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The Perfect Peplum, Using MATH!

Have you seen all the cute peplums that are available but when you tried one, you said, "Just no." And wondered why it didn't ...

Have you seen all the cute peplums that are available but when you tried one, you said, "Just no." And wondered why it didn't turn out. I'm about to transform your view of peplums. Ready?

The key to a good peplum is that it must start at the right spot and then end at the right spot.

Let's cover the starting spot first.

In order to decide where to start your peplum, you need to know the ratio of your torso lengths. Completely confused?

Measure from your armpit to your natural waist. Next measure from your natural waist to the bottom of your butt. This link has a great picture of where to measure.

If these two measurements are within about 1/2" of each other, your peplum will stop at your waist.

If your measurements are NOT that close we're going to cheat the eye. I'll use myself as an example.

My measurements are:
Armpit to waist, 9.5"
Waist to butt, 13.5".

4"! <Meep> This is a classic example of being short waisted. Anyway, take your difference and divide by 2. So 4/2=2".

Instead of stopping at my natural waist, I will add 2" of length to where my natural waist stops.

If your measurements go the other way (longer waisted), you will REMOVE the length from your bodice.

Since I am petite, I normally remove 1" of length from the bodice to get the waist to my waist. There are 2 ways to add to this length. The right way, and the cheater way.

The right way. Remove my usual 1" of length. Then extend the bottom of the bodice 2". Then it would be my perfect length. (best for people with lots of waist definition).

The cheater way. Extend the bottom of the bodice 1" (since the usual bodice is already 1" longer than my normal waist). Smooth out the side seam. (best for people with a straight side seam at the waist).

To pick the right length peplum for you, you need to know your purpose. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, this page here covers how to pick the length of the peplum.

For my specific case, the purpose of my peplum is to make my hips look wider AND make my bust slimmer.

To achieve these 2 things, I should
1- Opt for a peplum that hits at the fullest part of my hips. That will make them look wider.
2- Keep my peplum all one color. The streamlined color look helps blend my bust in to the rest of my body.

Don't believe me? Pictures are everything! PLEASE excuse the copious amounts of back fat and lumps and bumps. These photos aren't meant to be flattering. Just intended to show you how the different lengths look.

The peplum shown below is the Made For Mermaids Mama Joy with a gathered skirt. I have added 2" to the waist length. Aside from the puffiness (which would be fixed with either a pleated skirt or partial circle skirt) and the fact that I had no one to help smooth out the wrinkles, I think it is the right length for my body.


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  1. This is perfect! I've been wanting to make the LN Margot, but was having a hard time figuring out where to start my peplum so that I looked proportioned properly. Thanks!

    1. Glad it will help. I'm about to use this information to change so many patterns to look better.

  2. That is interesting how you measure. When I measure I get quite a difference, but when I use the hand measurement I'm balanced. Could be my butt is just currently bigger than it should be lol!! Thank you for the information I'm just about to tackle a peplum.

    1. When I use my hands, I can barely get a hand's width between my underbust and waist. When measuring to under your butt, be sure you're going down your side seam. Maybe that will make a difference.

    2. I didn't do the side seam - and yes thank you - that made my measurements different by about 3/4 inch - measuring it myself. I'll get a friend to help me and see if that's correct. Off now to give a peplum a whirl.


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