Friday, December 11, 2015

Dirndls with Zippers?


Readers, I'm finally starting to sew that dirndl I've been talking about. I'm using Burda 7443 as a starting point, but the fit has been eluding me so far--I'm on muslin number 4 at the moment! If you're considering this pattern, you should know that it is extremely low-cut. In fact, I think it's meant to sit underneath the bust rather than at the mid-bust point like a typical dirndl. Also, the underarms are very high and the straps very wide-set, which created some fitting issues for me. I had intended to blog the whole muslin process but it became a little overwhelming with so many changes. I really feel like I'm challenging myself with this project, though, so that's a good thing.

Anyway, I know many of you are experienced dirndl wearers and sewers, so I wanted to get your thoughts on the closure. The Burda pattern has a zipper closure, as does my dirndl that I bought in Passau. I've lightened the picture below so you can see the zipper below the lacing. (Perhaps it's more typical to use a zipper when there will be lacing to conceal it?)


I've since had the chance to examine higher-end dirndls by Tostmann Trachten, Lena Hoschek, Julia Trentini, and Gossl--and they all close with either hooks and eyes or buttons.

Lena Hoschek Dirndl
I love the clean look that this Lena Hoschek dirndl achieves with hooks and eyes, for instance. Also, dirndls take a lot of pressure since they're so tightly fitted, so I've begun to wonder if a zipper will be strong enough to withstand that pressure.

As a side note, the Burda pattern calls for an invisible zipper, which just seems like madness to me. I've had invisible zippers split from the stress of just a fitted sheath dress in a medium weight fabric, so I can't imagine what an interfaced dirndl bodice would do to one--probably chew it up and spit it out.

So I'm definitely leaning towards hooks and eyes to get a nice clean finish. But I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter, readers. What do you think of the zipper closure on a dirndl?

33 comments:

  1. I just made this pattern for Oktoberfest a few months ago. http://i.imgur.com/tffcTlJ.jpg

    I really love how it turned out, and the zipper stands up to the pressure very well. :)

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    1. So beautiful! I see you used a centered zipper rather than the invisible zipper the pattern calls for. Also, looks like you made a lot of design changes to the neckline. Did you have to change the armholes or strap placement at all?

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  2. I've been privy to costuming of legend burlesque performers. Hooks and eyes are standard, as they can survive the brutal wear and tear (No pun intended) of burlesque performances.

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  3. I have no experience with this type of dress, but I think everybody is different and like with brassieres you have to find what is best for your figure and comfort. I hope you find your perfect dirndl !

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  4. I never use invisible zippers. Regular zippers all the way! I use boning nestled up to the CF inside to give it more structure. Knock on wood, no one has ever complained that a zipper split... and some of my Rare Dirndl customers like their dirndls REAL tight :-)

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  5. Have you considered a standard busk? They never miss a beat, do their job well, are available in strengths and lengths-a-many, and are beautifully EASY to install. Blind zippers are the most ridiculous option of all options available to the modern world. Just my opinion :).

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    1. I have to agree with you on invisible zippers! The busk idea is a fascinating one.

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  6. I MADE MY DAUGHTERS dirndl last year after researching it for quite awhile, I was having problems finding pretty lacing rings. During a trip to Frankenmuth, MI. I stumbled on a gentleman (German) who made and sold dirndls, he said zippers didn't take away from their authenticity as they were incorporated into the garment when they became available and have been used for years. He told me that the only question you should have with a zipper is what type of lacing ring to use. In your photo from Burda you will notice the lacing rings have a split in the top, that is for speed lacing since your zipper is for the function of holding it together, and if I were to put a zipper in the back then closed rings would be used. I settled on Burda 7326 and shortened the bodice and the skirt.

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    1. I choose that style due to the cut of the front as my daughter is quite busty and still a teenager it hit just right and was comfortable to wear

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  7. Hello Gertie,
    it really depends on the style of the dirndl which zipper is used and where. It's not really uncommon to use a invisible zipper, but rather at the side seam then.
    I wish you good luck with the muslin. I still remember how I was struggeling with mine when I made my dirndl.
    But I would recommend you this burda dirndl pattern instead, if you do not like the low bust of yours.
    http://www.burdastyle.de/burda-style/damen/dirndl-knielang-herzausschnitt-dirndl-trachten_pid_295_3474.html
    I prefer this style more, because it shapes the bust in a nicer way ;-)
    Can't wait to see the finished dirndl.
    Julia

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  8. I have my mother's dirndl and it is also done up with alternating hooks and eyes. I think they're a really lovely, clean closure, which adds a more couture touch. :)

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  9. Somewhere I have a vintage 70's pattern of a dirndl dress, I'll have to look through my stash. I'm wondering if they also called for a zipper. Can't wait to see how your dress turns out.

