Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Long Sleeve Toddler Peasant Dress Tutorial (for Prudent Baby)

Thank you to Jacinda and Jamie for requesting this tutorial and for sharing it on their site!  It is a variation of their peasant blouse tutorial

With fall coming early to the Pacific Northwest (wait, did summer even arrive?) and winter fast approaching, long sleeves and cozy fabrics are a must!  So, I played around with the pattern until I came up with this:

Here is what you will need for one toddler dress (size 2T):
  • 1 yard of fabric 
  • 1/4 inch elastic (approximately 26")
  • corresponding thread
  • safety pin
  • pins (optional)
Step 1:  Cut out fabric

Here is the pattern:

(Side note:  If you would like 3/4 length sleeves, cut your sleeve pieces to 10" x 14")

Once cut, your pieces should look like this:

Note that these are still folded
Step 2:  Cut out neckline and armhole

On your dress pieces (leaving them folded in half and stacked on top of each other), cut out an armhole 6" long. I cut a basic J shape.

Cut the neckline as deep as you would like it.  You may prefer to cut the front more than the back.

Fold the two rectangles for the sleeves on the long side, so you will have two 5" x 16" pieces.  Stack them up and place them behind the dress piece with the fold on the inside, like this:
Now cut out the armole and neckline where they overlap the fabric.

Step 3:  Piece together your dress

Unfold all of your pieces.  With right sides facing each other, line up the armhole on one side of the dress with the matching cut on the sleeve piece.  (You can pin this if you like, but I don't bother...I only pin things if I absolutely need to.)  Like this:

Now sew around 1/4" in around the edge of the armhole.  Go back and do a zig-zag stitch at the edge of the fabric to keep the seam intact.

Finished seam

Repeat this on the other side of the dress piece.
 It should look something like this:

Snow angel
Now attach the other side of the dress piece in the same way.
The dress is starting to come together!  Next, the side seams need to be sewn.  Line up the seams at the armpit and then sew along the arm and the side of the dress all at the same time.  Again, secure your seams with a zig zag stitch.
Line up the armpit before you start sewing!
It should look like this.
Step 4:  Finishing touches
Lay your dress out so the top is flat.  It is likely not perfectly straight.

 We want it to be straight...so, fold your dress in half vertically...

 And cut until you have a straight line across the top...


Time to heat up that iron.  Fold the top edge over 1/8" and iron, then fold over again about 3/8" giving you a nice clean edge.  Iron down.

Repeat with the sleeves and the bottom hem (although for the bottom hem, you can fold over to 1/4" on the second fold since we are not inserting any elastic here). 
Now sew one line straight across the top of your nicely prepared fold just below the very edge of the neckline.  Go all the way around the edge . 

Now sew a second line around the bottom of your hem (leaving a minumum of 1/4" in between your two rows of stitches).  Don't sew all the way around - be sure to leave about 1/2" gap at the end so that you can feed your elastic through there.  Repeat on both sleeves.

You can hem the dress now as well.
It's time to insert the elastic.  Here are the measurements that worked best for Little Bean:
Neckline: 14.5"
Wrists: 5.5"
Forearm (should you want 3/4 length sleeves): 6.5"
Mark the length of your elastic.  Do not cut it yet (otherwise it will be much more difficult to stitch up when you are done).  Attach a safety pin to one end of your elastic.  Insert it through the hole at the neckline and start to feed it all the way through to the other end.  Once you are satisfied with the length, then stitch it up with a few zig zags to secure it.  Clip off excess.

 Sew the 1/2" hole closed.

Repeat with both sleeves.

You're done!

Here is your final product:

Little Bean running away again

Here's proof she does have a face!
Enjoy!  Please share your comments and photos!


  1. This outfit is so darling! Love! This one I will definitely try. Keep up the great work Amy.

  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I need to hit the fabric store :)
    What type of fabric did you use?

  3. The one pictured is actually flannel, but I have also used woven cotton and knits. Just be sure to wash and dry your fabric first (I forgot to put that step in there). Please send me a pic of your completed dress...I would love to see it!

  4. I will for sure! I was wondering if flannel would work. I have a few yards of a plain navy woven cotton at home and I am going to do a test run with that and see how I can jazz it up...maybe ribbon or pockets. I will share what I come up with though!

  5. My dress is complete(ish)! But I tried it on my bean and she says it is too tight in the armpits. I think I may have cinched the neck too small with the elastic, so will be trying to repair and finish this weekend. Any thoughts?

  6. Yes, I know what happened...only because I did this to a dress I made for myself. You either did not cut the armpit holes deep enough or you used too big of a seam when you sewed them up. But, you are right...you can put in a bigger piece of elastic and use it more as a boatneck - that's what I did to solve it. It's still a little bit on the snug side, but it totally works.

  7. could you post measurments for a 4T?

