Saturday, October 5, 2013

Refashion Runway Season Two:
Week 3, Peplum

Out of the entire gauntlet of Refashion Runway challenges,
when I saw 'Peplum' was on the list, I knew exactly what I wanted to make!

It was with that clear vision that I selected this huge, coral blazer!
Help, I'm drowning in coral!
Funny story.
As the Goodwill clerk was ringing up and folding this coral creature,
he gave me this look and said, "Now ma'am, do you see this tag...?
Just leave this on, and if anything doesn't fit, you can bring it back."
Obviously he was concerned.
I just smiled and thanked him for the advice...little did he know
that I had most specifically selected the biggest blazer I could find.
So first things first...

 ...I cut off that 'tag'!
There is no going back now.
Before proceeding, I feel I had better warn you this is a very long post!
This project was pretty detail intensive...I took lots of pictures.
To get started, I set to work removing the pockets.

These were sewn in to the side seam and the bottom hem,
so it took a little extra work and left the side seam open.

Then I ripped out the football jersey-worthy shoulder pads,
and removed the sleeves.
Taking some measurements,
I marked where I wanted the bottom of my blazer to end and the peplum to begin,
factoring in a seam allowance.
*Snip, snip*
I had great plans for that precious bottom piece, so I laid it aside for later.
Focusing on the upper part of the blazer,
I trimmed the armholes/shoulders down so they would fit better.
Next, I spent hours meticulously measuring, tracing patterns,
pinning and repining in order to create a thin, curving pin tuck,
running from the shoulder all the way down to the waist.
I did this on both sides of the front and back of the jacket.
 Next, I fitted the blazer by taking in the sides.

 I made a few more fitting changes later on, but this is basically what it looked like.
Now I needed to create a button hole.

In the past, I hand stitched or fudged my way through making the button hole,
this time I actually used the button hole foot!
It took a few test runs, but in the end I think I got it figured out.
Moving onto the sleeves, I knew I wanted my jacket to have puffed sleeves.
So before taking them in, I sewed a gathering stitch across the top of the shoulder portion.
With that done, I proceeded to take in the sleeves and cut off the excess.
Once finished, I attached them to the jacket.

After doing some research,
I was able to use this tutorial and chart for drafting a circular pattern for my peplum.
 I altered the pattern by creating a graduating slant so the peplum was longer in the back,
 as well as enlarging the radius of the arch so I had excess ruffles with which to create pleats.

The original peplum pattern calls for one arch cut on the fold for a seamless back ruffle,
and two more arches for the two front ruffles.
I wanted to be certain I liked the peplum before cutting into my precious remnant pieces,
so I cut out some experimental pieces from an ugly fabric first.

I didn't like what I saw.
Once I had all the ruffles pinned onto my blazer, I felt like a fat ballerina! 
After some experimenting, I altered and drafted a different pattern for the two front panels.

Armed with my two tried-and-true self drafted pattern pieces, I was ready to proceed.
Returning to the bottom half I had cut off earlier,
I unpicked the invisible hem and ironed it out.

Do you see now why I chose this huge blazer?
Look at all the fabric I have to work with!
I proceeded to lay out my pattern pieces and cut the peplum sections.
The back arch was laid out on the fold.
 Next came the two front pieces.
 All cut out!

Pin them all together...

...and sew.

Then I pulled out another previously unused wonder...the hemming foot!
This created a tiny, folded hem at the bottom and sides of my peplum.
This fabric was fray-crazy, so for extra measure, I did fold it over again and sew it down.

There remained one last thing before attaching the peplum to the blazer.
For some extra pop and detail, I sewed rows of varying width at the bottom of the hem
in rust metallic and burgundy thread.
To keep my edges and rows clean, I did not back stitch at the end.
Instead, I caught the loop and pulled the top thread through to the back, then tied several knots.
Much cleaner finish.
Now the peplum and blazer were ready to be united.
   After attaching the peplum, I was left with an ugly, exposed seam.
Doing some more research, I discovered a technique called Hong Kong binding.
Wow, talk about a lot of work!
There had to be an easier way.
Using Hong Kong binding as a spring board, I came up with an easier method.
I have no idea what it is called, but I'm sure it must be an actual process,
so if you know, please let me know!

 Using bias tape, I pinned the right side of the bias tape
to the wrong/back side of one of my seam edges.
I pinned the bias tape the entire length of the seam,
then sewed it down.
After that was done, I flipped the bias tape over the seam and ironed it flat.
The stitching I had just sewn is covered under the fold.
With the bias tape folded over, I pinned it to the other seam edge and sewed that down.
This last stitch line was visible on top of the bias tape, but I didn't see any way around that.
Iron again, and voila!
A much neater, completely concealed seam!
Almost done, I promise.
For the final finishing touches,
I repeated the same metallic and burgundy thread pattern on the cuffs of the sleeves.
For my first line, I measured in 2 inches from the cuff and marked it all around.

I decided to unstitch the seam of the sleeve so it would lay flat while sewing,
this made it much easier to sew in straight rows.
It was simple to stitch it up again when I was finished.

Stitching all done,
I added a button as well!

Buttons were also added to the points of the lapel for a rounded, finished look.

It was done!
Lovely lines!
I love how this blazer turned out!

And there is the pleated peplum back!
See how it angles and slants downward?!

 Here is a close up of the thread detailing on the hem...
...and the cuffs, along with the added buttons. 

Here, you can clearly see the pin-tuck lines running from shoulder to back.
My dad calls them 'angel wings'!

Didn't those puffed sleeves turn out adorable?
And the front pin-tucks add so much!

