Dirndl Skirt for Palm Springs

Back in the spring, our family took a little trip to Palm Springs.  I wanted to make something light and fun and somewhat retro for the trip.  My fantasy involved sipping cocktails on the patio like a modern lady in my desert oasis [the Ace Hotel – I would live here if I could]. This simple dirndl skirt (I used Gertie’s basic pattern here) seemed just about right.  The fabric is a basic cotton and I think I had about 2 1/4 yards.  I used every last bit of the length – I like my skirts full – and used the extra from the width to make the waist band.


All I need is my pearls and I’m ready to be a good ’50s homemaker.


I really like the deep hem. This one is about 2 1/2 inches and I think it would be even better in a heavier fabric.  I want to try this in some other fabric.  The gathers at the waist poof a bit in this cotton.  I think a little weight would give it a bit more structure.  I did end up wearing this to work today (with less crazy shoes) and a cardigan so I guess it does double duty – Palm Springs starlet and code monkey… what more could you ask out of skirt.

The Good: cute fabric, easy sewing

The Bad: cotton needs to be ironed every time, I didn’t do the best job with the gathers.


First Colette Mabel

I am in love with Colette Pattern’s Mabel skirt.  I even love the model they use for in that link – camera loves that girl and the feeling appears to be mutual.  Mabel is a quick sew -about 1 hour – knit skirt project.  I have a heavier knit I plan to use next but for the first time out I used some jersey I had bought for Kids Clothing Week.  It’s a Volcom print of monsters.  The fabric is a bit lighter than what you would normally use for a skirt, think an H&M or Forever 21 level of thin.  I made a standard Large (my measurements were close enough for knit) and am happy with the fit.



The color is a bit weird in this shot.  The skirt is more like a brick red than a fuchsia but you can see the basic shape.


You can wear it to get the car washed with leggings and pink sneakers.


or in the backyard.  Note – it seems I can’t smile while taking my own picture.  I will work on it (I’m not really pissed here – just concentrating).

Barcelona Skirt para mí

I’ve been trying to make more clothes for me because:

  • It builds skills, it’s certainly more difficult than a blanket
  • I know exactly who made it and what conditions it was made in.  If those conditions are inhumane I know exactly who to blame
  • It forces my mind to not think of my body as a ‘size’.  A 10 or a 12 or an L or XL, any of these may be different in any given store.  I am instead a series of measurements, none of which add up to any particular size and have no conscious or unconscious judgement attached.  It’s just me.
  • I am learning a lot about how clothes are made and thus how they fit.  This actually helps a lot when buying clothes off the rack.

It is incredibly slow going.  Making any progress feels like slogging through mud.  For now I’m at the very simplest of skirts.  This is Amy Butler’s Barcelona Skirt.  I used a slightly heavier weight quilting cotton in mustard.  I used the tiered version with the unfinished hems.  The pattern is nice and easy but I did find that my tiers didn’t line up perfectly.  It was ok in the end as the whole thing was a bit too large. I need to learn how much to pull in from my actual measurements. When the waist band of the skirt perfectly matches your actual waist the skirt is actually too big. I wasn’t sure if the pattern was taking that into account or not but I’m pretty sure now that it is not.  Things to keep in mind for next time.


Also, how do you all get good pictures of yourself in clothes?  Should I be figuring out the timer option on my camera? Because after asking my husband, son and friend to take a picture of me in the skirt, I’m still publishing the one with me standing on a stool in my bathroom mirror.  More things to keep in mind for next time.

in the bathroom mirror