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The fun thing about a having a solid and basic tee pattern (either drafted by measurements, based off a favorite you own, or from a commercial pattern) is to be able to play with and vary it. There are so many ways to change it up, and today we’re going to scratch the surface by demonstrating a couple of our favorites. I’m going to walk you through how to make the very trendy and feminine Peplum tops, and Miranda is sharing how to make a couple different dress variations based off just a basic tee.
Peplums are pretty basic–just a tee with a skirt attached, right? They’re flouncy and fun, and surprisingly I like them just as much on me as I do on my little gal.
Circle skirt variation:
First step is to make a tee; use either a commercial pattern, draft one from measurements, or make one from a favorite your already own. For this girl’s tee I used an old favorite Ottobre 2/2012 #35 (I’ve made this tee maybe 5-6 times, and love it.) Cut the pattern short where you want the peplum to begin (somewhere near the navel), and then construct and finish! Measure the unfinished bottom edge of the the shirt to get it’s circumference. Whatever that number is, subtract about 2 inches, and then divide by 4 (because this will all be cut on the bias, it stretches and it’s better to shoot small and need to adjust later than to cut too big!) Now that you know the quarter waist measurement, you’ll want to cut a square of fabric that when folded into quarters will be long enough for the peplum; you’ll be measuring from the center folded corner out, but remember you’ll be subtracting several inches to cut the waist out. Pinch a measuring tape the distance of your quarter waist, and then arrange in at the corner and cut that amount out. It doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress too much. From the cut-out waist, measure out however long you want the peplum to be and mark. Repeat, rotating the tape so that you’ve marked an arc across the square corner.
Open circle and check the waist opening to the bottom edge; they don’t have to be exact, you can ease the skirt to the top, but hopefully you’re pretty close.
Before adding the skirt, take a second to iron some magical knit stay tape to the bottom edge of your shirt so that the seam doesn’t stretch out at all while attaching the skirt.
Finish bottom edge however you choose, I opted for the super fast rolled hem stretched to create a lettuce edge.
(fabric: fabulous striped knit via the Fabric Fairy)
Asymmetrical Circle Skirt variation:
This variation is so whimsical and plays into the hi-low trend. You do everything the same as for the normal circle peplum, except that you DO NOT cut out the waist opening to start with.
Now unfold your quarterd circle once so that you have a folded half circle. Refold, but instead of matching the edges, have one edge be several inches short of the other. This picture is kind of hard to see, but the top fold is about three inches short of the bottom. This will make your waist circle off-center within the circle skirt, and the more offset that fold is, the more off center your waist circle will, and the more dramatic your hi-low. As you can see I went for a subtle offset.
Attach as directed above, and finish the hem as you choose.
fabric from the Fabric Fairy
Gathered Skirt Variation:
This last variation I decided to try for myself. I’ve never sported the peplum look, and was a little nervous to just because I feel like it can look pretty youthful, and I am, afterall, 30 now. Can I sport such a young, flirty look? Well I decided to give a whirl, and I was really genuinely surprised to love it as much as I do!
Make your tee, but during cutting fold your pattern up where you want your peplum to begin (I used Sewaholic‘s Renfrew Tee). I was a little cautious and made my tee a little longer than I had intended ( I didn’t want to end up Babydolled!). . Now cut a rectangle of fabric that is as long as you want your peplum to be (plus seam allowances) and is about 1.5 times your shirt’s unfinished bottom edge circumference. My fabric was thin so I really could have 2X’d it, but I’d rather have it be a little flat than froofy #amiright? (I love hashtagging incorrectly).
Gather the skirt top edge (my favorite method is to zig zag over a string), and then add knit stay tape to the unfinished bottom edge of your tee.
First pin the half points of the skirt to the side seams, and then pull your string to gather the skirt to the same circumference as your top. Distribute your gathers evenly, and then pin well. Serge/zig zag. Finish hems as desired.
Don’t miss Miranda‘s fabulous tee shirt dress variations and also enter to win our $50 Fabric Fairy giveaway! Fabric Fairy has a fantastic selection and exceptional costumer service, and we’re so happy to partner with them to give some of that knit-awesomeness to you!