How to Remake a Muumuu Into a Peplum Top

I have a fondness for beautiful embroidery, which explains why I picked up this humongous muumuu dress at the thrift store for $5.  I love the distressed embroidery against the washed-out denim, and the extra-large size gave me plenty of fabric. I briefly thought about remaking the muumuu into a sheath dress, but I don’t wear dresses as much as I used to.  Roughhousing in a dress with a 4-year-old boy is hard, so I decided to upcycle the muumuu into a peplum top.

Here’s a close up of the embroidery, which extends far into the sides.  I didn’t want any darts interrupting the design, so I refashioned the muumuu dress into a loose tunic top with no darts.   I added the peplum for a playful touch.

In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to refashion a muumuu into a peplum top in less than 2 hours.  To save time, we’ll reuse the existing hems and neckline.  Here’s a quick summary of this muumuu refashion:

  • Step 1:  Chop the muumuu at the midriff

  • Step 2:  Reshape the armholes and sides

  • Step 3:  Reshape the sleeves

  • Step 4:  Attach the sleeves and sew the sides of the shirt

  • Step 5:  Cut off the bottom of the skirt and gather it for the peplum

  • Step 6:  Attach peplum to the bottom of the shirt

Step 1:  Chop off the muumuu at the midriff

Step 2:  Reshape armholes and sides

Use a pattern to reshape the armholes and bring in the shoulders.

Use an existing garment as a pattern for the sides.

Step 3:  Reshape the sleeves

Reshape the sleeves with a pattern.

Step 4:  Attach  the sleeves and sew the sides of the shirt

Attach the sleeves using the flat technique.

Sew the sides of the sleeves and the bodice.

Step 5:  Cut off the bottom of the skirt and gather it for the peplum

Cut off the bottom 11″ inches of the dress to make the peplum.  Sew three rows of gathering stitches and pull until it’s the same size as the bottom of the bodice.

Step 6:  Attach peplum to the bottom of the shirt

With right sides together, sew the gathered peplum to the bottom of the bodice.

Ta da, finished top!   I saved the pretty embroidery by omitting the darts, which created a boxy but comfortable fit.

Here’s a side view.  This top reminds me of the clothes I see at Anthro but without the high sticker price.  After refashioning and upcycling for the past year, it’s impossible for me to justify paying full retail price.

Repurposing the original neckline and hems saved a ton of time.  It’s one of my favorite refashioning tricks.  Hemming is easy but tediously boring, so I’m happy to avoid it whenever I can.

I attached the sleeves using the flat method I read at MadeEveryDay, and it has changed my sewing life.  In my middle school home-ec class, I learned to sew sleeves separately and then insert them into the armhole.  I found this technique tricky and often ended up with pleats at the top of my sleeves.  So annoying!  After reading Dana’s tutorial, I now sew perfect, pleat free sleeves in less time without any tears.

If you don’t have a sewing pattern to trace the armhole and sleeves, you can make your own by copying your old clothes.  Check out this Craftsy tutorial How to Make a Pattern From A Piece of Clothing.

Did you enjoy this refashion?  If so, please share with all your friends and spread the word about refashioning.  It’s a great way to build your wardrobe on the cheap and save old clothes from landfills.  Sustainable fashion can be fun and affordable.  What you make is uniquely yours.  I promise you no one will ever show up wear the same outfit you’re wearing.

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