Transform a tee: How to make a peplum top

How to refashion a t-shirt into a peplum top

Jennie Jones shows you how to pep up a classic striped tee with a simple-sew peplum detail.

This quick and easy refashion is great for beginners as you don’t need to follow a sewing pattern. All you need is our step-by-step instructions, a man’s XL T-shirt and your sewing kit. Our guide shows you how to make a peplum in easy steps and use this technique to revamp a basic T-shirt. Make a cropped version to wear with high waisted styles, or add length for a more casual look.



Designer Jennie says: “Although making  a peplum may seem complicated, it really is easy as pie! It’s just all about getting your measurements right.” Don’t worry guys, we’ve worked out a clever formula for you. Phew!

You will need

  • Men’s XL T-shirt
  • T-shirt that fits you (to use as a template)
  • Basic sewing kit

Making the peplum

Step one: Fold a large piece of paper in half. We used lining paper but newspaper works just as well. Measure around your waist where you want your peplum to start and divide this by 6.28 – this is the waist radius you need to draw on the paper. Lay your tape or ruler at the top corner on the folded side and measure your calculated waist radius down from this. Continue marking the radius at close intervals from one side to the other to make a semicircle.

Step two: For a short peplum like this one, measure 13cm (5in) outside this line to make another semicircle. This includes enough for a seam allowance and hem. Cut along both drawn semicircles then unfold your paper to make your peplum pattern.

Step three: Turn the T-shirt wrong sides (WS) out and pin the pattern close to the bottom through the back and front. Cut it out.

How to sew a peplum step 1Step four: Sew the straight edges, right sides (RS) together to make a doughnut shape. You can finish the outside edge using an overlocker or make a small hem or leave it raw if you prefer.

Sewing the T-shirt and peplum

Step one: Take a T-shirt that fits you well and lay it onto the T-shirt you’ve already cut. Trace around the sleeve and sides of your T-shirt and cut it out, sleeves too.

How to make a peplum top step 2

Step two: With RS facing, sew the sleeves onto the new chest piece along the shoulder line then try it on. This is a bit fiddly as you need to pin the under parts of the sleeves so they fit snugly. Take the T-shirt off then sew one seam from the chest to sleeve edge. Repeat for the other side of the T-shirt.

How to make a peplum top 3

Step three: Pin the peplum part to your new T-shirt where you want it to start, matching up the side seams. You can trim the T-shirt if you want to shorten it and adjust the side seams if needs be so they’re the same circumference as the peplum. The stretch in the fabric will help the two pieces to fit together.

Step four: Stitch the peplum into place then press the seams to finish.

How to make a peplum top 4Rock with skinny jeans for a flattering day-to-night look.

Peplum refashion tutorial