete dress but since dirndls can be made of a variety of fabrics it is the perfect style to utilize these odd lengths and scraps of fabric!
So far I have made the bodice. I puzzled over how to put this thing together. I ended up using 1860's corset construction methods. I decided to use the royal blue wool for the bodice and it is lined with linen and interlined with cotton/linen blend. The construction method covers all the seam allowances with one swipe through the sewing machine so its a quick, good, sturdy method of construction. The pattern is fitted with "negative ease" since I wanted a self supporting bodice. Actually, the fit is quite similar to my hobbit bodice only with a front opening instead of a back opening.
For the front opening I inserted metal grommets and boned either side of the grommets. I wanted a laced opening as it seems that works the best for negative ease garments. There is no boning anywhere else in the bodice. The armholes and neckline I finished with binding.
The bodice came out a tad short, I think. I think I will just leave it a tad short for now, though. I don't want to add a waistband to the bottom of the bodice since I haven't seen any examples with separate waistbands. Besides, I can always tie the apron a bit low to extend the look of the waist.
I hope to finish this soon as it is totally freezing outside right now. My body is screaming for wool. Wool is just awesome. The skirt will be the stripey wool and the apron will be the blue and white printed cotton.