Elastic Sleeve Peasant Dress Tutorial

We have made hundreds of peasant style dresses over the years. It can get a little boring to make the exact same style of dress over and over. However, there are many different variations of this dress style! I am going to try to make some peasant dress variations and share tutorials for them on the blog from time to time. You can find my pattern and cutting tutorial for peasant dresses HERE. I also have directions for tips to sew them quickly HERE. One of the most basic changes that you can make to this pattern is to add elastic casings to the sleeves. That is what I am starting with today.

Elastic gathered sleeves on a peasant dress

My daughter chose this fabric to make a dress for our Operation Christmas Child shoebox last year. She loved the sparkly ladybugs! (Our dog's name is Lady and her middle name is Bug.) Anyway, she also wanted a dress for herself so she could be "twinsies" with whoever got the box. She had plenty of dresses, so I procrastinated for awhile and now she can finally be twinsies with a little girl somewhere in Ecuador (that box tracking feature is fun!)

I made some changes to the original pattern to adjust the fit.

~As per the missionaries' request, we make our dresses longer because underwear is not always worn in the places where we send the dresses. So, I only cut the main dress pieces 26" long for a size 4-6. It is about knee length on my daughter, who is a little tall for a 5yo.

~I also cut the sleeves a little narrower at 15" so that they are not as "puffy" when the elastic pulls them in at the bottom. You don't have to do this, I just chose to.

How to Make a Peasant Dress with Elastic Sleeves

Elastic Sleeve Peasant Dress Tutorial

Start out by cutting your dress pieces. Those directions and the pattern can be found HERE.

peasant dress pieces

Sew the sleeves to the front and back. Sew and overlock the sides, and make an elastic casing for the neckline. (Directions for that part found HERE.)

inside of peasant dress

Now, for the sleeve part...

With the dress inside out, fold the sleeve under 1/4".

how to make elastic casings for sleeve hems

Fold it under again 1/2". I usually do this as I am sewing. I get it started, stitch a little, and then just keep folding as I sew around.

Fold under to sew casings for elastic on sleeves

Stitch around the sleeve hem about 1/8" from the folded inside edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end and leave about a 1" opening. Also, make sure to press the seam to one side.

sewing elastic casing
Sew elastic casings for peasant dress sleeves.

I used 10" of 1/4" wide elastic for each sleeve on this dress. Use a safety pin to guide the elastic through the casing. When I put elastic through a casing, I always pin the other end of the elastic to the fabric. It is very upsetting to pull that other end into the casing because you have to start over.

how to insert elastic in peasant dresses

Make sure that the elastic is not twisted. Overlap the ends by an inch.

overlapping elastic

Zig zag stitch over the elastic where it overlaps.

zig zag stitch to overlap elastic

Sew the opening of the casing closed. Repeat for the other sleeve.

elastic on sleeve hem

This is one of the easiest alterations you can make to a basic peasant dress and it really changes the overall style of the dress. I also made a bow from grosgrain ribbon and stitched it to the front of the dress for a little something extra.

Elastic Sleeve Peasant Dress Tutorial