It was bound to happen eventually...kind of like the Pillowcase Dress, how to sew a Peasant Top Pattern is another of the most searched for and requested tutorials on sewing blogs, including this one. But much like the aforementioned dress, this can be a tough style for women to wear, which is why it took me so long to do this tutorial.
Peasant tops can also be quite flattering in the right fabrics with the right accessories. So, today I'm sharing a free pattern for my women's peasant top, as well as a few caveats for wearing it. Read on.
To make your top, you'll need:
- 2 yards of 60" wide fabric. Make it 2 1/2 yards if your fabric is 45" wide.
- 1 yard of 1/2" wide single fold bias tape
- 1 yard of 3/8" wide elastic
- optional - elastic thread (affiliate link)
- To download the pattern, subscribe to the Melly Sews Weekly Newsletter. AFTER you sign up, you’ll get a confirmation email – and you have to confirm or my email service can’t send you the free pattern. But once you do confirm, you’ll get access to not just this but several other free patterns. Woot! (PS - if you have trouble finding either your confirmation email or the email with the pattern link, try checking your spam, trash, junk, bulk, social and/or promotional email tabs or folders. Free pattern links are also included in every weekly newsletter; these go out on Friday afternoons. Due to the number of subscribers I can't email pattern links to individuals.)
Please note that all my patterns are licensed for personal use only (no selling items made from this without a limited production license) and by downloading you are agreeing to this license.
This is for a women's size 36 hips. The hip measurement is actually the most important here, since there's lots of gathering and ease around the bust. To make the pattern a different size, see this post.
PEASANT TOP PATTERN CAVEAT NUMBER 1
This one has to do with fabric choice. Much like the pillowcase dress, this top may not be very flattering in a fabric that doesn't drape well. Drape refers to how a fabric falls over or stands away from something. Think of soft chiffon as very drapey, as opposed to thick denim or canvas, which has very little drape. Quilting cotton also doesn't have a lot of drape, and may not be very flattering. Better choices are georgette, voile, lawn, batiste, silk, and rayon.
So, print and cut out your pattern pieces. Need help with printing? Check this post.
To assemble the shirt, first pin the front edges of the sleeves to the bodice front, right sides together. Stitch and finish the seams.
Then pin the back sleeve edges to the bodice back right sides together. Stitch and finish the seams.
Fold the shirt in half, right sides together, matching the underarm seams. Stitch down the sleeve and side seams in one long seam and finish the seams.
Unfold bias tape and pin right sides together to the neck edge of the shirt. Start at center back, and fold the short raw edge of the bias tape up 1/4". Pin around the neckline until you get back to your starting point, fold the bias tape so it meets the fold you made to begin with, and then cut off the excess. Stitch around the neckline in the fold closest to the raw edge.
Turn the bias tape to the inside of the neckline and press. Stitch as close as possible to the free edge of the tape to secure it in place.
Cut 23 -26" of elastic - the longer your elastic, the lower cut and/or wider in the shoulders your shirt will hang. Thread the elastic through the casing made by the bias tape.
Hem the bottom and sleeves by folding fabric to the wrong side 1/4" twice.
To gather the sleeves, you can either sew in a bias tape casing like you did for the neckline, or use elastic thread. If you choose to do a casing, sew 1" from the sleeve hems. If you want to use elastic thread, wind it on your bobbin (hand wind if you have a side loading bobbin, machine wind if you have a drop in bobbin) and use a long stitch length, then sew 2-3 rows 1/2" in from the sleeve hem. This post shows how you shirr with elastic thread if you've never done it before.
MORE PEASANT TOP STYLING CAVEATS
- Peasant tops often look best with a belt. So you look like you have a waist. You can play with both skinny and wide belts, but definitely try one
- Since this top has a lot of volume, keep the bottoms slim. Skinny jeans, leggings, a pencil skirt - all of these work well with a peasant top.
- Play with sleeve length. Since we're going into fall, I wanted an elbow sleeve, but short or long sleeves can also look nice. You might not even want to gather the sleeves - bell sleeves in both long and short lengths can be fun too.
- If you're up for it, you can even try wearing this top off the shoulder. Opt for longer elastic if that's your plan.
- Consider adding a placket - you can do it like this tutorial, and then add a drawstring instead of elastic to tie it in front. You don't even have to do buttonholes if you make the placket fairly short.
- But please, please, don't add ruffles to the neckline. You run the risk of looking clownish. Especially if the ruffles are wide.