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Pattern Hackers: Draft a High-Low Peplum

Break the rules with three pattern hacks for the Adria top, by Haley Glenn.

Posted in: Tutorials & Techniques • July 31, 2018

Everyone knows that sewing gives you superpowers. First on that long list is the ability to break the rules and make garments that represent you and your taste. We want to encourage you to think of our patterns as a blank canvas that you can customize to suit your style truly.

Our pattern hacks are designed to teach you hacking basics that can help you customize patterns so that you can become a confident pattern hacker. Each month, we will show you how to draft and sew one new pattern hack, and we’ll share links to two additional pattern hacks from our pattern hacks library.

You'll Need:

  • The Adria top

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Scissors

  • Tape

  • Clear ruler

These hacks help you give your Seamwork patterns a custom spin—all you need is paper, a ruler, and a pencil!

This month, we teach you how to create a high-low gathered peplum for the Adria top. You can also check out two additional hacks. One will help you create a trapeze bodice, and the other adds flutter sleeves.

Note: For best results, be sure to make any necessary fit adjustments before hacking your pattern.

HACK ONE: High-low Gathered Peplum

The Adria top features a trendy cropped length, perfect for wearing with high-waisted skirts and pants. In this hack, I will show you how to transform this simple top by adding a high-low gathered peplum. You can easily adapt this hack to create a classic peplum or even a simple pull-on dress by simply adjusting the hem to your desired length.


01 | Determine the width of the front peplum. To do this, measure the waist (minus the dart intake) of the front bodice. Multiply this measurement by two. This is your peplum width.

02 | Draw a rectangle 6” tall by the measurement determined in step one.

03 | Label the pattern piece “front peplum, cut 1 on the fold”.

04 | Repeat steps 1-3 with the back bodice. Label the pattern piece “back peplum, cut 1 on the fold."

05 | At the center front of the front peplum, make a mark 2” up from the hem.

06 | Using a curved ruler, draw a line connecting this mark to the side seam hem.

07 | At the center back of the back peplum, make a mark 2” down from the hem, extending the center back line if needed.

08 | Using a curved ruler, draw a line connecting this mark to the side seam hem.

09 | Add a 1/2” hem allowance to the front and back peplum hem.


  1. With right sides together, sew the peplum side seams. Finish seam allowances separately and press open.

  2. Sew three rows of gathering stitches along the top edge of the front peplum, starting at one side seam and ending at the other, leaving long thread tails. Make one row 1/4” away from the raw edge. Make the second and third rows 1/2” and 3/4” away from the raw edge respectively.

  3. Repeat step 2 on the back peplum.

  4. With right sides together, pin the peplum unit to the assembled top at the side seams, and the center front and back. Adjust the gathers on the skirt to align with the bodice by pulling on the thread tails. Pin. Stitch at 5/8”.

  5. Finish the seam allowances together and press up.

  6. Fold the hem towards the wrong side at 1/4” and press. Fold under again at 1/4”. Press and stitch.

HACK TWO: Trapeze Bodice

Try creating a trapeze bodice for the Adria top by using this hack.

HACK THREE: Flutter Sleeves

Try adding flutter sleeves to the Adria top by using this hack.

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