Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Smocked Peasant top and Ruffle Pants mini-tutorial

I wanted to make LJ a special outfit for her birthday.  At first, I was going to go the "typical" route and make her a dress.  Then I decided that she is a little bit of a tomboy too, so I settled on this adorable smocked peasant top and ruffle pants.
Her party theme is  "Dinos and Dollies" so I chose the cute Michael Miller Children at Play series Doll fabric.
I didn't have a pattern that I wanted to use, so for the top I did the following to draft my own pattern.

1. Find a pattern with a bodice you like.  Cut out the back piece and its lining like normal.  On the front part, add about 3 inches in the middle.  Then cut out the lining WITHOUT adding the extra inches.  This will allow extra fabric for the smocking on the front only.

2.  Before you sew the front and back bodice, you will need to cut the big poofy sleeves!  Work with the fabric folded- the fold is the top part of the sleeve.  Using the bodice pattern, trace onto your fabric the armhole opening.  This will ensure they match up when you sew.  Leave a few extra inches up top so you can gather the top part with elastic.  This creates the poofiness at the shoulder!  Make your sleeves about 3 inches longer than you think you need.  This will allow for elastic casing and poof factor.

3.  Now use a gathering stitch on the front bodice piece.  Do 6 rows of stitches along the front.  Start and end going straight down from the neck.  This helps keep it centered.  I marked it with a pin.  Gather it up until the bodice piece matches up in width with its lining.  Then, using a decorative honeycomb stitch you can stitch three rows between the gathering stitches.  Then remove your gather stitches.  EASY!!! (If you want to hand-smock, be my guest, it would look beautiful!)

4.  Before sewing the sleeves onto the bodice, you need to add the shoulder elastic.  (photo below)
Just use a zig-zag or serge on the edge to prevent fraying.  Then fold over just enough to make a casing for your 1/4" elastic.  This piece should make it small enough to fit over your little one's shoulders.  Use an existing shirt for reference (remember to account for seam allowance!)  Add in your elastic and sew it down well on either end.
5.  Sew your sleeves up the bottom seam then attach the sleeves onto the front and back bodice pieces.  Carefully line up the elastic on either side!
6.  Add in your lining, being sure to leave the bottom open.
7.  Cut a panel on the fold that is about twice as wide as the bodice.  You can make the length longer to be a dress, or tunic length like I did.  Sew it up the back, then do a gathering stitch along the top.  Gather it up until it will fit the bodice.  Sew it to the front of the bodice.
8.  Fold under the bodice lining to cover the seam allowance from the skirt/front bodice.  Then pin a LOT and stitch in the ditch on the front to attach.  Flip over to be sure that the lining is all attached!
9.  Hem the bottom as normal, or add a decorative stitch like I did.  You could also add elastic at the bottom if you want to make a bubble shirt!
10.  Zig-zag stitch or serge along the edge of the sleeves.  Then fold over to make a casing for 1/4" elastic.  The elastic should fit just right around the wrist of your little one.  Add in the elastic, and you're done!!!

1. I used the kid pants pattern from MADE- it's free!  For fabric I used a corduroy with no stripes- its more like velvet!  Then I used a plain pink and the same Michael Miller fabric for the ruffles.
2.  To make into ruffle pants, simply cut off the pattern about 6.5" from the bottom.  Sew the pants on the outside seam only for now.
3. Make strips of fabric (on the fold) that will be about 3x the width of your pants.  The bottom color should be about 5.5" (11" total, since cutting on fold).  The top one should be about 4.5".
4.  Sew the top and bottom ruffles together with a ruffle stitch.  Gather up to fit the pants, then sew onto the bottom hem of the pants.  (This is much easier than sewing on completed pants since it lays flat.
5.  Very carefully line up the ruffles and pin before sewing the inside seam of the pants.
6.  Then sew the crotch seam, make the casing on the top, and insert elastic.
All done!!!

Now all you have to do is chase your toddler around and try to get a good picture!!!


  1. adorable. i keep meaning to do something similar. thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Darling and I love the totally makes it so cute!

  3. I'm impressed with the smocking ! I've never tried that before

  4. Thanks for the comments! @nest full of eggs- its really so easy to do, you should try it!

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