Color Blocked Peasant Dress Tutorial {plus pockets!}

I cannot believe that Art Gallery Fabrics reached out to me. They provided me with the fabric for this post. All opinions, ideas, and gushing about the fabrics are my own. Check out my Disclosure Page if you have any questions!

Did you know September is National Sewing Month? I didn't either. But, I'm excited. National Sewing Month happens to coincide with both a) a recent desire to return to my sewing machine and b) a huge sewing list. Where did I start? With a first day of school dress for Pre-K.

I wanted this dress to be a little something special. I also felt like doing something I hadn't tried before. So I went with color blocking a peasant dress. I used fabrics from Curiosities by Jeni Baker from Art Gallery Fabric. Man oh man, do I love these fabrics. They feel like heaven and are just so fresh and fun.

I've got a quick tutorial for you on how to do your own color blocking on a peasant dress. I've also included how to add in seam pockets. Pockets are amazing. I've been adding them to all Emma's dresses lately. What kiddo doesn't love somewhere to stash all their treasures!

I used Whismy Couture's Pocket Peasant Dress as a starting place for this dress. You can use any peasant dress pattern that you like. I'll show you how to figure out the cuts for any size, but my color block measurements are based off of the Pocket Peasant Dress size 4T. Warning...if you use this pattern the length is quite short. I'll defiantly add a couple of inches next time.

First, figure out how much fabric your pattern piece will need. In my case, you cut out a rectangle of fabric and then use a pattern piece to cut out the arm hole. It's great...just one piece of paper to print! If you have a traditional pattern, measure the widest part of the dress and add an inch for wiggle. Then measure the hight plus an inch for wiggle. That will give you the dimensions of the rectangle you'll need for figuring out the color block panels. 

Let's start with figuring out the main fabric color block for the front and back of the dress. For my dress, the rectangle measured 19 x 22 inches. Take your width and divide it in half. Add .5 inch for seam allowances. So, 11.5 is the width I ended up with. Cut two 19 x 11.5 inch rectangles out of your main fabric. Be mindful of directional fabrics.

Alright, now on to the accent fabric. Take your width and divide into 1/4ths. Add .5 inches for seam allowances. This gives you the width of your 4 accent panels. Mine was 6 inches. Cut out four 19 x 6 inch rectangles. Again, be careful about directional fabrics {not that I had to cut twice or anything!}.

Cut your sleeves out of the accent fabric. 

Now, sew together color blocks to make the front and back rectangles that you'll cut your pattern out of. You'll have two sets of accent fabric-main fabric-accent fabric rectangles. 

Pin your accent fabric to your main fabric, right sides together. Sew with 1/2 inch seam allowance. 

Finish seams your favorite way. I use pinking sheers then zig-zag over the edges.

Repeat on the other side with your second accent panel. Finish the seam. 

Repeat for your back rectangle. 

Cut out your pattern pieces from these rectangles.

If you'd like to add in seam pockets,  Jess has a free pattern you can download! 

Cut out your pocket pattern pieces from desired fabric. I love doing something bright and fun. It's great to have a little bit of something special peaking out from the pockets! You'll cut two sets of mirrored pockets, for 4 pockets pieces total.

Measure down about 2 inches from the arm pit to place the pocket. {This is what works for my daughter an 4T dresses. Measure your little one if she's a different size.} Line up your pocket with the edge of your fabric right sides together. Sew using 1/4 inch seam allowance. I like to go over the top and bottom multiple times to reinforce these edges.

Press your pocket away from your dress. Repeat with the three other pocket pieces.

Follow your pattern's instructions for sewing up your dress. When you sew the side seams, sew around the outside of the pockets {where the pins are in the above picture}. Don't sew straight down the dress our you'll close up the pockets.

I finished up the dress with a 1.5 inch bias hem band. Dana has a wonderful tutorial on how to make bias tape if you want help finishing the dress this way. 

Just like that, she's ready for pre-k. I can't handle how big she looks in these pictures!

And now she's ready to take on school in her mama made dress! And I may finally be ready to finish up my little man's quilt! Off to the sewing machine I go!

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