Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

Reader request: Ruffled peplum skirt tutorial!

A while ago a reader wrote to me and asked if I could do a tutorial on how to make a skirt like this one, the "Full of Pep-lum" skirt from ModCloth.
It is darling!  It's actually a skirt with a detachable ruffled peplum belt.
It is a lot of fun!  I gave it some thought for a few days... and then I also saw it in a wardrobe board from the great blog What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?.
So, I went to JoAnn and bought some cheap and sort of icky polyester suiting.  I wanted to try it out without wasting too much money just in case... but here's how it went, and here's a little tutorial (not as many pictures as usual, since I was learning as I went!)

To do this, I recommend you use a simple pencil skirt pattern.  I used the pencil skirt part of this pattern, Butterick B5147:
  • Cut out the skirt front and backs, making it your preferred shorter length (ModCloth tells us that the skirt is 18"-19" long).  Also cut a waistband, 1.5" longer than your waist (1/2" seam allowances, plus 1/2" wearing ease).  Make the piece 3"-4" wide, depending on the width you want.
  • Assemble the skirt as per the pattern instructions, zipper and all, except instead of the facing or lining or whatever you'll add your waistband.  INSTEAD of making darts in the skirt, turn them into pleats.  Use the lines where the pattern marks for darts, just pleat them and don't sew them down instead.
  • OK, great.  Now, for cutting out the peplum belt...
  • You'll need another waistband, this time one with a front and back rather than a fold-in-half, and you'll need a top ruffle and a bottom ruffle.  Here's my top ruffle (the 3" wide one) and my bottom ruffle (the 4-6" wide pieces)

  • Here's how I cut them out--you'll want them about 1 1/2" times the circumference of your waist, so they gather the right amount.  Here's my approximately 40" long pieces... and, yes, just cut the bottom ruffle, the one that gets wider at the back, by eyeballing it.

  • Also cut out a waistband!  Cut two pieces, again 1 1/2" longer than your waist is around.
  • Hem the top of your top ruffle and the bottom of your bottom ruffle.

  • Sew a row of looong gathering stitches on the unhemmed sides of your ruffles.
  • Right sides together, sew your ruffled onto one piece of waistband.  Then, sew the lining/underside of the waistband right side to wrong side of ruffle to cover the raw edges.
  • Uh oh... here's where the pictures stop.  Sorry.  Now you should have a closed tube of a waistband, with your ruffles inside.  Turn it right side out and press as best as you can.  
  • Top-stitch 1/4" or less from the top and bottom edges of the waistband piece, keeping your seam allowance in place.
  • Close the short ends of the waistband by pressing and turning, and top-stitching them as well.
  • Chose a closure, and install it.  The ModCloth version has a button and buttonhole, but I didn't have any big buttons so I did hooks and eyes.
  • Wear together or apart!
Add another belt if you like!
So fun!
I may make another one of a nicer fabric... maybe a variation on the belt, like a pleated peplum??  So cute, so many ideas!  What do you think?
And, what could I pair with it to make it more office-ey and professional?


  1. I think with a nice blouse you could make it office-y enough for work. Nice job, I think it's very cute!

  2. Anonymous12/20/2010

    I love it! Thanks for the tutorial. I think that if you use it with a classic white shirt and some black shoes it would be great for the office.

    My current hobby!

  3. It is fun and cute! :) Thanks for the tutorial. :)

  4. Anonymous12/20/2010

    Oh my goodness I was so excited when you posted this!! Thank you so much! and thank you for being so nice with your email (and humoring me by doing the tutorial!) It came out so cute!

  5. it's a great ruffled belt idea!

  6. Awesome!! I linked to your tutorial over at Craft Gossip Sewing:


  7. Anonymous12/21/2010

    To me it looks like the top ruffle of the ModCloth is actually part of the skirt rather than the peplum, but I think I like your version better! =) Probably will stay in place better too!

  8. I love this. I am featuring this at Thanks for the submittal.

  9. This is genius! Coming over from someday crafts, and am now your newest stalker :)

  10. I'm visiting from Someday crafts. I think it's adorable! You could pair it with a white or black cardigan and it would totally be professional. :)

  11. Thanks, everyone!
    @Anonymous, yeah, I totally forgot to say that part--in the original, there is a ruffle on the skirt, but for me it was a lot easier to just do a plain waistband on the skirt and put both ruffles on the belt!

  12. Anonymous12/24/2010

    Wow. Awesome tutorial. Thanks so much! Definitely on my to make soon list.

  13. I've featured this project in a special skirt collection on Hope you enjoy,
    16 Free Skirt Patterns

    Our readers love your site. Thanks!


  14. could you give me some advice on how to make a hemisphere-like peplum instead of a ruffles peplum? I have been trying to play around the darts but it seems like the peplum cant 'stand' like a hemisphere, it keeps dropping down.
    Could you advice me on the material as well?

  15. @Keiv, hmmm, what do you mean by a hemisphere peplum? As for materials, you'll need something with a little stiffness to it. I recommend a sturdy cotton twill or other bottomweight.

  16. I found you through All Free Sewing and the timing could not be better. I have a bunch of leftover taffeta that I will be using to make a skirt and this looks like it will be perfect to complete the outfit and the look!

  17. Hi! Just found you and immediately start following!! Amazing blog and tutorials!
    I just started my own DIY fashion blog, if you have the time please pass by:

    Have a nice day and Happy DIY!




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