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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peasant Dress Tutorial and other gift ideas for girls

I've got a peasant dress tutorial for you today and then some other fun ideas of things I am also making for Christmas gifts!!

I've never taken a formal sewing lesson. I've had two wonderful women show me a thing or two about how to sew. One taught me how to read a quilt pattern and one taught me how to read a clothing pattern. I am so thankful for their help and wisdom but also thankful that my brain works in such a way that I can look at things and sort of just figure out how its made. This doesn't work all the time but I find that I can often times work something out in my head till it actually works in real life. I've been intimidated by patterns since my first "sewing with a pattern" lesson. I'd much rather just get to sewing...but measuring and cutting carefully is all part of the game. So, when I first started making clothes for my kids I stuck to the simple things like pillowcase dresses and tie shirts. Then I did follow a pattern for another dress that I've made a few times and I love it...but I wanted something simple that would come together with little effort...see, I'm lazy and don't want to mess around with a lot of extra steps. My neighbor told me about the peasant dress she had learned how to make at one of her MOPS meetings and I was intrigued. Four rectangles with a little notch cut out, sewn together, add elastic a hem and call it a dress. Yes please. These are almost easier to make than the pillowcase dresses!! So, please remember that I am no seamstress and I probably don't do things correctly...but here's my version of the peasant dress!

Edited: I forgot to add the link to the sizing chart! You can find it here!!! Sorry!

Cut out four rectangles of some gorgeous fabric according to the measurements for the size you desire.
(You can do all four rectangles in the same fabric or pick a coordinating fabric for the sleeves.)
Fold the rectangles in half wrong sides together and stack the four rectangles on top of each other.
You will have eight pieces to cut through.
Cut a "J" shapped notch into the top left corner of all eight pieces of fabric (you don't want to cut the folded side).
Take one sleeve piece and one body piece and sew the notch part with right sides together
If you have a serger use it to serge the edge otherwise just use a zig zag stitch near the edge.

Repeat this process with all four pieces that you cut the notch out of making sure to fit the sleeves on properly.

You should have a piece that looks like this when you finish these steps.

Then fold the dress in half right sides together and sew from the end of the arm all the way down to the end of dress.
Follow up with a zig-zag stitch or use your serger again.

Don't worry, I know it look gi-normous but it'll get better! I promise!!

Fold the top edge 1/4 inch and then 1/2 inch to create a casing for your elastic.

Sew close to the edge of the 1/4 inch fold to secure the casing but make sure to leave an opening so you can get your elastic in there.
Once you get your elastic in, sew it together and then close your opening.
I like to sew a small vertical line through the elastic just to make sure it stays in place and doesn't flip over on me.
I sew that line close to where the sleeve fabric meets the body fabric so no one can see it.


There are a number of different ways to do the sleeves...here's my way.
I like to add some elastic to the sleeves but don't like to just have a small casing for elastic at the bottom.
I took it one step further and left a little extra fabric to sort of make a ruffle.
So, start by making the 1/4 inch fold then make a bigger fold like 2-3 inches and iron it down.
Then sew the first line about 2 inches in depending on how big you want your ruffle to be.
Then sew close to the edge of 1/4 inch fold to create the casing, again making sure to leave room to insert the elastic.

Insert the elastic, sew it together and then close the opening of your casing.

I hate to hem things...so I usually try to find a way around it.
With these dresses I just added some ribbon to the bottom of the dress.
Sew the ribbon to the wrong side of the dress then fold it around to the front and top stitch it down.
I don't have this down to a science yet but it works.

That was clear as mud hey?
Let me know if you have any questions.
Leave any questions in the comment section and I'll try and answer them as best I can!

Stand back and admire your work.
Try it on your little model and see how it fits.
If it's made to be a size bigger than your child wears (like mine is here)
then just tell yourself that it won't look so much like a pillowcase when the bigger kid wears it!


You can also make something cute for their hair to go with their cute dress!
Like I did so go with these other peasant dresses that I made...IMG_0588
Here are some other ideas...
Monogram bow holderwood letter, paint, scrapbook paper, ribbon and cute bows! easy peasy!IMG_0835
Canvas Name Paintings...
IMG_8985
Reversible Felt Crowns
Diptych 1
Felt FoodIMG_82682009 03 21_38282009 07 06_9162
In a couple of weeks I will have something that goes with all this felt food that would be a great gift...but it's not quite finished yet!
Also just so you know I have an etsy store and will be placing a few select items in my store in a few weeks if you don't have time to make any of these goodies yourself!

And come back Saturday to find out if you've won the My Memories Scrapbook software!
AND...I'm going to show you how to make a simple skirt with no edges showing!!!!

Sorry for going on so long thanks for sticking with me!

58 comments:

  1. I love your ideas Jamie. The dresses are adorable!!

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  2. Haha! I love the evolution of a peasant dress shots. You are so clever!

