Jacket Refashion – Peplum Hack

This post is for my friend Celine who saw me working on a jacket refashion at an American Sewing Guild retreat.

Once or twice a year I shop at the Salvation Army.  I look for color, and fiber content, specifically all natural fibers like wool and linen to harvest. Many of the newer jackets I find tend to contain polyester which I avoid, but I can still find older ones made with natural fibers.  They just have dated shapes from the 90’s and 00’s with minimal waist and hip shaping and a long fingertip length.
I’ve taken a few of these older jackets and refashioned them to fit me and the current decade.  Often they fit my shoulders and bust, but are a bit snug at the hip which is noticeable when buttoned.  However the smug little seamstress in me says “I can change that!”
This type of jacket needs three things to Suit Me:
1. Waist definition.
2. Shorter length.
3. More room at the hip.

The Fix
What I do to correct these problems is remove a horizontal band approximately 4″ wide starting from the waist down. I first take in the width of the top half of the jacket by a few inches at various vertical seams to create the waist circumference I want.

I then attach the remaining bottom section of the jacket, now a ‘peplum’ which already contains the hem. Since the bottom part is now several inches wider than the new waistline I have created, I taper, gather, or add tucks to the lower section to match the width of the top half while maintaining the alignment of vertical seams and darts.
In creating this peplum you’re essentially moving the hip and hemline of the jacket where it’s too snug up to an area on the body that is narrower. Et voila, I’ve solved my problem!

I have found that the most important part of this hack is to make sure the front edge seam, where the facing meets the fashion fabric, must match perfectly both horizontally and vertically.


  • Before putting scissors to fabric you also need think about where the buttons will end up.  Sometimes I can work one into the horizontal peplum seam.
  • Make sure the shoulders fit before buying.  I’m not willing to make the shoulders narrower.

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