Two Saturdays ago, in addition to the regular Christmas market I have already told you about in recent posts, there was a smaller indoor Advent market held at the Kulturzentrum (literally "Culture Centre") in the town centre. This was organized by a lady from the Municipal Administration for her fellow Civil Servants. All municipal employees could apply for a stall to sell home-crafted items, with 10 % of the proceeds going to a project in Burkina Faso.
This was a welcome opportunity for my Mum to try once more to sell her hand-knitted socks, after we had not been overly successful with our stall at the outdoor market in the summer.
I had arranged to go and help out for a bit, so, after my usual Saturday morning round of cleaning, I went to join my Mum.
Our stall was at the back of the largest hall in the Kulturzentrum. It was amazing to see how many pretty things people had made and were offering at their stalls, from delicious looking muffins and brownies to silver jewellery and ornaments. Most of what was there was more or less "useless", for decorative purposes, and since I am not one for much deco at home, I did not want to get anything from these stalls.
Unfortunately, there was another socks stall nearer the entrance of the hall, which meant that most visitors passed there first - more than once, people arriving at our stall told us they really liked our socks but had already bought what they needed from the other stall.
We did not sell as much as we had hoped for, but a small sum still went to the Burkina Faso project, and we had so many nice and interesting conversations that we did not consider the whole thing a waste of time.
The stall next to us, on my Mum's side, was rather big and manned by a whole family. The parents had some decorative stuff on offer which I can't even remember properly, but the daughter...! She had put on display her own creations of beautiful dirndl dresses, and one in particular caught my eye as soon as I arrived at the hall:
And you can guess what happened, can't you?
At first, I merely looked at it. Then, I asked the stall holders permission to take a picture of the one I found most beautiful. Next, I asked the size. It happened to be mine... Then, I agreed to try it on in a small room behind the back wall of the hall. It fitted... I kept going back to my chair at our stall and think about occasions to wear the dirndl.
That wasn't so easy to work out, because my part of Germany is not like Bavaria, where ladies wear dirndls more often than here. In fact, I was quite against the "dirndl hype" that has been going on here for the past 5 years or so, with cheap dirndls being on offer even at supermarkets every year around the time of the Octoberfest and also in spring, when there is a big Frühlingsfest (spring fest) in Stuttgart. Whenever something - a specific piece of clothing, a book, a film or a new type of sports - is the subject of a hype, I usually do not follow that hype but look at it with a mixture of distaste and ridicule, and that had been the case with those mass-produced pseudo-dirndls.
But this one... a hand-made individual dirndl, like nobody else would have; very well made, beautifully put together, and so reasonably priced it was almost too good to be true. Last time I owned and wore a dirndl was when I was a little girl of 5 or 6, and I loved the full skirts, little aprons and puffed sleeves back then.
I agreed with the young lady who makes these wonderful dresses to keep "my" dirndl on the dummy, and if someone else wanted to buy it, not to wait for me to make my mind up. When the market ended at 4.00 pm, "my" dirndl was still there, though. Many visitors had admired this one and the other dirndls, but nobody had bought one.
So... I ended up taking this one home with me, already having several occasions in mind where I would get to wear it next year.
Just look at how much detail there is! Each of those tiny roses around the bodice is hand-made of satin ribbon. The little blouse is made of lace. The skirt is of deep pink satin, and the bodice and apron are of a rose-print on cotton with tiny glittery bits interspersed (I don't think you can see them in the pictures). Don't look at my footwear - of course I would not really wear those in public with this outfit.
My secret worry was that RJ would think it too kitschy and over the top, but when I showed him my new acquisition Saturday evening, he loved it as much as I did.
Now all I need is a pair of cream Mary-Janes to go along with it...
That is what can happen when you set out to sell socks: you end up buying a dirndl!