Hi my lovelies! Guess what?
I’m finally sharing my handmade Dirndl with you!
Man, this is long overdue! I made it in May 2015, which feels like ages ago now. So why would I make a Dirndl if it wasn’t made for Halloween or Oktoberfest?
I don’t want to get into the whole Dirndl discussion, but since I’m German, I might say a word or two. Although many people love to think this is what Germans like to wear, wearing Dirndl or Lederhosen is pretty much like wearing kilts in Scotland. The average German will probably never wear or even own one, except for maybe visiting Oktoberfest. The traditional long Dirndls are sometimes worn in some more rural areas in southern Germany, but you see that very rarely and it’s definitely not considered as fashionable in the rest of the country. Having worn one now, I have to say you actually feel very pretty and femine in it. I’d still not wear one in the streets though. Puff sleeves and all, you feel like a freakin’ Disney princess. Which is not the look you’re going for when you’re older than 12, I guess.
I made my Dirndl for a fancy dress party at work which funnily enough was on my last day at work. Since I was working in a hospital back then I didn’t want to go over the top with my costume (I also had to attend my exit interview that day). As I was the German girl on the ward anyway, I decided to dress up as one. Pretty imaginative, eh?
So that’s the story. I haven’t worn it since and wasn’t to keen on going outside dressed like this to take picture for the blog!
Now, five months later, we actually live in Bavaria (who would’ve known!) and it’s not that weird to wear one here.
From having the costume idea to the actual fancy dress party I had exactly three days. At first I thought about drafting a Dirndl based on my By Hand London Elisalex pattern, but then I thought What the heck, if you’re actually making a Dirndl, do it properly.
You can find a whole bunch of Dirndl dress patterns on the German Burdastyle website. Which is where I found a really nice burda young pattern, which looked a bit prettier than the common Dirndl patterns. Burdastyle has added more Dirndl patterns since, so whoever is interested, this is Dirndl paradise now.
THE FABRIC & MATERIALS
Originally, I wanted to use some light blue cotton and add a white apron (to get more of an Alice in Wonderland look), but as it turns out, Dirndls are fabric eaters and I didn’t have enough.
For the actual dress, I used a navy blue 100% cotton, which originally was a John Lewis duvet cover I got at Oxfam for £4. It was a massive piece and the only fabric I had enough of to cut the skirt from. The skirt consists of 4 pattern pieces and has approx. an 8 metre long hem. I still had enough left to cut the bodice and lining from it two.
I used the light blue fabric for the piping in the front and back (which isn’t included in the pattern!) and to make the Froschgoscherl trim. The trim took ages to make, but was the most fun part in the construction. Instead of using readymade trim, I made the ‘ribbon’ myself by sewing two massive strips of dark and light blue cotton together and turning it inside out. I pressed it and topstitched close to the edges with contrasting thread. The ribbon is then folded and stitched in an origami-esque way to create the Froschgoscherl.
The dress has an ivisible zip in the front, which is a bit unusual normally but actually quite common for a Dirndl dress. The lacing is just decorative. I used six folklore buttons and some satin ribbon.
The blouse is part of the Burda pattern and the pattern also includes different sleeve and neckline options. I went for full on puff sleeves.
The blouse is made from white 100% cotton fabric. As is common for Dirndl blouses, it end just below the bust, so as not to add any bulk around your waist area. This is actually pretty genius, although a bit uncomfortable at first.
The apron is made from some quilting cotton I bought years ago. It’s red with tiny white hearts on it.
I really prefer the Dirndl without the apron, it’s much prettier and less costumy, right?
White puff sleeves attract lady bugs and butterflies…what does it remind me of again…? Umm…
Will I make it again? Umm, no. It was super fun and a lot of work and I could use loads of old cottons from my stash. But since I hardly wear it at all, I don’t think I’ll make another one.
Hope you all have a Happy Halloween! It’s the perfect excuse to buy all the kids candy in the supermarket! I’m hoping the kids in our street won’t ring at our door, so that I can have all the chocolates myself. Ha!
Stay in touch!
32 thoughts on “My Handmade Dirndl”
These pictures are AMAZING! Beautiful dress, too!
Thank you Gillian! I’m super lucky to have a talented Mr to take pictures and having had gorgeous weather that day 🙂
What a beautiful Dirndl.
Totally fabulous. Enjoy those rare occasions when you do get to wear it.
Thank you! I might as well attend Oktoberfest next year, just to get enough wear out of it 🙂
How beautiful it looks on you. Do you read gerties blog, she’d is obsessed with dirndls at the moment!
I read her Dirndl posts the other day, super interesting! I don’t quite get the obsession some people have with Dirndls, but that’s probably just because I’m German and Dirndls definitely are not considered cool here 🙂
I can’t believe you whipped this up with only 3 days. It looks adorable & even if it is a bit impractical you’re prepared for all future Oktoberfests:)
I worked on it like a mad person until the very last minute! Three days wasn’t enough to order one online, so that was my only option 🙂
Very pretty, I like all the trim you used
What a beautiful dress, and you do such amazing work. I love the pictures, the setting is so pretty. I’ve missed your posts, I’m glad you are back!
Aww, thanks, Dawn!! xx
I’m Irish and married to a Bavarian guy. I never ever thought I’d find a bloke in lederhosen attractive but hey! there you go.
