The Maternity Dirndl

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve gotten TWO garments of my wardrobe finished…and here’s the second!  Well, maybe.

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFIt’s a self drafted dirndl skirt meant to be worn above the belly.  I’m still unsure of how I really feel about the finished product.  I wrote this post before we took pictures.  I have an opinion now post-photo viewing:  HOLY WTF.

Another case of “What the hell happened here?” and proof that just because you’ve been sewing for more of your life than you haven’t doesn’t mean you’ll automatically make good choices.  Shit happens, y’all.  I’m not sure what’s worse, the fact that it’s blue, adding to the fact that I look like a tad whale-ish, or the definition of what little “waist” (well, upper ribcage) I have that causes the undeniable babushka boob overlap.

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFI’ll admit, there are some styling issues at play as well.  As in, I was too lazy to change out of the sweater I was wearing.  There was also a bit of body shape denial in play; I have never been an empire gal, because I know that the empire waist is a terrible thing for the large busted.  The empire waist only enhances what other silhouettes help balance.  I’m a little screwed on the empire avoidance front at the moment if I want anything sort of fitted, but the original balance issue is made exponentially worse by the epic pregnancy chest.  Catch 22!  And hey, it worked alright last time, so how was I to know it would go so wrong?

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFBottom line:  I’m not sure that I should include this with my wardrobe.  In fact, I created a new tag in honor of this skirt:  Ugh (because “meh” wasn’t strong enough).  However, I’m not sure I’ll have the time or right fabric in my stash to replace it.

In theory, it’s a fun, cute idea for a skirt.  I was mostly inspired by this blog post that I ran across.  Seriously, go look at it and how cute she is in her skirt.  I’ll wait.

OK, so now you see why I wanted to try this for myself?  But, damn, my shit ain’t lookin’ skippy.

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFI call this one “healthy skepticism”

My biggest problem is that I was trying to work from stash (again; trying to pare that down so it all actually fits where it’s supposed to!) and my choices were either a heavier fabric with definite opacity and a lighter fabric that could cause the before-she-was-a-princess Princess Diana skirt-in-the-sun effect.  I went with the former.  WHY DID I DO THAT?

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFSince I chose the heavier fabric, which is a double knit from JoAnn (I think it’s rayon, polyester or cotton, and spandex) I really should have pleated the fabric into the waistband, but I didn’t.  Instead, I stuck with my original idea and it made for some VERY dense gathering.  So much so that it almost didn’t fit into the waistband (with a 4:1 gathering ratio, it’s no wonder).

My drafting methods were really simple:

For the waistband, I measured my underbust, multiplied by .8 (so, 20% smaller) to account for stretch (YMMV depending on the stretch of your fabric) and added a 3/8″ seam allowance to each edge for the length.  I decided I wanted a 2″ tall folded waistband with a 3/8″ seam allowance, so I cut it 4 3/4″ tall.

For the skirt, I decided I wanted it to be 26″ long, but I knew I would need an accommodation for my belly.  So, I cut one full width at the 26″ length for the back, and cut the front at 28.5″, allowing 2.5″ for going over the bump.  Then, at the top of the skirt (instead of the bottom; wanted to try something different than the last time), I cut a curve that dipped down to 26″ at the side seams, like so:

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTF
Cut on the fold; center front at left

After sewing the skirt side seams together, I sewed 2 lines of gathering stitches (3 would’ve been better for more control, but what I did worked out fine) and gathered them into the waistband, which I’d sewn the ends of and folded over.  The gathering took the longest of any in the whole process because of the sheer volume.

After stitching, I tried the skirt on and it was so heavy that it just kind of hung in the back.  To counteract this, I opened up the back center inner waistband seam and popped some 1″ elastic inside.  No more sag!  It’s the little things.

I didn’t bother hemming the skirt because I don’t think this fabric with fray.  In any case, I’ll find out after I wash it for the first time.  If I need to hem it, I need to hem it, but until that becomes apparent, I’m not doing it.  :P

So, yeah.  That’s how I got ‘er done.  Not that my rant is going to make you want to make one of these.  But hey, at least I gave it a shot.  Failure and disappointment are a part of life.

