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Create a Shapely Jacket Peplum With Soft Pleats

Follow this patternmaking and construction guide
Threads #220, Winter 2022

Discovered at the Chelsea Flea in New York City, this vintage tweed jacket combines details from different decades of the 20th century—yet it looks modern enough to wear today. The ladylike shawl collar, shapely silhouette, and peplum recall the 1950s dressmaker suit. The shoulder width reflects 1980s styles, when this jacket was probably designed. Contributing Editor Kenneth D. King, who spotted the upscale ready-to-wear garment at the flea market, was taken with its unusual layered front peplum configuration. The upper peplum layer is continuous with the jacket bodice; its outer vertical edge folds under softly to create volume and is caught in the jacket’s side panel seam. Learn how to add this detail to a jacket pattern below. 

model wearing peplum jacket model wearing peplum jacket

Create the Pattern

You can add this feature to any jacket pattern that has a three-part body: a front, side, and back panel. You’ll draft a pleat extension onto the front and side front, and then you’ll create a separate underlay peplum piece. 

Redraw the side-front seam

Redraw the side-front seam

1. Join the jacket front with the jacket side. Match the side seams at the hem and underarm. Draft a line down the middle of the side panel. Then draft two curved lines, 3⁄8 inch to each side at the waist. These curved lines will be the new side seamlines; the original side-front seam is canceled.

2. Add a second front dart. Draft a dart that matches the existing front dart, 2 inches to the side. This process shifts the side-front seam shaping. The side panel will eventually be split into a side front and side back.

Plan the peplum

1. Draft the peplum design lines onto the jacket front. From A to B, and B to C is 1 inch. Draft a design line from B that curves to the hem. Draft a line parallel…

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