Anatomy of a Dirndl

Here are some basic guidelines for your classic dirndl, not to be confused with the "bar wench in a bag costume" from Amazon or Party City.


The Dirndl Blouse is typically a crop top worn under sleeveless dirndls, the shorter hem length eliminates the bulk of a blouse tucked into the waist of the dirndl.
  • It is typically white, but can be any color.
  • It can have an elastic (casual) neckline, or a button front. 
  • Often trimmed with some sort of lace.
  • Sleeves range from short and poufy to long and fitted - and just about anything in between!
  • It should compliment the style of the dirndl.
The Dirndl Lacing is an ornamental feature. The bodice of the dress should be fitted, but not tight like a corset. Let your undergarments do the heavy lifting and the dress lay smoothly on top.
  • Is most often laced top down, with the bow tucked behind the apron.
  • The hooks can have closed loops for laces that aren't intended to be removed, or open if the dirndl has a center zipper and needs to be re-laced every time you zip it up.
  • Should not be used to pull the dirndl tight - this is not a bar wench costume! Pulling the ribbon tight will only crumple the front panel under it, and if the dress has a side zipper the stress will eventually damage the zipper.
The Apron Bow has some commonly accepted connotations. You may find other variations on these rules, but these are the most common:
  • Bow on the left is for a single maiden.
  • Bow tied on the right indicates she is married or taken.
  • Bow in the center front is for children.
  • Bow in the center back is for widows.
The Apron should compliment the style of the dirndl, but can also help to dress it up or down as the occasion dictates.
  • Can be pleated, smocked, or gathered into the waist.
  • Has long ties intended to cross in back and tie in the front.
  • Can be shorter or equal to the hem of the dirndl (but never longer).
  • Can be printed cotton, lacy, or satin.
  • White is very traditional, but most modern versions are designed to coordinate with the dirndl's color.
The Dirndl Length is often an issue of personal taste and type of occasion.
  • The most traditional styles are typically T-length (mid calf). You will typically see this length on festival performers.
  • Should not be above the knee (again, you're not a bar wench). There has been considerable backlash in Bavaria regarding the uber-short costumes being seen as disrespectful to the historical nature of the garments.
  • Is ankle length for formal occasions (such as a wedding) or a more conservative look.



New items for Fall 2018

Here's what's new this season! I've got 6 events lined up and hope to see you - please say hi!
1.  Hearts Charivari - 9 different Hearts across a double chain. Available in 5" or 6" widths.
2.  Gürteltasche - perfect for wearing to Oktoberfest events!
3.  New hat pin styles and a fancy, removable Gamsbart
4.  Large embroidered Lebkuchenherz to wear around your neck, and Texas shaped pins with the Bavarian flag.


What's in a Dirndl?


Often when you see a dance troupe performing at a local German Festival they are wearing very traditional dirndls and lederhosen. But if you're looking to buy a dirndl for yourself why not consider something more uniquely you?  Dirndls are amazingly diverse - they can be casual or formal, traditional or novelty, simple or ornate - the possibilities are endless.

Edelpunk Dirndl by Dirndlherz
The most basic elements are a fitted, sleeveless bodice with a pleated or gathered skirt attached, typically topped with a coordinating apron. Often a dirndl blouse is worn under the dress, but not always. The bodice is shaped to fit smoothly over the torso, but it is not worn tight like a corset.

Dirndl blouses are commonly white, but can be any color or fabric. They're short and usually end above the waist. Embroidery and trims along the edge are very common.  Short sleeves are most common, but any length is worn.

If you see lacing up the front of the bodice it's usually secured through metal dirndl hooks (miederhaken). They can be plain or very ornate. Most have closed loops for the ribbon to lace through, but if the dirndl has a center front closure open hooks are a better choice - it makes lacing go much faster.

The skirt is usually (but not always) attached to the bodice. Deep wide pleats that meet together in the center back are most common. Gathering is also acceptable.  The skirt is basically a tube, which means it has a straight hem across the grain of the fabric and is super easy to alter.

The apron can be pleated or gathered into a long band. It is said that if you tie your bow on the left you are single, and on the right you are married or taken. More traditional aprons have several rows of pleating across the top that is done on a pleater or pleating machine.