Once again, my brother is obsessed with lens flairs...and he wanted
to play up the fashion model vibe I was channeling...hey, the peplum brings it out of me!


This blazer was such a beautiful challenge and gave the opportunity to try lots of new techniques!
 I am so pleased with how it turned out!
To date, I think this is possibly my most intense refashion!
As you can see, I'm happy.
Very happy!
Now head on over to The Renegade Seamstress
and cast your vote for what floats your boat (sorry).
And if you happen to like the coral you see while floating about (sorry again),
well, that would be grand! 


  1. Des, that peplum is BEAUTIFUL!!! I love it! Thanks for the detailed post. As a fellow seamstress, your pictures were enlightening and the instructions were easy to understand. All that toil is so worth it, isn't it?! It's lovely and so are you! Jesus shines through your smile :) Keep it up!
    ~McKenna (it posts as my blog name)

    1. Hi McKenna!
      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment, especially the last part! :) You blessed my heart! I'm so glad you found this easy to follow and were able to glean something from it! It was a learning curve for me, so I'm glad if it is helpful to anyone else!

  2. Fantastic job! You definitely got my vote! I recently did a blazer refashion with a peplum, but I've gotta say, I love yours so much better. Thanks for the detailed post! I may have to try your version sometime! :)
    Have a great week! :)

    1. Wow, thank you, Jen!! I don't take your vote lightly, especially this week with such amazing submissions! Thank you for such an encouraging comment! I saw your blazer refashion last week, you did a great job!

  3. Oh. Wow!! That turned out fantastically! I absolutely LOVE the end result! Who would've thought?? Now, can I have one?? ;-) lol!

    1. Haha! We just need to have a sewing day (or weekend) and then I could help you make one! That is awesome that you like it enough to want your own...that is one of the best compliments! :) Thank you!

  4. Wow, that was a lot of work! I'm exhausted just reading about it! It turned out great, though, and I love the color. Good job!

    1. Thank you so much, Susan! It was a lot of work, but I feel proud of how it turned out... coral is one of my favorite colors! :)

  5. I love everything about this refashion - the peplum longer at the back, the pleats at the back, the curving seams, the buttons on the lapels, the embroidery on the sleeves and hem - you did an amazing job, and it's beautiful on you (great color for you)! Thanks for sharing all the steps - nice and clear.

    Jo H. (my name on the Renegade Seamstress blog)

    1. I love reading your comments, Jenny! Thank you so much for being so encouraging! I'm glad you liked it so well! Yes, after working with the challenge of green last week (a color I rarely wear) I went for one of my favorite colors this week! It gave me extra inspiration and drive to make this refashion turn out well!

  6. Yours is absolutely my favorite from this week. I would totally wear this peplum. Congratulations on all the work you had.

    1. After reading your post and seeing how much you don't like peplums, that is a *huge* compliment, Magda!! Thank you! :) I'm not very fond of them myself, so I did a lot of researching on Pinterest to find some looks I liked and combined them. I would love to see you try a peplum for yourself in the future! :)

  7. I love this, especially the metallic stitching detail! Great job!

    1. Thanks, Carissa! I used the same technique on a refashion before and loved the way it turned out-- I've been dieing to use it this whole competition, and this was the perfect project for it. :)

  8. This is by far one of my favorites from you! Phenomenal, my friend :) And it looks beautiful on you....a job well-done. Hugs to you!

    1. You gave me the biggest smile when I read your comment. :D Thank you, Stephanie! I'll definitely take that hug, it has been a long challenging week! :)

  9. This is very cute, Desarae. I love the peplum in the back.

    1. Thanks, Trish! You did a fantastic job on your peplum too. :)

  10. Hi! I've been looking over your blog for a few months after finding a link to it on Atlanta's. (I found hers just in time for her marvelous wedding!!!!!!!) Anyway, it's been fun to see your sewing journey this summer and the pretty things you've made. I love this jacket, it is a spectacular job of redoing a piece, and I think you looked especially pretty in these pictures. ;) I love sewing and have been doing some refashioning with cheap adult clothes turned into modest dresses and skirts for the little girls at church. They get to be about five years old and the nice outfits are nowhere to be found! Praise the Lord for a sewing machine and the discovery of shopping thrift stores on sale days. :) :) :) I also really enjoyed the post about the rustic tea party. Beautiful!!!!! I"ll be visiting a friend in Texas next month and while we have no way to do what you and your friend did, we would have loved it. :) Keep up the creative ways! And I easily picked your project to vote for this week. ;)

    1. Hi, Sarah!
      I'm so glad you left a comment, I love hearing from new people! I'm glad you have been enjoying my blog so far. Aww, thank you for the kind compliment on the peplum, and your encouraging words. Yes indeed, sewing is wonderful, such a great skill to have. Combine that with thrifting, and it is amazing! That is such a great idea to refashion clothes for little girls!

      I hope you enjoy your visit to Texas! Even a simple cup of tea on the porch would be a lovely way to spend some time with your friend. :) Thanks for the vote!

  11. This is amazing, Des!! I love love love everything about the way it turned out and the phenomenal changes!! And the stitching detail is great- I would have never thought of that!

    1. Ahhh, you made my day! Thank you, Atlanta! I saw the stitching detail done on the bottom of a skirt I picked up lately, and loved it!

  12. OMG I love love love this blazer! If you lived closer I might steal it-that is how much I love it!! :) Great job!


    1. Haha, wow, what a compliment, Lauren! Thanks!

  13. Love what you did and thrilled that you made it through to the next round.

    1. Thank you so much for your support, Dee! :)

  14. Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it, thanks for stopping by, Laurice!


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