7 January 2018

New year new sew: My Dirndl-style inspired Orla Dress

I did it again - I made another Orla Dress!

Aaand welcome everyone to the new year. Starting it with a new sew seems apposite. That's why this post is part of the January Sewing By Ti Blog Tour (more on that below)!

But wait, Minn, this pattern isn't new to you!?

Well, yes dear. Last summer I made this cute knit kitty knitty Orla Dress.

So what is new here?
  • This is my first woven dress
  • My first zipper
  • My first (handstitched) blind hem
  • My first (kind-of-a) selfmade Dirndl - though not a "real" one; I'll explain below at "The inspiration"
  • My first garment where everything went as planned, I made no mistake (not one seam unpicked!), the fit is exactly as I want it to and it is in general just awesome

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion photographie style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern

The inspiration

I desperately needed a new dirndl. If you've never heard of that, it's a traditional dress, a type of so called "Tracht"-garments. There are some events in Austria where girls do not wear anything else than a traditional costume. I'm serious. You just don't.

Of course I had one, but somehow it doesn't fit anymore - hanging in my closet must have let it shrunk quite a lot. But that's okay. In fact it would be a bit strange if I could still wear what I wore last time almost 8 years ago at my graduation.

This is what original Dirndl dresses look like (on me about 10 years ago, sorry it's just regular old point-and-shoot-photographs):

original dirndl österreichische trachtoriginal dirndl österreichische tracht

Sewing this takes a lot of time and there are many details. The bodice part needs to fit as tight as possible, so a lot of testing is required... you get the idea.
Maybe I'll try a genuine one someday far away, but this time I decided to go for the easy alternative.

Here comes The Orla Dress (again). 

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing patterndirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern

The pattern 

When I first saw this pattern almost a year ago I already thought of this project. This style is just perfect for it. In fact, I've seen several designs from Austrian fashion designers that look like they used the same basic pattern.

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern

Everything important about the pattern itself is already part of my older post about the knitty Orla Dress.
I used the exactly same pattern (my muslin was already made of woven cotton) and made no further pattern adjustments. Of course this time I used woven instead of knit fabric and therefore I needed that zip.
I thought of adding some minor features of an original Dirndl, but then - again - took the easy way.

You may have noticed that original Dirndls have an apron over the skirt. This is a very important part of the garment and usually required to make it complete.
But I was lazy - again! -  and just used a silk band from an old RTW dress.

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern

Fun fact: Traditionally the positioning of the bow has a special meaning, though nowadays you can wear it where you want. Wearing the bow on the left side means single, while the right side means married/in a relationship. The front middle is for virgins and the back middle for widows (but it's very common now to wear it on the back).
I usually like to wear the bow on the right side or back.

As I already said, the fit is perfect. For the whole project I took my time to make everything as good as I could - and it was totally worth it.
I even handstitched a blind hem neckline, though probably a facing would have been easier or at least faster. But I love the result.

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern details
Details: blind hem neckline (top left); neckline and my custom label (bottom left); almost invisible zipper (top right); skirt side hemline (bottom right)

I even tried an invisible zipper. Not so easy, when you've never done a zip before! Also I don't have an invisible zipper-foot for my machine. But it looks unflashy and that sure is good enough for a first try.

By the way, the pattern is still available for free ;-) 

The fabric

There was only one option: Using traditional fabric, which is specially designed for those kind of garments. Anything else is inacceptable. (No, not really, but this is failsafe to make it look like a Dirndl)

Both fabrics are 100% cotton and their quality is amazing. They are produced by Stapf, a small Austrian company, who delivers their fabrics to a handful of shops in Austria and Germany.

dirndl trachtenkleid fashion style the orla dress french navy sewing pattern
Without the bow (sorry for the bad winter lighting)

Overall I am very satisfied with this make. I am going to wear it to traditional weddings, balls and other events. Maybe even for a fancy dinner.

Do you try to learn a new skill with one your next projects? 
Or have you learned everything you want/need? 

The january Sewing by Ti Blog Tour is all about exploring something new. Head over to the others to see their beautiful makes:

Click their names to get to their blog posts!

Monday, January 1st: Introduction- Sewing by Ti
Sunday, January 7th: Minn's Things *** You are here. 😀
Sunday, January 14th: Sew Like a Sloth
19th Ma Moose
Sunday January 21st: Flaxfield Sewing
Sunday January 28th: Sew Haute Blog


  1. Great work! I love that you've been able to take a traditional garment and make it modern.

    1. Nat, thank you for your kind and lovely words!

  2. I love this, I went back to your previous post and downloaded it. Now to find something similar in my daughter's size😉

  3. Thank you Laurie! Sorry I can't help you with girls patterns. There are several Facebook-groups where you could ask for help to find it though