Dirndl Sewing Workshop
Tips, tricks, resources, and sewing know-how to make your own Bavarian- or Austrian-inspired dirndl.
The dirndl is back in fashion! Learn how to make and wear this classic and lovely alpine ensemble.
Perfect for Oktoberfest, weddings, HistoryBounding and even for every day.
"Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read you begin with A, B, C." When you sew (a dirndl) you begin with three. Three pieces that is: dirndl dress, apron and blouse.
The fashionable dirndl ensemble, most popular at Oktoberfest in the autumn, began its roots with a national Bavarian alpine folk wear developed in the 18-Teens. In the late 19th Century wealthy city women transformed these folk wear garments into fashionable summer attire for their countryside travels. The dirndl changed into its modern, recognizable form in the 1920s.
Above: vintage dirndl sewing patterns from the 1950s (left) and 1980s (right).
Although this cultural dress has a lively history and has been adapted for national identities and symbolism over the years, it is a welcome part of today's thriving Bavarian tourism industry.
Out of respect for the famed alpine hospitality, a revival has occurred in recent years to bring back the dressy dirndl as seen in Bavaria and Austria. Huzzah!
Many locals from the Bavaria, Austria and South Tyrol areas enjoy seeing others develop a fondness for this stylized ensemble. And we are thrilled to join the excitement of dressing in "costume Tracht"!
In my pursuit of studying dirndl construction with its many varied layers, colors, textures, and techniques, I often found myself keeping an online translator open to figure out what the German sewing methods were trying to teach me.
My excitement for dirndls has grown immensely and the language challenges have not hindered my journey down the rabbit hole of all things dirndl.
BUT.... when I got to the point of wanting to share this special fashion, I didn't want my students to have the same language challenge. I wanted them to jump straight into designing custom dirndls and getting them made with authentic and beautiful sewing methods.
What I have found so attractive about dirndls is that their construction blended my 20-year passion for 19th Century historical costuming with my 35-plus years of sewing my own modern clothing.
Perhaps you, too, have a love of Victorian dressmaking and want to do more of it but on a smaller scale. Dirndl folk dress may be quite satisfactory for you!
Historical and modern sewing interests have unified so perfectly in the dirndl ensemble:
- Natural fiber fabrics (yay for cotton and linen!)
- Flat lined bodices
- Full skirts with creative pleating
- Classic button or hook/eye closure
- Piping for emphasis and support
- All the trims!
Curious to learn more?
I am thrilled to be your teacher in this FULL sewing workshop!! Nothing has been left out, so you'll have every step to complete a unique dirndl you can be proud of.
Stand out from the Oktoberfest crowd with a custom dirndl you created!
Make unique wedding attire for the next celebration!
Honor your ancestral heritage!
Seek out creative everyday wardrobe pieces while supporting Bavarian and Austrian culture!
What you'll learn in this special sewing workshop:
- The composition of the classic Bavaria, Germany (and Austrian) dirndl
- The many varieties of dirndl bodice styles, skirt lengths and other elements
- Overview of dirndl fashion history with resource links for your further research
- Best fabric selections for your dirndl ensemble (SO much is available!)
- Color options for inspiration and consideration
- Available pattern options ranging from traditional to unique sources
- Tips for finding Plus-Size patterns
- Custom skirt and apron cutting calculations to fit any figure
- Bodice fitting tips for a flattering look on all figures
- Two construction methods for sewing the bodice with included lining layer
- Four techniques to gather in the top of the dirndl skirt
- Three closure treatments, all of which are appropriate on modern Bavarian and Austrian dirndls
- Five techniques of pleating the apron (an essential element of the dirndl ensemble!)
- Variations on the apron waistband and closure (ties or buckle)
- Tips for fitting and sewing up a dirndl blouse
- Three BONUS lessons on piping, pockets, and trims. (An additional bonus lesson on finishing touches like undergarments and accessories will be compiled soon.)
You get 10 complete lessons and 3 bonus lessons in this workshop!
The methods and techniques taught in class will give you a solid foundation for a variety of dirndls that can be adapted to most any creative design you dream up!
They also open the door to connecting with customs of the region and bring excitement to other Bavarian, Austrian, and Oktoberfest occasions.
In each lesson you'll get from three to 12 modules, many with video tutorials, containing complete sewing steps, design inspiration, dirndl history, resources of available patterns to utilize, custom cutting tutorials for a skirt and apron that fits your figure.
Detailed photos of construction as well as tips on undergarments, and the all-important fabric selection process will be given for the best sewing experience producing fabulous results.
I recommend writing down your dirndl design ideas as they come to you. They will be many! Soon you'll have a ready swipe file you can refer to them when you're ready to get a new dirndl sewing project going.
Historical costumers, modern dressmakers, advanced-beginner sew-ers and general dirndl lovers are all welcome. Let's sew together!
Additional notes on how to wear a dirndl as well as an extensive resource section for further inspiration, research, and supply shopping are included to give you the best results in your dirndl making
Begin a new sewing journey with creative and colorful dirndls! Prost!
"Jennifer’s dirndl class provided historical and modern research, details, and techniques to inspire me to make my own dirndl. Her teaching style is warm, and I felt comfortable learning at my own pace and being able to ask questions anytime. If you want to make your own dirndl, I highly recommend this class."
~ Adriana Walls
"With her wonderful attention to detail, enthusiastic teaching style, and newly added closed captioning option, Jennifer makes the seemingly complex easy to achieve by all."
~ Rebecca Sakamoto
Teacher to hundreds of sewing and costuming students since 2004, Jennifer dreams of the nostalgia of the past and brings it into her modern life through creating costume ensembles from about 1780 to 1920. Dark chocolate, Jane Austen and bustle dress fanatic. Daughter of the King.
"I HIGHLY recommend this [Ribbon Trim] class. I had so many "ahhh THAT'S how that is done" moments."
~ Carol Kuropatkin-Cone
Frequently Asked Questions
Get creative with your dirndl sewing today!