Self drafted maternity dirndl of WTFWardrobe Contest Completion Progress:  2 (?) of 8
Days left until deadline:  17

And now, to ease the pain from having seen/read all of that, here’s Oscar.  Also because you haven’t seen him much in a while.






23 thoughts on “The Maternity Dirndl”

  1. Oscar is so handsome!
    My ribs hurt so bad from the comments. So bad!!!

    I laughed, yes, but hear me out!!! I thought it was only slightly Mormon. Like, awwww, she looks like a “Sister Wife”!

    I honestly don’t think it’s bad, just unsure if it’ll pair well with the other tops. What if you chopped it above the knee?

    1. Slightly Mormon! LOL I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but you’re totally right: I do look like a sister wife!

      It’s just too full and too long. Good suggestion to chop it, but I’m not sure if even that can save it.

      1. I figured I could totally make you laugh, at the least! :-p

        I agree that you need to keep that fabric for a future project. It’s a gorgeous color that looks fantastic on you!

  2. I think it looks good on the picture where you have you hands around your belly. Maybe if you sew some elastic or something in there to make it more fitted? I like the colour, hopefully you can save it!

  3. I love reading your posts–you’re always so frank and hilarious! Knowing you weren’t happy with this skirt, I kind of felt bad laughing my a** off at your spectacular phrasing!

    Seriously though, that’s a Capital “B” Bummer about the skirt. :-( I would never have thought “whale,” but I don’t disagree with Nakisha’s amazingly-worded characterization. And you are much too awesome to be relegated to Sister Wife status, pregnancy be damned! I have no helpful suggestions whatsoever (having never been pregnant or at all “gifted” in the boob department) but hope you can come up with something that works for you AND makes you feel good!

  4. Add a different shirt and a babushka, and you could pass for one of my Polish ancestors! :-D I think the major problem is there’s too much gathering for the weight of the fabric. If you look at the Pinterest photo the fabric seems lighter and the gathers not as dense. You could try to save it, but if it were me I would chop off the waistband and use the fabric for something else.

    1. LOL. Maybe I’m taking on my husband’s heritage by osmosis or something.

      Yeah, I totally see where my skirt really missed the mark compared to the inspiration. Mine has too much gathering, too dense/heavy of fabric, shorter waistband, too long.

      I am really leaning toward the waistband chop and repurposing what’s here. I just won’t wear it as is.

  5. It’s my personal opinion that adding some bright red or pink in the form of a scarf, necklace or flower brooch would jazz this up no end with a top the SAME colour. I had to laugh (sorry) when I read the comment about the Sister wife! But, with some careful accessorising and another top, I believe you can have a whole new look. You’ve done a great job and all the vertical pleats do create a slimming effect. We call it sausage boob here, but if the top matched the skirt that would be diminished. I can see why you were inspired by that blog post…but I think you’ll feel a lot more confident and happy when you find the right top and accessories.

  6. I had to have a giggle….coz Im having the same issues. You suddenly reach a point in pregnancy when things either look right or they dont! Nothing ventured nothing gained I say & hurrah for attempting it. Id keep this for post preggy though :)

  7. I think that with the right shirt – NOT tucked in, of course – the skirt would be fine. I mean, it does look really, really gathered, but I think the biggest mistake many women make these days when pregnant is wanting to tuck in shirts and such as they would when not pregnant. Just because it looked good six months ago doesn’t mean you should do it now. ;-)

    1. Yeah, it’s just TOO gathered. Even if I wore an untucked shirt, I’m pretty sure it would add what looks like another 2-4 weeks of pregnancy to my body. Ha.

      It is destined for destruction.

  8. My first thought was “Ma Ingalls”, but “Sister Wife” works too. I think a lighter fabric with softer gathers would have looked better. Oh well.. :)

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