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  3. That dress is too cute! Gotta try it.

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  4. What an adorable dress! I don't sew much--I actually put the "stress" in "seamstress", but perhaps when I get my sewing machine back up and running I might give this a try. In the meantime, I'll pass the idea along to my super talented sister in law. ;)

    I'll also keep my eyes out for all that felt food--so cute!

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  5. Thank you for very good blog about neckpillow. It's very nice.

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  6. I would LOVE to make this for my girls, but I can't get a link to work for the size chart so I know the sizes to make the rectangles. Can you please, oh pretty please, help me with this :)
    thanks!

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  7. Deb....try this direct link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/66085013/Sizing-Chart-for-Peasant-Tops

    Hope that works for you!
    +Jamie

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  8. What an adorable dress! I truly admire your work. Nice one! All the moms out there would love to see this.

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  9. I just finished making a dress for my daughter, thanks for the easy to follow instructions and pictures!

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    1. Sarah, so glad you got a dress made!! I bet your daughter loves it!

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  10. Love it!! Just wondering and I'm sure I've just missed it somewhere the size chart for the sleeves?

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    1. The measurements for the sleeves are on page two of the scribd document!!
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/66085013/Sizing-Chart-for-Peasant-Tops

      Hope that helps!

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  11. I'm having a problem understanding... are all 4 pieces the same size? the sleeves should be smaller, but I don't see on the chart where the sleeve size is, I get the rest of the pattern, but puzzled over the sleeves.....

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    1. The sleeve measurements are on page two of a document!! http://www.scribd.com/doc/66085013/Sizing-Chart-for-Peasant-Tops

      Let me know if you find it or not!

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  12. how much elastic in the sleeves?

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    1. I just measured around my daughters arm...sorry I didn't write down how big that was. I made it a tiny bit bigger than her arm because I didn't want it to be too tight!! Hope that helps!

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  13. What about a size for the sleeves?

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    1. Sleeve measurements are on page 2 of the document! http://www.scribd.com/doc/66085013/Sizing-Chart-for-Peasant-Tops

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  14. I am not clear on the measurements for the dress. Do I need the said measurement x2 (one for front and one for back of dress)? And what about the measurement for the sleeves?

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    1. You need one measurement but cut 2 pieces yes! One for the front and one for the back!! Sleeve measurements are on page 2 of the document. Let me know if you have any other questions!
      http://www.scribd.com/doc/66085013/Sizing-Chart-for-Peasant-Tops

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  15. Nikki Nolte9/27/12, 5:30 PM

    I clicked on this on pinterest w/o knowing it was one of your designs. Cute!

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    1. Glad you like it. Not my design...just my tutorial! Hope you can make one for your girls!

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    2. Love it! Thank you! I'm planning on making Princess dress ups for my daughter in this pattern for Christmas! What is the J arm sleeve cut measurement? Also, after I insert the elastic, how tight do I pull it before sewing it together?

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    3. I would say overlap the elastic by an inch...if it's really stretchy elastic you may want to do more. The J measurement was actually a file that I cut apart...it was a drawing...but I'd say about two inches in and long for a bigger size dress and then just adjust accordingly for smaller dresses. Sorry that I don't have those exact sizes, but I'm thinking it won't really affect the dress too much. If I can find it I can send it to you, but I'm pretty sure I cut them all apart to use as patterns. Sorry.

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  17. What is length for the neck elastic?

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    1. Heather, the neck elastic length is on the scribd document. It is in the right column next to "top sizes"it says Lengthxwidth and then Elastic for neckline! Hope that makes sense. You don't have to measure on your daughter because that would be confusing! Hope this helps!!

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    2. Thanks! I did see the measurements after I posted the comment, of course. I made my daughter a skirt in that same green fabric.

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  18. this may seem like a no brainer, but about how much fabric do i need to buy. i'm making a 2t-ish dress, and i tried to figure it up myself, but i just want to be sure!

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    1. I'm guessing you'll need about a yard and a half total...if you're doing the sleeves in different fabric you should be able to get a yard of the main dress fabric and a half yard for the sleeves. But just take the measurement that's on the document and see how long that is and make sure your fabric is twice that long (I always buy more in case I mess up) Hope that makes sense!!

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  19. You are brilliant. Truly. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm going to go pick out fabric for my baby girl's dress right now! :)

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    1. Hope you enjoy making the dresses! They're easy to make and super cute!

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    2. Ok.. so I just made a dress for my babe and it turned out so cute! I did have one little problem though.. when folding and stacking the rectangles, it didn't say which way to fold the sleeve pieces (long-ways or width-ways), and I think I did it the wrong way... my daughter is only 9 months and has tiny little arms so I think I can still make it work though. Also, the 9-12M size I made will probably fit my 4-yr-old, lol! But at least I know she'll be able to wear it for a while! Thanks again for the great tutorial and super easy dress!

