Tutorial for Adding Bell Sleeves to a Peasant Dress

My favorite motto this year is "Do more with what you have."  I've done this with the groceries in my pantry, the clothes in our closets, and the patterns in my Dropbox. While it would be nice to be able to afford to buy anything I want for myself and my family, I've actually enjoyed the challenge of doing more with the resources I already have. One of the goals of this blog it to give women the encouragement and the information they need to take chances, experiment, and take their sewing to the next level. Today Jeanine will be sharing with us how to take a basic peasant pattern and modify it just a little bit to get a fun new look. While there's nothing wrong with buying more than one peasant pattern to get small variations on the theme, they certainly can be easily adapted on your own. Are you up for the challenge?

I just adore the look of bell sleeves on a peasant dress. Especially when made in fall colours to compliment the leaves falling to the ground and the smell of pumpkin pie and apple cider!  

Hi!! My name is Jeanine and I work at The Scientific Seamstress
For this project you can use any peasant pattern you have on hand, for mine I used the Scientific Seamstress' Portrait Peasant pattern. I'm only going to be showing the things I changed/added to get the bell sleeves and not a full how to for sewing a whole dress :) and again, you can use whichever peasant pattern you have and prefer !

To start you will get your sleeve piece out, As you can see my pattern has a few sleeve length options. 

What I did was fold up the pattern a couple inches above 3/4 sleeve and then added those few inches to the bottom half of the pattern for the full length sleeve option (see below - I unfolded to show my fold line and the bottom portion is beside on the right).  

Now you will cut your fabric according to the pattern - 2 sleeves but then also cut 2 "bell" sections according to that bottom piece pattern- but 1.5 or double the width.  (shown in the picture below). I did closer to 1.5x the width for my sleeves as I didn't want a very ruffled look, just a loose gather. 

Now you are going to take the bell section and set your machine to the longest stitch length and gather it by sewing along one of the long edges.

Gather by pulling the bobbin threads until the bell matches the sleeve width. I tie a little knot on each end after I gather with the top and bobbin thread just so my gathering doesn't loose any fullness in the pinning and sewing process. 

Then you put the right sides together on the bell and the sleeve and pin it on. 

Set your machine back down to the regular stitch length.

and sew the bells onto the sleeves. I sew just under my gathering line because I REALLY dislike using my seam ripper to take the gathering stitches out.

This next picture is me at the serger to remind you to finish the seams. If you don't have a serger just zig-zag. 

Now iron the seam upwards towards the sleeve top and pin

If you are not adding trim then it is time to top stitch!

If you are adding trim then pin that on along where your top stitching will be and then top stitch and stitch the trim on in one straight line

Now that you are done the sleeves modification/s continue to sew the pattern as directed :)

Here you can see how long the bell part is with going above the 3/4 sleeve length. 

She was insisting I NEEDED to put the leaves back on to the trees, haha!

Thanks so much for reading and if you have any questions please ask away! I am easiest found over on facebook in our Lab Group. I really hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I'd love to see pictures of anything you make with it! (you can post pictures in the PDF Promotions group as well)