Finished Project · Sewing

Finally! The Italian Riviera Peplum

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 tricksy 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 tread 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 page 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 straight forward.  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!

This post can also be found on Mood Sewing Network and BurdaStyle. Though I also mentioned it in the text above, I used my MSN allowance towards the purchase of the fabrics, and I received the patterns for free from BurdaStyle.

33 thoughts on “Finally! The Italian Riviera Peplum

  1. wow this colour and the fun lining! you did and amazing job! such a great outfit! just beautiful. and u made it for a friend! wow ur a great friend! I bet she loved it?

  2. So gorgeous! Your friend is going to treasure this! All the time and thought you put into the construction and the details is really astounding. And Congratulations on being done!!

  3. I think these are the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen. The skirt looks so inviting to slip on and what an awesome secret it holds :)) I wonder how did you do your lining for the skirt ? Only I am doing my first lining in a vented skirt, actually ever ! And mine looks absolutely hideous compared to yours ! I’m still not over how awesome this ensemble is and how you really do ‘sew well’ sew awesome I’d say ! :))

    1. I stitched the lining to the kick pleat by hand. On the underlap I continued down from the back center seam, affixing the lining to the underside of the exterior using small slip stitches. For the overlap I cut a horizontal slash in the lining and then followed by cutting a short diagonal slash up. I folded the extra lining underneath those cuts and slipstitched it the same way as the other side. See the book image from step three of the lining here:

  4. Yes, it’s J again — Amy’s lucky friend who is now the proud owner of a beautiful peplum dress! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I tried it on for my mother over Thanksgiving break and she thought it was gorgeous. And then her jaw dropped when I told her that a friend made it for me. I am so lucky. Unfortunately, my job has taken me hostage, so I haven’t had the chance to take pictures in it yet. But I definitely will, and hopefully Amy will be inclined to post them.


    1. You better believe I’ll post your pictures. But, I’m glad you’ll put your job responsibilities over taking silly blog photos! Glad you like it!!!

  5. I’m a bit behind in my blog reading but I really couldn’t wait to see this outfit. It’s absolutely stunning! And so fantastically crafted. I had no idea you were going to use such a fantastic lining. What an unbelievable gift this is–your friend is one lucky gal.

    1. I used the smallest size, and I still had to take it in quite a bit in both the side seams and the arm width and length. I never quite got it to the fitted shape I was hoping for, mostly because I was afraid to mess with the armsyce. If I were to do it again, I might shrink it when I was printing it out, and then just make sure the shoulder hit where they were supposed to and add back length to the bodice since I liked where the peplum hit.

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