How to Make a Cute DIY Peplum Top Out of an Old Men's Shirt

Sewphilia Studio
by Sewphilia Studio
7 Materials
2 Hours

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to transform an oversized men’s dress shirt into a cute peplum blouse. A peplum is a short flared, gathered, or pleated ruffle attached to the waistline of a blouse. It creates a frilly, flattering look that suits all figures. This peplum blouse is easy to make, and a great way to upstyle an old shirt.

Tools and materials:

  • Old men’s button-down shirt
  • Bias tape to match the shirt
  • Measuring tape
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Seam ripper
  • Fabric chalk
Disassembling the men’s shirt

1. Disassemble the men’s shirt

Cut off the cuffs and collar from the men’s shirt and remove any pockets with a seam ripper.

Trying on the shirt to determine the size

Try on the shirt and determine how deep you want the V-neck on your new blouse to be. Tuck in the neckline of the shirt to look like your new V-neck and then use your fingers to make a crease at that fold as a guide for cutting. 

Then mark the front of the shirt under your bust, allowing for a half-inch seam allowance.

Creating a V-neckline

2. Create a V-neckline

Take off the shirt and cut off the excess neckline to form the V-neck

Pinning bias tape to the neckline

Pin bias tape all around the neckline on the right side of the fabric. Then sew the bias tape to the neckline close to the raw edge.

Opening the bias tape

Iron open the bias tape seam.

Pressing the bias tape with an iron

Now fold the bias tape over to the wrong side of the fabric and iron again.

Sewing the bias tape in place

Sew the bias tape in place from the front side of your fabric.

Drawing the under-bust line

3. Make the top of the peplum blouse

On the front of your blouse, draw a straight line across the under-bust marks you made previously, and cut through both layers of fabric along that line.

Folding the blouse in half

With the right side facing in, fold your blouse in half to reveal the center-back of the blouse.

Drawing a curved line

Draw a gently curved line from the top of the neckline at the center-back of the blouse to the hem, to indicate where you will take in the shirt to give it a slightly more fitted look. Then sew along that line.

Making a ruffle for the bottom

4. Make the ruffled bottom of the peplum blouse

Using the part of the shirt you previously cut off, straighten the curved shirt hem so you will have a straight hem on your peplum blouse.

Seam ripping the darts

If there were any darts in the old shirt, open them with a seam ripper.

Folding the fabric in half and cutting

Now fold the fabric in half twice, mark the center point and cut the folded fabric in half. You will now have 2 long rectangles.

Sewing the rectangles together

With right sides facing, sew the two rectangles together along a short edge.

Sewing a basting stitch

Sew a basting row of stitches along one long edge of the joined rectangle. Then gather the fabric by gently pulling on one end of the basting thread. Keep pulling on the thread and adjusting the gathers along the edge until your fabric is the circumference you need for your peplum blouse.

How to make a peplum top

Now, on the top part of your blouse, mark 3 inches in from the button placket along the bottom edge. Then mark another 5 inches in from your first mark. Repeat on the other side of your blouse.

Gathering the basting stitches

Sew basting stitches between the 3-inch and 5-inch lines on each side of your shirt and tightly gather those two areas.

Attaching the bottom ruffle to the top

5. Attach the ruffled bottom to the peplum blouse

With right sides together, pin the ruffled bottom to the peplum blouse. Then sew with a ½-inch seam allowance.

Hemming the DIY peplum blouse

6. Hem the peplum blouse

Fold the bottom hem of the blouse up twice and sew the hem in place.

Finishing the sleeves

7. Finish the sleeves

Cut a few inches from the bottom of the shirt sleeves to suit the length of sleeves you’d like on your peplum blouse.

Sewing the sleeves

Mark a slightly curved diagonal line from the armhole of the blouse to the bottom of the sleeve to make the sleeves narrower. But make sure that you keep the sleeve wide enough to pass your arm through. Sew along that line.

Hemming the sleeves

Turn up the bottom of the sleeve twice and hem.

Repeat this step for the other sleeve.

DIY peplum top

DIY peplum top

Here is the finished peplum blouse made out of an old men’s shirt. Now that old shirt has some style! This peplum blouse will pair beautifully with pants or skirts.

I hope you try making this DIY ruffled bottom peplum blouse and then leave me a comment to let me know how you liked this tutorial.

Suggested materials:
  • Old men’s button-down shirt
  • Bias tape to match the shirt
  • Measuring tape
See all materials

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Join the conversation
2 of 6 comments
  • Deb Deb on Aug 01, 2022

    Cute cute cute !!!

  • Ent27996918 Ent27996918 on Aug 06, 2022

    Thank you for such detailed instructions with perfect photos to help with the directions. I have been saving all my husband's work shirts that aren't nice enough for goodwill, now I'll have some fun things to do with them. I might even use a different peplum colour by using two shirts and mixing the bottoms. I have a striped shirt that I can mix with a light blue shirt. Plus a little light blue peplum ruffle at the bottom of the sleeve might be cute too.Such fun and an awesome way to recycle!! Thanks !!!