Hot! The “Cleanse my ‘Palate’ before I ‘Fall’ down” Dirndl

Mmmmmmm pretzels.

The Facts 

Fabric: Black suedette embroidered curtains and white & red sheeting all from stash.
Pattern: Burda 3568.
Year: Pattern looks late 80s/early 90s? But also says ‘robe folklorique/vestido regional de Bavaria….so ‘timeless’?
Notions: 6 buttons ‘stolen’ from the Royal Jubilee challenge jacket, ribbons ‘stolen’ from an old burlesque costume I’ve retired, thread.
Time to complete: 12 hours.
First worn: 20th October 2012 to a friend’s Oktoberfest party.
Wear again? Ja!
Total price: $0 (£0).

The challenge: “Fall Palette”.


Guten Tag aus Bayern erm, Arizona!

(I apologise in advance for some bad photoshopping in this post. In most of the pics my daughter took, there were friends’ kids running around in the background so I’ve edited them out as we asked permission to take photos but not that I’d publish them on the internet. I also apologise for some ‘morning after pics’, I decided to take when I got fed up photoshopping said children out of the ‘night before’ pics. No prizes on guessing which are which, I did imbibe some delicious riesling and partook of some schnapps).

Very obviously morning after…

This ensemble could also be referred to as “What happens when Tempest isn’t in love with the Fall Palette things she’s been making all week, gets an email during Project Runway finale from a friend saying that ‘wearing traditional German dresses and lederhosen’ to her Oktoberfest party on Saturday night would be welcomed’ and thinks ‘if they can make stuff in a day on Project Runway, surely I can make myself a dirndl in a day…..” but that would have been a tad too long as a title.

But that’s what happened.

At the beginning of the week I had a fabulous plan. I really wanted to spend a week and a half on my Halloween outfit (next’s week’s challenge) so I had a men’s shirt and an over-sized skirt in Autumnal colours (sorry I can’t stick with this Fall business) that I could quickly refashion, tick the boxes for this week and free up time for Halloweening.

Then I procrastinated. I wasn’t in love with what I was making. On Thursday I gave up on them and found another maxi dress in my cupboard that needed reworking and considered fixing the mistakes I made on my tangerine tango top from the Pantone challenge. These colours made me happier. I would do this. (But I didn’t).

Because sitting down for the finale of Project Runway (I won’t spoiler dear friends away from American shores) I got an email from my American friend of very proud Bavarian heritage, saying that we could wear our traditional German dresses or lederhosen to her Oktoberfest party in 2 days time. As you probably can guess about me now…I love to dress up, any excuse, no matter how small. But I didn’t have a traditional dress…………however, one of my many purchases of patterns from charity shops during this year just happened to be a Burda pattern for a dirndl. And hang on a minute, didn’t I have some curtains in my stash that had leaves and flowers embroidered on them in autumnal colours….? Yes, I did. But I had less than a day and a half (with some distractions) until the Oktoberfest party! Ah, what’s life without a few stupid challenges.

So I made a Dirndl in a Day, and then added an apron and some flounces with my few hours extra. Flounces like these:

Ribbon I scavenged from a burlesque outfit I’ve retired I sewed onto the false blouse sleeves on the dirndl (the pattern shows the sleeves being in the same fabric as the pinafore/jumper, but I wanted it to look like I was wearing a blouse underneath) and a gathering pleat on the sleeves with button matching those at the front of the pinafore/jumper. I had quite a lot of this ribbon so I made an apron from red sheeting in my stash and added matching ribbon.

Oh and I wore it with the petticoat I made from sewing 3 loops of bed valance for the Mad Men challenge. I was very thankful I had this available because I definitely didn’t have any time spare to knock up a new one. I think the last button was sewn on within half an hour of the party starting…..and a girl needs time to put her lippy on!

I’m quite chuffed (translation: pleasantly happy) with how this week turned out to be honest. I thought it might me a bit of a ‘phoning it in’ challenge before Halloween, but I made something I’ve never tried before in a very short period of time and people at the party thought I might have bought it in Germany (haha I’m sure Djamila wouldn’t be fooled, I do hope this isn’t very wrong of a Brit wearing German traditional outfit…..please if you’re German feel free to wear our, erm, kilts, pearly king jackets, stove-pipe or bowler hats…we don’t really have a British national costume, just bits and pieces from our constituent nations).

We had a wonderful night. I used German language learnt for my ‘O’ level (which I actually failed) for the first in nearly 30 years. I learnt new German phrases and German drinking songs (accompanied by a wonderful accordionist who stunned us with the quality of his playing though just a teenager), I drank a tincy-wincy bit too much (hence the day after pics, blimey that sun was bright and the birdies loud), and as you can see, I danced the night away:

(My friends and their kids pixelated for reasons stated at the start of this post and because this was how they looked to me by this time of the evening. Hic. Oans, zwoa, drei, g’suffa!)