I’ve tried on dirndls as they are fairly common where he lives but I always felt a bit strange. I think they’re lovely generally but haven’t taken the plunge yet. My girls love them and having seen you wearing this one I might give the pattern a go as yours isn’t so glitzy or shiny more classic looking. The duvet idea is a great one. Enjoy bavaria they are a very warm and fun loving people.
You did a fantastic job! Making the piping and trim on your own is indeed a task. And kudos on the invisible zipper! I love the subtle Snow White inspiration too. LOVE LOVE! <3
hi, I bought this pattern, would be so useful if you shared the amount of fabric you used to make it!! thanks! this is lovely dirndl
Hi! I’d love to know that as well. And also, is there anything you would have changed about the Buda pattern? Thanks!
I’ve answered the fabric question below. I can’t think of anything I would’ve changed. I only had three day to make the dress, blouse and apron and therefore didn’t adjust the pattern at all. The Burda bodice fits me really well, so I don’t have to make any fitting adjustments, usually. The pattern was ok to follow. I don’t think the piping was included, if I remember correctly, that’s the only bit that I added myself 😉
Hi Nara! I used bedsheet fabric for this pattern, so I can’t give you the exact amount of metres I used as it wasn’t the usual 140cm width. I can’t remember if it was king or queensize, but quite a lot of fabric either way. I used almost all of it. The skirt is a massive fabric eater, but you could easily change the pattern a bit to make it narrower if you do not want to use up so much fabric. A little less gathering at the waist might also be a bit more flattering 😉
Good luck! & Happy sewing!
I am beginning my research for Sound of Music costuming and this was such “a very good place to start”. Thank your for including the pictures and your insights. Love the dress; you did a beautiful job.
What a lovely dirndl! I am in the process of making one now . . . I hope it turns out as pretty as yours.
Great job! The dress us perfect, and I love wearing dirndls! I have straight sleeves til above the elbow with a 4 inch piece of eyelet bed ruffle. Sounds outrageous but it it is quite nice. I would love to try that ribbon technique you did, because that us fabulous! You might like having a straight sleeve option and perhaps that would make you want to wear your dirndl more often.
You look like a model in those photos and why not look your best. Dirndls are a classic look.
Thanks for sharing your Dirndl project!
Wow your dress is absolutely gorgeous! I don’t have any sewing experience unfortunately. I am also part German and would love to have at least one of these Dirndl dresses! However I like yours. I don’t like the ones that are really sexy. I’d like to have one appropriate for a preschool/nursery school. I understand you have a lot of experience sewing. I was thinking it would be nice to wear a Dirndl for Halloween this year. Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for me? Is this pattern ok for a beginner? It looks complicated. I love you extra ribbon as well. Do you make these for other people? This post is from ages ago I know. I’d love to hear from you either way. You really are talented. Great job ❤️
Hi Charlie: such a beautiful dirndl dress you made! Could you provide the Burda pattern number please? many thanks!
Hi Gwen! This is Dirndl #7057A from the 2013 spring/summer collection of Burda. Hope that helps!
I love your drink. I am interested in one for such a long time now! I am not anywhere neat Germany or Switzerland or Australia or wherever else they are worn. But I am most interested in one with my German and Irish ancestry. I would wear it alot if I had one but the longest version! Yours is adorable
I’m the head Dirndl Frau at mydirndl.com . Your dirndl on this page looks to be of as good quality as anything I have ever imported. You have a gift for sewing. I, do not. I must say whomever is your photographer is equally talented. Thank you for the lovely article and pictures. Sew On!
Your dirndl is lovely, and you look beautiful in it. I LOVE the photos with the bicycle! I purchased my first authentic Dirndl (from my German-born friend who bought it in Austria, but it didn’t fit her) to wear to Octoberfest this year. I am also German (by heritage), and now I want to make authentic Dirndl’s for all of us, myself, daughters, granddaughters. The Burda Germany patterns are gorgeous, but is there a way to get the instructions in English, or do I need to get my friend to translate them for me? My plan is to have them ready for Octoberfest and Reformation 2019, so I have time.
Oh, I love it! I just started to look into sewing dress patterns after years of quilt making…well! A friend of mine made one for a girl. I loved it. My mum is German too and she always refused to pay the money they ask for Dirndl dress in Germany and she lives in Italy, soo…I would love to be able to make one for my mum and my niece. Identical pieces! So I came across your blog suggesting I buy the Burda pattern. My Mum is 72, I need a more serious one. I love your dark blue and red. You said it was not easy. Would it be an absolute nightmare for a beginner?
Hi Anna Claudia!
It’s definitely challenging, but if you google some techniques and feel confident enough it should definitely be doable!
Love it! As I get older I’m starting to care less what people think and wear what makes me happy. I live in South Africa so don’t think people will think it odd that I wear a dirndl, I think they will just see it as a pretty and pretty German dress. Loved you colours so pretty. Thank you for your hints and tips. To the sewing machine we go!
I love your dress, personally I think that fashion is long overdue in returning. I do see a lot more women are posting pictures of dresses from medievil through to victorian periods. Vintage just doesnt seem to spark as much interest. A lot of the cosplay dresses very close the medievil / rennaisance are also very popular. I think women are longing for a time that was more romantic and sensual that what is happening today.
I am aiming at changing my wardrobe to medievil, mixed with a bit of cosplay. I have to use lighter fabrics though because South Africa, especially Rustenburg in the North West province can get very hot like 46 degrees in high summer but that is why there are fabrics like viscose that are pretty and cool.
I really think you should wear that lovely dress more often.