Episode 806

Kim Davis

Pretty Peplum by Kim Davis

Create a sweet sleeveless top with a cute peplum detail in a flash.


Extra-large ready-made T-shirt or 1 yard of jersey knit fabric

Well-fitting tank top (to use as a pattern)

One yard of coordinating jersey knit fabric

Thread: all-purpose & elastic

Extra bobbin (for elastic thread)

Removable fabric marker

Serger (optional)

Prep It

If using a ready-made T-shirt, try it on to determine the desired placement on the bodice for the peplum seamline; mark. Cut the T-shirt bodice 1/2" below the desired seamline placement. Reserve the circular cut piece to use for the peplum (1; how-to illustrations to come). For the featured tank top, the peplum section is approximately 7" long.

Place the T-shirt right side up on a flat work surface. Center the well-fitting tank top on the T-shirt; secure using pins or pattern weights (2). Trace the tank top front neckline, shoulder seams, armscyes and side seams onto the T-shirt front. Add 1/2" seam allowances to the side seams and shoulder seams. Add 1/4" seam allowances to the neckline and armscyes. Turn the T-shirt to the back, and then trace the tank top back neckline, shoulder seams, armscyes and side seams. Add seam allowances. Cut out the tank top front and back bodice from the T-shirt.

If using fabric yardage, try on the well-fitting tank top to determine the desired peplum seamline placement; pin mark 1/2" below that placement. Trace the well-fitting tank top front and back above the pin-mark onto the fabric; add seam allowances per the previous instructions. Cut out the front and back. Measure the well-fitting tank top circumference, and then add 6". Divide that amount by two; record. From the remaining fabric, cut two rectangles measuring 7" x the recorded measurement for the peplum.

Sew It

Use 1/2" seam allowances unless otherwise noted.

Align the tank top front and back with right sides together. Stitch the side seams and shoulder seams using a 3mm straight stitch; press open.

If using fabric yardage, align the peplum pieces with right sides together, and then stitch the side seams; press open. 
Wind elastic thread onto the extra bobbin by hand, being careful not to stretch the elastic too tightly. Don't wind the elastic thread by machine. Install the elastic-thread bobbin into the machine. Select the longest possible straight stitch on the machine.

Stitch the peplum upper edge using a 1/4" seam allowance and slightly stretching the fabric to allow the elastic thread to shirr and gather the fabric.

Align the peplum upper edge and tank top lower edge with right sides together. Match and pin the side seams, center front and center back.

Select a narrow zigzag stitch. Stitch the peplum to the tank top, gently stretching the peplum as needed.

Fold the neckline, armscye and lower edges 1/4" toward the wrong side; pin. Select a 3mm straight stitch, and then stitch close to the raw edges (3). If applicable, serge-finish the raw edges before folding and topstitching. 

For more on using elastic thread, download the For Shirr project instructions here and create a cute sleeveless summer top!

Products used in this episode:

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