Three Cities, Three Dresses: Heidelberg


Today’s the day! After much procrastination and the wonderful time killer that is knitting with silk yarn, I’m writing the last installment for “Three Cities, Three Dresses” and introduce to you: Heidelberg and the red version of the dress. Red is my favourite colour, that’s why it was only natural to make a pattern I had become obsessed with in that colour, too. Luckily, I managed to snatch up a gorgeous red wool fabric on sale at my local fabric store for only 8€/m. I LOVE it. I actually went back and bought the last 2m for another project.


Putting together the dress was super easy after sewing it twice already. The only difference in construction to the other two dresses is that I made the short sleeved variation this time. I took great care not to confuse front and back skirt again, however. 😉 Unfortunately, the fabric turned out to be a tad too heavy for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I still adore this pattern and this fabric and this dress in no particular order, but the sleeves are just very … 80s and shoulderpad-y. I didn’t line it this time either, even though I actually had the time, but I figured it wasn’t necessary since the wool isn’t half as scratchy as the one for my blue version. 


These pictures were taken on two different days. My mum took the first two in a rush because it was raining, my friend Lisa the others in front of our usual hangout spot, the La Fée, in the evening. Hence the difference in lighting! The La Fée, by the way, is a really cute little café where you can get awesome tea.


Heidelberg in general is very cute and precious. It’s a tourist hot-spot because it’s romantic and naturally, it capitalizes on this reputation. My Finnish friend Jasmin put it very concisely when, while exploring the city during her visit, we turned around a corner to see an unbearably cutesy old little house covered in ivy with a little inner yard full of roses: “Oh, come on!” I still have that exact sentiment sometimes, but Heidelberg is undeniably beautiful in summer. Right now, as you can see in the pictures above, it’s not quite as lens-friendly if still not bad to look at. That’s why I’m going to show you photos I took two years ago on a stunning May 1st.


This is Heidelberg castle as seen from the opposite side of the Neckar, which you’ve already seen from directly below. The castle ruins left by the destruction of the Thirty Year War and a short time later by French troops have become a symbol of German romanticism in the 19th century and has only been partly reconstructed. Turner has painted it several times during his stay in Heidelberg:

Turner, Heidelberg: Sunset, c. 1840-42.

Yes, sunsets in Heidelberg actually are that fucking pretty, as evidenced by this instagram picture taking sometime around last November.

The Old Bridge is another one of Heidelberg’s famous landmarks. It was built in 1788 by prince-elector and count palatine Karl Theodor, a great patron of the art (for example, he comissioned Idomeneo from Mozart), including architecture. It links Heidelberg’s historic centre with the other side of the Neckar.



The historic centre is busy with tourists all summer long – in fact, most of the people you run into in Heidelberg are either tourists or students. That can get annoying very fast, especially after the third tourist group stared at you having lunch as if that’s the eighth wonder of the world. A tourist group actually started taking pictures of my friends and me when we were having a picnic in the castle gardens and wouldn’t stop even though we turned our backs to them and covered our faces!





However, the masses of tourists also mean that the cute little shops and cafés you can find in Heidelberg have a much better life expectancy than they normally would in any other city, and if you know me you know I’m all about cute little shops and cafés! It’s not that bad if you get away from Heidelberg’s “Main Street” where the tourists are and take a stroll through the side alleys …


“Heidelberger Zuckerladen” – a cult candy store where you can get everything sweet you ever dreamed of (


Soooo … I should maybe also mention that there’s a university in Heidelberg which is pretty old and also it’s the reason I live in Heidelberg, so. Heidelberg University was founded in 1386, which makes it the third oldest university after Prague and Vienna in the Holy Roman Empire north of the Alpes. In the 16th century, it became a centre of Calvinist scholarship, but lost importance after the Thirty Years War, where it had to be closed several times and the famous Biblioteca Palatina, including such works as the Lorsch Evangelary, Friedrich II’s “Falkenbuch” and the Codex Manesse, was confiscated and brought to Rome.

Heidelberg University Library.
University Square.

In the 19th century, influenced by German new humanist, romantic and liberal thought schools, it regained a reputation for its scholarship, although sadly it would go on to play a rather dismal role during National Socialism, where it was the first university to declare itself a “national socialist university”. After WWII, it underwent denazification and a committee including Alfred Weber and Karl Jaspers drew up a new constitution for the university obliging it “to the living spirit of truth, justice and humanity”. Today it’s really famous for the law and medical faculties and draws students and scholars from all over the world to Heidelberg.

The goddess Minerva. The inscription below reads: “To the living spirit”.

I do admit I have a love-hate relationship with Heidelberg. Lately I’ve come around to it more and more, but I’m still glad I don’t live in the city centre. I really enjoy the nature around Heidelberg – the river, the hills, the forest – and can’t wait for better weather so I can take up running and taking walks again.


I hope you enjoyed these three Finished Object meets City Travel Guide posts. I certainly had fun! If you haven’t read the previous two posts, click on the pictures below.


11 responses to “Three Cities, Three Dresses: Heidelberg”

  1. really enjoyed this city mini series 🙂 few of my freinds actually were (maybe some still are) living and taking their postgrad studies in heidelberg.. and how fun that you actually visited novi sad (let me know if you visit again, so we can hang out a bit)

    • I’m glad you did! Yes, I’ll definitely let you know – I’m actually pretty often in one of the Danube countries, so chances are I’ll get to go to Serbia again in the near future! 🙂

  2. My goodness, somehow I forgot what a strong image the 19th Century in Germany had, it looks SO dramatic! (Kind of mad and gothic like Edinburgh is too, with all its Victorian buildings.) Red definitely suits you, it brings out your hair so beautifully!

    I hope that you don’t mind one small suggestion? Just from someone who is experienced in fitting clothing and pattern cutting…It looks like the waist of that dress is slightly too long on you. The excess length is causing the fabric to bunch up, I can see it in all photos but it’s especially noticeable in the way that the zip does not lie flat across your back. I don’t think that it would necessarily have to be shortened by much (sometimes as little as 0.75-1cm makes a lot of difference), but it would improve the fit of this pattern on you in the future.

    I hope that it’s OK to say this and that I don’t cause any offence, as I intend to say it in the spirit of helping to improve a fellow maker’s craft and technique, and to aid in making even more flattering garments in the future!


    • Haha, yes, it certainly is dramatic! Heidelberg kind of takes the cake in that regard. Thank you, I really like wearing red. 🙂

      And no, I’m not offended at all! As someone who’s largely self-taught, I’m always glad when I get tips on fitting and so on, because I haven’t really got the hang of that yet. I always have fitting problems with the back/torso anyways because of my hollow back. So thank you! I’ll try that next time I use this pattern. 🙂

      • Oh, I’m so glad that you’re not offended! You know how people can be on the Internet… Do you mean that the curve of your lower back is quite pronounced? Increasing the size of the waist darts at the lower back can help this (though you will have to then move the amount that you take out over to the side seams). There are lots of excellent books available on fitting, although it’s very difficult (and a bit inaccurate) to fit things on yourself (although I do it as well).

  3. What a beautiful dress! I really love the collar and the colour suits you perfectly! And Heidelberg! Wow! Just wow! It really must be very inspiring to study somewhere so beautiful!

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