Long-Sleeved Peasant Dress {tutorial} and Figgy’s Giveaway!

Well, we have reached the end of our guest posts for the Best of Fall pattern review series. Wasn’t that fun?? Thanks so much to those of you who have visited and commented over the week! Although our guests are gone, you’ve still got me and I have a couple more things to share with you. 
As you may remember, I recently started sewing with the Ofelia pattern by Figgy’s. This is a great, basic, peasant dress pattern with raglan-style sleeves and elastic in the neckline. The only problem is that it comes with short sleeves and I really need some warmer dresses for Abby now that Fall has finally arrived. So, obviously, I just went ahead and drafted my own long sleeves. Easy-peasy fall dress for Abby:
I can see this long-sleeved style becoming a Christmas dress for Abby, can’t you? In the next picture Abby’s wearing a really fancy, expensive scarf. No, not really. It’s a rectangle of purple knit from my stash that probably cost about 25 cents in the LA fabric district! What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Want to make your own long-sleeved peasant dress? It’s easy! 

Here are some really simple instructions for adding long sleeves to any peasant-style dress pattern, such as the Ofelia dress by Figgys.
First, get out your supplies. I use pattern tracing sheets from Joannes because they come on the bolt and I can buy REALLY LONG lengths. (Don’t forget to use a coupon if you buy this stuff! It can be pricey). You also need a pen and a ruler.
1. Lay the short sleeved pattern piece on the tracing paper. On top of it, lay any long-sleeved pattern piece, or a long sleeved shirt from your daughter’s closet to establish the length of your new sleeve. (I used a Flashback Skinny Tee sleeve the first time I did this.) NOTE: raglan sleeves start at the neckline. If you’re using a normal set-in sleeve, such as the Flashback Skinny Tee, you will need to measure from the neckline to the wrist for length. Otherwise your sleeve will be a couple inches too short. 
Mark the desired length on the tracing paper with a dot.

2. Trace around your short sleeve pattern piece. Then, starting where the short sleeve ends, draw a line to the dot you marked for long sleeve length.

Optional: curve the line a little bit so it doesn’t look so boring and straight.

Next time I make these sleeves, I’m going to add a couple more inches to the length because they tend to creep up the arm. For fall or winter weather, I really want those Abby’s little wrists covered up.

Now cut out your sleeve.

4. Fold it in half and match the arm pit points.

Check to see if the seam on your sleeve will match up. If there’s a difference, like in the picture below, trim it off. This ensures that your sleeve seam will match up nicely while sewing.

The first time I made this sleeve, I brought it in at the wrist as you can see below. I wasn’t very pleased with how it turned out. I suggest making the bottom of the sleeve wider and longer so there is plenty of coverage for cold weather. Shirring with elastic thread at the wrist will keep the sleeve from falling over her little hands. 

Long sleeve versus short sleeve:

Now sew your dress according to the pattern instructions, using your long-sleeve pattern piece instead of the short sleeve. Hem the sleeves and then use elastic thread in your bobbin to shirr three rows around the wrist, starting about 1/2″ from the edge of your sleeve. After shirring, steam or lightly spray the fabric with water. Apply heat from your iron and it will gather up beautifully! The elastic thread should give it plenty of stretch.

Tip: When sewing with elastic thread in my bobbin, I increase the tension on my machine and the stitch length as high as they will go. 

Fabric: Anna Maria Horner’s Loves Me Loves Me Not, in grape (from her Innocent Crush collection),
and a Michael Miller dot.

As I’m sure you already realized, this dress was used in the header for our Best of Fall pattern review series:



But that’s not all! If you want to make a dress like this, but don’t have a pattern to start with, no worries–you can win one! Figgy’s is giving away a digital pattern to one lucky winner (winner’s choice)!

To enter, simply follow CailaMade somehow: by email, Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to posts. If following’s not your thing, simply tweet about the giveaway or post about it on Facebook. THEN, enter a comment below saying you’ve followed, tweeted or posted, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway!
Take a moment to browse Figgy’s patterns and daydream about all their stylish kid patterns. You have until midnight (PST) Thursday night, October 25th to enter. Good luck!
And don’t forget to enter these other giveaways, ending tonight! 


  1. says

    Thanks for the long sleeve tutorial! Always nice to see it visually, as you’ve done. I”m also wondering how you added the contrast band of fabric at the neckline. Did you trim the original pattern at the neckline, and then cut a separate piece of contrast fabric that size? Or did you keep the neckline as the pattern has it, and just added bias trim on top? It’s such a cute look!

    • says

      GREAT question, Lucinda! I kind of forgot I did that, ha! I didn’t trim the neckline, just added bias tape instead of a ribbon casing suggested in the pattern. I threaded the elastic through my bias tape neckline and voila! (I think I made the bias tape a little larger than 1/2″ by cutting bias strips 2.5″ wide and turning them into bias tape. This provided more room for the elastic). I have a tutorial on how to create your own bias tape here: http://www.cailamade.com/2012/01/tutorial-make-your-own-bias-tape.html

    • says

      Thanks Caila – that makes perfect sense! I love the contrast look – I’ve seen it in a lot of Japanese sewing books but haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for the tips!

  2. says

    I follow you by email. I have wanted to see this dress since it was your “logo” for this series…..so cute! I have been so inspired to make fall clothes and have a stack of fabric I am working my way through.

  3. says

    hooray! i now have an easy way to follow you–thank goodness for email subscriber updates. and oh my word that dress is the sweetest. i have a short-sleeved pattern for a peasant dress too–genius to turn it into a long-sleeved dress!

  4. says

    I just found your series and I love it. You got beautiful projects and amazing guests (as well as amazing dresses like the bias and buttons one I just discovered)
    I follow you now!

  5. says

    I’m a GFC follower! And I have you on my Google reader 🙂 Super great job on the dress and I am in Love w/ that fabric! Must get some now!