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How to Sew a Peasant Dress – Free Peasant Dress Pattern (sz 12 mo to 14y)

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Learn how to sew a Peasant Dress with this free girl’s peasant dress pattern. This free printable pdf dress pattern and tutorial is available in size 12 months to a girl’s size 14 with both long and short sleeve options.

Learn how to sew a peasant dress With this free peasant dress pattern (size 12 month to 14 yr)

Why Sew a Peasant Dress?

Peasant Dresses truly are one of the simplest dresses to sew. No buttons, zippers or labor-intensive fabric gathering is needed

One of the reasons a basic peasant dress pattern is so great, (other than the fact it is so easy to make) is there are just SO MANY different ways to change up the look of this easy-to-sew dress.

  • Various lengths – this dress looks great above the knee, below the knee, tunic length or as a top.
  • So many different fabric choices you can make.
  • Many sleeve options (long, short, 3/4 flutter, flounce)
  • And of course hem choices (ruffles, tiers, contrasting fabric bands or scallops.) You can even shorten it to make a top.
  • So many ways to embellish this dress: with a split neck, bell sleeves, ribbon, ric-rac, pockets, shirring, aprons, a separate bodice w/ sash for a little extra pizzazz, lol!

I have sewn at least 20 variations of this peasant dress pattern over the years. (different sleeve options, hems, lengths, etc…)  For a few new ideas, you can check them all out in my Peasant Dress Variations tab.

Learn how to sew a peasant dress

Why a Peasant Dress is a Great Project for Beginners

This peasant dress pattern is perfect for beginners. Whether you are picking up sewing again after a several year hiatus (as I did – nothing more motivating to get you back to sewing than a sweet little daughter or granddaughter to sew for!) or are just starting out. (In which case, welcome to the club!)

You’ll enjoy sewing this super simple pattern AND you master a few basic sewing skills at the same time. 

The most difficult part of this pattern (other than cutting it out and taping it together) is trying not to sew the sleeve on backward or maybe sewing the casing for the elastic band in the sleeve (and that is only because it’s small.)

This style of a dress is very forgiving, if you make a mistake, just remove the stitches and re-sew it.  

A Peasant Dress is a Style of Dress that grows with Her

A peasant dress is fairly boxy in shape. The elasticized neckline and sleeves bring the dress in and give it shape.

Because this style of dress is loose, after sewing, it starts as a dress, but as your little one grows, she can continue to wear it as a tunic or top. (Another great “grow with her” dress is a pillowcase dress and (of course) I have a free pillowcase dress pattern available as well.)

peasant dress pattern

This printable PDF Peasant Dress Pattern is free. The file includes the full dress and 2 sleeve shapes (short and long.)

I have updated the pattern over the years and the peasant dress pattern is currently available in 7 different sizes: 12 to 18 months, 2t/3t, 4/6, 7/8, 9/10, 12, and 14.

(Note: On the last pattern update (May ’18) I updated the pattern to include the full dress instead of just the bodice. I personally prefer the original bodice-only version because it uses half the amount of paper.  If you prefer that version too, I did keep a copy of the original pattern available. (You’ll find the link to that version in my private Facebook group. It’s also a great place to show off your creations.)

how to sew a Peasant Dress

For the peasant dress version I’m showcasing today, I opted to keep the dress simple and let the two fabrics make the statement for our fall pumpkin photos.

I am loving tunic length right now. The length is perfect for school as it allows my missy to wear leggings and still adhere to the dress code.

Peasant Dress Pattern Fabric Amount Suggestions

When it comes to fabric used in my sewing projects, I am very conservative. I’ll fold and refold, move fabric pieces around to use as little fabric as possible. The fabric estimates listed below are what I used for each size.

If you make a mistake or don’t cut properly, you might not have enough fabric.  So cut wisely and feel free to add 1/2 yard to my suggestions below.