So have fun with your dirndl and make a statement!


Traditional Pleated Aprons

I have finally mastered my pleating machine to create traditional, pleated aprons - which look great on top of my linen dirndls. The apron fabric is imported from Munich and features the traditional vertical floral motif.

Trachten Vocabulary

These are all items that I carry in my Bavarian Boutique booth, many of which are hand made by me. I hope my booth inspires people who are interested in German culture and Alpine fashion to learn more about it, and I hope to continue to add more and more as fast as my little hands can work!


Alpenhut - Alpine Hat, also sometimes called Trachtenhut. Traditionally made of wool in a shape similar to a fedora, but no seams or inserted pieces in the crown, and a longer brim down in front.

Women's Charivari on Dirndl with Miederhaken
Anhänger - A jewelry charm or pendant, like on a necklace or earrings.

Anstecknadel - A pin, such as those worn on a lapel or Alpenhut.

Blumenkrone - Flower crown.

Charivari - Trophy chains worn by hunters across the front of their Lederhosen. More recently women have adopted smaller, decorative versions to wear across the top of their dirndls.

Damenjacke - Simply translated as Ladies Jacket, but as part of your Trachten ensemble it refers to the rustic-looking knit sweaters. They are typically a neutral color with a blue or green border with small buttons up the front and pockets near the hem.

Gamsbart - A brush-like tuft worn on a man's hat, historically made from Chamois hair, but can also be synthetic.

Halskette - Necklace. Sometimes also just called Kette, which also means chain.

Kniestrumpf - Literally Knee Stocking, they are typically light colored lace stockings worn with dirndls.

Lebkuchenherz - Gingerbread Heart cookies, decorated with terms of affection and sold at German festivals. Some are very large and have a ribbon to wear around the neck.

Loferl - Traditional men's stockings worn with lederhosen, often embroidered. Some are two-piece styles with a band around the calf and a separate ankle-length sock.

Miederhaken - Bodice hooks on dirndls to lace up the front. Usually decorative and stitched onto the dress.

Ohrringe - Earrings.

Schürze - Apron, such as those worn with a dirndl.

Tasche - A bag or a woman's purse.

Unterrock - Petticoat, or literally under skirt.


New for Fall 2018: Damenjacke!

Just finished knitting my first Damenjacke and I'm in love! These traditional sweaters are sometimes called "Tuxer Jackerl", and are typically grey or neutral with a green, navy, or otherwise dark border. This took me about a month to hand knit, and I chose traditional German buttons with hearts and Edelweiss. The garter stitch, which is typical to this style, provides a slightly sturdier knit fabric with a ribbed texture.

Blumenkronen!

I made these cute storage boxes for all the extra flower crowns I'll have in stock for the upcoming Oktoberfest season!  Be sure to check out my festival schedule and come see me!


In time for Oktoberfest

What do you think of these adorable Bavarian-style lozenge Texas-shaped pins?  Perfect for your Trachten Jacke or Alpenhut!  I've got more styles coming, this is just the first. It measures 1-1/4" across and has a pinch-back clasp.


Eyelet Petticoat

The perfect compliment to The Cowgirl Dirndl, I'm now making eyelet-trimmed petticoats. 25" from waist to hem, 3 tiers, and over a 10' circumference of beautiful embroidered eyelet trim.

I'm in production mode for the upcoming Oktoberfest season, but if you want something custom made now is the time to contact me!


Booth Selections

These are some of the items you'll find in my festival booth! The embroidered Lebkuchenherz are based on the original edible cookies you'll see at every festival in Bavaria!  My earrings and necklaces all feature popular German / Alpine symbols such as beer steins, pretzels, cow bells, and edelweiss.  I make Charivari chains for men (pictured) and women.



New Flower Crowns

Since I couldn't restock my flower crowns in time for the Pflugerville Deutschen Pfest, I made some!  They sold well at the festival so I will definitely continue making these, and adding other color arrangements.

I use covered floral wire with a foundation of flat leaves to set the flowers on.  They are about 14" from one end to the other, with ribbon ties to secure in back.

