One of the best parts of sewing your own clothes is making garments tailored for the weird parts of your body. Fun fact about me: I have short legs and a long torso. If you have the same qualities going on, you know the challenges. Pants must be hemmed, always. One-piece swimsuits don’t fit unless you curl up in a fetal position. And peplum shirts make you look weird because they hit you higher up on your ribcage and don’t cover the lower half of your torso.
When I got my serger and started sewing knits in earnest, I decided to make my own knit peplum top. It’s a style that I love in general: waist accentuating and feminine without being too much. Thankfully, See Kate Sew has a great pattern: the Penelope Peplum. It’s a really versatile knit pattern, with three sleeve lengths and a pretty scoop neckline. As always with See Kate Sew, the instructions for the Penelope Peplum are well designed and clear. Kate is quickly becoming one of my favorite indie pattern designers; her garments are on trend yet simple, each with some unique design elements.
I used a knit jersey (a cotton blend of some sort, but with some rayon or nylon), so lightweight that it was almost sheer. (My solution to this in a minute!) Rather than hemming the sleeves and skirt, I left them raw so that they would roll up a bit for an easy, casual look.
After a period of trial and error, I decided to lengthen the torso a bit in the front and back pieces to compensate for the extra length in my ribs (there’s a guide line in the pattern for that) and then lengthen the skirt by about an inch for the extra length under the belly button. It worked great! For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a peplum top that hits me in all the right places. I did make one other modification to my Penelope; the only thing about this pattern that made me sad was the faced neckline. My abhorrence for facings on knit garments has been well documented. They’re not hard to sew, but they make the neckline stand up in weird places, and then you have to check all day that your facing hasn’t bunched up. Plus they’re not really comfortable; when I choose a knit garment to wear, I want it to be soft and stretchy rather than rough and structured.
So I took a page out of Kate’s Soho Blouse book and lined the bodice by cutting two of the front and back pieces and sewing them right sides together. It was an easy fix and resulted in a neckline that lies flat. Bonus: it also took care of the sheerness in my fabric.
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the results. My Penelope Peplum looks professionally made in every aspect, like I bought it off the rack. The best part about it, though, is that it fits me like a glove. I’ve kept the pattern pieces to make many more versions in some different colors and prints, and I know that this shirt will be a staple in my wardrobe for years to come!
As an Indiesew blogger team member, I am provided with patterns in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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