  • 12 mo to 3t: Will easily fit on 1 yard of 40-inch wide fabric
  • 4 to 6: With creative fabric wrangling on fabric with no directional fabric nap, you can just barely fit a size 6 with short sleeves on one yard of fabric.  If your fabric will only go in one direction, you will need 1 3/8 yard.
  • 7 to 12: you can fit these sizes + the long sleeve on 1 3/4 yard
  • 14: 2 yards of fabric
  • When I say “creative fabric wrangling” that means you will fold the fabric to use the least amount possible for the 1st cut, then refold for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th cut.

Fit Chart

*Note:  This peasant dress pattern goes up to size 14.

Materials Needed to Sew a Peasant Dress

  • Pattern (When printing, be sure to save the pattern to your pc, open in adobe reader choose auto/landscape and print at actual size.)
  • 1 to 2+ yards of fabric
  • 1/4 inch Elastic (I have some elastic cutting estimates at the bottom, but if possible, you should fit the dress on the child.)
  • iron
  • basic sewing supplies (such as Pinking shearsfabric marker or fabric chalk, scissors, ruler )

Elastic cutting guide for the peasant dress pattern

Neck Elastic:

  • 12 to 18 months: 15 to 16 inches
  • 2t/3t: 17 to 20 inches
  • 4/6: 19 to 20 inches
  • 7: 20 to 21 inches
  • 8: 21 to 22
  • 10: 22 to 23
  • 12: 23 to 23.5
  • 14: 23.5 to 24

Arm Elastic (if you chose to add arm elastic):

  • 12 to 18 months: 7 to 7.5 inches
  • 2t/3t: 8 inches
  • 4/6: 8.75 inches
  • 7: 9 to 9.5 inches
  • 8: 9 to 9.5 inches
  • 10: 9.75 to 10
  • 12: 10.25 to 10.5
  • 14: 10.5 to 11
  1. My favorite shops for fabric are Fabric.com, girl charlie and Stylish Fabrics.  (My fave for knits is Funkalicious Fabrics.)
  2. My Sewing Machine: SINGER 9960 Quantum Stylist 600-Stitch Machine with Extension Table, Bonus Accessories and Hard Cover
  3. My Serger: Brother 1034D 3 or 4 Thread Serger
  4. Pinking Shears
  5. Rotary Cutter
  6. I love my large ruler and large cutting mat, but you may prefer to start off with a smaller Cutting set
  7. Dritz Dual Purpose Marking Pen
  8. Fray Check
  9. Wonder clips (I didn’t use these in the post, but they are just awesome!

Fabric Layout Guide

Pattern tips and tricks: Important, please read!

  1. *** Important pattern printing tip***  When printing the patterns, do not print directly from Google docs.  Save the pattern to your computer and open it in your adobe acrobat reader, choose actual size auto portrait landscape and print. (If you use any program other than the adobe reader, there is no guarantee the pages will print at the appropriate size.)
  2. Peasant dresses/tops are designed to be roomy, if you prefer a slimmer fit, move the bodice pattern over from the fold by about 1/2 inch.   (I frequently do this.)
  3. The short sleeves are so cute if you shirr or add elastic to the bottom.  (Unless it’s a nightgown, then I usually leave the elastic out of the sleeves…)
  4. This Free Peasant Dress Pattern includes a 1/4 inch seam allowance unless otherwise noted in the instructions.
  5. Pattern note:  If you choose to sew the long sleeve version, the sleeves sew up just like short sleeves and you can finish the edges with elastic, a regular quarter-inch hem (where you fold 1/4 inch, press, fold another 1/4 inch, press and sew.) or with the quarter-inch hem and shirring.  It’s cute in all ways.   
  6. The long sleeve pattern comes in a regular (fuller) sleeve style and a narrow sleeve for knits.  (I only recommend the narrower version when you are using stretch/knit fabric.)

Update: the latest version of the adobe reader allows you to print different layers.  Each pattern size is on its own layer, so you are able to save ink and print only the size you need.  (Click the icon that looks like a stack of papers to see the layers and click the eyeball to turn off the ones you don’t want.)

peasant dress pattern

Have fun making your dresses and as always, if you sew something from one of my tutorials or patterns I would love to see it!  Be sure to come back and share a photo on my facebook page or tag me on Instagram @scatteredmom, with #scatteredmompatterns!

