There are so many different ways to change up the look of a simple peasant dress, from various lengths to fabric choices, sleeve options, different hem choices and so many embellishment options to add extra pizzazz!
Today, I am sharing this tutorial with a free printable peasant dress pattern,
To make this pattern, I basically used my pillowcase bodice pattern and with a few tweaks and changes, plus the addition of sleeves. I've created the peasant dress pattern in 3 sizes. 12 to 18 months, 2t to 3t and 4 to 7.
For this particular version I am showcasing here, I wanted to keep the dress simple and let the fabric make the statement. (Such an adorable fall print I found at Hancock Fabrics.) I planned on making a pair of brown knit ruffle leggings to go with this dress, so I made the length a bit shorter, really more of a tunic top, to complement the leggings.
As you can see in the picture above, her pants don't have the ruffles on yet! This was the last evening before a cold front was blowing through, so we had to get out to the pumpkin patch that night. I had also planned on adding an argyle-style embellishment to my son's shirt, but I didn't finish that either. (They are not going to like it when I make them pose for some additional photos in these outfits...)
The photo below was super underexposed, and I just couldn't save it in color, but once I turned it into black and white, I was able to lighten it up enough and now I love it!
OK, enough pumpkin patch photos. (For now, ha-ha ..) Are you ready for the Peasant Dress Tutorial? Once you print your pattern pieces and cut out the fabric, you will love how easy it is too!
(Get the full tutorial and pattern pieces after the jump!)
- About a yard of fabric (the sleeve uses about 1/4 yard or a fat quarter.)
- pattern pieces (Click the names to print what you need: size 2t/3t & 4/7 bodice pattern, size 2t/3t & 4/7 sleeve pattern, size 12/18 mo bodice pattern, size 12/18 mo sleeve pattern) When printing, be sure to turn off all scaling and you may need to manually switch to landscape on a couple of these files.)
- fabric marker or fabric chalk
- scissors, ruler
- basic sewing supplies
*** Important pattern printing tip*** When printing the patterns, do not print directly from Google docs. Download the pattern to your computer and open it in your adobe acrobat reader. Choose actual size and the landscape option. (I just printed a pattern directly off Google docs and notice it printed slightly smaller.)
Step 1: Print your pattern pieces and cut them out. (Print from the links above, not the photos below.)
Tracing Wheel and Tracing Paper to mark the front neckline on the fabric. (This technique is shown in step 3.)
Step 2: Get your length measurement.
For the perfect length measure your child from armpit to desired dress length Add 1.5 inches to this measurement. (If you don't have a child to measure, here are some guesstimates though it would not hurt to add an inch or two to my numbers to be safe, since you can always shorten the dress. 12-18 mo: 13 to 14 inches, 2t: 15 inches, 3t: 17 inches, 4: 19.5 inches, 5: 21.5 inches, 6: 23.5 inches. Every child is different and these numbers are only guesstimates, so please use your measurements if possible.)
Step 3: Cutting the fabric.
Line up your bodice pattern piece as shown below. Draw out the skirt pattern onto the fabric and cut out the back piece using the back neckline.
Lay out the back piece onto your fabric and use it to cut out the front piece. Then cut the front neckline onto the front piece. You can freehand the shape of the front neckline or use a tracing wheel and paper as shown below:
Cut out 2 sleeves using the sleeve pattern. This is what you will have: 1 Front piece, 1 back piece and 2 sleeves.
Right sides together, line up the sleeve edges with the arm hole edges of the dress front. Sew along this seam (marked in blue) and finish the edge with a serger, zig zag stitch or Pinking Shears.
Grab the back dress piece and line up the other sleeve edges and sew the arm/sleeve edges the same way
When you are done with this step the pieces will connect like below. (Don't laugh at my drawings)
Next, line up the front and back pieces and sew down the sleeve edge all the way to the bottom of the dress, Do both sides and finish the seam edge with your preferred method.
To create the neck casing, fold the edge of the neckline in 1/4 inch and press. Fold the neckline over another half inch and press again. Use pins if needed, but be careful not to melt your pin heads!
Stitch along the edge of the casing, a scant 1/8 inch from the folded edge. Leave a 1.5 inch opening in the casing to insert the elastic.
Cut your elastic according to this guide. (Keep in mind you may want to cinch up your neck line more or less depending on how the dress is fitting:)
12 to 18 months: 15 to 16 inches
2t/3t: 17 to 20 inches
4/6: 20 to 22 inches
7: 22 to 24 inches
Attach a safety pin to the edge of the elastic and thread the elastic through the casing. Have your model try on your dress if possible and make any needed adjustments.
Sew the elastic ends together (Be careful not to twist them) using a wide zigzag stitch and trim any excess elastic. Finish sewing the elastic casing closed.
Step 6: Hemming the bottom of the Dress.
Fold the bottom edge over 1/2 inch, press, fold over another 1/2 inch press again and sew along the folded edge.
Step 7: Sleeve finishing options:
To finish the sleeves of your peasant dress, you have a couple of options. Shirring the Sleeve edge, creating a casing and adding elastic or just hemming. Here are some examples of the different sleeve options and the instructions to do them:
1. Shirring the sleeve edge:
Fold the sleeve edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold another 1/4 inch press again and sew along the folded edge. With elastic thread on your bobbin, add 3 to 4 rows of shirring, 1/4 inch apart. For a more detailed shirring tutorial, see my shirred sundress tutorial.
2. Adding a casing. The arm casings are created just like the neck casing.
(This was a 12 month version I made a few months ago)
Here are some elastic cutting guide lengths for the arms:
12 to 18 months: 7 inches
2t/3t: 8 inches
4/6: 9 inches
7: 9 to 9.5 inches
3. Hemming the sleeves. You can also hem the sleeve w/out adding elastic like I did with this nightgown. This is the easiest option and is still very cute. Just fold the sleeve edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch press again and sew.
That is it! Your peasant dress is done! Go have your little one try it on and pose for a few pictures to share!
Over the next few months I plan on sharing different versions of this dress, including long sleeves and embellishment ideas, so be sure to follow along to see these upcoming tutorials.
And now I have a favor to ask... I worked really hard on this one and would love to hear back from you if you use this free pattern to make a peasant dress. What I would really love to know is the length/measurement you used to make your dress and what size you consider your dress to be, this way I would feel more confident in my length guesstimates for those who are making these dresses as gifts. Of course I would also really enjoy seeing your creations shared in my flickr group or facebook wall!
Have fun making your dresses!
You might also like these other free patterns and peasant variations:
If you like this type of project and want to see more, you can follow along using the Google Friend Connect widget, through a reader, or signing up via email. Just click on one of the icons below:
I will be linking up to some of the linky parties listed here.