How to Make a Split-Neck Peasant Dress/Top
(Looking for more free patterns? Be sure to check out my free patterns and tutorials page here.)
I spotted this fall colored “vine” fabric at one of my local fabric stores. It reminded me of a dress I had seen online, and I had to get some of it! I knew I wanted to use my free peasant dress pattern with this fabric and decided to change up the neck line and add a ruffle to give the dress a little bit of interest.
The dress started out with long sleeves, but with such a busy pattern on the fabric, I ended up shortening the sleeves a few inches and made three-quarter sleeves instead.
I added a vest, tights and boots from Crazy 8 and created a picture perfect outfit!
Oh, how I love the fall around here! We live in a little valley at the edge of the Texas Hill country. There is a seasonal creek that runs along our back property line that is surrounded with red and post oaks, a few maples and a few other trees I can’t identify… When the trees start to change color (usually about a week before thanksgiving} it’s just gorgeous! (I think we had a better display last year, you can see those photos here.)
I grabbed my son and convinced him to pose for a few pictures too… When I put them together, it can be difficult to get many good photos… Most of these turned out silly or were just too blurry to use.
I was able to salvage a few…
Isn’t his outfit adorable? I scored it all during a massive sale at Crazy 8 too.
Am I boring you yet with pictures of my kids? I hope not. Let’s move on to how I altered the neckline of my Peasant Dress…
How to add a split neck with ties to a peasant dress.
You’ll need enough extra fabric to make about 56 inches of 1 7/8 bias binding. (Of course, you can use store bought bias tape too.)
Step 1: Cut pattern pieces and make the bias binding
Cut out your 4 pattern pieces (from this free peasant dress pattern) plus a small scrap about 4 inches long by 2 inches wide. Finish the side and bottom edges of the scrap piece with pinking shears, zig zag on your sewing machine or serger. (I just used my pinking shears.)
To make the bias binding you can follow this tutorial, it’s the one I use for making a large amount. Since we only need about 56 inches, I opted to just line up my fabric with the bias markings on my ruler, cut a few strips and sew them together..
If you want to just cut a few pieces, here is how I did it:
Cut several strips of fabric on the bias, 1 7/8 inches wide, until you have about 56 inches. (If this ends up being too long you can trim later.)
Line up your strips right sides together and stitch them together:
Follow the directions below to create the bias binding/tape:
Step 2: Create the front split:
Lay out the front bodice piece right side up and find and mark the center. Center the scrap piece over the center of the bodice, with the unfinished edge along the edge of the bodice.
Determine how long you want the split to be, (I made mine 2 1/4 inches for my 5 year old) and mark it on the fabric.
Sew around the line you made a little less than 1/4 inch your mark.
Cut along the mark as shown and trim the cut edges about 1/8 inch from the seams. (The seams marked in red.)
Flip the scrap piece to the other side and iron flat.
Top stitch around the cut out to anchor down the back fabric piece.
Step 3: Assemble the dress and neckline:
Assemble the sleeves and bodice as instructed in the peasant dress tutorial.
Instead of an elastic casing, the neckline is gathered and encased in the bias binding.
To gather the neckline, set your sewing machine to the longest stitch setting and sew a gathering stitch all the way around the top of the dress.
Pull on the bottom thread of the gathering stitch and pull on the fabric until it starts to gather up.
Keep gathering the neckline, and try to keep the gathers as even as possible. Once the neckline looks like it is gathered enough to fit your child, have her try it on and make any necessary adjustments.
Grab your bias binding, fold it in half and find the center. Fold the back of the dress in half and find the center of the back bodice piece. Mark both these center points.
Open the bias binding and “sandwich” the bias binding over the gathered neckline. Pin securely in place. Be sure to line up the two center marks you made to keep the bias binding/tie even.
Sew along the edge of the bias binding from one end to the other.
When you get to the ends of the bias binding, open it up and fold the edges in and finish sewing closed.
Finish the sleeves and the bottom hem how you like and you are done.
Let me know if you give this neckline a try!
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