FYI:  I update my patterns yearly with new sizes!  To be notified about new patterns, tutorials pattern updates and fun family recipes, be sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter.  =>> Here.

Ready to Learn How to Sew a Peasant Dress?  

Visit my Shop and add the free pattern to your cart and check out. Then come back here for the sewing instructions.

Where Do I get the Pattern?

  • To get the pattern, don’t forget, you must navigate to the peasant dress pattern page in my shop
  • Enter your name and email and check out (it’s free.)
  • The pattern will be emailed to you.
  • Click the Pattern link and the pattern automatically saves to your computer.
  • Open The free Adobe reader and then open the pattern file. (Don’t print from directly from google’s online version of adobe reader.  It will sometimes cause the pattern to print to small or it just won’t open.)

Pattern Info:

  • All measurements are in inches.
  • Seam allowance is 1/4 inch with a 1/2 inch bottom.

Peasant Dress Sewing Instructions

(printable instructions, with no photos, can be found at the bottom of page)

 

Step 1: Print your pattern pieces and cut them out and tape them together. 

Full pattern looks like this:

free peasant dress pattern

Assembly in progress:

Tip: There are two necklines on the dress pattern piece.  To make it easier, you can print the bodice twice (page 1 and 2) then cut out the back neckline on one and the front neckline on the second.

free peasant dress pattern

Step 2:  Cut pattern pieces from fabric:

Line dress and sleeve pattern pieces up on the fold of the fabric.

Cut one front dress piece, one back dress piece, and two sleeves.  (Using either the short sleeve or long sleeve pattern.)

If using the long sleeve pattern, there is an optional narrow sleeve for use on a stretch knits only.

make a peasant dress

You will have: 1 Front piece, 1 back piece and 2 sleeves.

 

Step 3: Assemble the dress.

Right sides together, line up the sleeve edges with the armhole edges of the dress front.  Sew along this seam (marked in blue) using the 1/4 inch seam allowance 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.  (No laughing at my drawing skills…)

how to sew a peasant dress

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.

 

Step 4: Create the Elastic 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 pinheads when pressing!

Stitch along the edge of the casing, a scant 1/8 inch from the folded edge.  Backstitch at the beginning and end and 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: 19 to 20 inches
  • 7: 20 to 21 inches
  • 8: 21 to 22
  • 10: 22 to 23
  • 12: 23 to 23.5
  • 14: 23.5 to 24

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.

free peasant dress tutorial

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 5:  Hemming 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 6:  Sleeve Finishing Options:

To finish the sleeves of your 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:free baby peasant dress pattern

The arm casings are created just like the neck casing.  Elastic cutting guide lengths for the arms:

  • 12 to 18 months: 7 to 7.5 inches
  • 2t/3t: 8 inches
  • 4/6: 8.75 inches
  • 7: 9 to 9.5 inches
  • 8: 9 to 9.5 inches
  • 10: 9.75 to 10
  • 12: 10.25 to 10.5
  • 14: 10.5 to 11

3.  Hemming the sleeves:

You can also hem the sleeve w/out adding elastic as 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.

peasant dress tutorial

That’s it!  Your peasant dress is done!  Go have your little one try it on and pose for a few pictures to share!

 

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Yield: 1 peasant dress

How to Sew a Peasant Dress

Learn how to sew a peasant dress With this free peasant dress pattern (size 12 month to 14 yr)

Learn to sew a peasant dress with this free girl's peasant dress pattern. Peasant Dresses truly are one of the simplest dresses to sew. No buttons, zippers or labor intensive fabric gathering is needed

Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $10

Materials

  • Pattern (When printing, be sure to save the pattern to your pc, open in adobe reader choose auto/landscape and print at actual size.)
  • 1 to 2+ yards of fabric
  • 1/4 inch Elastic (I have some elastic cutting estimates at the bottom, but if possible, you should fit the dress on the child.)
  • iron
  • basic sewing supplies (Ex: Pinking shears, fabric marker, pins, scissors, ruler )

Tools

  • Sewing machine
  • Basic Sewing supplies

Instructions

Step 1: Print your pattern pieces and cut them out and tape them together. 

