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Peplum Tops from Carpe Diem

Carrie had been contemplating how to devise a peplum top when a fortuitous email showed up in her box. (a unit of Mood Fabrics) frequently posts free patterns to its mailing list; in March, the Beaufort Peplum Ensemble (MDF370) was featured in crisp linen. Carrie happily took up the challenge of sewing a peplum top pattern with her Fit for Art wardrobe of patterns. Follow along for her process to bring concept into fruition.

Make a Mock-Up!

Following our own Fit for Art advice, Carrie began by mocking up the Beaufort top to test fit and design features for a peplum top. The free pattern was downloaded and tiles for the peplum top printed and assembled. Despite making a muslin in the size closest to her bust and waist measurements, the mock-up was way too big, illustrating the fitting issues many of our customers experience when working with new patterns. It did, however, enable Carrie to make several design and fit decisions to carry over when crafting her Fit for Art version. She observed that the peplum’s bodice length was about right, but the square neckline needs to be higher and the skirt a bit longer.

Prepping the Mash-up Patterns  

Carrie turned to an experimental square-necked modification of the Carpe Diem Dress & Tunic pattern made a few years earlier.  On the Front pattern, she lowered the square neckline opening by about an inch (but not as much as the Beaufort’s) and pinned it up to the same cutting length as the Beaufort bodice pattern.  Her basic Carpe Diem Back and Sleeveless Side patterns were also pinned up to the same length as the Front. 

Carrie resized the Beaufort peplum skirt patterns so that the side seams would line up with the middle of each Carpe Diem Side and the center back seam with the Carpe Diem Back. It required a good bit of fussing and folding of the pleats on the tissue pattern to make sure the patterns would match along the waistline. The skirt patterns were also lengthened by 2 inches. 

Make a Wearable Test Garment

Ultimately, Carrie was planning to make a peplum top with a drapey rayon print, but she decided to play it smart by making a “wearable mock-up” first. She stitched the first peplum top out of a lightweight linen print she had picked up on sale from Fabric Mart Fabrics.  The bodice was constructed following the directions for a sleeveless Carpe Diem with a keyhole button opening in the center back. A full bodice lining replaced the Carpe Diem facings to create a finished interior and support the linen.  

The skirt was added after assembling the bodice, utilizing the Beaufort skirt pleating with minor modifications to place the pleats appropriately along the smaller bodice. Finally, the lining was hand stitched over the waistline seam for a tidy finish.

The linen peplum bodice is fully lined with cotton broadcloth.

The “Real” Peplum Top

Finished rayon peplum top inside showing cap sleeves, facings, added waist darts, and inverted pleats.

While Carrie was mostly satisfied with the fit of the finished linen peplum top, it felt too loose around the waist. She added darts to the front and back bodice along the waistline of the rayon peplum to address this fitting issue.

She also made several design changes for the final peplum top to take advantage of the soft and drapey characteristics of the colorful rayon print and to give the two tops different looks:

  • A hybrid scoop/ballet neckline replaced the square neckline;
  • A Carpe Diem cap sleeve was added;
  • The bodice front, back and side were finished with Carpe Diem view 3 facings; and
  • The skirt pleats were inverted.

Rae and Carrie enjoy the challenge of creating new styles with their tried and true Fit for Art Patterns. Do you, too? A “mash up” of another pattern’s or garment’s style can be both an inspiration and design tool.  Check out Fit for Art’s inspiration boards on Pinterest for ideas to get your creative juices flowing! 

We’d love to hear about your boundary testing experiments with tried and true Fit for Art patterns. Post your photos to Instagram or Facebook with #fitforartpatterns so we will see them!

Wishing you happy sewing adventures, Carrie

5 thoughts on “Peplum Tops from Carpe Diem

  1. The end peplum is fantastic! I enjoyed reading each development, so much great information!!

  2. The proportions on the third version are spot on! I’d love for you to turn this into a pattern or variation for us, just as shown!

  3. I think the version Carrie made is much more flattering than the Beaufort pattern. The added length and the pleated peplum combine for a more soft look. Great job! And it looks so nice on you, Carrie! I hope Fit For Art will add another variation pattern like this one.

    1. Thanks for the compliments and for following us! For now, give it a try with your own Carpe Diem pattern and download the free peplum skirt pattern from Mood. Carrie

  4. Along with others, I absolutely love the fit and look of the third version. It’s perfect on you. I know it was a challenge to get it the way you wanted it to fit but was well worth it!

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