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German Gretl Costume from The Sound of Music

German Gretl look alike costume

Today we have a doozy of a refashion for you!  We spent all last week thinking about what we would make for today’s post.  You see two of our favorite places on the web we go to for inspiration on children’s clothing are holding contests that we are sewing along with.  And we wanted to make an outfit that fit the qualifications for both contests.  Over at Project Run & Play, this week’s theme is Let’s Go to the Movies!  And at Elegance & Elephants, the theme for the contest is Roots, Sewing Your Heritage.  The reason we wanted to make an outfit that qualified for both contests is that we wanted it to be really special, and we knew that might be a little bit time consuming.  So without further explanation, we present you, Annie in a German Gretl costume.  As you may guess, this comes from The Sound of Music which fits very nicely with our German roots!

Maria curtain dressIf you are familiar with The Sound of Music, you know that Maria wanted some play clothes for the children she was taking care of, but their father, Captain Von Trapp, didn’t approve of playing and wouldn’t allow any fabric for that activity.  So the ever resourceful Maria used the unwanted curtains from her bedroom windows to make them play clothes.

curtain dressSince Maria started from curtains, we wanted to be authentic and so Annie’s vest came from some brocade drapery fabric we were given by a lady who was de-stashing fabric.

drapery fabric Then we needed an apron…after all, what little German girl doesn’t wear an apron, right?  So we found a vintage linen tablecloth at Salvation Army for $3.99 that was embroidered in a very German-esqe pattern, or so we imagined!

vintage embroidered tableclothAnd since the greens on the apron and the drapery fabric didn’t quite coordinate, we needed something to tie them together, and digging through our stash of thrifted skirts, we found this White Stag women’s skirt that we’d picked up at Goodwill for $1.25.  The perfect colors, just a wee bit too big for Annie, doncha think?

thrift store skirt

I think Annie’s face reflects her thoughts on our ability to craft this into the perfect German Gretl costume for her!

Now what on earth did we do with all those things?  Well, keep reading through the step by step instructions for each piece, and then you’ll see the final results!  Or skip down to the photos if you have no interest in the sewing instructions!

 Step by Step German Gretl Costume Vest Instructions

Style Kids pattern 2974Step 1: I started with this pattern, but deviated from it pretty fast!  I used the pattern pieces for the side front and side back and cut them out from the drapery fabric.

Step 2: Made darts in the side back pieces.

Step 3: Sewed the back pieces together.

Step 4: Sewed the side front pieces to each side back piece.

Step 5: Now because I’d chosen not to make a lining for the vest, I needed some way to finish the edges.  So I grabbed some single fold black seam binding, and stitched it around each armhole, and across the bottom, up one front, around the neck, down the other front, and back around the bottom to where I’d started.  It made such cute accent trim and effectively sealed in all the raw edges that were left!

Step 6: Made 7 buttonholes in each front for lacing through.

Step 7: Wove in the lacing.  I just used more single fold seam binding because I had so much, but grosgrain ribbon would look cute too.  Even a long black shoelace would work.

German Gretl look alike costumeTotal Time: 1.5 hours

Total Cost: $0

Talent Level: Advanced Seamstress

 Step by Step German Gretl Costume Skirt Instructions

Step 1: Cut off 14 inches off the bottom.

Step 2: Iron over ¼ inch and fold over and sew ¼ inch to make a new seam.

Step 3: Open about 2 inches of casing and gather up elastic until the waistband fit Annie’s waist.  I took out about a foot of elastic!  But this makes the skirt very gathered and fits over a petticoat very beautifully.

Step 4:  Resew the casing shut.

german girl skirt costumeTotal Time: 30 minutes

Total Cost: $1.25

Talent Level: Beginner Seamstress

 Step by Step German Gretl Costume Apron Instructions

Step 1: Cut out rectangle from tablecloth, positioning to take advantage of the embroidery to the fullest.

Step 2: Zigzag along the sides of the rectangle.

Step 3: Sew pleats along top of rectangle to gather rectangle to smaller width for waist.

Step 4: Sew piece of double fold green seam binding along top edge of rectangle.

Step 5: Sew velvet ribbon ties to top sides of rectangle.

german costume DIYTotal Time: 30 minutes

Total Cost: $3.99

Talent Level: Beginner Seamstress

Final German Gretl Costume Photos!

German Gretl look alike costumeNow the only other things we did to make Annie look like Gretl for the photo shoot were to add a thick tutu-like petticoat underneath the coat, and make her a pair of curly pigtails!

Sound of music Gretl costumeSum Total Time: 2.5 hours

Sum Total Cost: $5.24

The Sound of Music costume Now how’s that for getting a body humming “A Few of My Favorite Things?”

Gretl sound of music outfitAnnie is so happy with how this turned out, and I could hardly sleep last night I was so anxious to get this post written and shared!

velvet tiesWe used drapery fabric, a tablecloth, and a rescued skirt, and I think Maria would approve of our resourcefulness, although Captain Von Trapp might not approve of Annie twirling and singing in her new German Gretl costume!

annie costume 1Be sure to visit both Project Run & Play and Elegance & Elephants to see some really amazing seamstresses and their work for these contests.  And then look through the sew-along participants too for some more really cute sewing for kids!  You’ll see us there, and we’re proud to be counted among those really fine seamstresses.  Next week’s theme at Project Run & Play is Repurposing…as if it was made with us in mind!  And we can’t wait to see what else is produced, great ideas to add to our storehouse.

3 throw away items into fabulous German girl costume

Alright, we’ve kept you at it for longer than ever before, but we were just so excited to share our work with you.  So leave us a comment and let us know what is your choice; Gretl or Annie?

Gretl from The Sound of Music

Make it beautiful,


Published by skirtfixation

Audrey, a mom of 9, sews and blogs at Skirt Fixation, your home for everything skirt related! There's lots of other sewing goodness too...after all can't leave the boys out of sewing adventures! She also designs and sells pattern through Project Run & Play.

12 thoughts on “German Gretl Costume from The Sound of Music

  1. What an adorable result for all your efforts. The outfit is so close to the one from the movie and I agree, Annie would make a perfect Heidi as well!


  2. LOVE this! Annie looks adorable in your outfit and I love how resourceful you were to find some treasures to make it all come together (how very ‘Maria’ of you!) 🙂 Thank you so much for sewing along!


  3. I love this outfit! The skirt fabric is just gorgeous and does, indeed, blend the apron and the vest together beautifully. I love how you used so many thrifted items to achieve your look. Wonderful!


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