A Peplum Summer Top Named Capri – Free Pattern

peplum summer top

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..

peplum summer top pattern

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.

peplum summer top pattern

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.

peplum summer top pattern

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.

peplum summer top pattern

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.

Materials

  • 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

Tools

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.

Finished Measurements

Size Bust Waist
6 36 1/2″ 30″
8 38″ 31 1/2″
10 39 1/2″ 33″
12 41″ 34 1/2″
14 42 1/2″ 36″
16 44″ 37 1/2″
18 45 1/2″ 39″

Pattern Layout

peplum summer top

Pattern Download

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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

Wrong side view

The pattern will have some arrows that will direct you on how to fold the pleats.  Make the pleats and pin them.

Front side view

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.

Use Bias Tape for a Neckline or Arm Hole Facing

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!

recycling old placemats

peplum summer top


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