How to Make a Dirndl Costume

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Worn throughout the United States and Canada at autumn Oktoberfests, the dirndl, pronounced durn-dull, is a traditional German dress. Wear this pretty frock while making merry to the Oompah beat. After Oktoberfest, recycle your dirndl for Halloween. The dirndl is a fun and easy dress to make, requiring little more than a skirt, peasant blouse, apron, DIY corset -- not too tight mind you -- and dancing shoes.

Things You'll Need

  • Skirt, any dark color
  • Peasant blouse, white
  • Corset
  • Apron
  • White knee high socks
  • Comfortable shoes, clogs or black strap flats
  • White T-shirt (optional) 
  • 2 yards 1/4 inch elastic (optional)
  • Vest or solid color small T-shirt (optional) 
  • 2 yards ribbon

Step 1: Select or Make Your Skirt

Pick a skirt from your closet that is a dark color: blue, black, green or any other strong color. Dirndls worn as costumes at Oktoberfest are usually about knee-length or slightly shorter. Whatever length you choose, the skirt should be full but not quite as full as square-dance skirts.

If you don't have access to such a skirt, buy a couple yards of fabric with a bit of a stretch to it, and make a quick circle skirt.

Step 2: Choose or Make Your Blouse

Select a peasant style blouse -- white or other color that matches your skirt -- from your closet or thrift store. It may have a low or modest neckline. Ideally you should be able to tuck it into your skirt top. An elastic neckline and sleeve seams are perfect.

Step 3: Make a Corset

This type of corset is worn on the outside of the blouse. For the base of the corset choose a vest or a small, solid colored T-shirt.

If using a T-shirt: Cut off the sleeves. Find the middle of the neckline and cut down the middle and all the way to the end of the shirt. Cut 2 inches off of each side. The corset should reach just to the top of your skirt, so if it's too long, trim the bottom as well. Cut off the neckline seam.

For either the vest of the T-shirt you are making into the corset: Create holes along the sides at regular intervals. Normally you'd use grommets here, but they are more time-consuming. Just cut a small scissors hole. Thread the yard of ribbon from bottom to top. This means you need holes on both sides of the vest/corset. Thread the ribbon through the holes in a criss-crossing pattern.

Step 4: Add an Apron

Layer a solid color apron on top of the outfit at this point.

Step 5: Accessorize

Tie a bright piece of ribbon around your neck. Use bright red lipstick. French braid your hair or wear down. Put on the white knee high socks and comfortable flat shoes: black strap flats or clogs.

Tip

  • Make the costume sexier by shortening the skirt, wearing the sleeves off the shoulders and tying the bodice tightly.

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