Here is the next easy variation on your peasant top pattern, the shirred short sleeve top or dress. This top makes use of a sewing material I’ve been meaning to try for awhile now, elastic thread. I’m happy to report it was a much easier, happier experience than I had anticipated. I’ll share all the details below.
Due to popular demand we’ve digitized this pattern in sizes 12/18 month, 2T/3T, and 4T you can find it HERE.
Let’s start sewing your top!
Don’t have a pattern? Start here.
Sewing a Short Sleeved Peasant Top
The process to creating the base of your top is going to be similar to identical to the original peasant dress tutorial.
First you’ll cut your pieces. Follow the pattern instructions you’ll have two main body pieces, and two sleeves (cut at the short sleeve mark)
2. Repeat with the back. You’ll now have a garment that looks like this. I’m using fabric from a skirt, so I have hems already, otherwise this would be an easy time to hem your sleeves. I recommend a small hem. Turn 1/4″ then another 1/4″ and hem.
3. Update: I would recommend adding your shirring now. Scroll to the bottom of the post for tips on elastic thread if this is new to you. I added in a line of shirring at 1/4″ and 1/2″ putting your shirring in now will allow you to secure your threads in the side seam.
5. Create your casing. I finished my edge with serging, you can also start by turning your fabric over 1/4″, then another 3/4″ to create your casing. Stitch the bottom edge all the way around. Leave open a spot to feed in your elastic.
6. Insert your elastic and feed it all the way through. I used about half the length of the ungathered neckline. Try on and adjust to your desired length. You can see I’ve used more elastic in this neckline than on the ruffle neck peasant dress version. It gives a little different look, both work. Sew your elastic together. Sew closed your casing. Update: 17-18″ of elastic will work well for the sizes 12 months to 4T. I used 1/4″ elastic, if you prefer 1/2″ and 3/8″ will also work.
Sewing with Elastic Thread
I’m going to give you what worked on my machine. The research I did suggested that each machine is a little different- you’ll want to do some test runs first.
What I need to know about sewing with elastic thread
Where do I buy it? It is located with the rest of your elastic and is widely available, I picked up a spool at Joanns.
Where do I put this in my machine? Elastic thread is hand wound onto your bobbin. Use your regular thread up top.
I’m sorry did you say hand wound? Yes, it turns out that isn’t really terrible. Keep a consistent tension. You don’t want it real loose or it gets bunched and twisted (from experience). My understanding is it won’t go well if you wind it really tight either.
How do I set the machine? Here is where you will want to practice. And I would recommend using either the actual material or the same type of material. On my machine I got the best results by setting my stitch length out as long as it would go and not changing my tension. I have read, however, that some machines perform better with the tension cranked up.
You’re creating a gathering stitch, so I started with those settings and tweaked from there.
Does my material matter? Yep. This recycled skirt material is very light. I had a significant shirred effect after one line of stitching. You may need 2-3 rows of stitching to create the same effect with quilting cotton.
We’ve got a few more girl projects lined up for you, including a pattern test we are dying to share that is being released!