Girls' peasant dresses are comfortable, easy to wear and practical. With minimal adjustments, a dress can be shortened into a top or used as a nightgown. Choose lightweight and soft fabrics for the best result. A peasant dress or top is an ideal choice for a beginner's sewing project or a quick project for someone more experienced. You can opt to purchase a pattern for a peasant dress or easily draft your own.
Materials and Supplies
Choose a lightweight, cotton woven fabric. It should gather easily to avoid an overly stiff dress. Pre-wash and dry your fabric to account for shrinkage before your begin working. You will also need a sewing machine and coordinating thread, fabric scissors, 1/4-inch elastic and sewing pins. If you are drafting your own pattern, you need newsprint, freezer paper or tissue paper and a straight edge.
Drafting a Pattern
Start drafting with a simple rectangle. The length of the rectangle should be the measurement from shoulder to desired hemline, plus 2 inches for hem allowances. Multiply the girl's chest measurement by 1.5 and divide this number by two. Cut this rectangle from drafting paper and fold it in half. Cut a second block the desired sleeve length by the arm measurement plus 2 1/2 to 3 inches. Draft a simple armhole shape, somewhat deeper and broader than the armhole curve on a standard shirt. Add a shallow, concave curve at the neckline.
Sewing your Peasant Dress
Once you have a pattern drafted or have a purchased pattern cut out and ready to use, lay the pattern pieces out on your fabric. Pin into place and cut out. Press each piece of fabric before sewing all four armhole seams. Press a 1/4-inch hem into place along the top edge of the fabric, then fold over again and press a 1/2-inch hem. Repeat this process for each sleeve. Neatly stitch the neckline seam into place, leaving a 1-inch opening to thread the elastic. Thread elastic through each of the casings and fit as desired before cutting the elastic and stitching the ends. Stitch the casing closed. Sew each side seam and hem the dress with a neat, doubled 1-inch hem.
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