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Pretty Peplum Top Sew Along: Working on Proportions

Are you ready to get this peplum top on you? This is going to be the most important part of the whole pattern --- getting the right fit. We will basically be sewing the entire garment in this step. You will first machine baste all your seams so you can try the garment on a re-position the pieces for the most flattering fit. 

Take the front bodice piece and the front peplum piece and machine baste them together. Repeat for the bodice back and back peplum piece. 

With right sides together, machine baste the side and sleeve seams. Even though you may be altering the pattern, be sure the peplum seam and sleeve seams match up. Try on the peplum top. As stated in the directions, it may not fit or look perfectly. Everyone's bodies are different, so you will be fitting it to flatter your body. You need to check out Pamela's video on proportions. It is very helpful!! The above directions are also shown in the video, so you will see the directions "in action" as well as in photo form. 

As stated in the directions and on the video, you want to check the placement of the waist first. I have to be honest, I hated where the waistline sat on me. I got a little discouraged, but after watching the video, I felt a lot better! Here I am in the first peplum top I made:

Such a lovely picture right? (haha) From the bust to the waist, I felt like a tent. So I knew that I needed to bring in the sides and raise the peplum to my liking. (Side note on this top: This was the first peplum top I made from this pattern. I did not cut out the darted bodice for the first top. I also cut out a size medium for some reason. I have no idea why because that's not what my high bust measurement told me I should do.) So overall, the top is big on me and cutting out a size medium for a Pamela's Patterns size small body, was my mistake. 

I adjusted the waistline to my liking and actually brought it up about 1". 

After adjusting the waistline, I tried the top on again to mark how much I should bring in on the side seams. I had to bring it in about one size. Makes sense considering I was suppose to cut out a small and not a medium! Then you can see on the photo below, the faint pink line. This is how much more I had to bring it in at the waistline to get a better fit. This makes the top much more flattering on me. 

I had to bring in the entire side seam and armhole as shown in this photo. This will vary for each body type. 

Once you have the top fit to give you the most flattering look, sew or serge the peplum seam, side seams and armhole seams. Pamela also mentions putting knit stay tape along the edge of the peplum seam, so include that. I will say that on the first top I made, I did not put stay tape on and it was fine. But when I applied it to future tops, it really made a difference. It just created a nice finish. Note on stay tapes: one one of my tops I used Seams Great Binding by Dritz. It was a little scratchy on my skin. In the tops I made after that one, I used the SewkeysE stay tape and did not have any problems. 

One of my peplum tops made from ITY Knit. 
I also noticed that the fabric choice has sometime to do with the waistline placement. On the first peplum top, I used a ponte knit. Ponte knits are stiffer and have more body, therefore giving you a little more body if not fit correctly. The waist placement using a ponte knit looked better on me than when I used an ITY knit for the fourth top. When I originally cut out the ITY version, I had cut out the same size bodice as the first ponte, but then decided it didn't look right on me. So I took the pattern back to it's original form and cut out the bodice again. (I also did this because I finally decided I needed to cut out the front bodice with darts.) And the overall look was MUCH better than the first three tops I made! 

So the thing to get out of this is try the top on as you go. It may take you a few times in front of the mirror to get it right, but it will all be worth it in the end. Also, don't forget that once you have the top to your liking, be sure to change the pattern so you can keep making a successful peplum top! Refer to Pamela's video for information that. 

I'm going to give you the weekend to work on the fit. On Sunday I will post about the necklines. (We're actually almost done with the basic top!)


  1. That first picture, of you in the mirror, that's what my peplum top looked like when I tried it on last night! I was kind of bummed, too. I'm using an ITY knit that I really don't like (kind of making a muslin). It's really thin and stretchy. I believe for the real version I'll do a ponte knit. Because of the differences in fabric, do you think I should start over with the ponte knit before I start adjusting the pattern?

    1. You may want to try and start over with the ponte. Sometimes ponte doesn't stretch as much as ITY, so your result may be a tad different. Let us know how it went!

  2. LOL, I had exactly the same experience - I cut the top without the darted front and used a medium instead of a small (seems that reading the instructions about using the HIGH bust measurement is a good thing). I produced a tent. Ahem.... next version I used a small darted top and the fit was much improved. Funny, I also used Seams Great on the first version and thought it was a little itchy/bothersome and switched to the SewKeysE tape - easier to use and more comfy. You and I must think alike alot! My first wearable version was a thin, ITY fabric, now to try one in a fabric that I like better - but it is ponte knit so we will see how much I need to adjust it.

    1. That's so funny! I love everyone's comments of trial and error. It definitely makes me feel like I'm not the only one with these issues! We will work them out together!

  3. Oh, I had another question. So, when I did my ITY knit first attempt, the notches on my sleeves only matched with one armhole. So, did I cut out the fabric wrong? I followed the directions (I think) and cut out the sleeve twice, on non-folded fabric, wrong-side facing me, with right side of pattern facing me. I'm wondering if I just fold the fabric and cut two sleeves that way, so notches are opposites. What do you think?

    1. Hi Annie, Sorry I was out of town on Friday and only getting to look at the comments. Did you flip the pattern piece when cutting out the second? They should line up. I actually had enough fabric when cutting mine out that I didn't pay attention to the cutting directions and cut out both pieces at the same time.

  4. Wow, I really love the ITY shirt! Very nice

  5. I am glad I basted first, I ended up dropping down one size everywhere and taking in an extra inch at the waist with my stretchy ITY knit. Loved the ability to shorten the armholes and sleeves easily on the pattern!

  6. Can I still shorten the armholes after I have put the sleeves on? Once I did one whole side I saw the holes were way too long.

    1. Unfortunately, that adjustment needs to be done prior to cutting out the fabric. However, if the garment is a little wide under the arm area, you can take it in a little - which will also raise the armhole. Be sure to adjust your pattern for the next one you make!

    2. When I took in the seams in all over it raised the armhole so it all worked out!

  7. Well I'm still working on getting the fit right. Yes, I'm a little slow and a lot behind. My problem is that I'm rather busty and even with the darts, it looks like a tent. Thinking of adding darts at the waste line to pull it in a little more. If I take enough off in the side seam to get the waist to look nice then the bust is to small. :(

    1. Here is a reply from Pamela-- I hope this helps!! Adding darts to the waist is definitely an option. If you are familiar with doing a front bust adjustment, maybe you need a little more than what the darted front pattern offers. It is usually good for up to a 6" difference between the high and full bust


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