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  20. Bloghopping and I found you! Now I can't wait to make this dress for my daughter. I really appreciate the step-by-step photos. Thanks sooo much for sharing, Jamie!

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  21. Krista Swanson11/1/12, 7:32 AM

    Ok I've Gotttt to try this!!!

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  22. Krista Swanson11/1/12, 7:33 AM

    Tooooo Cute!!!!!!

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  23. Nice tutorial. I love peasant dresses. What is that fabric? I've seen it a few times online but don't know the name or designer. I haven't seen it at my local Joann's or Hancock's. Thanks!

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    1. The fabric came from Hobby Lobby

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  24. I'm also curious of which way to fold the rectangles, lengthwise or widthwise. Thank you for this great tutorial! Best one I've found yet. VERY new to sewing.

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  25. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I'm very new to sewing and just learning as I go.
    question, which way do you fold the rectangles? Lengthwise or width wise. I'm thinking it is widthwise.

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    1. fold it widthwise...so that it's longer than it is short.

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  26. Hi! I have been using your tutorial and love it! I am having a hard time pulling up the sleeve measurements (which I know they are are on page 2) but its not showing and I need these measurement guides asap!!! Can you please help me!?

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    1. Try clicking on the word "here" in the top red lettering part. I did not have problems seeing the second page when I just clicked on that link.

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  27. Hi, I really love this dress. Thank you so much for the tutorial, however it will not let me click on the sizing chart, can you give me the link again? Thank you!

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    1. click on the word "here" up top in the red wording...

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  28. This dress was a great alternative to the overwhelming 'real' pattern I almost attempted to make for Christmas presents. Finding your post was wonderful! I made some flannel nightgowns for two special little girls. Thank you!

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  29. I am also pattern insufficient so I was thrilled when I came across this tutorial! I have made one peasant dress and loved how it turned out but the since I have only made one I am a little afraid of doing sleeves, your way looks easy and I just went to the fabric store today!! So I guess I will be doing some sewing this weekend! thanks for the pictures too, the one with them all laid out is very helpful!!

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  30. I made the dress, but I think I may not have made the "J" long enough...the armpits were VERY tight on my daughter, will making a longer "J" eliminate this so I will know for the next go round? I may send this to a friend of ours who's kiddo is smaller and they can just take up the bottom hem for height/sleeves

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  31. Hi there! I'm having trouble viewing page 2 of the scribbd document. I've tried on my computer & my tablet, but can only pull up page one. Page 2 inlet shows blank for me. Had anyone else had this issue? What else can I do to access the sleeve measurements? Thanks in advance!
    -Christy

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  32. Yesterday, I used your tutorial to make a disney dress for my daughter. I tweaked the main body of the dress to be two different fabrics (yellow and blue for Snow White). I also added ties to the dress. It turned out great. I just need to add red ribbon to the bottom for the hem. Next I am going to do a Merida dress for her by adding some gold ribbon and accents to the fabric.

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  33. I love these dresses because they can be worn so many ways. Thanks for the measurement charts, I have a peasant dress pattern exactly like this but it starts at size 1 and I could not get the correct dimensions when I tried to size it down for tiny sizes. Thanks!

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  34. I love this! I am deff making one for my daughter! Probably more lol...... Such clear instructions & thank you for the document for measuring too! Btw, LOVE the photo of your children in church! Sweet touch!

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  35. I made it today! Couldn't wait lol
    http://infinityhomemade.blogspot.com/2013/05/peasant-dresstop-by-thetrendytreehouse.html
    This is the link to my blog were I posted my finished photo and gave you credit :) Hopefully other mamas will take advantage of the blessing and follow the link back to you and make their own :) thank you again... I am exited to make more in future!

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  36. How do you know how long/big to make the j for the armholes?

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  37. I love the Pheasant dress pattern ...I have 3 great granddaughters that I will be making these for them for Christmas !!! Also just to let you know I did not have any trouble getting the sleeve measurements ...all i had to do was scroll down on the page and there it was ...Thanks again for the cute dress pattern....Maude LaFountain

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  38. Love the Pheasant dress ...I have 3 great granddaughters that I will be making this dress for them for Christmas...wanted to add that I did not have any problems seeing the sleeve sizes all I did was scrolled down the page and there it was ......

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  39. Hi! I'm not sure how big to make the "J" for the armpits. How do you determine how big to make them?

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  40. Thank you for your tutorial! I love the simplicity of using the rectangles without having to trace out pattern pieces. I have made a couple shirts and then used the concept of it for the bodice of my daughter's halloween costume which was a huge hit. http://unravelingfiddleheads.blogspot.com/2013_10_01_archive.html
    Thanks again!

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