Hey. I’ve just realised. I’ve finally made a LBD that I like. OK, not so little as I made it roomy for partying in…but it’s black, a dress and a bit posh.

OK. Enough fun…..serious Halloween sewing needs doing…..



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. Perfect for the party – I bet your hosts were chuffed you put all that effort in! Looks like it was great fun

  2. So süß! You look so cute in your dirndl! :) And congrats on mastering that challenge.

    Btw: I always thought of tailored tweed clothing as some kind of British national costume… On the dirndl: it really is only the Bavarian national costume. To the rest of us Germans it looks just as ridiculous and costumy as to any other non-bavarians all over the world… ;D But any excuse to dress up in costumes is a good one!

    • So does Germany actually lack a totally inclusive national costume as does England/Great Britain? I wonder if costumes do only emerge in smaller communities like Scotland, Wales, Bavaria and it’s harder to have a nationwide one because they actually emerge during times when communities were closer and didn’t move around as much? This is getting to ponderous and pseudo-intellectual a concept for me now – vive la dressing up because it’s fun and bring on Eurovision! ;)

  3. Yeahhh dress it’s great and I love that fun elements and design

  4. Very cute, Tempest. I totally agree with Christina on this….Bavaria is pretty much a country of its own (strange things happen there that the rest of Germany can’t understand). If you wore this dirndl here in Berlin you’d look just as much out of place as you look wearing it in Arizona…I actually saw a couple in lederhosen and dirndl in Berlin a few weeks ago…I think they attracted more looks than a transvestite in high heels, dress and long beard that I had seen just a few days before. Seriously!
    A few years ago, I made the mistake to go to Munich during the Oktoberfest. (Mistake because the hotel rooms cost a fortune during that time and I just went there for a business trip.) I got off the train in Munich and saw women in dirndls everywhere. Couldn’t believe they really wore this in daily life but a friend explained to me that this only happens during the Oktoberfest. It was quite a nice sight – these dresses definitely look cute. Just nothing I’d ever wear because I don’t identify with Bavaria at all.

    • I loved looking at pics of all the beautiful dirndls during Oktoberfest….and all the ones worn purely as an excuse to look like sexy barmaids haha. i LOVE that Sew Weekly doesn’t just teach me about sewing, it broadens my views and learning about the world :)

  5. Very cute! Although, you’d never say Guten Tag – that’s a northern Germany thing. ‘Round these parts you hear “Grüß Gott!” And, if you’re on a mountain folks say “Servus” to one another. After four years in Munich, I still haven’t gotten used to it, but I’m also working on my own Dirndl! I hope I have something to show this weekend. :D

    • I get the feeling the German we’re taught in English schools is very formal. We were taught to say Dankeschön or Vielen Dank when I’m sure the more common way is just Danke (?) I love all this stuff I’m learning through the medium of sewing :)

  6. P.S. Most dirndls have several layers – the outer bodice called a “Mieder” can be really simple linen or crazy embroidered silk! Sometimes the skirt is separate, other times it’s all one dress. Underneath the Mieder is a kind of half shirt or Dirndlblusen. Then underneath the skirt is a simple petticoat, and over the skirt is a Dirndlschürze (an apron). It’s crazy b/c the placement of the knot/bow on your apron signifies different relationship status (married, widowed, single).

    • This is brilliant, I never realised making this would be so much fun AND result in so many interesting facts. I love that the Sew Weekly is so international that it facilitates this stuff! Going to have to read up more on knot placement :)

      • I love that you made a dirndl while I was working on mine simultaneously across the globe!! It makes me feel connected with ya’ll. :D

        For apron knot information: google search “dirndlschürze binden”

    • Actually, I never said – my intention, though I ran out of time, was to have a false blouse across that neckline to match the false sleeves, so it gave the impression of a dirndlblusen underneath the pinafore, as I shall call it mieder :)

  7. I’m totally digging the fabric you used for the dirndl itself : ) Good job putting something together so quickly for a party! I can totally see how you were a bit “under the weather” the next morning but it looks like the festivities were well worth it.

    • The fabric is so cool. They were curtains I bought from Goodwill ages ago because the embroidery was so pretty, but as you know I’m not the greatest fan of black, so they never actually made it up onto curtain poles….much better making their way into a fun dress!

  8. I love the idea of a dirndl – I have absolutely no reason to make one, but your fantastic outfit seriously temps me to make one regardless.

  9. Fun stuff! Looks like you made the perfect outfit for the event! All in a day, that’s quite an accomplishment too!

  10. Brilliant Tempest! great use of unused curtains, looks like you had a ball too.

  11. I love this Tempest! Can’t wait to see what you have planned for Halloween-

  12. That pattern, oh my. Love this on you, love that you found a way to make the challenge work for you and recycle all your bits and have a good time. Last time I was in Berlin (last summer) dirndl fashion was the cover story on BurdaStyle magazine and I saw Lederhosen, etc. for sale all over the place. I was so confused since, yes, I thought this style was exclusively Bavarian.