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The Peplum Top

18 September 2012, 13:21

It should come as no surprise that I’ve been sewing this peplum top – after all, I shared my instructions on how to line this top already! But for those of you who are short in the memory department, this is #113 from the August 2012 Burda magazine, which is also available to purchase as a pdf download here (and you can look at the full instructions and layout diagrams on that site for free). There’s also versions with long sleeves or with a much longer peplum, extended into a dress, so there’s quite a lot of versatility here.

A lot of peplum dresses just feature a ring of excess fabric around the hips, but here, the curved waist seam plus the sloped hemline and bias-cut peplum on this particular pattern really sets it above the rest. I also like that it’s separates, so I can pair my top with a skirt, slim trousers, or leggings and get much more wear from it than just a single dress.

This is how I wore it to Karen’s V&A Ballgowns meetup, worn with my denim-look leggings I made a few months ago. I know peplums are really trendy right now, but I really like how retro 1950s this outfit looks even when made with completely modern patterns and fabrics!

You can really see how nicely the peplum and waist seam dip lower in the back in the side view photos! I think this is my favourite aspect of this pattern, it’s so nicely drafted and it means your bum is covered even if you decide to pair it with leggings like I have!

When I originally decided to make this top, my thought was to sew it in the same grey flannel that Claire gifted me last year so that it’d match my grey trousers from January’s Burda, which were sewn in the same fabric. I figured I’d get more wear from a trouser combo than from a skirt set (like in the magazine), but seeing these together for the first time in these photos, I really don’t think they work together very well!

I’m totally okay with this, though, because I love wearing each on their own, paired with other things! Paired together, there’s just Too Much Grey there, even for a grey lover like me!

One thing I really don’t like about this pattern is that they’ve combined all the bust ease together into one big waist dart. Normally, a basic bodice sloper will have two or even three darts on each side, which means the ease is distributed nicely.

I’ve found this single dart is too wide – it should really be split with at least one other dart on each side, it’s very difficult to get a good point with that wide an angle… If I were sewing this again, I’d do a bit of pattern manipulation from the outset to move some of the dart into a second bust dart coming from the armscye.

As you already know, I lined the bodice and sleeves of this top, and I just used seam binding on the edges of the peplum. In hindsight, getting a nice hem on the very curved peplum was challenging enough that I think in future, I’d line the peplum, too, joining the hem edges of the shell and lining together, and then treating as one at the waist seam (meaning you’d only have to handstitch the bodice lining down to cover that raw edge).

In any case, here’s what mine looks like inside-out on my dressform!

Finally, you may have noticed an interloper in the photoshoot today. No, Nishi didn’t suddenly grow and change colour overnight – that’s our neighbour’s cat, Audrey, and since we were shooting on “her” garden barge, we had to pay the fine.

(Luckily the fine is scratches behind the ear!)

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  1. I am planning a peplum top for both my dd and myself, but I had already bought the Vogue version, so we’ll see how the two match up against each other.

    Nancy Karpen    Sep 18, 03:05 PM    #
  2. I forgot to say, I love this top. I can’t wait to make my own version. I may make a muslin of each pattern if I have a chance, I am meeting up with my dd at my sons next month, where I plan to fit it on her.

    Nancy Karpen    Sep 18, 03:07 PM    #
  3. this is lovely in grey! i’ve been oogling this pattern for awhile. i love peplums! i love that you lined the bodice, too. this is a very versatile top. :)

    dixie    Sep 18, 05:27 PM    #
  4. Seeing your peplum top at the V&A night got me inspired and one of my own is just about to be cut… I’m making my own pattern, so I’ve been pondering the circular hem and what to do with the excess fabric! I was thinking about a hem facing (similar idea to you), but top stitching in place, but now considering a topstitched narrow hem. Gertie has a video for this (Google “narrow hemming a circle skirt” to see it). I think I’m going to go for that idea- I hope it works!

    Tania    Sep 18, 06:07 PM    #
  5. Having seen this in person (at the V&A night) I can testify that it’s a lovely top and fits you really well. From the photos above I think you are right about the grey trousers, it looks much better with the leggings. Have you tried it with a pencil skirt?

    Jane    Sep 18, 06:37 PM    #
  6. I agree about the peplum shaping – it really does set it apart and is very flattering! I need to make one. Lining the peplum sounds like the way to go. I want to see this on you with a bright pencil skirt or pants… that might be pretty cool! Lovely job!

    — M Kate    Sep 18, 07:54 PM    #
  7. I really love this top. It was one of my favorite patterns on that issue. I am itching to make it together with the pencil skirt. So thanks a million for sharing all the useful tips. as you say two darts may be better…and I was wondering if I should add back darts too…I always have to take dresses in at the back.

    sewing princess    Sep 18, 09:37 PM    #
  8. I’ve been stalking this site waiting for you to put up these photos! I love this top and your version. So lovely in the grey. It is on my list of makes this autumn and I’d been worried about the single dart on the bodice, so thanks for the confirmation that it’s a little deep. I think I’m going to try to convert it into a princess seam.

    — Meg    Sep 18, 10:17 PM    #
  9. The peplum shaping is the best part about this top. It’s really flattering. Great work, both inside and out!

    velosewer    Sep 19, 05:48 AM    #
  10. Beautiful top. Love this peplum trend a lot. Yours turned out great

    senaSews    Sep 19, 02:41 PM    #
  11. Beautiful top, love the color.It looks great on you!

    evyline    Sep 24, 06:10 AM    #
  12. Astounding! I have been curous about this top, but it is so pretty in grey; I also love grey! Perhaps one of these days I will get enough courage to try it too. You are an inspiration!

    — stich by stitch    Dec 27, 11:56 AM    #
  13. so I am currently working on this shirt and my one issue is the zipper and back being way too long or wonky, it’s really loose up top and tight in the waist. do I just need to fit the zipper differently or is there something else I should do? and I agree with you on the bust dart.

    Amber    Dec 8, 09:55 PM    #

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