I'm calling this peplum summer top – Capri, I'll explain the name in a little while. It is one of my key projects for this summer. Why? Because it's very easy to make and, above all, a must-have part of your wardrobe if you are above your ideal weight, like me..
The peplum, originally worn around the hips, is a practice that goes back to the ancient Greeks, around 500 BC. Since then it has been known as a piece of extra fabric that is attached to the waistline of a top, skirt, or dress. The peplum flares out and down towards the hips and creates the silhouette of a cinched waist. It accentuates a woman’s curves to give the illusion of an hourglass figure.
The peplum resurfaced on the first collection of the great Christian Dior in 1947 used widely in films after WW2. It was a key detail in the '80s and '90s and still favored most notably by the royalty.
In general, this is an easy pattern to work with and an easy summer top to make. This top is perfect for summer wear as it has pleats that lay over the belly making that area not bulge. It's a semi-fitted top so it is ideal that you choose a fabric that is made with natural fibers. Since it is a summer top we can make it with or without sleeves.
Note: The sleeves are not included in this tutorial. I will be adding the sleeves in a separate tutorial I will be posting this week, so you haven't got long to wait. This tutorial on adding sleeves will also work for the recent Summer Top Pattern we published. There were a lot of requests for sleeves so I want to show you how to add them to pretty much any top.
This top has an invisible zipper. It has pleats around the hips making the peplum lay flatter on your body. Plus bust and waist darts to enhance your figure.
- 1.5 yards of Satin, silk, linen, cotton sateen and soft jeans fabric
- 14″ (35cm) invisible zipper
- Fusible interfacing to match the thickness of the fabric
- Bias tape
- Thread to match
- Invisible zipper foot
- Sewing machine
- Pressing tailor's ham (optional)
Fabric Recommendations from Fabric.com
I have used satin polyester for my muslin. I have to say this is a horrible fabric to work with. The weave is tight and the use of a very thin needle (size 70) is a must. I am going to settle for a cotton sateen or raw silk for a cocktail look and a cotton batiste or linen for a more casual look.
Here are some recommendations of suitable materials you can source from Fabric.com.
Skill Level: Intermediate
As patterns go, this is a relatively easy pattern, and an easy peplum summer top to make. As long as you know the basics, and a straightforward top to sew. Knowledge of tracing, sewing, and understitching a facing, sewing an invisible zipper, making a small hem, and applying bias tape are indispensable skills in order to succeed in making this top.
Overall, I put it at an intermediate level.
We're going to continue to use the new Payhip webstore to distribute our patterns.
Our patterns are still free, but now you now have the option of making a small contribution if you like our work! We'd really appreciate it and it will help is keep going with new and fun designs like this. Even a dollar or two really goes a long way.
Thanks so much in advance for helping us out. You can use any credit card and you don't need a Paypal account, although you can use one if you have one.
Download the FREE Pattern HERE
How To Sew Your Peplum Summer Top
I will strongly suggest you make a muslin before cutting your fashion fabric. Choose a size leaving at least 1 1/4″ (3cm) of ease allowance. Please take note that there is no sewing allowance applied in the pattern. Add as much as you would like, my suggestion is that if you are using a fabric that ravels easy use a seam allowance that is 5/8″ (1.5cm). For any other fabric use a 3/8″ (1cm).
Normally you would sew the darts, the two backs, sew the zipper, then sew the front and back together. But, the zipper is ending two inches after the waist and into the peplum which means we need to sew the zipper after sewing the peplum to the top.
Step One: Sew The Darts
Sewing a perfect dart is a matter of practice. After sewing the darts you need to iron preferably using a sewing ham. If you do not have a tailor's pressing ham, use a rolled towel to make a bump that can smooth out the end of the darts.
Step Two: Make The Facing
Trace the back facing and neck facing marked in the pattern and add the seam allowance. Make an additional armhole facing if you are making this peplum summer top sleeveless.
Apply fusible interfacing to the fabric.
Place the facing pattern on top of the fabric and cut the facing. Pin the back facings- to the front facings-
and sew at your chosen seam allowance. Put aside.
Step Three: Sew The Front And Back
Wrong sides together sew the bodice at the shoulders and sides. Make sure the dart is folded down.
Step Four: Sew The Peplum To The Bodice
The pattern will have some arrows that will direct you on how to fold the pleats. Make the pleats and pin them.
Starting at the back pin the peplum to the bodice.
Start pinning at the left side
And then at the right side-
making sure the center of the peplum matches the middle.