Common Germanic Symbols

You'll see all of these symbols represented in my hand-made jewelry. The pretzel and stein charms are the most popular, but the cuckoo clock and Tyrolian hat are my personal faves.

Cuckoo Clocks - Originating in the black forest it's unknown who actually made the first cuckoo clock. The cuckoo mechanism has remain unchanged since the mid 1700's.

Edelweiß - The Edelweiss is a white, fuzzy flower that grows high in the Alps often precariously near the edges and cliffs. Young men (and some cows) would climb up to pick an Edelweiss and bring it back to the girl they were courting.

Gnome - Introduced by Paracelsus, a Swiss physician in the German Renaissance, he described them as very reluctant to interact with humans and able to move through solid earth as easily as humans move through air.

Swiss Cowbells (Kuhglocken) - At the beginning of the summer the cows (except for the milking ones) are sent to the Alps to roam about. At the end of the summer the ones who haven't fallen off a cliff come home and are adorned with fancy necklaces and hats made of flowers. This is called Alpabzug. I have no idea what this has to do with bells, except maybe it's to hear when a cow falls down the mountainside.

Gentian (Enzian) - a blue, fluted flower that, along with the Edelweiß and Primrose (small, purple flower), is a commonly associated with Austrian and Alpine culture. Depictions of  these flowers can scan be seen on the obverse side of Austrian pfennis (penny).

Pretzels (Brezel) - Though it's origins are unclear, the pretzel has been used as an emblem of baker's guilds in southern German regions since at least the 12th century.

Stein - Steinzeug means "stoneware" in German, and Steinzeugkrug, means "stoneware jug or tankard". The advantage of using stoneware was molds could be used to mass-produce elaborate steins.

Tyrolian Hat - Also referred to as an Alpine or Bavarian hat, Tyrol hats surviving from the 1830's show it has changed very little.  Typically adorned with gamsbart pins (or feather plumes) and hat pins. It eventually became a popular tourist symbol perpetuated by local musicians. And cows.

German Fashion & Sewing Vocabulary

I'm sure this post will be edited many times to add more, but this is what I have so far. Also, if any native speakers spot any mistakes please let me know!


Apron - die Schürze
Bodice - das Mieder
Bow - Schleife
Braid - Tresse / Tressenband
Button - der Knopf
Camisole - Leibchen
Collar - der Kragen
Cotton - Baumwolle
Cuff - die Manschette
Cut - schneiden (verb)
Draft - entwurfen (verb)
Dress Form - Kleiderordnung
Dryer - der Wäschetrockner
Embellish - verschönern
Embroider - Stickerei
Fold - Falten
Hem - der Saum
Lining - Innenfutter
Model - das Modell
Needle - die Nadel
Pattern - Schnittmuster
Petticoat - der Unterrock
Piping - Paspelband
Rhinestone - Strass
Ruffle -Rüsche
Sleeve - der Ärmel
Slip - Unterhose
Steam - dämpfen (verb)
Tent - Zelt
Thimble - Fingerhut
Umbrella - Regenschirm
Zipper - Reißverschluss


Flashcard display in my booth


1. The weather was amazing. A bit windy on Sunday, but otherwise a great weekend for a festival.
2. The 3-day festival is 34 hours. By comparison, Tomball's 3-day German Festival is 24 hours. 
3. My Saturday sales met my expectations, but Friday and Sunday were abysmal. The long hours (on top of traveling, loading in, working all weekend, then packing up) are hard for 1 person to do alone.
4. This was only my 3rd festival - and I'm still growing and learning. What sold out at the last festival I only sold 1 of at this festival. But I know this is normal. This is how this works. But I DO think I need more merchandise. Not in quantity of items, but in variety. 
5. My intended target is people who want a more authentic German experience and accessories. Sadly, this may need revision to attract more buyers. 
6. Overall I learned a lot, had very helpful booth "neighbors", and have a lot to think about. I also have more booth ideas though the layout flowed really well this time (so well, in fact, I was a common short-cut).



Muenster Germanfest this weekend!

I've got just about everything sorted and ready to pack up for Muenster this weekend - my first time vending there. Did a test run hooking up the trailer all by myself.  The weather has been beautiful this Spring and I got some cute photos with my friend Casey in my dirndls.  And a baby goat.