Flutter Sleeves: A variation for the free Peasant Dress

flutter sleeve peasant dress pattern

Today we are going to offer you another variation on our basic peasant dress.  With a three year old that is getting more independent by the day, we are always looking for options that are easy on and easy off.

This is a fun go to. Mix up the look by using knit or woven fabric. Make a shirt, tunic or dress.


You can download the free pattern here. If you haven’t worked with a PDF pattern before or need more guidance on printing and assembling see all the details on how to get your pattern here.

The pattern includes three sizes. 12-18months, 2T-3T, and 4-5. It includes the pieces for this flutter sleeve peasant dress as well as the extra pieces to transform it into a long sleeveshort sleeve, and ruffle neck peasant dress or top.

Cutting Instructions

-You will need two bodies cut on the fold (one front and one back)

-Two Flutter sleeves

Sewing Instructions

Hem the sleeve by pressing under 1/4 inch and again 1/4 inch along the bottom long edge.   Topstitch.

If you are using a knit you could play around with other options like creating a lettuce edge hem!

Attach your Sleeves

Sew one short edge of each sleeve to the back body piece. Your sleeves and back will be right sides together.

attach flutter sleeve

Pin the second short edge to the front of the dress, again right sides together. Stitch with 3/8″ seam allowance.

Flip your dress right sides out it will look like this-


flutter sleeve neckline

Flip your dress right sides together, sew the side seams from the hem to the bottom of the armhole.


I have made my own bias for the armhole binding.  If you have never made your own bias, I think once you have you will never go back.  Find a tutorial here.

I have made my binding on this dress exposed, you can choose to hide it by turning it to the inside of the dress also.

Once you have your armholes bound, sew the hem by pressing under 1/4 inch and then 1/2 inch and top stitch.

Top Casing

Now you are ready to sew the neck/sleeve casing.

If you are using a knit fabric: Turn your fabric over 3/4″ toward the wrong side of your dress/shirt. Press and sew along the bottom edge. Leave open about 1″ to insert your elastic. Knit fabric will not unravel so you do not have to finish your edge. (unless you would like to!)

If you are using a woven fabric: Either serge your raw edge or turn under 1/4″ and then again 3/4″. Press and sew along the bottom edge. Leave open about 1″ to insert your elastic.

Elastic Measurements

I use 3/8″ elastic, 1/4″ would work also.

Neck elastic:  For 12-18 months: 19″, 2T-3T: 20″, 4-5: 21″

You can always trim elastic if you want a tighter fit.

Insert your elastic and pull it around.

Overlap your elastic ends and zig-zag across them back and forth. You don’t want your elastic to break going over heads so take a couple extra back and forths.

Push your elastic back inside your casing and stitch your 1″ opening closed.


peasant dress flutter sleeve

You are finished!  Put your new flutter sleeve top on your little one.

peasant dress flutter sleeve peasant dress flutter sleeve peasant dress flutter sleeve

We have 5 tutorials using the same basic pattern with a few variations to get you a variety of different styles. Sew them up and tell us which is your favorite (we love to see what you made). Find our Facebook community here.

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Amy mayen July 28, 2014, 9:47 am

    Cute cute cute!! I like the flutter sleeve! Someone is turning into a little a little ham in front of the camera- I love her face in the last pic!!

  • Kristina & Millie July 28, 2014, 2:52 pm

    She is so adorable and so is her little flutter sleeve peasant dress! I had no idea that is what those types of sleeves were called. You are going to have your hands full when she is older!

  • Sarah Helene July 30, 2014, 5:02 am

    YES, I agree . . . CUTE AS CAN BE pastel polka dot top with “flutter” sleeves in aqua. Colors– pink, green, lavender, aqua, yellow various sized dotted fabric look FAB on your blonde-haired girl. EASY to sew. Versatile to coordinate with many colors of shorts or pants during summertime. Mom, lots of your LOVE sewn into this dress for your 4-yr old! LOVE the final photo! Sarah in Minneapolis

  • Hayley Elliott September 20, 2014, 3:32 pm

    Love this! I’ve made the 24 months size to try it out and it’s fantastic. However I was wondering if you could give me the measurements for the pattern I’d need to make this for my 3 month old niece?
    Thanks very much 🙂

  • Anne Thompson July 18, 2018, 6:04 am

    Looking forward to making these to give to the Maassai kids in Tanzania

  • karen knapp June 26, 2019, 8:17 am

    Love this little top

  • Linda Leach August 7, 2020, 4:58 pm

    My granddaughter didn’t much want her picture taken, but the shirt came out cute!

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