A polka dot peplum top

Hummingbird knit top by Cake Patterns in polka dots by Polka Dot Overload

Hello, We Sew Retro! It’s been some time since I posted here (I’ve been ill and out of the sewing game for months but am finally recovered!) but you may remember me as the artist who created the art you see on the header above.

A properly fitting peplum (seam snug at the waist, skirt at the right length and proportion) is a thing of wonder. It can suggest an hourglass figure, or accentuate one that already exists. Peplums seem to be most associated with the 1940s and 1980s, though they seem to pop up a bit in the 1950s and 1970s as well.

Me Made May 19: A Little Hummingbird Told Me

My mother has actual live hummingbirds in her yard, but try as I might I could not get one to land on me for my photos!

The top pictured here (full project details on my blog, Polka Dot Overload) is a modern sewing pattern with vintage roots—the Cake Patterns Hummingbird Peplum Knit top. The skirt here is just a RTW pencil skirt, but I’m working on the skirt from the pattern next. (Full disclosure—I am the pattern envelope illustrator for Cake, but I was not paid to sew this pattern and tested it out on my own time for my own peplum-loving ends).

Here was my initial spring sewing planning sketch (Hummingbird in center):

Spring Sewing Sketch 2013 — Cake Patterns Edition

I’ve also made a more colorful version, but it’s not quite as vintage-inspired of an effect. The fabric print is almost 1970s-looking to me:

Cake Patterns Hummingbird Peplum Top—in hummingbird colors

Again, full project details (for the polka dot version) and lots more photos on my blog, Polka Dot Overload.

P.S. I hope to have more projects to show soon, including this half-peplum asymmetrical dress from a vintage mail-order pattern (acquired from the ZipZapKap store):

Vintage Mail Order 1640 Sewing Pattern

• Meet the Author • m1khaela


Cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer with delusions of making as many of my own clothes as possible and an obsession with bright colors, bold prints, retro and vintage styles and sewing projects far out of my skill set. I live in Brooklyn with my cartoonist husband Masheka and our sleep-averse toddler Ms. Z.


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13 comments… add one

  • Cute peplum tops

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  • I am looking for a pattern just like the jersey crossover top on the far left of your pattern cover! Can you link to the site that carries the pattern?

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  • Great peplum! I love that look but have yet to find the right proportions for my body. Well done!

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    • This pattern comes with 4 different peplum lengths… I used the shortest one for the black & white and the second length for the colorful one.

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  • That top is adorable! I may have to look into Cake Patterns. The others look great as well!

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  • Next time you’ll have to drench yourself in sugar solution for the hummingbirds – WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR THE SHOT, Mikhaela! Where’s your commitment! ;)

    Love the polka dot version with the red necklace. Looks gorgeous.

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    • That’s very confidential to post it in a comment! :)

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  • Great stuff! BTW, you are thinner in real life than you look in the sketches of yourself

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    • It’s weird, I hear that sometimes but I swear I’m not… maybe it’s because I used thick lines, but the croquis for those sketches is traced over a photo of myself. Maybe the photo is distorted from the way I’m standing…

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      • either way all of your work-sewing and sketching-is adorable! I just had to put my two cents in, I guess :) :)

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  • That pattern is gorgeous! Can’t wait to see it made up!

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