Do you ever listen to that “just in case” voice reasoning inside your head? Well, maybe I was just needing an excuse to whip up another pretty outfit. You see, I had started this late 40’s peplum project last year’s end of summer and realized (after I cut this blouse pattern out) that I was running out of warm weather time to make it worth my while to sew. Sigh – each season never lasts long enough for all the plans I have. Nevertheless, I had a project ready to go, just waiting for a few hours’ commitment and nice weather. What if I didn’t really need another, second Easter outfit? Whatever…don’t mind if I do.
Now, as my title alludes to, the peplum blouse is the only item I am featuring in this post. The skirt is something I did make myself, but it has already been blogged about here as it was the bottom half of my 1946 Agent Carter suit set. It was basically the same pattern as the skirt in with my peplum blouse pattern and this brown one was a great fill-in because it happily matches! My wide platter hat (definitively bringing this into the late 40’s Dior era), my purse, and gloves are all true vintage items, with my earrings in particular from my Grandma’s old jewelry box. My fabulous shoes (if I do say so myself) are Miz Mooz brand.
FABRIC: an all-cotton pink printed floral, lined partially in a polyester anti-cling lining
NOTIONS NEEDED: basic stuff here – a little interfacing, a zipper, and thread
TIME TO COMPLETE: This came together in the blink of an eye. It took about 6 hours and was finished on March 30, 2019.
If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed I have had a renewed fascination with the late post-war 40’s since about 8 months ago. Anything between 1946 and 1949 has frequently been blogged about here lately. What has also been going on in the background for me since then, is a new fascination for peplums, as well. I mean I’ve had an interest in peplums so bad it has been almost like an addiction. Don’t worry – it’s under control now, after a couple vintage dress purchases later, ha! However, when it came to sewing something that would relieve my ‘fix’ this 1947 Simplicity re-issue was one that of course had to pop up as it ticks both post-war and peplum boxes.
Now, what makes a peplum? According to the basic google dictionary definition, it is a “a short flared, gathered, or pleated strip of fabric attached at the waist of a woman’s jacket, dress, or blouse to create a hanging frill or flounce“. However, I find the technical use of it much broader than that. Especially in vintage fashion – particularly in the post-war 40’s when fashion styles were easing out of rationing into the full-skirted, sumptuous 50’s silhouette – a peplum was frequently only a small detail that emphasizes the hips by evocation (much like this 1949 dress I have made). It doesn’t always have to be as obvious as the blouse in this post. What matters is the prominence a peplum places on the hip line. A peplum achieves that through excess fabric artfully added in the area between the waist and the upper thigh. That – pure and simple – is a peplum.
I did change the pattern slightly. I wanted to taper the back half of the peplum into a slightly lower hem with a point at the center because I don’t have anything like that. Possessing so many different peplums now, I guess I’m starting to become picky! I also took or just two inches out of the peplum gathers coming into the waistband. Other than these two customizations, I made the rest of the pattern as designed and didn’t even need to adjust the sizing, which I found spot on.
Yet, there was something I added to help the peplum hang better. Ideally, this blouse should be made out of something draping or flowing, and that wasn’t this cotton…but that wasn’t going to stop me! I cut and extra double of the peplum out of my lining to go underneath. This way it slides over whatever skirt I wear under this top (because it does also match with about two other skirts, anyway). Another layer, no matter how lightweight, adds a little more heftiness to the peplum helping it hang straight, also making the formerly ugly wrong side so pretty and cleanly hemmed now. Lining a peplum is definitely the way to go when sewing such a style.
Most of the times I ditch fiddly facings in lieu of bias edging or full lining but I kept them here. This blouse has cut-on sleeves – kimono shoulders with a cap (as it’s called) look – which dip very low. This style is very comfy for me with my larger upper arms and give a soft shoulder widening emphasis. Such an arm opening also makes however you finish the sleeve edges visible…why I stuck with the self-fabric facings.
I love the bust shaping on this top. This is not the first time I have experienced such drafting. It is also on my 1951 dark purple slip (posted here). For this 40’s blouse, though, there is more dramatic shaping, not for any flat chested or very small busted woman. I didn’t change the neckline depth, and find it a nice in between – not showing cleavage yet prettily open enough for showcasing a necklace. My little simple single diamond is something I am happy to show off, anyway. It is quite special to me. I received it as gift for a special occasion when I was about eight. So much of my outfits are tied up with memories…
Before Easter is yet another distant memory for this year and summer is upon us, I just wanted to share my other very spring photos of my latest make. I realize I have been posting so many 1940s creations here as of late and I will share more variety soon, I promise! If you are on Instagram, I hope to be posting on that platform more of my true vintage original peplum dresses that I have acquired.
Do you have a particular style of peplum that especially appeals to you? Have you not tried peplums yet? Is it just me or does my 40’s purse somehow look like an Easter basket? Let me know – I love comments!