Hello lovelies! After a month’s absence from the blogosphere, I am back with a sewing inspiration post! If you can’t tell by the title, I have jumped onto the Dirndl obsession bandwagon. Not only are dirndls pretty, but they are practical too, which in my life is a must. But what is a dirndl?
You have probably heard of dirndl skirts, which are simple, gathered rectangular skirts, but a dirndl dress is quite different. A traditional dirndl is part of Austrian and German “Tracht” or, Folkwear. It is made up of a blouse, worn underneath a bodiced dress with a full rectangular skirt, and an apron on top. If the bodice is made of a different material than the skirt, it is called an “apron dress”, whereas a dirndl made of just one material is simply a Dirndl. As is my wont, when I am starting a new project in a territory I am unfamiliar with, I have been studying up on traditional Dirndls as much as I can, both online, and with the help of a WONDERFUL book: “The Dirndl: With Instructions“, by Gexi Tostmann. This book was originally published in German, but has thankfully been translated to English. It is a treasure trove of history and images of dirndls, from their beginning up until the 1990s.
Most people, when they think of a dirndl dress, think that it has a low-cut neckline like the dress above. But I have learned that the world of dirndl necklines has SO much more variation than that. On the whole, the average everyday dirndl neckline is actually about two inches higher than the above example, while festival, and special occasion dirndls will have a lower neckline.
I am ever drawn to the handwork and details of traditional folk costume, and dirndls come with their own set of details. The variation in shapes and style lines, and the beautiful fabric trim and embroidery fascinates me, and makes me want to try my hand at a bit of time-consuming handwork.
If there are any other pattern geeks out there, you will LOVE scrolling through the blog post from which the above image came. It has the most adorable sketches of dirndls, along with a drawing of the pattern draft for each style. The style above looks just positively perfect for a summer day, don’t you think?
So, I suppose I am somewhat obligated to answer the question why dirndls are practical. First off, you are wearing a blouse underneath your dress, and most likely a petticoat too. This means that you will not have to wash your dress as often, and instead you will only have to wash your blouse and petticoat. Also, aprons are a part of traditional Dirndls, which, if you have ever cooked, or done housework without an apron, you will know that it is highly likely that you will get food (or dust if you are cleaning) on yourself. Aprons are so much easier to wash than dresses, wouldn’t you agree? And the last practicality of a dirndl? It is a dress! No skirts and fiddly blouses that come un-tucked from them to worry about. In the summer, if a dirndl is made of linen or cotton with a high neckline, it can even be worn without the blouse for yard work on the hottest days of the year.
And now you can see why I have become so enamored with dirndls. Aren’t the outfits above just delightful? They have a modern edge, yet they are so traditionally feminine. I am hoping, along with Jessica, to make myself a dirndl or two in the coming year. We will see where that goes, but you can be sure that I will share my projects with you when they are complete. 😉
What do you think of Dirndls?
Would you wear one?
Brigid, the Middle Sister and Singer