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Pretty Panels Peasant Dress

Hello again, it’s Sumo from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff! I’m so excited to be back here at The Ribbon Retreat, sharing another adorable tutorial for little girls. With three little ladies running around at our house, I am in a constant state of sewing to keep on top of everything I want to make for them!
This Pretty Panels Peasant Dress was definitely a labor of love, and it is so worth it by the excitement of my five year old. Isn’t it great to sew for people who are excited about it?

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Pretty sweet, isn’t it? Half of it is the fabric, which just makes the dress! I totally fell in love with the collection from Moda called Springhouse, and knew it would be perfect for this style of dress. Lots of color, lots of pattern, and lots of cuteness!

Here’s what you’ll need:
– fabric (Springhouse collection is what I used)
– elastic thread (not pictured)
– skinny elastic (1/4” or so – also not pictured)
– measuring tape
– sewing machine/accessories
– iron

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
You’re going to need to start off by taking some measurements. I started with the bodice. I was going for an empire waist, so I measured from my daughter’s chest to where I wanted the empire waist to start. Add another inch to inch and a half on to that measurement to account for attaching the bodice to the skirt, as well as the casing you will create for the elastic neckline. My bodice needed to be about 5-5.5” long, so my length was 6.5” for a size 5T. I made the width a couple inches wider than my daughter’s chest measurement. For 5T, we went with 15”.

You’ll need to create some arm hole cut outs for the bodice and the sleeves. You can use some from another pattern if you’ve got them, or use an existing shirt. Whatever you use for your template, make sure you use the exact same template on both the bodice and the sleeves. My arm hole templates for a size 5T were about 2.5” wide and 5” long, curving down into the length.
So cut two bodice pieces, and cut out the arm holes on both sides as shown.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
I went with a fluttery, open sleeve for this dress. The more wide you make the sleeve, the more fluttery it will be. Length is up to you as well! My two sleeve measurements were 7” long and 15” wide. Cut those and also cut the arm holes out of each sleeve. Here they are shown folded over.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
The bottom of the dress has a border. To make it easy with hemming, I like to make my borders twice the length that I want it to be and just iron it in half. It gives it a nice clean look, and also gives a little weight to the bottom of the dress. My bottom border was 4” long and 30” wide. They are shown folded over here as well.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Now it’s time to make some panels! I had six different fabrics for my panels. That means twelve panels total – six on the front of the dress, and six on the back of the dress. I wanted the width of the skirt part of the dress to be double the width of the bodice; that will give it a nice gather. (That’s also where the 30” measurement on the border came from!) 30 divided by 6 equals 5” wide for each panel. Measure the length from the empire waist to where you want the dress to hit, and add on another half inch to one inch to account for seams and your border. My length was 19”. Cut two of each panel to 5” wide by 19” long EXCEPT FOR ONE FABRIC.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
My lime green fabric is going to be a ruched panel, so I made the length double – so 38” long.
The last cutting step is to cut the strips for the ruffled panels. I did double the width – so 10” for each strip – and then my length was 3.5”. The length is entirely up to you and how big of ruffles you want! Just remember, the smaller the ruffle, the more you’ll have to make!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Ready to sew? I thought so, let’s get going.
Take each ruffle strip and serge or zig zag both the bottom and top edges. Then hem up one edge.
Run a gathering stitch along the top of each strip (so where there is no hem). Ruffle those strips up, measure the spacing on the coordinating panel, and pin them in place.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
I’m not going to lie. It is tedious. But then you get two panels that look like this after they are sewn on, and it’s totally worth it.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Now take the panels you reserved to be ruched. Run a gathering stitch along one long edge.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Then run a gathering stitch along the other long edge. Be sure to leave your thread tails in case you need to adjust it. I did!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing

