Friday, September 18, 2015

Dirndl Trim

Lena Hoschek Röschen Dirndl
Dirndl Fever is no where near subsiding! And it's just in time for Oktoberfest, so let's keep the dirndl posts rolling. One of the many reasons I am so attracted to dirndls is their beautiful craftsmanship. And that craftsmanship really shines in the use of gorgeous handmade trims. The Lena Hoschek dirndl above is one of my favorite examples: the trim around the neckline is a piped ruffle with handmade herzruche ("heart ruching") set in the center. That's an astounding amount of work, and the results are so lovely.

Here's another Lena Hoschek design that uses just the herzruche around the neckline. The effect is stunningly simple.

Lena Hoschek Kiritag Dirndl

Other typical dirndl trims involved origami-esque hand pleating, like this Sonja Fellner design:

The subtly amazing thing about the trim above is the way the gingham side of the strip was cut a little wider than the red, so the gingham wraps slightly around to the red side. It's that kind of detail that blows my mind a bit.

I especially love designs that incorporate the contrasting apron fabric into the bodice trim.

Lena Hoschek Cordula Dirndl
Of course, the question is: how does one learn how to make this type of trim? (Especially with no German language skills and only the beginnings of understanding of the subject.) A great resource I found is Folkwear pattern #123, which has several pages of instructions for making various types of dirndl trim.

My vote for the best trim name? Froschgoscher,  which is translated to "frog lips."

A good online resource for making ribbon herzruche is Kenneth King's article "How to Make Ribbon Trim." However, you will need a Threads Insider membership to view the entire thing. King, in his turn, recommends the book The Artful Ribbon by Candice Kling.

Other potential book resources (I say "potential" because I don't have them to look at) are Fabric Manipulation by Ruth Singer and The Art of Manipulating Fabric by Colette Wolff.

Readers, have you ever made your own dirndl trim? Do you have any resources to share?


  1. I recommend _Embellishments: Constructing Victorian Detail_ by Astrida Schaeffer. It has beautiful Victorian gowns and very clear instructions.

    1. I was going to say, those remind me of a lot of the trims used on Victorian gowns. I have found some pretty detailed explanations in open-source Victorian sewing books on and project Guterman...

  2. bonjour, dans le livre "burda, la couture pratique" edition fleurus, en français, deux pages ( 214 et 215) sur la confection de rubans folkloriques : volant à coeurs, ruche en zigzag et ruche en rosaces.

  3. I've recently made my own Dirndl (not blogged yet) for a fancy dress party at work. I'm German and the Burda Dirndl pattern I used was pretty easy and I made Froschgroscherl trim. Even I had to research everything, because actually 99.9% Germans never wear a Dirndl (unless they visit Oktoberfest in Munich) :)

  4. I love the detail in these dresses, everything is so pretty! Think i'm going to try and make some trims now!

  5. Hi Gertie, I think the best resource is Mueller and Sohn website. They have a couple of very solid books (costly!) on Dirndl construction and embellishment, as well as special issues of their monthly magazine Rundschau Damen. It is in German, but I saw those books and their well illustrated, so a lot of things are obvious. Also, there is a dedicated trim book (in German), with technical illustrations of trim making - it is a collection of trims from Germany, traditional ones, not the mass produced. I have the book, it's called Ruschen (, I love all things dirndl, and especially notions: silver buttons, chains for the corselets, special plastic wire to make a raised pattern on the dirndl vest, and got everything to make two dirndls for my girls - but alas, so far it is still in planning. I also took a course from a woman in a Bavarian village who makes wedding dirndls, as well as regional Trachten (every village has its own color palette and silhouette). It's addictive - I can understand you :)

  6. The herzruche trim is so beautiful and simple--lovely! I also like some of the corded (apparently) stitched patterns I've seen on a few examples. I'm just not going to get dirndls out of my head until I've made mine.

  7. Here are some online tutorials about Froschgoscherl. They are in German, but I'm pretty sure the pics will lead you through the process. It's not difficult, but a "Fleißarbeit"... You will need patience :) Greetings from Bavaria,Vera

  8. This book,Ribbon Trims: An Embellishment Idea Book (Embellishment Idea Books has a lot of those trims, I bought it to use for trim ideas for Victorian dresses. The directions are clear and there are lots of photos.
    If you can get your hands on a copy of Mary Gostelow's book," Embroidery-traditional designs, techniques and patterns from all over the world." check out the Bavarian Blouse pattern, it is a dirndl like look with smocked sleeves. The book is full of interesting ethnic inspiration.

  9. i too fell in love with the dirndl when i visited Germany in 1987, i was only there two days and i found one shop that would open up for me as it was late on a Saturday. I found a dirndl i spent way more than I had on any dress and it is made beautifully, I wore it for many years and still love it to this day. I wish I could still fit into it, if I could I would still wear it. They are truly a work of art.

  10. Obsessed with the dirndl since I first sang along that the hills are alive with the sound of music. It's just so charming, and since I have always identified with my German heritage above all others, I can't help myself. I love this peek into handcrafted trimming, and how can anyone not love "frog lips"?

  11. You're a day late and a dollar short, Gertie! My mother and I were making our dirndls this week for Oktoberfest this past weekend. We wanted to make that origami trim, but had the darndest time finding instructions for it! We did come up with something, but your post here would have been ever so useful. Love your blog, and looking forward to seeing how your dirndl turns out!

  12. I bought a dirndl 30 years ago in Austria on my honeymoon. I wanted one where the apron matched the dress closely enough that I could wear it as a regular dress. Fortunately it still fits me, and I still wear it. I copied some of the ideas when I made a dirndl for my daughter years ago when she was small. I used my pleater to add in the detail around the waist, and I rearranged and combined two different trims to come up with the trim on that; the suggestions here are much nicer. I have been planning to make myself another dirndl, this time in black with folk embroidery, probably done my machine. I'm glad you have a dirndl obsession--it may kick start me into starting mine. Thanks!

  13. Kenneth King has a lot of trims on Threads Insider:
    Pleated ribbon trim

    Lovely pleated ribbon trim

    Fluted ribbon trim

    Single and double garland trim

    Cross drape trim

    Ribbon braid


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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