All about Dirndl Sewing

Hello dear Dirndl seamstresses, Dirndl enthusiasts and potential, not yet convinced seamstresses,

After having sewed several Dirndl, I would like to share my experiences with you! Because on the one hand it is a very “simple piece of clothing, but it can also go wrong – among other things with the wrong ingredients!

And the most information you find about sewing a dirndl is in german. And quite often not that helpful. Knowing why something is made this or that way, helps more than a you sew it like this and that’s it.

Since my tips & tricks have become a bit longer, we decided to split the blog posts, and start today with the fabric & pattern.dirndstoffe-ver

Dirndl fabrics

Fabric: It is generally recommended to use high quality fabrics, especially natural fibres. The dirndl should accompany you for a long time and survive many washes.

Summer dirndl: Cotton or linen is classic for the warm season. A classic print is “Blaudruck”, but there are many more prints: e.g. scattered flowers, stripes or woven patterns like check or stripes. Plain fabrics always look very elegant.

Winter dirndl: velvet, corduroy, silk and wool fabrics, the colours are more reserved and muted according to the season.

Lining: an old men’s shirt is often used for the lining, it is usually made of a good material and washed so often that it is wonderfully soft to wear on skin. Of course you can also simply buy a light cotton fabric.


Dirndlpatterns do not age, because the basic principle “tight bodice – wide skirt” remains the same. The same pattern in a different colour, fabric or print combination immediately has a completely new effect. The folder at the bottom of the photo was published in 1960 and with the right fabric patterns from this time can still be used today without any problems.

Generally recommended to fit a simple Dirndlbodice perfectly and then hack/change the pattern. A deep neckline “Münchner Ausschnitt“ is easy made from high-necked , from Viennese seams into dividing seams. In some old Dirndl books there is only a simple basic pattern and drawings to explain what must be changed to get a certain pattern.

What shouldn’t surprise you is that most Dirndl patterns only contain the bodice pattern and for apron and skirt only the measurements are given, after all they are only rectangles. A small overview of Dirndl patterns can be found at Dirndlschleifchen.dirndlhefte2

Dirndl Terms

Some can’t be translated or is a dialect

Leib: Dirndl Bodice

Kittel: The Skirt

Kittelblech: Fake Hem

Kittelsack: pocket

Stifteln: Making cartridge pleats

Froschgoscherl, Herzerlrüsche… : selfmade Trims

The fabric requirement

is of course always a bit dependent on the size of the dirndl, but you can orientate yourself quite well according to the following values:

Bodice: approx. 60 cm with a fabric width of 1.50 m
For sleeves three-quarters to long come 40-60 cm in addition!

Skirt: At 1,50 m fabric width 2 – 3x the skirt length plus seam allowance
With a fabric width of 90 cm 3 – 5x the skirt length plus seam allowance.

Depending on the fabric and processing, more or less material can be used. If the skirt is pleated, usually 2 x the skirt length is sufficient.

If a skirt with a “Kittelblech” is made, 3 cm of seam allowance per length is sufficient. Without it 15-20 cm extra per length.

Kittelblech: Number of skirt panels x 20 cm, lighter fabric than skirt fabric.

Apron: 1.50m fabric width approx. 1.10 cm are sufficient.

90 cm twice the length of the apron (length of the apron is: Skirt length – 4 cm + 15 cm Seamallowance and Hem)

Lining & adhesive inlay: 60 cm x 1.50 m

Piping: fabric for the piping approx. 40 cm, piping cord approx. 4 m

Closure: depending on the closure, approx. 10 – 16 buttons (ideal size approx. 1 cm), hook or a normal zipper

This is only a rough overview, in detail it goes then into the following article.

Cutting the fabric

With the Dirndlleib there are quite classical seam allowances, which are usually used:

Side seam: 5 cm, so that later the dirndl can be made slightly narrower or wider, these allowances are not cut back either.

Neckline, viennese seams, shoulder seams, darts: 1 cm, usually nothing is changed anymore.

Waist seam: 3 cm, then cut back later when the dirndl sits. Except for children’s dirndls, which should grow with the child.

One pattern two very different dirndls, left  Dirndl all tone in tone made of violet cotton with negative print, right Dirndl Indian handloom, jacquard and taffeta and additionally lavish ruffles as decoration.

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