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Whew! You have no idea how excited I am to finally have this peplum “dress” completed. It’s taken me over a month from prepping the fabric, to cutting the fabric, to putting in the last hand stitches.

Since the peplum and skirt are actually two separate pieces, construction took twice as long as I expected. But, I did my best to not skimp on any of the steps – except maybe that last press to get the garment into ideal photo shape. Why not cut a corner here or there? Because this garment is actually destined to end up in the hands of my good friend J (who just ran a 2:50 marathon – go J!).

This is my first peplum, and I have to say I’m quite taken with it. The pattern is BurdaStyle Peplum Top 08/2012 #113 with long sleeves and the coordinating pencil skirt #111, both of which I received from BurdaStyle. I have nothing but praise for both patterns. Not only do both fit and flatter, but both also come with multiple different variations. I can’t wait to make a cute short-sleeve peplum top, a fancy collared peplum top, a casual A-line dress, and a godet pencil skirt like Marina’s.

But, what’s a pattern without great fabric? For the exterior I chose an Italian Carolina Herrera turquoise silk and wool blend covered in the most delightful puckers from Mood, which I bought with my Mood Sewing Network allowance. I pretreated the fabric by sticking it in the dryer with a damp towel and then giving it a good press to even out all of the puckers. It proved to be a tricky one to press during sewing, but turning up the heat on the iron seemed to do the trick.

For the lining I used a beautiful silk crepe de chine print also from Mood featuring a bathing beauty on the Riviera Italia. It was pretreated by hand washing with gentle shampoo and then line drying. I misjudged the panel repeat (closer to 37" than the published 56"), so I was only able to use the print for the lining on the front pieces of the top and skirt. For the rest I used some ivory silk crepe de chine (no longer online, but similar fabrics can be found here) from Mood that I had left over from a previous project. Though I would have liked to have had a bit of the print on the back, I was very happy that the ivory base of the two lining fabrics matched perfectly. Again, I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of these fabrics.

The most difficult part of the top turned out to be the last step: the peplum hem. I wanted to line the peplum with self fabric since it’s high-low hemline meant the lining peeked out quite a bit on the sides. I tried machine stitching the lining and exterior together, sort of like I was stitching a facing on to the hem, but it bubbled quite a bit. I then added lace hem tape and stitched the hem with running stitches all the way through the lining, grabbing just a thread or two from the exterior fabric. I thought these stitches were invisible because of the puckers, but when I took photos (one is above on the top right, another is two above on the top left), I noticed just how much the fabric again pulled and puckered. As always seems to be the case, the third try was the charm. This time I used a catch stitch, again going all the way through the lining and grabbing a thread or two from the exterior fabric. Though the hem lace now doesn’t sit flush against the underside of the peplum, the hem is nearly invisible where it counts – the outside of the peplum.

In an attempt to try out a new technique, I also decided to add sleeve heads following instructions from Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book. These should hopefully help the sleeves keep their shape for many years to come. Following instructions on pages 156-157, I cut two strips of silk organza roughly 8.5" by 1.5" (top left above). Then, I folded the two strips in half lengthwise, making sure one edge was 1/8" wider than the other. After hand stitching them together, I rounded the free corners (top right above). I then made a mark along the fold 5" from the end. Both were stitched into the armscye seamline, again by hand. I was careful to place the wider of the two sides against the fabric, and the mark at the shoulder seam with the longer section extending into the back of the sleeve (bottom left above). A good press later, and the shoulder looked just like a shoulder should (bottom right above).

The skirt was really straightforward. I practiced pressing nice darts and got to line my first kick pleat. My favorite part of the skirt has to be the lady in her red swimming cap on the lining. It’s fun to know such a proper skirt has a secret playful side to it.

I hope J enjoys wearing this garment just as much as I enjoyed sewing it. I’m already on to my next project, so stay tuned!

BurdaStyle member Amy (a.k.a. ahearta) lives in San Francisco and spends her days working as a scientist. She’s enthusiastic about sewing, and started her blog, Sew Well, to reflect on her efforts to sew well.


  • Missing

    Dec 19, 2012, 12.38 AMby guyueyanyun

    My aunt has a skirt the same color as it, but now can not find it.(Forgive my bad english…)

  • Enlarged_hilarity-copy_edited_large

    Nov 29, 2012, 01.09 AMby Testosterone


    You could wear it inside-out and the crowd would still go wild!

    Great compilation of fabrics, outstanding sewing and fitting skills.

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.16 AMby ahearta

      Hahahaha! Thanks! The zipper would be quite challenging inside out. :)

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    Nov 29, 2012, 12.43 AMby chanel2005

    I love how you put so much effort into the lining as well, it looks great inside and out.

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.15 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! A fun lining makes a lot of difference when you’re putting it in and then once you’re putting it on.

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    Nov 28, 2012, 01.30 AMby godesscpsmom

    Beautifully done!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.15 AMby ahearta


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    Nov 27, 2012, 08.40 PMby freakusbzzz

    I have that Riviera fabric in my stash and not sure what to make with it yet. You’rs looks great :)

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.15 AMby ahearta

      My other friend has it as well. She’s making hers into a scarf. It would’ve been nice to take advantage of the full design, but I do love the sneak peeks you get of the Riviera as it is.

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    Nov 27, 2012, 03.59 PMby beim-zahnersatz-sparen

    perfect work… Im sooooo jealous

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.14 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! I’d say the pattern and fabric did most of the work for me!

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    Nov 27, 2012, 01.12 PMby Meldbombs

    Haha its great how you put so much care into the inside, only true sewists give so much care to the inside appearance. :)

    2 Replies
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.14 AMby ahearta

      Oh! I do hope to become a true sewist. I think I need many more years experience first…

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      Nov 30, 2012, 08.32 PMby Meldbombs

      Oh im not a true sewist either, I am self taught in high school but I have learned that from very experienced people

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    Nov 26, 2012, 11.53 PMby disy

    Great Job!!! I love the lining and the color looks fantastic on you

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.13 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! I do love a fun lining.

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    Nov 26, 2012, 11.27 PMby nouvellegamine

    lovely color!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.12 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! My friend actually requested “jade”, but I fell for this turquoise. Close enough, right?

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    Nov 26, 2012, 10.29 PMby jadealamode

    wow!such an amazing colour. perfectly made

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.12 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! The color is brilliant. And, I love how the puckers play with the light.

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    Nov 26, 2012, 08.31 PMby kess

    This is beautiful! the color is amazing, and like you said, it really flatters you! I love that you added sleeve heads! Incidentally I made y first ones yesterday as well, but as I was making them for a jacket I used bias strips out of fleece rather than silk organza. I love this and the lining’s a riot!

    1 Reply
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.12 AMby ahearta

      I was pleasantly surprised with how easy the sleeve heads were. Make sure to show off your jacket!

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    Nov 26, 2012, 08.31 PMby daughterfish

    Amy, the entire ensemble is beautiful! I particularly love the top and the fantastic lining you used. Looks great on you!

    2 Replies
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      Nov 29, 2012, 02.11 AMby ahearta

      Thanks! Can’t wait to see what you have cooking as well. Any more BurdaStyle posts?

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      Nov 29, 2012, 01.58 PMby daughterfish

      I’ve got a dress I’m working on. Shooting to get it done this month!

    • This is a question
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