Three Cities, Three Dresses: Ulm

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You’ve already seen my first attempt at this pattern in my post about Aachen, but the story didn’t end here. No sir! I became obsessed with this pattern. OBSESSED. I HAD to make another one for my birthday back in January. With only one and a half days to finish the dress, off I went to my pattern store of choice where there’s a lot of wool fabric on sale right now. I was super lucky because I found exactly the shade of blue I was looking for: a beautiful deep blue hue. I feel like of the three version I made of this dress, this is the one where I had just the right fabric. Fabric #1 was a tad to stretchy and soft, and fabric #3 too heavy. Fabric #2 is just the right amount of everything; the finished dress comes closest to Burda’s pattern picture.

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With just such a short amount of time to finish this dress, it was impossible to line it even though I thought from the start it might be a good idea. Sure enough, I can’t wear the dress without a slip or a tee beneath it, the wool’s just too scratchy. It’s okay though: I’ve left my perfectionist days behind me when it comes to sewing. I’m just glad I finished it in time for my birthday. Also, I have no shortage of t-shirts, so everything is a-okay. I fucked up pretty badly on another part of the pattern and that mistake is highly visible. While pinning the pattern pieces on the fabric, I had accidently switched up the back and front skirt pieces and ended up cutting the back piece on the fold and the front piece twice. Could still slap myself for that one, what a stupid, unnecessary mistake! Alas, there was nothing I could do except cut the back skirt piece in two and sew together the two front pieces.

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To keep with my theme with three different dresses shown in three different cities, I had these pictures taken in my hometown Ulm (by my best friend Dominique in the last ten minutes of her lunch break, huge thank you!). In case you think Ulm looks this rundown everywhere, I emphatically have to say NO, because I’m feeling very patriotic of this city. The background is part of the old fortification and not … in the very best shape. Originally it looked like this, by the way:

Bundesfestung Ulm, ca. 1870.

Ulm’s landmark is the “Ulmer Münster” (Ulm Minster), the tallest church in the world with a spire measuring 161,5m. Construction began in the 14th century because the old parish church was located outside the city walls. The church was consecrated in 1405 and became Lutheran in the 16th century. However, the citizens of Ulm had run out of money at the end of the Middle Ages and construction wasn’t finished until the 19th century. The top levels of the spire, for example, are Neo-Gothic. During WWII, most of Ulm to the west of the church was destroyed, but the Münster itself was barely damaged.

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If you can deal with heights and are in good physical condition (768 steps!), you can climb almost to the top where you have an amazing view over the city and the surrounding country. On sunny days you might even see the Alps!

Ulm also has a rather adorable medieval quarter situated at the banks of the Danube, the so-called “Fischerviertel” (fishermen’s quarter). It harboured the fishers’, tanners’ and shipbuilders’ guild amongst others. With its restored houses, little boutiques and charming cafés, it really is a wonderful place for a walk!




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Amidst the “Fischerviertel” you can find a rather special building that prides itself to be the most crooked house in the world. Today it’s used as a restaurant and hotel that you can also book for events. I celebrated my confirmation there! While the floors are still tilted up to 40cm, all the furniture has been constructed in a way that you can sleep in a completely horizontal bed, for example. You can also check out their website, which has really cool before/after pictures of the restoration process.

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The town hall is another building that’s a tourist magnet. Initially a place to sell goods, it was expanded and also used as a court of law. At the end of the 14th century it began to be used by the city council in need of a council hall, adding a second story to the building. In 1419 it was called “town hall” for the first time and in the following centuries embellished with sculptures, architectural decorations and large murals.
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Amidst the medieval quarter you can find a thoroughly modern building: the “glass pyramid” aka the city library. As you can probably imagine, the opinions about this one are very much divided, but I’m completely in love with it. Not only do you see the halftimbered houses in its neighbourhood reflected in all that glass, its construction in fact mirrors them! I’m very partial to inspired modern architecture like that.

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Writing about Ulm, there’s one thing you simply can’t leave out of your description: our “heraldic animal”, so to speak. Other cities have bears or lions as their symbol, Ulm has the sparrow. It’s small, but very smart – very much in contrast to the residents of Ulm, if the story is to be believed. 😉 Legend has it that during the construction of the Münster the builders tried to transport a large log of wood through the city gate sideways and naturally failed. Only when they saw a sparrow transporting a little branch lengthways to its nest did they figure out how to continue with their work! It’s an admirable quality to be receptive to learning new things, after all … 😉

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I hope you enjoyed my little “travel guide” to Ulm and join me next time for my third and last version of this pattern – this time in Heidelberg!

EDIT: Click on the pictures below to go to the two other installments in this little mini-series.

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13 responses to “Three Cities, Three Dresses: Ulm

  1. first of all – your dress is gorgeous! and, what a lovely place your hometown is! i really love that medieval quarter! and i’m a bit surprised how narrow and small danube looks in these pics! that’s interesting.. i live in belgrade, that is at the banks of the danube as well, but danube here is huge and really wide

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    • Thank you! 🙂 Haha, I know, many people from the other Danube countries I know have said the same. I myself was always kind of amazed how huge the Danube was in these countries! I haven’t been to Belgrade yet, but I was in Novi Sad and thought it was really cool there, btw.

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  2. I love everything about your dress, you look fabulous! And thanks for sharing this travel info too, looks like a beautiful place. Happy Week!

    PS: You nailed it re; Windows 8, my sentiments exactly. 😉

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