Dirndl pattern plus size

The dirndl is a traditional dress that originates from the Alpine regions of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. It is often worn during cultural festivals, such as Oktoberfest, and has become a beloved symbol of Bavarian heritage. For many women, finding the perfect dirndl, especially in plus sizes, can be a challenge. This article will explore everything you need to know about dirndl patterns for plus sizes, from understanding the history and components of the dress to choosing the right fabrics and making your own dirndl at home.

History of the Dirndl

The dirndl has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. Originally, it was a simple, practical dress worn by peasants and servants in rural areas. The name “dirndl” comes from the German word “Dirn,” which means young woman or girl. The dress was typically made of durable materials like cotton or linen and was designed to be functional and easy to wear.

Over time, the dirndl evolved into a more elaborate and decorative garment. By the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it became popular among the upper classes and was worn as a symbol of regional pride and cultural identity. Today, the dirndl is a staple at Oktoberfest and other traditional festivals, where it is worn by women of all ages and sizes.

Understanding Dirndl Patterns

A dirndl consists of three main components: the bodice, the blouse, and the skirt. The bodice is usually fitted and may feature intricate embroidery, lace, or other decorative elements. The blouse is typically white and worn underneath the bodice, while the skirt is full and often gathered at the waist. Some dirndls also include an apron, which adds an extra layer of detail and can be tied in different ways to convey different meanings.

When it comes to dirndl patterns, there are countless variations to choose from. Traditional patterns often feature floral or geometric designs, while modern patterns may incorporate more contemporary elements. The key to choosing the right dirndl pattern is to consider your personal style, the occasion for which you will be wearing the dress, and, most importantly, the fit.

Dirndl Patterns for Plus Sizes

Finding a dirndl pattern that fits well and flatters your body can be challenging, especially for plus-size women. However, with the right knowledge and approach, you can find or create a dirndl that looks and feels great.

Choosing the Right Fabric

The fabric you choose for your dirndl is crucial to its overall look and comfort. For plus-size dirndls, it’s important to select fabrics that have a bit of stretch or give. Fabrics like cotton blends, stretch satin, or even lightweight wool can provide the structure needed for the bodice while allowing for movement and comfort. Avoid fabrics that are too stiff or heavy, as they can add unnecessary bulk and may not drape well over curves.

Key Features to Look For

When selecting a dirndl pattern for plus sizes, look for designs that include:

  • Adjustable Bodices: Patterns that offer adjustable straps or lace-up bodices can help achieve a better fit.
  • Flattering Necklines: V-necklines, sweetheart necklines, and square necklines can be very flattering and draw attention to the upper body.
  • Waist Definition: Look for patterns that emphasize the waist, as this can create a more balanced silhouette.
  • Appropriate Lengths: The length of the skirt should be proportional to your height. Midi lengths (falling mid-calf) are often the most flattering for plus-size figures.

DIY Dirndl Patterns

Making your own dirndl can be a rewarding project, allowing you to customize the fit, fabric, and details to your liking. Here are some steps to get you started.

Basic Sewing Techniques

Before diving into dirndl-making, ensure you are comfortable with basic sewing techniques such as:

  • Sewing Seams: Understanding how to sew straight and curved seams.
  • Installing Zippers: Many dirndls feature a zipper closure on the side or back.
  • Gathering Fabric: Techniques for creating gathers, particularly for the skirt.
  • Hemming: Finishing the edges of your fabric for a clean look.

Adjusting Patterns for Plus Sizes

Commercial sewing patterns often cater to standard sizes, so you may need to adjust the pattern to fit your measurements. Here are some tips for adjusting patterns:

  • Measure Accurately: Take precise measurements of your bust, waist, and hips.
  • Alter Bodice Patterns: Adjust the bodice pattern to fit your bust and waist measurements. You may need to add darts or princess seams for better shaping.
  • Adjust Skirt Patterns: Ensure the skirt pattern has enough fullness to fit comfortably around your hips and waist.
  • Use Muslin: Create a muslin mock-up of your dirndl to test the fit before cutting into your final fabric.

Popular Dirndl Patterns for Plus Sizes

There are several dirndl patterns that are particularly well-suited for plus sizes. Here are a few popular options.

Traditional Styles

  1. Burda Style Dirndl Patterns: Burda offers a range of dirndl patterns, including traditional styles with lace-up bodices and full skirts.
  2. Simplicity Patterns: Simplicity’s dirndl patterns are known for their detailed instructions and classic designs.
  3. Folkwear Patterns: Folkwear provides historically accurate patterns, perfect for creating a traditional dirndl.

Modern Variations

  1. Dirndl Trachten Patterns: These patterns often incorporate modern elements such as shorter skirts or contemporary fabrics.
  2. Indie Sewing Patterns: Independent pattern designers offer unique takes on the dirndl, often with more inclusive sizing options.

Tips for Wearing a Dirndl

Once you have your dirndl, here are some tips for wearing it with confidence:

  • Accessorize Thoughtfully: Traditional accessories like aprons, shawls, and jewelry can enhance your look.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Opt for comfortable, supportive shoes, especially if you’ll be wearing your dirndl for extended periods.
  • Mind the Apron Bow: Tying the apron bow on different sides has traditional meanings. On the left means you’re single, on the right means you’re taken, in the center means you’re a virgin, and in the back indicates you are widowed.


Dirndls are beautiful, traditional garments that celebrate Alpine heritage and culture. Finding or creating the perfect dirndl pattern for plus sizes may require a bit of extra effort, but the results are worth it. By understanding the history, components, and fitting techniques of dirndls, you can choose or make a dirndl that flatters your figure and reflects your personal style. Whether you wear it to Oktoberfest or a local cultural festival, your dirndl will surely make a statement.


What is a Dirndl?

A dirndl is a traditional dress from the Alpine regions, characterized by a fitted bodice, blouse, full skirt, and often an apron.

How do I choose the right size Dirndl?

To choose the right size dirndl, measure your bust, waist, and hips accurately and compare them to the size chart provided by the manufacturer or pattern.

Can I make my own Dirndl?

Yes, making your own dirndl can be a rewarding project. With the right pattern, fabric, and sewing techniques, you can create a custom-fit dirndl.

What fabrics are best for a Dirndl?

Fabrics with a bit of stretch or give, such as cotton blends, stretch satin, or lightweight wool, are ideal for dirndls.

How do I care for my Dirndl?

Care instructions for dirndls depend on the fabric. Generally, hand washing or dry cleaning is recommended. Store your dirndl in a cool, dry place, and avoid hanging it to prevent stretching.