Sew at your chosen seam allowance. In my case 5/8″.
Step Five: Sew The Zipper
Cut two strips of fusible interfacing 16″ long and 1″ wide. Fuse the interfacing where the zipper is going to be placed. If you need a reminder or want to know a few easy tricks on how to sew an invisible zipper have a look at this tutorial.
Step Six: Sew The Facing
Match and Pin the facing at the shoulder seams with all seam allowances open.
Turn the facing and topstitch at 1/8″ from the seam. Iron.
Step Seven: Sew The Hem
Sew the hem using any of the following ways in this tutorial.
Step Eight: Finishing The Armhole
There are two ways to finish the armhole. My favorite is to add a contrasting bias tape color to the armhole. Here are the detailed instructions on how to do this.
The other method is to make the facing from the pattern and understitching a facing so it lay flat.
I am on my way to Italy, and it is summer, so I'll definitely be using this top (definitely made in cotton or a linen/silk combination). I will be hunting for fabrics in Rome and hopefully taking you with me this time.
I added the sleeves as an afterthought, and I know many of you are going to ask me about it. The tutorial on how to do this is coming out next week so don't worry.
Keep in touch and leave me your thoughts, questions, suggestions and why not …criticisms, in the comments section below. I do read them all and I remember most of the frequent commenters. To those of you who kindly donate when downloading the pattern, know that I really appreciate your support. I have all the donators in a special VIP list, and later in the year we'll have a surprise for you, I think you'll enjoy it. Until next time! Happy Sewing!
I love the Peplum Summer Top. Where can I find the pattern for the sleeves. The instructions above says it’ll be published the next week but I’ve been waiting for it. I’ve looked all over this site, at patterns abs tutorials and can’t find it.
Please help me find the pattern/instructions for the sleeves.
Hi Debbie, here is the article. https://so-sew-easy.com/adding-butterfly-sleeves/
This looks lovely. I can’t wait to make it but i need to find something different than a zipper. I live alone and find it hard to zip back zippers due to shoulder problems. Any suggestions ????
Thank you for this pattern! I have been looking for one like this all summer without any success.With the darts included the fit is so much nicer and I look forward to the post with the sleeves. I feel uncomfortable in a top without sleeves — I have “old lady” arms now and find the excess hanging “flab” unpleasant.
Your patterns are so easy to follow, your directions are clear and succinct — very helpful to me 🙂 I look forward to making several of these tops — both my d-i-l and granddaughter want one or two and I would like a couple for myself. I may change the back to make it rounded instead of a “v” for fall/winter tops. That is an easy adjustment and will make this top even more useful.
Love the idea of the top, and can’t wait to see the sleeve info (on of my favorite styles). I do have a question about the peplum – aren’t they usually a little longer in back, a slight curve, to elongate the look? While I sew well, making alterations on my own isn’t my strongest attribute. Any tips would be great!
I would go with sleeves, maybe longer then sample to hide my arms more, maybe to elbow. Being full sleeves would still be comfortable.
I wish my eyesight was better. Had cataract surgery gone bad on one eye-caused a lot of damage-and now I am having issues with sewing. I miss it so much. Hard to sew now for me. Can’t even tread needle!! Took 45 min.!!! Yes, I have auto threader, but can’t see slot well to insert thread. Zipper??? Not for me now. But, I love the top & would work perfect for my “tummy” issue I try to hide. I love the print that was used. Happy Sewing and thank you for sharing!! I still like to look.
Your patterns are always beautiful, and the instructions very clear.
For this top, however, for an arthritic older sewer,
I really like this fabric design…it looks like fireworks! I’ve been following your blog for awhile, learning as I read along and you explain things in your tutorials so well! I’ve attempted some clothing construction, but nothing I could where to work yet. Could you show how to do some tailoring adjustments to RTW clothes? Thank you so much for all you do, your passion for sewing is contagious!!!
Hi Cristie, such kind words. Have been thinking for a while I should start doing exactly what you are suggesting, thank you for the push.
I also think a peplum on a plus size would look good on me but I need a plus size pattern, a 24.
Yes, I think it will be a great style for girls 20-26, but it will not be before Agust.
Love this top! Plan to make the ruffle just a tad longer to help hide my ginormous hips a little more. Looking forward to the sleeve pattern Thanks.
I love your top. These look so good on me. But could you think about doing up to size 22? Thank you.
