How to Make a Dirndl Skirt

Written by catherine paitsel
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How to Make a Dirndl Skirt
Dirndl skirts vary in length from mini to maxi and can sit at any waist height from empire to low-rise. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Dirndl skirts are wide skirts gathered at the waist. The original dirndls were dresses in Austria and Germany common at the end of the 19th century. The dirndl was originally a knee length dress with a wide skirt gathered at a fitted waist and had a fitted bodice, usually without sleeves. The dress was often covered with a colourful apron. The term dirndl comes from the German word "Dirndlgewand" meaning "maid's dress". Now the dirndl skirt is a common staple of women's wardrobes because of its versatility and flattering silhouette.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Iron
  • Hand-sewing needle
  • Elastic

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  1. 1

    Measure the circumference of your waist at the height you want the skirt. Double the measurement and add an inch for seam allowance. Cut the length of the skirt as long as you want it, plus three inches for a hem.

  2. 2

    Fold the rectangle of fabric in half with the right sides of the fabric together and pin. Sew up the side of the skirt with one-half seam allowance. Finish the seam as desired, with a serger or other seam finish technique.

  3. 3

    Hem the skirt. Fold the bottom edge of the skirt under one-half inch and sew a straight line around the entire edge. Fold it under another two inches and iron to hold the crease. Hand-sew the inside of the hem to the skirt using an invisible zigzag stitch.

  4. 4

    Create a casing at the top of the skirt. Turn the fabric under one quarter of an inch and iron. Fold the fabric under again one to two inches. Make this section the width of your elastic plus one-eighth inch. Leave a two inch gap open to insert the elastic

  5. 5

    Cut a piece of elastic the length of your original waste measurement. Thread the piece of elastic through the casing. Use a safety pin attached to the end of the elastic to pull it through if you have trouble moving the elastic through the fabric. Sew the two edges of elastic together and then hand-sew the gap in the casing closed.

  6. 6

    Iron the skirt once more to secure all of the seams to finish the skirt.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid accidentally twisting the elastic while pushing it through the waist casing.

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