A few weeks ago, I got Garnet Hill Kids' fall catalogs and fell in love with several adorable outfits, including this super-cute knit peasant dress with a big, fat shoelace bow! Of course, I'm not one to spend $48 on something I can easily make myself, so I got to work making a copycat version.
I pinned this under "fall sewing inspiration" on my sewing Pinterest board and got a ton of repins by other sewing types, so I figure there are lots of people out there whipping this one up. If you want to make one of these dresses without reinventing the wheel, here's a basic outline of how I did it. These measurements would work for a size 2T-4T dress (I know that is a big range, but it's a stretchy knit peasant dress... it even fits me as a top!)
(It was actually my first knit sewing project, and I'm wondering what on earth took me so long! It was not hard at all.)
The first thing I did was get a pair of wide, "skater-style" shoelaces. I'm sure you can find these things at places like Hot Topic or Journeys, but those places frighten me, so I ordered mine on Amazon. ;-) Then I got to work with some deep purple interlock knit fabric I already had in my stash.
Make sure the stretch is horizontal, rather than vertical, across the pieces, and cut:
two sleeve pieces, 15" wide by 14.5-16" long*
two bodice pieces, 20" wide by 24" long
On a piece of paper, draw a shape like the above, 3" wide and 4.25" long, and cut it out. The curve doesn't have to be the same as mine; it's not an exact science.
For each of your bodice pieces AND each of your sleeve pieces, fold in half, and use the scoop shape template you made to cut pieces out of all the top corners.
There are about 45,000 different tutorials for constructing a peasant dress online, so I'm not going to go through every step! Here, I will just say, "assemble your arm and bodice pieces, and stitch up the sides." If you need a refresher, here's a good one.
I used my serger, which made it fast and easy, but if you don't have one, you could just sew it normally with a ball-point needle. Since knits don't fray, you wouldn't even need to worry about pinking the edges.
Now make 1/2" casings around the neckline and sleeves. You could also use your ball-point needle to sew the casings. I wanted to try something different, so I pulled out my never-before-used double needle and threaded my machine for two spools. I wasn't sure if it would work to stick a spool on the bobbin winder, but it worked fine!
(I did make my casings a bit wider to accommodate for the extra width of the stitch itself, and to give me some wiggle room since I had to stitch on the right side of the fabric and couldn't see the edge. So my casings were 3/4".)
Doesn't it look nice and neat with the double row of stitching made by the twin needle? I will have to remember the double needle trick!
Cut your 1/4" wide elastic to the length you desire for your neckline and wrists, and insert. For a 2/3T, I would suggest 17.5" for the neck and 7" or 7.5" for the wrists.
Now hem the dress to your desired length. Garnet Hill's dress hits above the knee; I chose to make mine hit below. Now I kind of wish I had made it a bit shorter. Having it below the knee makes it just a teeeeeeny bit nightgowny.
|Deep, 2" hem.|
From the reviews on Garnet Hill's website, it looks like there is a chance of the aglets coming off the shoelace bow in the wash, so you might want to make your bow removable. Right now, this bow is pinned on, but of course, I can't let a 2-year-old walk around with a safety pin in an easily accessible part of her clothing, so I will probably just tack it on with thread and snip it out between washes. Kind of a pain, but better than ruining the bow!
I wasn't actually going to make H be my model today, but she wanted to try on the dress as soon as she saw it. A good sign, I think!
|This is her sad, waifish model look. Maybe she's auditioning for the part of Quinoa's new protegee!|
|OMG, she has got this modeling thing down.|
|That's my kid!|
*I cut mine 12" long. This was too short. As you can see, the sleeves hit H just below the elbow, rather than being a true 3/4 length.