Mayra, I like this top with the sleeves. I’ll wait for the tutorial sometime this week . Thanks again
where can I find the sleeve pattern please
Please provide the updated tutorial on The sleeves, would love to try this pattern.
I can’t find the follow up tutorial and pattern for the sleeves.
I love this pattern! Thanks so much. I’ve been looking for a peplum top and this is perfect (really love the figure-flattering inverted pleats). I’m going to Japan next month and plan to purchase drapy kimono fabric for this pattern. I think it’ll look great!
Mayra, love this pattern! Do you think an intermediate sewer could re-draft the back so the zipper would close at the neck? I’m older and I have a small hump due to scoliosis..
Thanks for the free pattern!
Another cracker, thanks so much. I’m going to move the zipper to the side with some of the zipper going into the peplum. Haven’t decided on the fabric yet – guess I’ll need to go shopping. Happy fabric shopping in Italy ?
So sorry Myra I didn’t read all the information regarding “sleeves” before I responded.
Shame on me! I look forward to your tutorial.
Why are the directions not included with the printing of the pattern? I would find that most helpful.
Hi Mayra, I love the peplum pattern especially the sleeves which I think is the highlight of the pattern,however, I do not see the pattern piece for sleeves. Are the sleeves included in the pattern? If no sleeve pattern please let us know as it would be very disappointing as the sleeves really make the pattern special.
Thanks for sharing your expertise.
I really like this top will have to see if I can make it small enough to fit me. I will need to come down 2-3 sizes.
You are a mind reader, I have been thinking about finding a pattern for a peplum top since you can’t find anything in the stores. Searching online has been useless– most websites don’t seem to realize that adding a ruffle on the bottom of a tunic isn’t a peplum!
Please include yardage requirements for the individual sizes. Not sure how much material to buy! This is for the summer peplum top.
how much fabric do i need , including the sleeves? size 18
I used 1.3 yards for size 10. Including the sleeves which are not n the patter.
This top is lovely and I plan to make one in polished cotton.
I have one suggestion about your interfacing. Top loading washing machines that are the most common in North america are much harder on delicate clothes. I found non woven fusible interfacing shreads with frequent washings. I switched to woven fusible and found it more tolerant of the rougher handling in a top loading machine.
Great Tip, I have never used a top loader so I would never know this.
Beautiful, wish there was a bigger size range
Hello Aurora, what size are you after?
Would viscose work with this pattern?
Yes, any woven fabric and also one with 5 percent stretch.
Hi, thanks for sharing! It’s a v pretty top!
I was a little disappointed to see there were no PLUS sizes included in the pattern. I downloaded it to see if I could use it to create a larger size.
A 14″ back zipper seems daunting on an easy summer top. I have 2 store-bought peplum blouses w/ surplice fronts (no darts) made from very stretchy material that just pulls-over the head. I’d like to compare the designs to see if a no-zipper modification is even possible. What do you think? Thanks again.Happy Summer!
Hello Babette, What size are you after? I don’t have a master pattern for plus sizes nor I have testers. This an intermediate project, and not for knits. But, if you are an hourglass you might be able to pull it off.
I would like to see sizes 22-32 included but I am grateful for this and will mess around with grading it up. (I’m a 26 right now). You are so generous with free patterns and they are always pretty and practical. Thank you!
For this you would need to redraft the pattern for your measurements. I often do this and omit fastenings because of mobility issues doing them up. As long as you allow some ease when drafting and sewing the seams you shouldn’t have a problem, and this includes with darts which I use in all my garments. In fact you can do this even with a princess design. I should add I am definitely a plus size. There are a number of youtube videos (look for African or Indian tutorials because these usually don’t worry about fastenings so allow for sufficient ease during the cutting) for ideas which are then easily transferred into a peplum top. One off the top of my head you could try is Bilikis, she does plus sizes and many have no fastenings plus different styles of peplum. I admit to liking this particular style so will be drafting a plus size pattern for my daughter for wearing this summer, although like you she doesn’t like fastenings either. Hope you are successful.
I tried to buy the peplum top – tried PayPal and credit card – it insisted on my e-mail address but there didn’t seem to be a way to provide the address. So, we both lose.
Love love love this pattern! I am a huge fan of the peplum style because it works well with most body shapes (especially mine). Thank you so much for providing the pattern. As always, I truly enjoy your weekly newsletters and am an avid fan. I look forward to reading it every Sunday.
With much appreciation,
Really great looking and great pix in the tutorial! Thanks.
It is my pleasure, thank you for reading the newsletter. Have a happy Sunday!