How to make a peplum dress

Written by jessica briggs
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How to make a peplum dress
This woman is wearing a 1940s version of a peplum dress. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

A peplum dress is one that has either a flounce, ruffle or short overskirt attached at the waist. Peplums can also be attached to the hips or to a jacket or skirt. The peplum dress is starting to come back into style. It previously had heydays in the 1940s and 1980s, but the modern version is generally simpler and more understated for everyday wearability.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dress pattern
  • Fabric
  • Pins
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Measuring tape

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  1. 1

    Cut out all of the pieces of your dress pattern from the fabric you have chosen. Make sure the pattern you chose has a waistline seam that goes the entire way around the dress between the bodice and the skirt; this will be an easy place to attach the peplum.

  2. 2

    Sew the dress together completely except for stitching together the bodice and skirt sections. Measure the length of this seam.

  3. 3

    Cut a rectangle out of the fabric to make your peplum. The length should be at least that which you measured above. If you'd like to ruffle the peplum, cut it about 1.5 times that length and pleat or gather the peplum before stitching it to the skirt and bodice. The width of the peplum is up to you. If the waistline of your dress is high, just under your bust, and you would like the peplum to fall to mid-hip, cut the peplum about 8 to 10 inches wide. If you'd just like more of a ruffle than an overskirt, cut the peplum about 4 to 6 inches wide.

  4. 4

    Pin together your bodice, your peplum and your skirt fabrics. Stitch this seam, taking care to mind any zippers or closures your pattern includes.

Tips and warnings

  • It's best to use the same fabric for the skirt as the peplum. Otherwise the peplum stands out in a big way, which may not be the flattering hourglass look you're going for.

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