In today’s post: Learn how to make this cute top with a free peplum top pattern and sewing tutorial. Make it shirt length to wear with jeans or tunic length to wear with leggings!
I had a friend over yesterday for a little sewing pow wow and she was surprised to find that I sew on a rather inexpensive Brother sewing machine (affiliate link). Since I blog about sewing, she’d expected me to have something a bit fancier. I reminded her that most of my sewing is very basic: I like easy projects that I can finish quickly, and the things I sew don’t require fancy stitches, multiple presser feet, or any of the other bells and whistles you get on an expensive machine. I don’t have anything against pricey machines, I’ve just come to the conclusion that the machine I have meets my needs, especially when my most recent project is another easy to sew tunic.
I already shared a new free swing tunic sewing pattern and showed you how I hacked my Breezy Tee pattern to make a tunic. Today’s post will show you how to turn my Classic Tee pattern into a Peplum Top Pattern. Actually, you can use this same technique to turn any t-shirt pattern into a peplum top!
I made my peplum tunic length because I want more things to wear with the LulaRoe knockoff leggings I found on Amazon (affiliate link) for half the price, but you can make yours any length you like!
Peplum Top Pattern
You’ll want to start by clicking over to my Classic Tee post and downloading the pattern. It is a size large (about a 38 inch bust). If you are a different size, you can visit this post to find another free t-shirt pattern you can use.
If you are using my pattern, print it out at 100% or full size and butt the pages together without overlapping. Tape and cut out the pattern, choosing short or elbow length sleeves. Then slice the pattern right along the arrow under the word “stretch” as shown in the photo below. This is right about the natural waist, so if you want your gathered peplum to be attached higher or lower, then slice the pattern accordingly.
Then it’s time to cut out your pieces from fabric. I used 1.5 yards of prewashed knit (stretchy) fabric. You *may* be able to make this from woven (non-stretch) fabric, it just obviously won’t have as much give, so don’t do that unless you’ve made my Classic Tee before and know that it’s roomy enough on you to fit in a fabric that doesn’t stretch.
I laid the fabric down flat, then folded in each selvedge edge to meet at the middle. First, I cut off the top 14 inches and then cut that into 2 pieces that were each 14 inches tall and 30 inches wide. Then I cut the front and back shirt pieces and two sleeve pieces, all on the fold as shown below. I also cut a strip about 24 inches long and 1.75 inches high to use as the neckbinding.
Now, one thing you will notice in looking at the photos of this shirt is that the peplum is not super gathered. It’s not much wider than the shirt itself. I did this on purpose because I don’t like a lot of extra volume at my waistline, but you can cut your rectangles for the peplum any width you’d like. So if you want more gathers in the peplum, use 2 full yards of fabric and then cut TWO 14 inch strips off the top instead of just one. Then you can cut your peplum pieces 14 inches tall by however wide you’d like.
Here are my pieces all cut out:
How to sew a peplum shirt
Start by sewing 2 rows of gathering stitches along the top (long) edges of the peplum pieces. I sew the gathering stitches 1/4 inch from the edge, and then just over 1/2 inch from the edge. Use pins to mark the bottom of the shirt piece in quarters, and then mark the top of the peplum piece in quarters as well. Pull on the bobbin threads to gather up the peplum until it is the same width as the bottom of the shirt, as shown below.
Be sure to evenly distribute the gathers and match up the pins. Then lay one shirt piece right sides together with one gathered peplum piece, matching the pins, and sew together using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Remove the gathering stitches, and press the peplum down:
Note: If you are using a very stretchy fabric, it’s possible that the gathers will start to stretch out the bottom of the shirt piece, making it look really wide. If this happens, you’ll want to sew some narrow elastic into the seam you just sewed to stabilize it. You can see an example of that in this post.
Once you’ve attached peplum pieces to the front and back shirt pieces, you can continue to sew up the shirt the same way as is described in the Classic Tee post.
Finish the neckline, hem the sleeves, and hem the bottom of the shirt. For my sleeves I cut the elbow length but turned up a very wide hem. Then I rolled the bottom of the sleeve up once to make it look cuffed.
I also curved up the sides of the peplum pieces and hemmed them BEFORE sewing the side seams together.
Good luck making your own new shirt with this peplum top pattern. Thanks for reading!