This is one of the easiest, most adorable newborn patterns there is! A perfect sewing project for beginners with amazing results. The possibilities are endless with all of the beautiful cotton prints out there. You could even mix and match coordinating prints with different fabrics for the sleeves!
There are many patterns out there for this type of dress. I even came across THIS ONE for FREE from Sew Much Ado - "Infant Peasant Dress Free Pattern and Tutorial". An adorable 0-3 month pattern with elastic neckline and sleeves and an option to add ric-rac trim.
You can also purchase this pattern for extended sizes- one of my favorites is Whimsy Couture's "Easy Peasant Top/Dress" including sizes 0 month-12 girls pattern HERE!
For this dress I did elastic casing on both the neckline and sleeves, but you can also omit the elastic on the sleeves to create a 'flutter sleeve' dress!
What you'll need:
- 1/2-3/4 yd cotton fabric
- 1/4" elastic (at least 26 inches)
- Coordinating thread
- Sewing Machine ;) (I have the Brother 17-Stitch Free-Arm Sewing Machine, LX2500 perfect for beginners like me!)
1. Start by cutting out your pattern pieces. You'll need two of each piece (both sleeves and the front and back of the dress) cut along the fold. (Don't you just love this vibrant aqua and magenta fabric I got from Hobby Lobby??)
2. Pin your sleeves, right side together, to the front piece of your dress. Sew the sleeve to the front along the curve.
3. Zig-zag stitch or serge along the seam.
This is what you should now have. SHORTCUT- you could go ahead and serge/zig-zag stitch the raw edges around the neckline, bottom of sleeves, and bottom hem.
5. Press finished seams in toward the bodice and press & fold over the hem of the neckline and sleeves to begin creating the encasing for your elastic. If you have a serger, you can serge the edge and fold over once. If you don't have a serger, you can either zig-zag stitch along the raw edge and fold over once, or you can fold and press once here, and fold over again later... you'll see what I mean.
Don't stitch the encasing closed just yet!
6. Sew along the side seams from the sleeve to the bottom hem
(don't forget to backstitch at start and finish!)
7. If you don't have a serger and you're using the double fold method, this is where you fold and press your second fold. Fold and press the sleeves and neckline (if you used the serge/zig-zag one fold method, go ahead to step 8).
8. Stitch along the neckline and sleeves at least 1/4 away from the outer edge to enclose your casing for the elastic - leave an inch opening to feed your elastic through!
9. Attach a safety pin to your elastic and feed through the neckline and sleeves
(it helps if you get another safety pin and pin the back end of the elastic to the dress so when you're feeding the front end through, the back end doesn't disappear into the encasing- this will naturally start gathering the encasing). Use 7" of elastic for the sleeves and 12" of elastic in the neckline. Overlap and securely stitch the two ends of the elastic together once fed through each encasing. Stitch each encasing closed.
10. Hem the bottom of your dress. I like to use a double fold here- but you can also serge/zig-zag the raw edge (if you haven't already) and do a single fold and hem. Turn the dress right side out and there you have it! An adorable peasant dress for your little princess!
TIPS & TRICKS-
- It might be easier to go ahead and serge/zig-zag along the raw edges of the neckline, outer edges of sleeves and bottom hem all at once.
- I did the double fold method for this first dress, but for other peasant dresses I've made, I just zig-zag the raw edges and use a single fold. This takes less time IMO and gives your dress more growing room!