  8. I'll try to figure it out. Give me a couple of days :)

  9. Great tutorial! Any idea on the measurements for 18 months?

  10. For the readers who asked questions about sizing, please refer to my newest post (today). http://littlebeanworkshop.blogspot.com/2010/11/toddler-dress-sizingmy-best-guess.html

    I hope that this answers your questions...and I hope it works!

  11. I made a short sleeve (3T) and a long sleeve (4T) version of this. I see endless combinations for my 4y babe...

  12. Amy, I finally fixed the neckline! My little bean is wearing her dress for Thanksgiving! Thanks so much for all the help! How do I get you a pic?

  13. KT - I can't wait to see it! Please email the pic to me at littlebeanworkshop@hotmail.com. Also, if you would like your project on Prudent Baby's Round-up, you can email it to them too...then lots of people would see it!

  14. This is such an awesome tut! I made a winter one out of fleece for my daughter and I love it so much. Thanks for this!

  15. I have made two of these for my nieces. They are so cute, and pretty easy.

  16. Just made one!!! Super easy and cute!

  17. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It makes me so happy to see that people are enjoying this tutorial. I have modified it some recently to use as a nightgown and with larger measurements. I will post this soon.

  18. Thank you so much for this tutorial! Super easy to understand. My girls are obsessed with dresses, and now that the weather is getting colder, we need long sleeves. Check out my facebook page for a photo of the size 4T dress I made with vintage fabric:

  19. Going to give this a go for my 1 year old using some old shirts of my dads. I've only just started sewing and like the look of this as it uses straight lines :D

  20. Thank you for posting these instructions. I DO NOT sew, but I was able to enlarge this pattern and make a dress for my 7 year old! She loves it!

    1. How fantastic! Thank you for the comment! Out of curiosity for myself and other readers, what did you do to successfully enlarge it?

  21. I added this to pinterest so I could keep it. Is that ok?

    1. Of course! Sorry for the delay...blogger issues :)
      Thanks for pinning!

  22. Hi! I've just come across your tutorial and I adore the little dress, I can't to try it. I do have one question though. In step 4 it appears as though you are cutting the neckline straight .. Am I seeing wrong as not sure why you would add the original lowered neckline if it just going to be levelled. I know I'm picking it up wrong, please help :) .. Leah

  23. I worked it, just me being a bit thick :) .. Looking forward to trying it, thank you for posting it! Leah

    1. Glad you got it figured out. I apologize for not replying sooner...for the life of me I can't get blogger to work on my phone. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  24. I made and and I love it!! My second sewing project to date and I've made something a actually love, I'm thrilled. I'll put it on the small girl in the morning (night time here in Ireland) and put up a photo if I can. Thanks again, Leah

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Ack! if this duplicatees for you, I'm sorry. Blogger gives me trouble sometimes!
      I am so glad that it worked for you! Feel free to send pics, I would love to see them!! amyjordana[at]hotmail[dot]com. Thanks!

  25. Thanks for the tutorial! I modified the pattern to make full-length dresses for the Texas RenFest for my 2yr old and my 9mo old. I made little T-tunics to go over the dresses and they looked super cute!

    Buying seasonal fabric today to make my girls some Thanksgiving dresses from your pattern as well =)

    1. So glad you liked it! I added a large ruffle to the bottom to make nighties for my daughter, worked great.
      Good luck with the Thanksgiving dresses! I wish I was as ambitious as you are! If you get any pictures, I would love to see them. amyjordana[at]hotmail[dot]com

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  29. Nice Blog! That's a great info. Great Job.

  30. This might be a silly question- but when I overlap the dress pieces w/ the sleeve pieces I don't have to cut anything for the sleeve. Do you not align the folds? Since the top of the dress is 5 inches and flairs out and the sleeves are a constant 5, there isn't a way they do overlap. What am I doing wrong?

  31. I wanted to make mine about a girls size 4-5. I added a little bit to the 4T measurements and it ended up being huge. I just bought a clip to clip it in the back and I left length in the hem and sleeves so I can always take it out as she grows. It should fit her for a while. Overall I am pleased. I would post a picture but I am not sure how.

  32. I love this pattern and I'm getting ready to make one for my daughter for Christmas! However, I cannot for the life of me figure out how you got all these pattern pieces on folds out of 1 yard of fabric! Could you give me some advice on how to fold/layout these pieces? I'm at a loss. I'm thinking I'll have to do contrasting sleeves because I can't see how this is possible, but I really didn't want to! I have pattern pieces cut out of paper, but try as I may, I can't find a way to get them all on there!

  33. Hello, thankyou so much for sharing this tutorial. I just made a christmas dress for my daughter this afternoon and i love how it turned out. Thanks a ton for the pattern and detailed explanation....Soumya

  34. This seems just like the pattern I need for a cute spring dress. Thank you for your tutorial.