Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Simplicity 1666 Lisette Peplum Top

The minute I set eyes on Liesl's new Lisette pattern for Simplicity on the Sew Lisette blog, it went to the top of my to-sew list. I had to wait a couple of weeks for either Hancock's or Joann to get the pattern in stock. This happy event coincided with a 99-cent sale on Simplicity at Hancock's, which I appreciated.

Both the dress and the top have an extended cap sleeve which gives the illusion of a wider shoulder line, something I certainly can use. The peplum portion of the top flares only at the sides, keeping the front and back panels straight. Since I consider my front-to-back depth to be more of an issue than my side-to-side width, I thought this type of peplum might work better for my figure than those which have a flare that goes all the way around the body.

I was so anxious to have a good experience with this pattern that I went so far as to construct a muslin! I cut the size 8 to accommodate my narrow shoulders and upper chest. To my surprise, the front waist length and the front princess seams both appeared to hit in the right spots. Many modern patterns with princess seams hit me to the outside of the bust apex; that is, the center front panel is too wide. I like the more balanced drafting of this pattern so much better!

With front seams released to 1/4" starting just above the bust apex

With back seams released to 1/4" starting at the level of the shoulder blades and a 1/2" tuck taken to remove length above the small of the back
I didn't expect the waist area to fit when sewn as a size 8, and it was indeed too tight, but letting out the side front and side back seams gave the necessary additional room. In addition to shortening the center back seam as shown above, I also altered the top of the center back on the flat pattern. By adding 1/2" there (round back alteration), I actually kept the net length of the center back seam the same, but made it curvier to match the curves of my spine.

The fashion fabric version is intended as a second and wearable muslin. This black fabric has been hanging around from the famous Vera Wang $2/yard blowout sale at Fabric.com in, what was it, 2008? It is a very lightweight, semi-sheer black tropical weight wool with some lycra. It doesn't have enough substance for pants. I used most of my yardage on a Jedi robe for my kiddo. I know from that garment that it washes well (thankfully). Unfortunately it is one of those fabrics that likes to pucker. Pressing just seems to add different puckers. This top only requires one yard of 60" wide fabric!

Because of the stretch in the fabric, I ended up removing some of the width I added from the first muslin!

I know it's hard to see any details here in the black, but you get an idea of the shape.

Love how it has no flare at the center front and center back!
Maybe because of the pucker-y tendencies of the fabric, I felt a need to hand sew the hems at the cap sleeve edges. None of my sewing references seem to have much advice about finishing this sort of sleeve construction, and I would love to know if there are other methods or tricks for turning the edge under smoothly while avoiding ripples.

The drafting for this pattern is really well done. The number and location of the markings and notches are helpful but not excessive. Everything lines up well, and I really appreciate the flattering shape of the front princess seams. It's a fun top to sew.

From the fitting standpoint, I still have some wrinkles at the underarm, but they may be inevitable for a cut-on cap sleeve. Overall the fit feels comfortable, the top is very secure (no gaping or slipping around) and I have a full range of motion.

I want to make this again right away, but I'm torn between testing the dress, making another woven peplum top in a fun vintage cotton (maybe with bias binding to finish the neck and sleeve edges) or trying the top in a knit. So many possibilities with this one--I hope I can stick with it and not get distracted by the next shiny new thing too soon.


  1. Very very cute!! A beautiful fit.

  2. Very flattering and the fit is perfect.

  3. Love it. You've done a great job.

  4. Cute! You're right, many possibilities here. Can't wait to see what else you do.

  5. What a cute , well-fitting and flattering peplum!

  6. Your review of this pattern on Pattern Review inspired me to go out and buy this pattern. I like the flat front and back with peplum on the side. Your version is so attractive. I like your skirt; I have the same fabric and made a draped neck top with it. I love how each sewist interprets a piece of fabric. It looks really good as a skirt and perfect with this top.

    1. Thanks, Linda--hope you will like the pattern, too! I made it in a knit and I like that even better.

      I think I remember seeing your top made out of this challis! It is a very lightweight piece. The colors don't do a thing for me, I must admit, so that's why I chose to make something that would keep the gray/black/white combo away from my face.

  7. That's a lovely top - very nice on you. Have you tried http://sewingpatterns.com/ for patterns. Reasonably priced. Well they are for us in Oz - even though the postage is horrendous as it is normally around $20 per pattern here.

  8. Thanks for this - I have this pattern and have been waiting to find the right colors for both the top and the skirt but I am digging the black! I think I may do something similar and pair it with a zebra or leopard skirt! I am going to do a muslin to make sure those princess seams work for me. Thanks again - you have inspired me to get started!