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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 pages twice, then cut out the back neckline on one and the front neckline on the second. (or just trace it on another sheet of paper.)

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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255 Comments

  1. Jamie, you’re a sewing pro and a certified crafty mom! I’ve always wanted to make cute outfits for my kids and honeslty I never thought I’d be able to try pattern making for fashion design, but you’ve made it feel doable.

  2. Jill Davies says:

    Hi Jamie,
    I just wanted to thank you so much for this little pattern. I will have a new granddaughter early next year so I can see many of these made for her in the future. I might even try to scale it down to a newborn size to make for her coming-home-from-hospital dress in a white voile.
    Jill

  3. Can’t locate your pattern to download please

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      look under “Where Do I Get The Pattern?” and clicke the link that says “peasant dress pattern page in my shop.” The link is also under the materials needed section.

  4. If I use the updated pattern with the sleeves and bodice only how do I know how much fabric I need for the bottom of the dress as well as how much to buy in the first place? Do I need to gather at the bottom of the bodice? Yikes! I’m so confused!

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      There are fabric amount suggestioins, pattern layout guide and full instructions in the post. (and a table of contents at the top of the page to direct you to where you need to go.)

  5. Dear Jamie, love your content. Appreciate free patterns as have no way to pay as living in North Africa!
    Perhaps the only addition not included to the basic peasant dress is a ruffle all around the neck line. Added at the top of front, over shoulder, across back, and over shoulder. Folding under creates elastic casing and the flutter sleeve. Great for girls who like a bit of frill.
    Thanks, Margaret

  6. This is so cute! Do you think shirring the neckline would work?

  7. Am I crazy? You say to print pages 1 and 2 twice for the bodice to have the two necklines. I did that and then realized my pages 1 and 2 are the sleeve. You might want to check and see if it is wrong or if I missed something. I did not read through all 242 comments, so sorry if that was already mentioned. Thanks. jpb

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      yes, page 1 and 2, was the old version of the pattern. I will update the post to remove that.

  8. Melissa Gray Hizy says:

    Thank you so much for the peasant dress pdf pattern. I think I’ve make one hundred of these dresses for charity. I love making them very much!

  9. This is the absolute best pattern. i must have made 10 of these for my daughter.

  10. Hello.😊 Thank you for this pattern. I am using it for the Dress A Girl Aroundthe World project. I plan to add inseam pockets. Any recommendations on placement from armhole? Thanks.

  11. Love this pattern. Thank you for sharing it. I wish I could post a picture of the Hawaiian muumuu that I made my twin granddaughters.

  12. This pattern is everything! My niece loves her new top so very much. She stayed with me at the sewing machine and watched every step.

  13. Rhoda Brubacher says:

    Thank you for sharing this pattern! I made 7, 18mo-2yr dresses for a charity organization that sends overseas to people in need. Pattern is very simple and printed off and fit together very well! Thanks again!!

  14. Thank you for making this a free pattern. I plan to make my granddaughter flannel nightgowns for cold weather, and possibly jersey knit material for warmer weather. Thanks again.

  15. Hi Jamie, thank you for this adorable pattern. I just finished a 4T dress for my daughter & am about to start a nightgown for her because I like the pattern so much. I have 2 questions for you. 1- Are you OK if myself & a few ladies from our church use your pattern to donate dresses to Dress A Girl Around the World? 2- Do you have a size 16 pattern for this dress, or any advice to modify the pattern to achieve a size 16? I modified the seam allowances so I can use French seams, but I’m not sure how to do a size up for the older girls. Thank you again for posting this pattern, I love it & look forward to making dresses in all the pattern sizes. I just love to sew!!!

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Feel free to use the pattern however you like and if you google the “slash and spread” method, you will find few tutorials on how to make patterns larger/smaller.

  16. Sandy Perry says:

    I have downloaded your peasant dress pattern but haven’t had a chance to create one yet. I found your site due to a link posted on Dress a Girl Around the World website. I have sewn dresses for 10+ years and all our instructions stress 1/2″ seam minimum due to the hard conditions in many 3rd world countries. I was then surprised to see your patterns work with a 1/4″seam. This would hardly hold up to harsh conditions overseas, so I am asking why such a small seam allowance? Will it work with a 1/2″ seam allowance? Otherwise, I can’t really use this pattern. Thanks for replying. Sandy Perry

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      I created this pattern for myself and my daughter over 11 years ago. I made that pattern based on how I sew, not on how other people sew. Overtime people seem to like this pattern so I give it away for free. And continued to make more patterns (that are free), because I thought it was fun.

      This pattern has been downloaded over 100,000 times. Could you imagine if I had charged even $1 a pattern? Even though I have spent hundreds of hours creating the pattern and maintaining my website and lots of money on software, materials and equipment. Yet I still give the pattern away for free.
      You are 100% welcome to add seam allowances to this pattern. (Not that hard, just cut it out .25 inches larger.) But if you’re just going to complain, please move on.

      Here is a link to a peasant dress on etsy that might be a better fit for you. https://tidd.ly/3Fvj6qu

  17. Loved this. Made 6 flannel nightgowns by just adding length.

    1. Ilda vd Merwe says:

      Lovely pattern. I made a Frozen themed dress for my granddaughter. Thank you!

    2. Jamie Sanders says:

      I agree, it makes a great nightgown!

  18. Helen Sanderson says:

    I have a copy of your Peasant Dress pattern with only the bodice. Could you advise how much longer to cut the front and back for sizes 12/18 months, ages 2/3, 4/6 and 7/8.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Are those details not in the instructions found in my fb group?

  19. Rose Delloye says:

    Hi Jamie
    Just printed out the peasant dress to make for my grandkiddo she is a 14 but the printed pattern only goes to size 8? Did I miss something?

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      yes there is a typo. Sizes 8, 9/10, 12, and 14 all align at their bottom hem,

  20. Many thanks for the pattern – it is a lifesaver! My daugher broke her collarbone and we can put this dress/tunic easily on and off without any painful movement.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Jamie Sanders says:

      Oh no, best wishes on a speedy recovery!