Peasant dresses are a staple in a little girl’s wardrobe. They are easy, versatile, and fast to sew. If you are an experienced sewer you can play with the endless variations, if you are a beginner master this staple and build your confidence.
I really like the tunic length for this style. It gets quite cold here, so she is never going to be without leggings or thick tights. If I keep her dress a little shorter she has an easier time climbing, jumping, and managing stairs. Because sometimes a girl has exploring to do…
Due to all the interest this pattern has been digitized and is now available for free it 12/18 month, 2T/3T, and 4T. You can find the pattern HERE.
This style of dress requires two easy to cut pattern pieces. You’ll cut two of each piece on the fold. I used contrasting fabric so about a 1/2 yard of each.
I made a 2T/24 month size. A quick search and I found a variation on suggested measurements. Here is what worked for me, if your child’s body type is different you may want to play with these.
These measurements will give you a pretty full dress. If you want less of a gathered or slimmer look adjust your measurements. Want to adjust your size? Increase your sleeve width by half an inch for each size up you want to go, and one inch to the top of the bodice. I would recommend measuring to find your ideal body length.
The sleeve and armhole shape are a little different on a peasant dress. You are going to create a L or J shape. Your pattern pieces will end up looking like this- (you can find a step by step of the armhole drafting in this post.)
I like to create this shape on my pattern piece. I drew a box on my sleeve pattern 5″ long by 2″ deep. (Increase by 1/2″ as you up sizes) Then I just sketched in a small curve. When you have your curve lie it on top of the body pattern piece and trace it. The L or J shape on piece is the SAME for your body and sleeve.
You’re done cutting. Choose a body piece pin your sleeves to the body matching those J shaped arms right sides together.
Now you’ll match the remaining body piece and sleeve curves and sew again. Remember to keep right sides together.
You’ll end up with something that looks like this.
A Note: The first time I made a dress of this style I panicked right here. I tried it on her and the sleeves were weird I was worried I had screwed it up. The elastic you put in the neckline is going to change how the sleeves fit. If it seems funny now- don’t worry yet.
Now I don’t LOVE finishing things so I serged the edges of my sleeves neckline and hem. This way I stopped that edge from fraying and I only had to turn over my fabric once.
You will put elastic at both the neck and wrists so first create a casing. If you don’t serge first than turn under 1/4″ to hide your raw edge and then turn you fabric over 3/4″ to pull your elastic through. I used 3/8″ elastic. Remember to leave an opening to pull your elastic through!
I used a 14″ piece of elastic in the neckline and 6″ in the sleeves. My dress wearer is a bit of a peanut so you may need to adjust those. I recommend starting longer you can always trim your elastic after you’ve pulled it to fit. (I have found 16-17″ in the neckline and 7″ in the wrist makes a comfortable fit for 18-4T sizes. You will have a slightly larger neck opening than pictured in this tutorial. You can see examples HERE.)
Hem the bottom by turning under 1/4″and then 1/2″ and stitching along the fold line, and you’re DONE!
Master this basic and stay tuned for a post on fun variations. Update: We’re releasing three new summer versions of this pattern. Start with this introduction to the summer peasant dresses.
What is your favorite boy or girl staple to sew?
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Summer Variations: Full Tutorials
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