12 Sep 2011

Dirndl Enhancement

Very soon it's Oktoberfest time again. Whoever hasn't booked an accommodation yet, probably won't have a chance of getting somewhere reasonably priced or a flight/train fare at all. When I went in 2010 with my best friend for the 200th anniversary of the world's largest fair, I was lucky enough to be given one of my mum's old Dirndls instead of having to buy a new one which are usually quite pricey, considering it's only meant to last for a few days of binging. My mum had made that particular dress herself when she was still in her teens (she's not only Bavarian, but a professional seamstress, so it was by no means something super special) and there was enough fabric left on either side of the corset to widen it enough for my figure - yep, I'm bigger than my mum was at 17. However, my own customizations of the pink and purple number began by abandoning the original apron and buying material for a choice of 2 lovely new ones. As usual, I turned to Cath Kidston for my fabric as I love the traditional and yet girly-contemporary approach to patterns and designs. I picked the slightly heavier white Spray Flower Cotton Duck and something very lightweight, similar to the Lace Stripe. In addition, I bought a pink cotton lace ribbon and a shiny white polyester ribbon with little blue and yellow flowers, matching the two different textiles for the aprons. 

Making an apron is no big deal. 
Simply figure out how big you want it to be, copy the measurements onto the fabric in a square + seam allowance (1cm on the left and right, about 4cm on the bottom), cut out of the fabric and sew all around the folded seam allowance, leaving the top bit untouched. Now you'll need to cut out a small square piece of fabric for the top of the apron, which is going to be the supportive piece in the waist, holding the two ribbons on the left and right as well as the actual apron; 2x5cm vertically, and horizontally as long as you would like your apron to be in the front (shorter than the total of the apron, e.g. apron = 65cm, supportive piece = 30cm), + 1cm seam allowance on all 4 sides will do. Fold the square piece of fabric horizontally in the middle and secure the left and right end onto the top edge of the apron (remember to leave 1cm seam allowance on the piece for the waistband while doing so). Now fold over the seam allowance until you have a neat little box around the top of the apron, including the sides. First secure and then sew together, excluding the side bits, regularly crinkling the bigger piece of the apron into the supportive waistband - the left and right side need to be left open for the ribbons which will tie the apron around your waist. The ribbons are actually your next move. Measure your waist and figure out how long you want the ribbons to be so you can tie them around yourself, make a tie and still have them dangling down your dress. The width is entirely up to you as well, I liked mine around 5cm big. Copy your preferred measurements onto your textile: length + width 2x + 1 cm seam allowance on every side and cut it out. Fold this long piece of fabric together, outside in, and sew together the long open edge in a straight line and the small headpiece either diagonally or triangularly. Now turn inside out and iron the whole piece. Repeat the procedure for a second ribbon. Following this, you'll need to insert the ribbons into the open endings of the apron's waistband, and finally sew them together to complete the apron. Details are the best part since you can choose pretty much any kind of ribbon, sequin, plastic flower etc to prettify your apron (and there's so much to choose from!!). Simply sew them on like it suits you best and add or remove as many as you wish. Done!!

Now all that you need to remember is how to tie the ribbon!! 
If you tie it on your left it means you're single, 
on the right means you're married or simply taken, 
in the middle (front) means you're a virgin, 
and in the back means you're a widow. 
For a bit of extra fun, add cute accessories like flowery socks and scarves (it can be a bit cold and rainy during Oktoberfest season) and wear a traditional wool jacket (Walkjacke) on your way to and from the festival. Jewellery should not be too funky and you're very welcome to wear anything heart-shaped.