Peplum jacket

The main new shape for the coming season is the peplum, as picked out by UK Vogue. “It’s spring’s big silhouette story” – literally.

Not a jacket with any old waist seam, but a shape with emphasis below the waist.

UK Vogue February 2012 : designers Yves Saint-Laurent, Jason Wu, Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci

For more photos, see the ‘Cristobal Method’ section of the US Vogue Spring Trends.

Most patterns with a waist seam are flat and fitted below the waist, but these have a bigger shape.
Which (if any !) do you think would be more flattering on your body ?

Only a couple of pattern shapes with a peplum as a big style element : flared or with an emphasised hip curve. And with less emphasis than the stiffened designer extreme on the right, which most people would only wear for special occasions.

Gathers and up-down pleats are other possibilities for a bigger peplum, but I didn’t find them in current patterns. If you know a little about pattern making, it’s easy enough to make your own versions.
Use the above-waist part of a jacket pattern with waist seam, and combine with :
Gathers : a hip+ length of fabric.
Pleats : the top of a pleated skirt pattern with released pleats. Or play around with making your own pleats in a length of fabric.

Here are some emphasised versions which are wearable for everyday.

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Slight flare

Burda 7292 (with skirt and vest)


Burda 7401


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Full short flare

Burda 7495 (with dress)


Vogue 8739 (with dress, skirt, pants)


And a lovely one with raised waist from Chado Ralph Rucci, Vogue 1269 (with dress). Good if you do want the emphasised styling.


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Full long flare

McCall’s 6442


Vogue 8465 (choice of fitted or flared below waist, hip emphasis can be balanced with big collar)


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Strong hip curve

Vogue 1136 is a vintage pattern with interesting horizontal tucks (with dress)


Vogue 8601


Vogue 8627


I saw an attractive padded parka with this waist-to-hip shape the other day.

– – – US Vogue picks out a bare midriff as another type of waist emphasis in the coming season.
See the ‘Ab Fab’ section of their Spring Trend Reports.

”midriff” designer No.21

Basically a matching bra and skirt, or sometimes pants. Waistline at natural waist, rarely lower. A style that would only be important for somewhere with a warmer climate than we have in the UK !

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Have not managed to come to clear conclusions about which body shapes an emphasised peplum would look good on.

Though I do know the flouncy ones are not for me. I’m different sizes above and below the waist and have a noticeable waist, so I like a waist seam as an easy route to good fit. But I prefer a style that’s sleek over the hips – that’s not a body area I need to emphasise. Several patterns for flatter styles. Vogue is good place to look.

I suspect the emphasised shapes are best for people who are looking for ‘essence of waistline’.
People who like girly styles will love the flounces.
And a few of these patterns are definitely challenges for dressmaking skills !

I enjoy a peplum as a style element.
Does this sort of feature fit in with your personal style ?
Would a flat peplum or flare below your waist be best for your body shape ?

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Patterns and links available February 2012

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9 Comments on “Peplum jacket”

  1. prttynpnk Says:

    I am writing down pattern numbers furiously! I want that Vogue with the hood!

  2. ejvc Says:

    I’m afraid that usually these are also not for me. I do have a longer coat with the exaggerated flare, but generally I’m concerned that the peplum will be *supposed* to be flared and actually end up fitting me, if you know what I mean! I like the idea that waist emphasis is coming back, since that’s useful for me, but a peplum – no.

  3. Kai Jones Says:

    I had a top with a peplum and I thought it looked awful on me except over a knife-pleated a-line ankle-length skirt. I have narrow hips and a protruding belly–not a good combination for hip emphasis. Plus I am not at all girly–the only ruffles I own are some Lands End t-shirts with a very tiny self-ruffle that lies flat around the scoop neck. I would be most likely to sew the first two Burdas, with only a slight flare, but only if they were plus-sized.

    I have sized up plenty of patterns to fit me, with varying success, but I’m going through a phase of resentful disgust that the big 4 pattern companies don’t do as many stylish patterns for plus-size women as for non-plus-sized, and so I am only buying plus for now.

    • sewingplums Says:

      Good points Kai
      You may be interested in my next post on body shapes – you’re not at all well catered for !
      I think Burda have more interesting styles for plus sizes, but still not very many.
      Is it worth learning some simple pattern making – so you can get a basic pattern and add style elements you like to it ?

  4. maria Says:

    Here are some more patterns with a slightly flaring peplum:
    Onion 1037:
    and 1041:

  5. bela saudade Says:

    There’s a lot going on, but I love that Givenchy. This is a style, I’ve not tried. I think I could pull it off, but I don’t know if I’m girly girl enough. I like the Burda- it has the idea, but looks more casual.
    Jacket lengths for me are tricky.

  6. Melanie Shelton Says:

    Imogene Lampert recommends the peplum as ideal for the 8 bodyshape. Haven’t tried it myself, but it seems like it would work.

    • sewingplums Says:

      Yes Melanie, but I think it depends on the peplum. I like a style with a waist seam. But those strongly flouncy shapes, especially if stiffened, would just stick straight out from my waist – probably not a good look 😀

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