Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I was at Oktoberfest in Milwaukee recently, which was a German festival centered around food, beer, and music. There is strong German heritage in Milwaukee so the festival was quite large with many adults and children enjoying the atmosphere. Beside doing some polka dancing, my favorite part of the whole experience was seeing all of the people in dirndls, lederhosen, and other traditionally German garb.

A few of the women in dirndls were part of a group (above) that demonstrated traditional German dances, but many of the women in dirndls were just there to enjoy the festival. Their dresses were all so beautiful and it was interesting to see how different the dirndls were for how similar they are in shape (the dirndl is defined by a wide skirt that is gathered at the waist and a fitted bodice worn over a white blouse). Needless to say, I came home from the festival with a serious case of dirndl envy.

I'm not going to be buying a dirndl anytime soon, but given my new-found sewing skills I can probably make one. A quick Google search turned up a few dirndl patterns and I eventually settled on the Folkwear 123 pattern. I'm hoping to make my dirndl before next year's Oktoberfest as I don't have a lot of free time at the moment.

The pattern itself looks great. In addition to pattern pieces and instructions, there are several sheets that explain the history of the dirndl, how the dress was worn, and traditional dirndl embellishments complete with instructions for making these trimmings. The dirndl is such a beautiful and historic dress and I'm really looking forward to making one for myself in the coming year!

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