One Yard Project: Dirndl Skirt

Dirndl Skirt Thumbnail

I have a love/hate relationship with Pattern Review contests.  It's fun to sew along and have encouragement, and it's also nice to have outside forces determine your next project rather than making the agonizing decision myself.  On the other hand, I have a big list of projects that I really do want to make and only about half my contest entries actually come from that list.  So I deviate from things that are high on my sewing list to make things that don't appear at all, simply to fit within the contest parameters.  Despite all this, the contest often wins out.  I guess I like the company.

The One Yard Project contest is a new one (it ended yesterday; I finished the skirt and pattern review on time but had to finish up the photos*), and it's a clever idea:  You have to find a use for those short lengths in stash.  They did allow you to cut off one yard from a longer length and use it, but I think the better challenge is in using an orphan piece.

*Although the contest closed early, before midnight, and I wasn't actually able to enter it.  Entered, yay!

This polyester chiffon (or maybe it would be georgette) came from the swap table at PR Weekend Montreal.  It has many of my colors in it--turquoise, olive green--but somehow isn't *quite* right for me, perhaps because the overall effect is more muddy/muted than clear/bright.  The piece was 34 inches long (for my metric readers, a yard is 36 inches).

It had a small burn hole in it (like the edge of an iron--no missing fabric), which I fixed with interfacing and zigzagging.  The trickiest part is lining up the cut edges and pressing the interfacing on to keep them together.  Sometimes it's easier to put a piece of interfacing, glue side up, on the ironing board, then place the skirt right side up over the patch.  Line up the edges and then press.

Once the hole is interfaced, just run a close zigzag stitch over it (from the right side, so you can see the hole).  If your thread matches, the fix is nearly invisible.

I've gone back and forth about this fabric way too many times in the two years I've owned it.  It would make a nice flowy top, but the overall color effect isn't great near my face.  I almost made it into a skirt for my bike wardrobe for The Netherlands, but balked.  Because of fabric limitations, I either had to have the print running vertically (as I finally ended up doing) or add a contrast waistband if I wanted the print to run horizontal.  Stripes are big right now, but they are pretty much all horizontal, so vertical stripes might look dated.  But a contrast waistband limits the tops that can be worn with a project.  Dilemma.

The One Yard Contest made me finally just make a decision.  I decided to go for vertical stripes, throwing outdated caution to the wind.

So that I didn't spend too much time on unplanned sewing (and didn't have to deal with the waistband situation), I decided to do a gathered elastic waist.  Of course, I had to make it complicated and it probably would have been easier in the end just to do a waist facing and zipper!

Create Double Elastic

On the PR trip to Montreal, I found some olive green picot elastic that happens to be a good match for the skirt.  However, I feared that the picot elastic alone would not be strong enough to hold up the fashion fabric and lining (lining does not count against your one yard allotment, under the terms of the contest).  So I stitched it to some sport elastic.

Stitch Lining to Waistband

I was hoping to just stretch the elastic to fit the fabric, but the width of the fabric greatly exceeded the elastic's stretch so I gathered the skirt and the lining.  I first sewed the wrong side of the lining--so that the right side would end up facing outward--to the elastic with a wide zigzag stitch (to allow for stretch).  I positioned it so the left "bite" of the zigzag was close to the decorative picot edge of the green elastic, meaning that picot edge would stick up over the waistband.

Stitch Fashion Fabric to Waistband

Next I gathered the upper edge of the fashion fabric and positioned it in place right side against the elastic, sandwiching the waistband.  I stitched from the lining side so I could use my previous stitching as a guide, again using a wide zigzag for stretch.

Finished Waist

I flipped the fabric to the right side and there was my little picot edge!  I pressed the fabrics down, but finding them still very bulky I topstitched with a twin needle to preserve stretch.  However, the twin needle stitching does not have as much stretch as a zigzag and I have to pull the skirt on over my head instead of from the floor over my hips.  The topstitching negates all the work I did to sandwich the picot and I could have just gathered the fashion fabric and lining together, but c'est la vie!  I knew this would be a quick and dirty project.

Serger Rolled Hem

The lower edge of the skirt is finished with a serger rolled hem to keep it as light as possible, and also because it's easy!

I sewed in a button to mark center back.

Pink Top-Front
Red Top-In Motion

While an elastic waist dirndl is not the most flattering thing ever, this skirt can theoretically be worn with a tucked in top to show off the elastic.  The elastic can also be covered with a belt, or a top can be worn over it.

I'm not totally in love with this skirt, but it is useful, bikeable, and will work just about year-round, depending on how it's styled.  It matches a lot of the solid-colored tops I have in my closet.  It also has a nice flow, as you can see at right.

I wore it yesterday and it is comfortable and breezy for a humid Spring day in DC, but the slippery rayon lining means I can wear it with tights and boots for winter.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


I sat out the "best of" contest, even though I eventually want to make another Simplicity 2369  mock wrap dress, which made the list.  I had to draw the line somewhere!

Do you enjoy contests, or do they interrupt your "real life" too much?


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