  1. Tip: There are two necklines on the dress pattern piece.  To make it easier, you can print the bodice twice (page 1 and 2) then cut out the back neckline on one and the front neckline on the second.

Step 2:  Cut pattern pieces from fabric:

  1. Line dress and sleeve pattern pieces up on the fold of the fabric.
  2. Cut one front dress piece, one back dress piece, and two sleeves.  (Using either the short sleeve or long sleeve pattern.)
  3. Tip: If using the long sleeve pattern, there is an optional narrow sleeve for use on a stretch knits only.
  4. You will have: 1 Front piece, 1 back piece and 2 sleeves.

Step 3: Assemble the dress.

  1. Right sides together, line up the sleeve edges with the armhole edges of the dress front.  Sew along this seam (marked in blue) using the 1/4 inch seam allowance and finish the edge with a serger, zig zag stitch or Pinking Shears.
  2. Grab the back dress piece and line up the other sleeve edges and sew the arm/sleeve edges the same way.
  3. When you are done with this step the pieces will connect like below.  (No laughing at my drawing skills…)
  4. 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.

Step 4: Create the Elastic Casing.

  1. 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 pinheads when pressing!
  2. Stitch along the edge of the casing, a scant 1/8 inch from the folded edge.  Backstitch at the beginning and end and leave a 1.5 inch opening in the casing to insert the elastic.
  3. 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:)
  4. 12 to 18 months: 15 to 16 inches
  5. 2t/3t: 17 to 20 inches
  6. 4/6: 19 to 20 inches
  7. 7: 20 to 21 inches
  8. 8: 21 to 22
  9. 10: 22 to 23
  10. 12: 23 to 23.5
  11. 14: 23.5 to 24
  12. 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.
  13. 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 5:  Hemming the Dress.

  1. Fold the bottom edge over 1/2 inch, press, fold over another 1/2 inch press again and sew along the folded edge.

Step 6:  Sleeve Finishing Options:

  1. To finish the sleeves of your dress, you have a couple of options:  Shirring the Sleeve edge, creating a casing and adding elastic or just hemming.
  2. Here are some examples of the different sleeve options and the instructions to do them:

1.  Shirring the sleeve edge:

  1. 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:

  1. The arm casings are created just like the neck casing.  Elastic cutting guide lengths for the arms:
  2. 12 to 18 months: 7 to 7.5 inches
  3. 2t/3t: 8 inches
  4. 4/6: 8.75 inches
  5. 7: 9 to 9.5 inches
  6. 8: 9 to 9.5 inches
  7. 10: 9.75 to 10
  8. 12: 10.25 to 10.5
  9. 14: 10.5 to 11

3.  Hemming the sleeves:

  1. You can also hem the sleeve w/out adding elastic as 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’s it!  

  1. Your peasant dress is done!  Go have your little one try it on and pose for a few pictures to share!

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239 Comments

  1. I did it! One super cute peasant dress with shirred sleeves. My girls are tall and skinny, so I adjusted the pattern a bit. I made the dress 16 1/2 inches, based on another dress the girls had worn. Is there somewhere I can send a picture?

    Also, on the subject of shirring: What stitch length do you use? I used a 5mm and it didn't shrink up as much as I'd like. Does that mean I need to shorten the stitch length?

    1. The shirring seems to work best for me on the default stitch length (2.5 on my machine.)
      ~Jamie

  2. Great tutorial! I've printed the pattern, purchased materials and will get to work on two of these for my twins. Thanks!

  3. thank you for such a beatiful tutorial .. i just finished a top for my 18 month old.. it looks so cute.. even my MIL loves it..she says its the best thing i've sewn..thank you

  4. Just finished making this for my 3-year-old daughter. It turned out very cute. My finished length, from armpit to bottom hem, was about 17 inches. I used the 2t/3t size pattern, and I would consider my finished size to be a roomy 3T. My daughter is tall (can often wear 4t dresses) and thin, so it is sometimes hard for me to judge size.

