A dirndl skirt is one gathered at the waist which falls below the knee. Want to learn how to hand stitch an off shoulder gathered top and a dirndl skirt? Let’s get started.

First thing you want to do is select a fabric of your choice preferably not one too heavy. A lighter fabric would work better for this type of skirt. For my skirt, I chose a black mesh sheer fabric which was a little difficult to manoeuver because of how delicate the fabric is.

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What else is required?

Tape measure, Scissors, Pins, Needle, Thread, Tailor’s chalk, Buttons, Zipper

Step 2: Use a tape measure to take an accurate measurement for the skirt. You would need the length which should be taken from the center of your waist line to any point below your knee. You would also need to take a measurement of your waistline. Add two inches to the measurements taken. This addition is known as the seam allowance required for the sewing. The fabric requires a very large width (I worked with 108 inches). All you would need to measure and cut on the fabric is the length.

Step 3: Decide on what size you would require the waistband to be. Measure out the width on the fabric and 0.5 inches on both sides as seam allowance. The length should be that of your waistline measurement plus two extra inches as seam allowance.

Step 3.1: If you acquire a mesh fabric like mine, a button band would also be required which should measure two inches in width also measuring in length that of the skirt. This is because if the fabric is merely folded and sewn, the button area may not be firm enough and the stitches would be extremely visible. The red arrow indicates the button band. Remember to add seam allowance.

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Step 4: Basically, fold a little bit from one edge of the button band fabric and overlap with another larger bit from the other edge. When this is done, pin to the edges of the fabric and do a back stitch. If your fabric is not mesh, this is not necessary. You just need to fold both edges of the fabric over themselves and sew.

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How to do a back stitch

Thread your needle ensuring that one end of the thread is longer than the other. Knot the longer end of the thread. Bring your needle into the fabric coming up from beneath the fabric but also leaving a little space at the start of the fabric. Take the needle a notch backwards to the space left empty. Bring the needle forward, a little further from the original (first) seam and bring the needle back into the hole of the last stitch made. Repeat. It should look like the picture below when you are finished.

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Step 5: Divide the fabric into two equal halves. Take a measurement from the centre of your waistline to the midpoint of your thigh. Pin the two botton bands together with one overlapping the other using the measurement taken. This would give an illusion of a front slit when the skirt is finished. On the button band overlapping the other button band, mark using a tailor’s chalk points four inches apart where the buttons would be sewn on to. The buttons would be used to join both button bands together at the points which do not go past the midpoint of your thigh. The other buttons would be sewn only on the overlapping button band.

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The buttons require four stitches each. First in through the first hole then out through the second, in through the third, out through the fourth. Then knot.

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Step 6: Focusing on the top of the fabric, measure one inch from the edge and start sewing from that point using running stitches. A running stitch is a very basic stitch. Pretty easy. All you need do is bring the needle in from the back and out to the back of the fabric and repeat keeping 0.5 inches between each stitch. Once this is done from the first end to the next, before the thread is knot, pull until the fabric looks ruffled. Measure and loosen the ruffles until it matches your waistline measurement plus two extra inches. The two extra inches are required as the seam allowance for the zipper.

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Step 7: Fold waist band in half and pin directly beneath the running stitches. Sew using back stitches. Trim the excess ruffled fabric above the waist band.

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Step 8: Recall the fabric was cut into two equal halves, now both fabrics have to be joined together. Turning the fabric over to the back, pin both fabrics together leaving about 8 inches unpinned where the zipper would be installed. Sew using back stitches and trim the excess fabric.

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Step 9: Using an invisible zipper, with the fabric still turned over, turn the zipper to the back. Place the right side of the zipper on the left side of the fabric on which it is to be sewn and pin. Sew with back stitches. Place the left side of the zipper on the right side of the fabric, pin and sew. Voila! Your zipper is installed. Your skirt is ready.

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The off shoulder top

The process is basically the same. Take an accurate measurement of your shoulders and how long you need the top to be. Measure the length required on the fabric and cut. Repeat steps 3, 6 and 7. Use a button to hold the edges of the shoulder band together.

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Please note that all stitches have to be done on the wrong side of the fabric. I would love to hear your thoughts on this DIY. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below Xx!

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