Now lay out your panels in the order you want them to be.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Now start sewing them together, with right sides facing each other on each panel as you attach it. Be super careful with the ruffled panels to make sure the ruffles are down and that they each get caught in the seam. Serge or zig zag the edges.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Repeat for the other panels, making sure you go in the same order!
Take the border pieces, and iron in half – length wise.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Match the raw edge up to the bottom raw edge of the skirt, and sew together. Finish the edge. You may have to cut a bit off the border to account for all of the seams of the panels. No big deal!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Now run a gathering stitch along the top, raw edge of each skirt piece.
Find the middle of the bodice piece and pin. Make sure it’s the edge you will be attaching the skirt to.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Find the middle of the skirt (easy with an even number of panels!) and pin to the middle of the bodice, with right sides facing in. Gather evenly along each side towards the middle, and pin in place.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Sew bodice and skirt together, then finish the edge with a serger or a zig zag stitch. Top stitch along the edge if desired. Repeat for both the front and back of the dress. Turn that baby right side out and admire the cuteness.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Let’s attach some sleeves now!
With right sides facing each other, line up the arm hole of the bodice to the arm hole of the sleeve.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Sew together. Repeat for the other side of the sleeve with the other dress piece. Repeat with the other sleeve. Here’s what it will look like.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
If you haven’t already, go ahead and hem up the bottom of the sleeves. This might be easier to do before you start attaching them to the dress, but I forgot and did it at this step.
Put the right sides of the dress together, lining up the sleeves and sides of the dress.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Sew from the hem of the sleeve, all the way down the side of the dress. Finish the edges.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
You’re getting close!
Serge or zig zag the top raw edge of the bodice. Then fold it over about half an inch and sew all the way around, leaving a two inch opening. This is the casing for the neck elastic.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
Cut a piece of elastic, put a safety pin on one end, and feed it through the casing. Sew the ends together, and then close up the opening in the casing.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
The bodice is still a little boxy at this point, so I decided to shir it in. If you’ve never worked with elastic thread before, don’t be scared! Hand wind it around an empty bobbin – not too tightly – and trade out your regular thread bobbin. Set your maching to the longest stitch length (like a gathering stitch) and sew as many rows as you like to bring the bodice in a bit. I did four. If the elastic thread isn’t shrinking in very well, hold a steamy iron over it and watch it magically shrink!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - Sumo's Sweet Stuff #sewing
And that’s it! You did it! And now you have this beauty to show for it!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Which you have to admit, looks even cuter on a cute little girl!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
She was soooo excited to put this dress on.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
She even had to do some of her own poses.

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
The fact that I had to fight her to take it off pretty much says it all!

Pretty Panels Peasant Dress - The Ribbon Retreat Blog
Thanks so much for letting me share this with you today. I hope to see you over at Sumo’s Sweet Stuff for more fun sewing tutorials, which includes more cute pictures and poses!

Thank you Sumo! Wow, that dress is way too cute! I am officially in love. I love the dress, the fabric, and I love the poses. Thank you for sharing your amazing talent for sewing, creating, and innovation. 🙂

Sumo is a VERY, VERY talented seamstress, and she is an amazing person too. 🙂
If you love this adorable dress…look what else she has created for us. We know you will love these fantastic tutorials too.

Peek-A-Boo Top

Ombre Tunic

Interchangeable Ribbon and Pearl NecklaceInterchangeable Ribbon and Pearl Necklace - this tutorial is easy and makes great gifts for those who love accessories! {The Ribbon Retreat Blog}

Have a most wonderful day everyone and have a most wonderful time sewing away!!! 🙂
Happy Sewing & Happy Creating!
Signature - The Ribbon Retreat Blog

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10 Comments

  1. KathScraps
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I LOVE this dress! Does look like a lot of work, but so worth it.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your comment. So, glad you love this dress. Have a great day!

  2. Michelle
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! I need to make some peasant dresses, they are my favorite!

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

      Hi Michelle. Thank you for your comment. Happy Sewing!!

  3. Kendra
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Darling, darling, darling. I’d love to make one for each of my little granddaughters but I’d have to do them all at once because I wouldn’t want one of them to be sad and say “Where’s my dress, Grandma?” Such a creative keepsake.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kendra! Thank you for your sweet words. You sound like such a wonderful grandma. Your granddaughters are so lucky. 🙂

  4. june
    Posted June 18, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    Really super : ) Takes me back to the days I first learned to sew and was making dresses for my girls and then made dresses for poorer children who couldn’t afford a dress. There are lots of little ones we could make and share this with. Thank you for a wonderful and well explained tutorial. I can’t wait to see more. And your little one is precious : )

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted June 18, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

      Hi June! Thank you so much for your sweet comment. We are so glad you enjoyed Sumo’s awesome tutorial and allowed us to let you reminisce.

  5. Posted October 2, 2013 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    Great information.i hope you will write another good post.
    thanks.

    • The Ribbon Retreat
      Posted October 2, 2013 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Hi Rahul! Thank you! This dress is so much fun and the end product is so so cute! Have a good one! Michelle 🙂

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