    One question: what size elastic did you use? I searched high and low on the tutorial directions, but could not find if you mentioned that. I had to make my elastic casing on the neckline a bit bigger than you suggested, probably because I used a tad bigger elastic. But it turned out fine.

    Thanks for the great pattern and tutorial!

  5. Thank you. I just made the 2t/3t for my 18 month old, as she is very tall (33 3/4 inches) and I prefer her dresses longer than shorter. I'm loving it! The elastic measurements were very helpful too and correct for my little girl (went with a 18 inch neck, her arms are 7 inches, and a 15 3/4 inch skirt length from the armpit). She's tall and thin (24.5 lbs). Thanks for the easy to follow directions and great pattern. I'm set to do some more with different styles based off your pattern with layered ruffles. You saved me a trip to the store and some money. And she's loving it too. She hardly let me have it back to finish it all off. Great job you Crafty Mom!

  6. I made one of these for my 3 year old granddaughter, it turned out so cute!!! Thanks for the pattern. She likes to have sleeves in all her clothes so this was perfect.

  7. Thank-you for this lovely tutorial. I have been put off sewing dresses/clothes recently as they are always too small for my kids! But this tutorial is so clear, I have run up 2 tops (one for each of the girls)in a morning. I will definitely be using it again – let's hope that we have a Summer in the Uk this year…my girls can wear many different combinations of these!

  8. Thank you for this. I am a novice but this seems like something I can do.

  9. Thanks so much for the tutorial! I used your pattern as a base for making a whole collection of Disney princess dresses. I'll be linking back to your site on my post this evening!

  10. I have been on the lookout for a nice and simple peasant dress pattern. Thank you so much for sharing! Pinning!

  11. Thans for sharing this pattern.Could you help me, if it's with seam allowance or without…? Thanks!

  12. Found you through Ginger Snap Crafts. I've been looking for a free peasant dress tutorial. So thank you for providing this. I have some cute Spring fabric to you!

  13. Thanks for the great pattern and tutorial. I posted a photo of my finished dress and link to your tutorial on my blog.

  14. Thanks for sharing…. I love the peasant dresses…. and I was sitting here looking at the pattern and tutorial… and it struck me that this would be so cute in red flannel and add length to the sleeves… for a cute nightgown…. Thanks for the inspirtaton

  15. So cute!! Thank you so much for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  16. I cannot wait to make this for my daughter and my two nieces. They will love it.

  17. I wish I had girls so I could make this – maybe my little 2 year old friend will get one made for her instead

  18. That is so pretty! I love the fabric and she looks so precious in it. Thank you for sharing. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House which goes live at 8am CST on Monday.

  19. Adorable! Looks like it came out of a catalog. And the photos are great too!

  20. love this. Going to pin it so I don't forget to try for my little one 🙂
    -Margie @Therereproject.blogspot.com

  21. Love peasant dresses. They are so versatile. Thanks for sharing.

    Donna @onceuponasewingmachine.com

  22. Thanks for your tutorial. I can't wait to try out this pattern. I absolutely adore the fall fabric use used for your daughter's tunic. I tried finding some, but all the fall fabric I found was so grown-up looking, more like something you'd sew place mats with, not cute girl dresses; however, I have some fabric I bought for Go Texan Day in February that will be perfect for this dress.

  23. Wow!!!… Thank you!!!… Early in the morning I was looking for some tutorial for the peasant dress with sleeve… Thank you so much for make this tutorial!!!… I've used one of your tutos and you explains so great!!!… I will do this too!!!… I'll be posting some photos!!!… Please forgive my english…

    1. grandma j says:

      Did you add more to the side angles when using the Peasant for a roomy nitegown?
      Could you draw up a regular yoke multi-size pattern, then just give gathered skirt measurements for it? Need some long-sleeved for Christmas flannels. Thanks!

    2. Belinda Fountain says:

      Love the pattern. One question about cutting out the dress do you the front and back on the dotted neckline or just the back? Thanks, Belinda

      1. one neckline is the front and one is the back. If you forget, you can refer to the legend on page one. (dashed line is back)