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  10. I made mine with a invisible zipper. It's very fitted and despite the reinforced fabric and all, I had no issues with the zip at all. I've concealed mine with ribbon lacing as well. http://thisblogisnotforyou.com/my-handmade-dirndl/

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  11. When I sewed my dirndl for my wedding I contemplated using an invisible zip, I think I even started putting it in and for me it didn't work at all, I ended up using a vintage metal zip and I love how it turned out. http://mädchenfürallesblog.de/images/dirndl.jpg
    The fit of the pattern you're using doesn't strike me as especially low in the bust area, I guess it's a question of taste, do you want to be more or less buttoned up. You do know what the different bow positions mean ;)

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  12. While I don't have experience with dirndls, I do have limited experience with wearing and researching corsets. Traditionally corsets are made with strong busk closures in the front, but I've been seeing modern ones lately using zippers. Even though corsets take on a lot more stress than a dirndl, maybe poke around corset construction that uses zippers and get some ideas on how to reinforce them for a dirndl.

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  13. Super cute! I really enjoy seeing the cute things you make!

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  14. I think your hook and eye instinct is good - it just says heritage make much better for me.

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  15. I think your hook and eye instinct is good - it just says heritage make much better for me.

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  16. Dear Gertie,
    i´m a fan of your fantastique books and i always following you on your blog.
    I live in Bavaria near Salzburg and i wear "Dirndlkleider" since 50 years. In our tradition, a zipper is an absolutly no go for a Dirndlgwand. Zippers are only used at the cheaper ones or at Dresses for the Oktoberfest. For a traditional Dirndlgwand we use hooks and eyes.
    Best regards
    Monika

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  17. I'm having trouble commenting on Internet Explorer, so let's try this again...I just found this amazing dirndl on a blog that started following mine. Rike has such a great style and when I saw her dirndl, I knew I had to leave you a link to it. It is beautiful and subtle and was obviously a lot of work. It turned out so great. Here's the link: https://drapedincloudlets.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/dirndl/ I'll go leave her a link to your blog, too, barring computer issues.

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  18. I'v never had an invisible zipper break on me, and I like my dresses really tight. Just get a new! quality zipper and treat it well (use a slightly longer stitch length, don't ever put an iron to it, ect)

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  19. Burda has another dirndl pattern #7326 that has buttons or lacing that are all for show and a zipper up the back. Not quite sure what to think about that.

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  20. Dear Gertie,
    I think the 7443 is a lovely bodice pattern, but very low cut, as you said. It leaves the bust bare, only covered by the blouse. But if you don't like that, I'd recommend looking for a different pattern for the front, because it might be quite difficult to change the triangle shaped gussets of the pattern.
    As for the closure, hooks and eyes are a good option, the dirndl made in Salzburg are also often closed with buttons.
    If you want to make a dirdl that is of high quality, unlike the versions you can find in the tourist centers of many Austrian and German cities, it is well worth to take a look at the traditional techniques, too, as they are still in use.
    They have a long tradition and history, there is so much more to it than wearing the bow on the right side of the apron, techniques like smocking and making different bows and ribbons, that aren't used on many other clothes anymore, as far as I know. The most famous kind of ribbon are "Froschgoscherl" which can be made at home quite easily.
    I would advise against putting a zipper or any closure on the side or back of the garment. Of course this is possible, but for comfort, I prefer the front closure.
    Dirndl were originally peasant dresses, where one had to be able to get into and out of alone and easily. Dirndl is an old word for a girl or Magd/maidservant and their clothing, which was then widely adopted as country dress. This also explains the apron, that could be changed if it got dirty or for special occasions.
    That being said, it is also possible to close the dirndl in front with just lacing. In this case, the middle front part becomes more of a modesty panel. For this, the bodice (called Mieder) has to be sturdy and it might be well worth to use corset techniques there. For example, if you worry about strain on the fabric, you could use a waist tape.
    I hope this is helpful and look forward to see your version :)

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  21. When I made this pattern I moved the zipper to the side which means you can go all out on your hooks and ribbons and not have to worry about the zipper ruining the line. You do need to wear a non sheer blouse under this one though!

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  22. I've made this pattern for myself and a few friends. The zip on mine has been stretched a bit and so I have to be very careful when I zip it shut otherwise it catches. A different one I made had the zipper bust twice before I switched the zip out for a strip of hook and eye.

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  23. good pattern online. best wishes from http://www.turnstylish.com

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  24. I have a superposh Sportalm dirndl, and it has some decorative lacing in front and invisible side-zipper. Never had any zipper problems so far, and it's really fitted. I find that front zippers are quite widespread, but personally I just think it looks a little less authentic.

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  25. I used this pattern recently and did encounter some fit issues, and I also had to ask myself the same questions about zippers as you are now. You might find my review and blog posts helpful to your thought process: http://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/116204
    and
    https://fearlesssewing.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/dirndl-fitting/

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  26. Somebody kindly mentioned my self-made dirndl in the comments above and I wanted to take the opportunity to say hello and also to thank you for the source of inspiration you are! I for example first learned about the "Herzrüsche" in one of your previous posts and made one quite successfully during the process of sewing my first dirndl - and that's only the tip of the iceberg :-)

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  27. good pattern online. best wishes from Turnstylish

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  28. I have a dirdl given to me by a cousin in Austria (half my family lives in Vienna; my mother was born there) and it has a zipper down the front. It's a long formal one, with corset-like laces over the zipper. They actually wear them pretty regularly there for festivals and the like.

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  29. Awesome! I extremely love this style, dresses are so chick!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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