Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to sew a Dirndl - Part I Introduction and fabrics

As promised, I'm going to again put the Dirndl-how-to up here.
For the international guests in my blog: a Dirndl is a traditional Austrian dress. Depending on where in Austria you live, you wear it on special occasions, but there are several areas where a Dirndl is still worn every day.
Here is a picture of several different Dirndldresses:

(source: Wikipedia)

There is a special kind of Dirndldress: A Tracht
A Tracht is strictly regulated by organisations: the pattern of the bodice, colours, fabric, buttons, what kind of blouse you wear underneath ...
Trachen are typical for their respective local areas, usually there is a version for winter and summer, one for every day and one for festive occasions. Sometimes, the every-day-version is just upgraded for special occasions by using a silk apron ... the diversity is huge! (you can probably tell by now that I'm really fascinated by this ...)
Anyway, I sewed a Ausseer Tracht, which is one of the Trachten in the Salzkammergut (a area in the south of Upper Austria and northwest of Styria). It has a green bodice (called the Leib) out of dark green linen, a pink skirt (called the Kittel) and a violet apron. This colour-combination might seem a bit adventurous, but let yourself be surprised!

These are my fabrics:

Of course, the green one is going to be the Leib, the violet one is used for the apron. The pink one at the right is the Kittel, and the pink one on the upper left is the interlining for the Leib.

Okay ... in the next post, we're going to make the Kittel :)

11 Kommentare:

  1. May I ask Where you found these fabrics?
    I have had no luck finding the right prints, too many overly busy calico and floral prints.
    I need the solid color with the evenly spaced white (or other color) floral sprigs, stripe, etc.
    Like in this one:

    Any info on online fabric sources for this would be most appreciated, thanks.

    1. Do a Google search for: Dirndlstoffe online

      You will find an assortment of fabric shops carrying dirndl fabric. If you don't understand German, click the "Translate" button. I'm sure you'll have no difficulty purchasing in English (I've done it). As a U.S. alternative, try looking at 100% cotton drapery fabrics (they're the right weight).

  2. I bought this fabric in a small fabric store in Bad Aussee, but I don't know about good online sources for fabrics like that. You could try, or maybe eBay.

    I'm sorry that I couldn't be of more help!

  3. Just for your info, in Germany many of our dirndls just have a border print on the skirt and then we use the same material (only the border part with the print) to make the front of the bib and the back is the solid. Whatever colour you choose for the apron is usually one of the colours in the border print. Our blouses are white.

  4. Could you please show how to do the handmade decoration, looks like a puffed zigzag (I think it is made of a small band )on the bodice. thanks for detailed info and clear pictures.

    1. There are instructions to be found at:

      Good luck!

  5. Is the fabric a calico? I'm trying to find some here in the's very difficult.

    1. I too am a dirndl enthusiast in the U.S.A. (lived for years in Germany/Austria). The dirndl fabric found in Austria is a considerably heavier weight than "calico." The bodice is often made of rather coarsely-woven linen and, of course, is lined (which adds weight), but the printed fabrics are heavy too. Take a look at 100% cotton drapery fabrics. Or order from overseas.

  6. @Bonbon: When I will make a dress with this decoration (we call it "Froschgoscherl"), I can show some pictures. However, I don't really need any more Dirndln right now, so it might take a while.
    @Unknown: Which fabric do you mean? The green fabric for the bodice is linen. The fabrics for the skirt and the apron are printed cottons, and so is the lining of the bodice.

  7. Hallo Bettina,

    wo hast Du denn den Schnitt gekauft. Ich bräuchte genau so einen. Bitte schreib zurück.


    die Rosi

    1. Hallo Rosi,

      wie ich im 4. Teil des Dirndl-Tutorials geschrieben habe, ist der Schnitt während eines Nähkurses von einer Trachtenschneiderin nach meinen Maßen erstellt worden. Dirndlschnitte gibt es aber zum Beispiel in der Zeitschrift Dirndlrevue (erscheint jährlich), oder auch als Fertigschnitt bei Burda. Erfahrung mit diesen Schnitten habe ich aber leider keine.

      Liebe Grüße