A Year of Dresses: Belle Peasant Dress

Hello and welcome to week five of A Year of Dresses!  I am on a roll and FULL of ideas to share with you - today I'll show you how to add a lining to a dress, using Tie Dye Diva's beautiful Belle Tiered Twirl Dress pattern.  Remember you can hover over any photo and click on the large Pinterest icon for easy pinning!  Today's dress is perfect for spring and heading into summer and is made with some absolutely lovely fabrics!


First lets talk about these gorgeous fabrics! Vandana of The Delhi Store on etsy generously provided these fabrics to us at no charge, but all opinions are my own. Vandana's shop offers a wide variety of fabrics and trims from India including many Block Print Cottons.  I am fascinated by the hand block printing process.  Oh, the precision!

See more pictures of the block printing process at the DelhiStore blog
Opening our parcel was such a treat - the pretty vibrant colors and all the textures! Dobby-textured cotton, pintucked fabric, border prints, block prints and more.


Pintucked fabric, begging to be made into boy's trousers!
These cottons differ in several ways from traditional quilting cottons.  They are lighter, thinner, and more drapey.  This makes them ideal for soft flowy clothing items.  Because of their lightness they are also a bit sheer, which would make lovely breezy summer tops! And perfect for a tiered twirly dress because even with all the gathering, the dress stays lightweight and airy.


The fabrics used in this dress are all listed there as well as many others.  Shipping from India took only eleven days, and Vandana has generously offered a discount to Tie Dye Diva readers - just enter the code TIEDYEDIVA15 at checkout for 15% off your total purchase at The Delhi Store on etsy!

When I first saw these fabrics I knew they would make a beautiful Belle Peasant Dress. It is a fun and floaty dress that is perfect for so many occasions.  The Belle Peasant is available in baby sizes 0-24 months and girls sizes 2-10.  This dress features a peasant style bodice with slim long sleeve or short puff sleeve options; the skirt is three gathered tiers of twirly fun.

As I mentioned before, these fabrics are more sheer than regular quilting cottons so I decided to line the bodice and skirt.  Let me show you how I did it.

Adding a Lining to the Belle Peasant Dress

First, Sweet Pea is tall and slim, in the 18-24 months by chest but 2T by height on the Tie Dye Diva size chart, so I wanted to add 1 1/2" to the skirt length to give her a bit of growing room.  I followed the pattern's instructions on altering the length by adding to each tier and added 1/2" to each tier length. Then I cut all the dress pieces from my pretty, pretty fabric.

For my lining, I used inexpensive, lightweight muslin and cut the bodice front and back pieces again from the lining.  For lining the skirt, a slight A-line shape is best because the dress is tiered.

The skirt lining will be a slight A-line shape, something like this.
For all sizes, the top of the skirt lining should be the same width as Tier 1, and a good length is 3" - 3 1/2" shorter than the combined total of the tiers.  This accounts for seam allowances in the tiers and a finished lining length of 1"-1 1/2" shorter than the finished skirt. So, my tier lengths were 4 3/4", 5 1/2", and 6 1/2".  Together they totaled 16 3/4".  So, my target length for my lining skirt was 13 3/4".  At this point I pulled out my Sugarplum Skirt pattern because the underskirt in that pattern is a-line.  Now here I completely lucked out (or did Jen plan it this way?).  The size 13/14 underskirt pattern piece was exactly the size I needed!  But unless you are making an 18-24 month dress with 1-1/2" of extra length, it probably won't work out quite so perfectly for you!  Don't worry though, I'll show you how to make your own skirt lining with out any pattern piece.

  1. We will cut the skirt lining on the fold, so divide the width of your Tier 1 in half.  Use that measurement for the top of your a-line piece and draw a horizontal line across the top of your paper. 
  2. Use the skirt lining length you determined above (total off all 3 tiers minus 3" to 3.5") and draw a perpendicular "cut on fold" line. You can see mine on the right below. Eyeball an a-line side seam.  Don't worry about the exact amount of flare, just give it some!  Your center fold length and the A-line side seam should be the same length.
  3. Then draw a curved bottom cutting line matching the two lines. You should have a piece that resembles this:

Not to scale

Cut two skirt lining pieces on the fold.  We are ready to start sewing!  First layer your bodice front and back main pieces with your lining pieces, wrong sides together.  I used a washable glue stick to stick them together (do you see a trend in my glue use?).  If you want to try my glue stick method (you know you do!), place short glue lines around the border of the wrong side of your main piece. Then layer your lining piece on top and set with a dry iron.



Of course the traditional method is to baste your pieces together! To baste use a long stitch length and loose tension to stitch 1/4" from the outside edge.



You can now treat your bodice main and lining pieces as one piece and assemble the bodice per the instructions.  I used a folded casing for my neckline and shirred my sleeves.  The instructions for each method (and more!) are included in the pattern.


I hemmed my sleeves with a narrower than narrow hem, meaning it was more like 1/8" folded twice instead of 1/4" folded twice.  This is personal preference and was easy on this lightweight fabric.  A traditional 1/4" narrow hem would be perfectly acceptable also.  When shirring I start at the seam and stitch around. Then instead of breaking my thread and moving up I pivot my sleeve with the needle down, stitch a couple stitches in the ditch of the seam, pivot again so your presser foot is parallel to your first line of shirring, and stitch around again.  This keeps the the thread tails to a minimum!

Pivot and stitch up the seam
Pivot again and sew your next row












I used three rows of shirring on the sleeve, each about 1/4" apart.  My very favorite part about shirring is steaming it after stitching and watching in amazement as it shrinks up!

Before steaming

After steaming.  So Pretty!

Now assemble and gather your skirt tiers according to the pattern.  Do not place gathering stitches in the top tier just yet.  Sew and finish the side seams on your skirt lining and hem with the same narrow hem you used for your main skirt.  



Almost done!  Turn your lining inside out and slip in inside your main skirt so that wrong sides are together.  Match the side seams and top edges.



Now sew your gathering threads through both layers.


Here you see the finished skirt lengths
Gather the skirt, attach to the bodice, and finish per the pattern!  There you go, your Belle Peasant Dress is done!


I simply adore how this dress turned out. The colors are beautiful and the dress is light and flowy, perfect for spring and summer. (Don't forget there's also a long sleeve option for cooler weather!)


I felt like Sweet Pea needed a garden party to attend in this cute dress.  It really crosses all lines and is perfect for just about every situation.  Everyday wear? Definitely! It is light, loose, and comfortable.  Birthday Parties?  Yes, it is sure to impress!  Church or special occasions?  Without a problem!


The puff sleeves on the short sleeve version are simply perfection. The shirred hem also ensures that they are soft and comfortable.


The full tiered skirt makes this dress the perfect option for any little girl that loves to dance and twirl!  Do you have a princess lover?  Belle is a great canvas for making easy everyday princess dress too.  Jen shows you some easy ideas on how here.


This Belle will most definitely be a go to dress all summer long!  Sweet Pea loves the full twirl-ability!  I adore the vibrant colors, easy fit, and absolute cuteness!



Here's your Belle Peasant Dress pattern rundown:
















And don't forget to check out thedehistore on etsy and use code TIEDYEDIVA15 at checkout for 15% off your total purchase!

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