(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
If you’ve been following along, You may have noticed that I have a little “pattern re-mix” theme going on with my peasant dress pattern I shared a few months ago.
By modifying the basic Peasant Dress Pattern, I have made the:
Flutter Sleeve Peasant Top
How to add a split neck and ties to the dress,
Dressing up the Peasant w/ cascading ruffles and
A Gathered Romantic Cardigan.
Today, I want to show you how to make this modern version of the basic Peasant Dress. It is single-tiered with slightly longer and puffier sleeves and gathered at the waist with a sash. (Thank you to Erin, from Crafty Biggers for helping me come up with a name for this dress version! – I had asked for help on my Facebook page and she suggested I call it the Modern Peasant Dress.)
It only took a few simple changes to make this dress and it is a great way to showcase several cute fabrics.
When I first spotted this Riley Blake Chevron fabric back in January, I loved it, and immediately ordered a yard! At the time, I didn’t have any specific plans for the fabric, but I knew I had to have it for spring.
Unfortunately, we are getting to the size/point where one yard of fabric really isn’t enough to make a dress with a full skirt. On top of that, the chevron’s in this fabric run up and down instead of side to side, so that made it impossible to squeeze out a bodice and/or sleeves.
I had the toughest time deciding on which coordinating fabrics to use. I pulled out at least 15 different colors and prints and several fat quarters before I decided to go with the pink and white polka dot and yellow floral fabrics in this dress. My craft room is still a disaster…
Are you ready to see how I “re-mixed” the basic peasant dress to make this Modern Peasant version?
I did not take many photos while sewing the dress, so I am supplementing with photos and instructions from the original Peasant dress tutorial. (I thought that would be easier than making you flip back and forth too much between the two tutorials for the directions. – So you will see the photos switching back and forth between two fabrics.)
There are a lot of details on the first tutorial. If you are a beginning sewer, it might not hurt to review the original, here is the link…
- up to 2 yards of fabric (3/4 for the skirt, 1/2 for the bodice and sleeves and 2/3 for the sash <you could use less if you don’t mind the seam being right in the front>)
- 1/4 inch Elastic
- elastic thread to shirr the sleeve
- Peasant Dress bodice and sleeve pattern (the pattern comes in 12-18 mo to 2t-3t, and 4-7, 8 and 10, grab the pattern here.) 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.)
Instructions: (all seam allowances are 1/4 inch unless otherwise stated.)
Step 1: Print your pattern pieces and cut them out. (print the bodice pattern twice, so you have a separate piece for the front and back.)
Step 2: Measure to your skirt length measurement.
For the perfect length, measure your child from armpit to desired dress length and subtract 2 from this measurement.
If you don’t have a child to measure, here are some guesstimates- though it wouldn’t hurt to add an inch or two to my numbers to be safe, since you can always shorten the dress.
12-18 mo: 13.5 to 15 inches
2t: 16 inches,
3t: 17 inches,
4: 18.5 inches,
5: 20 inches,
6: 21.5 inches.
7: 23 inches
*(Every child is different and these numbers are only guesstimates, so please use your measurements if possible.)
Step 3: Cutting the fabric
In the original tutorial, we extended the bodice down to draw in the skirt of the dress. For the Modern Peasant we will be adding a separate gathered skirt.
Fold the fabric for the bodice and sleeve and place the pattern on the fold of the fabric. (Fold the fabric selvage to selvage- here is a link to a photo of how the fabric should be folded)
A. To make the sleeve puffier and neckline higher, you will need to add 7/8 inch to the top of the sleeve and bodice pattern for sizes 2 to 7 and 1/2 inch for 12 to 18 month.
B. To make the sleeve longer, we need to add length to the bottom of the sleeve. Extend the bottom of the sleeve 3.5 inches for sizes 2 to 7 and 2 inches for 12 to 18 month.
Cut out 2 sleeves, a front bodice piece and back bodice piece, adding the specified length.
Cut out 2 skirt panels:
12 to 18 mo: 27 wide by your length measurement
2t to 33: 32 wide by your length measurement
4 to 7: 34 inches wide by your length measurement
Step 5: Assemble the bodice and sleeves.
Right sides together, line up the sleeve edges with the arm hole edges of the bodice 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
Next, line up the front and back pieces and sew down the sleeve edge all the way to the bottom of the bodice. Do both sides and finish the seam edge with your preferred method.
Step 6: Gathering, attaching and hemming the skirt.
Next, right sides together, sew the two skirt panels together at the sides and finish the edge with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears. Iron these seams flat.
To gather the top of the skirt, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch width and sew a basting stitch all the way around the top of the skirt. Pull on the bobbin thread and gather the skirt fabric up until it is the same width as the bottom of the bodice.
Right sides together, pin the gathered skirt to the bodice and sew right along the gathered edge. Finish the edge with a serger, zig zag stitch or pinking shears. (I have some better instructions and photos of the gathering process in my sweet spring sundress tutorial.)
Flip the skirt right side out and press this seam.
To hem the bottom edge of the dress, just fold the bottom edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch press again and sew along the folded edge.
Step 7: Creating the neck line casing:
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: 11 to 13 inches
2t/3t: 12 to 15 inches
4/6: 15 to 17 inches
7: 15 to 18 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 8: Sleeve finishing options:
To finish the sleeves of your peasant dress, you can choose to shirr the sleeve edge or create a casing and add elastic.
First, finish the bottom hem of the sleeves with a narrow 1/4 inch hem. (Fold the bottom edge over 1/4 inch, press, fold over another 1/4 inch press again and sew along the folded edge – I opted for a rolled edge hem…)
To shirr the sleeves, use elastic thread in the bobbin and regular thread in the needle and sew three lines of shirring 1/8 inch apart, 1 7/8 inch from the edge of the sleeve,. (If you need more information on how to shirr, you can find one in my simple shirred sundress tutorial.)
Step 9: Sewing the sash.
Uh oh… I did not take any photos of this step, so I made the image below to help you visualize how to assemble the sash…
And that is it! You are done with the Modern Peasant Dress!
Every year, we head out to find the best bluebonnet patches in the neighborhood and get pictures.
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