Adventures in Dressmaking: How to make a peplum top out of any dress pattern! Two ways...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How to make a peplum top out of any dress pattern! Two ways...

I know that peplums may not be the first trend you think of when you think "spring"... but I definitely look forward to a chance to wear a top without several layers under and over it to keep warm, and I've really loved wearing the peplum tops I made last summer! (See all my peplum projects here!)

While I'm pretty sure you can find a pattern for a peplum tank these days, I've never used one or needed one. You can easily use any natural waist dress pattern and add a short peplum-length skirt instead of the skirt the pattern calls for! And, dress patterns tend to have a better fit than a tank top or blouse pattern, which are usually even looser and hard to fit.

Here's some examples. I've used two methods for converting fave dress patterns to top patterns.

Peplum Top Method 1: Circle Skirt


You don't need a pattern for a circle skirt. There are some great tutorials out there, so check out this or this and cut a 1/2, 3/4, or full circle skirt for your top! The length only needs to be about 8"-10", usually, depending on your height and how long you want the top to be.

Circle skirts are kind of a pain to hem, so for mine I've twice done a lining of self-fabric or coordinating fabric and sew right sides together along the long (outer circle edge) side. Then just sew right sides together on the outer fabric to the bodice, and finish your seam allowance inside.

Circle skirt peplums work well on a fitted top like one of these...

My seersucker princess seam tank and Simplicity 1913


My pleated front bodice from Simplicity 1873


This one actually was a dress first, then a top, made with Simplicity 2444

Peplum Top Method 2: Gathered Skirt


Even easier than a circle skirt is a gathered skirt. Seriously snip along the selvage of your fabric about 8"-10", or whatever length you want, and tear across to the other selvage. Now you have a rectangle approx. 10"x45", for standard fabric, and once you sew the selvages together (at least at the hem, maybe leaving an opening at the top for your zipper) you have a wide tube. Then hem the bottom edge and gather the top edge. Then sew to your bodice the same way you would anything with a gathered skirt or cuff!

I love the look of the gathered peplum with a double peplum (pepla plural? no...) or with a looser top. Here's some examples...

My recent experimentation with a looser peplum top

And some inspirations for future projects! For these double peplum tops, you'd create two peplum tubes, one shorter than the other, then hem... pin together at the top (raw) edge and gather both as one. Then sew to bodice.

Source: pinerly.com via Suzannah on Pinterest
Source: pennypincherfashion.com via Suzannah on Pinterest

Ready for some springy top-sewing?? Anyone do any great peplum inventions lately?!!

9 comments :

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  1. I love the pleated top - the color is gorgeous!

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  2. I'm such a peplum lover so this post is very useful.

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  3. I really love the brown/bronze one! So cute!

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  4. Oh wow, these tops are lovely! I especially like the blue and brown ones :)

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  5. Love, Love, Love this post! I have been planning on making a pattern for a peplum top, but it would be much easier to use a dress pattern. Thanks

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  6. In this post you reference pattern 1873 for the pleated top, but in the September post, you say pattern 1913. I love the pleats, I have a similar pattern I'll be trying out for this...love your tops! Kathy

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  7. Will you do a tutorial on the one made with simplicity 2444? I'm a newbie and am having a hard time understanding . Thanks

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  8. Super cute! I might try this over the summer!

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