How to Make a German Costume

Things You'll Need

  • White dress shirt

  • 2 gold buttons

  • Needle

  • Thread

  • Short pants

  • Embroidered ribbon

  • Safety pins

  • Scissors

  • Heavy wool knee-high socks

  • Sewing machine

  • Black broadcloth

  • Heavy-weight iron-on interfacing

  • Large decorative silver fasteners

  • White half-apron

  • Full skirt

  • White peasant blouse

  • Ribbon

The dirndl is a traditional German dress that originated with alpine peasants.
Image Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images

You can add a few details to thrift shop clothes to make a German costume for a man or a woman. Of course, German costumes are even more adorable on children. You will find many occasions to wear these outfits. You can be Hansel and Gretel for Halloween, liven up the next meeting of your brew club, or dance the polka at Oktoberfest.

Male Costume

Step 1

Put on the white shirt. Leave the collar unbuttoned. Sew a gold button on each side of the collar. Put on the short pants. Choose shorts with a 3-inch inseam that fit just below the natural waist.

Step 2

Create suspenders of embroidered ribbon, by pinning a length of ribbon inside the waist of the pants, 3 inches out from the center on each side. Run the suspenders over your shoulders and pin them at the same point on the back of the waistband. Cut a short length of ribbon to connect the suspenders in the front. The ribbon should be long enough not to pull the straps out of place and short enough to lie flat. Sew this piece to the suspenders so that it lies in the middle of your chest.

Step 3

Cut the socks off 1 inch above your ankle bone. Finish this edge with a stretch stitch on the sewing machine. Set the stitch length as short as possible to create a finished edge. Cut an 8-inch band from the top of the sock and finish the bottom edge of it in the same way. Wear these bands just below your knee.

Female costume

Step 1

Wrap a wide -- 8-inch or more -- band of black fabric around your waist for a belt. Measure it and cut it so that there will be a 3-inch opening in the front. Have a friend use pins to mark the opening in the front, before you cut it. Cut a piece of iron-on, heavy-weight interfacing the same size as the fabric. Iron the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 2

Sew embroidered ribbon around all the outside edges of the belt, to finish the edges. Sew the "eye" side of silver-colored, decorative, hook-and-eye fasteners along the opening of the belt. Place the eyes every two inches along the opening. Be sure the eyes are at the same height on each side of the belt.

Step 3

Hem the apron so that it is 2 inches shorter than the skirt. Sew a band or two of embroidered ribbon a few inches above the bottom edge of the apron. Put on the full skirt, white blouse and apron. A blouse with a scoop neck and puff sleeves is best.

Step 4

Put on the belt and lace ribbon through the eyes to lace up the front. Braid ribbon in your hair or wear a ribbon headband if your hair is short.


A felt hat with a short brim and a feather is a nice touch.

Accessorize your costume with non-clothing items like a pint of fake beer or a travel sack for hiking in the Alps.

Express your personality by using ribbons, aprons, skirts and tops with bright colors or patterns.


Follow the manufacturer's directions for ironing and cleaning.

references & resources