How to Create a Peasant Top from a Funky Thrift Store Muumuu

comments (4) March 8th, 2008     

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StitchLounge StitchLounge, member
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Try on your new peasant top; theyre proof that muumuus can be cute!
Choose a muumuu with a print you really like.
Turn a muumuu into a stylish peasant top.
Try on your new peasant top; theyre proof that muumuus can be cute!

Try on your new peasant top; they're proof that muumuus can be cute!

Photo: Matthew Carden

How often has your eye been caught by a bold, funky pattern in a thrift shop only to find that the print belongs to, ugh!, a muumuu? Well, despair no more, fair bargain maiden! Choose a muumuu with a print you really like, and don't worry if it fits you like a potato sack. When you've finished with this project excerpted from our book, Subversive Seamster, you'll have a peasant top that accentuates your finest features.

What You'll Need:
2 yards of 1/8-inch elastic

Step 1: Pin marks the spot
Start by trying the muumuu on. Mark a spot just below your bust with a safety pin. Measure 3 to 4 inches below your desired hemline, and use another safety pin to mark. The ruching we do in the project will make the shirt ride up a bit, and you can always cut it shorter later if it is too long. If you are going to hem the top, add another 1/2 inch to the hem for turning.



Salvage that funky fabric with a bit of elastic and a few easy stitches.

Step 2: Rock the chalk

Take the muumuu off, and turn it inside out. Lay it down on a flat surface, and use chalk to draw two lines across the width of the shirt, where the pins are placed.

Simply draw a line at each safety pin using tailor's chalk. Make sure each line is parallel to the hem.


Step 3: Cut it off and don’t look back
Cut along the bottom line. Be sure that you have accounted for the seam allowance if you are hemming this edge. If you are going to hem the bottom edge, now’s the time. Fold the bottom edge under, so that the cut edge is facing inside of the shirt. If you’d like, you can iron this fold down, though muumuus are typically made of polyester, and polyester doesn’t like to listen to Mr. Iron. (If you do use an iron, use a low heat setting—high heat and synthetic materials don’t play well together.) Sew the fold down to set the hem using a straight stitch with a medium stitch length.

By stitching up a tie from the cut off hem and adding it to the neckline, our zipper becomes a cute design detail.

Step 4: Cut Elastic
Measure around your chest, right underneath your bust. Cut a piece of 1/8-inch-wide elastic to this measurement, plus 1 inch. Repeat these steps for your wrists if you would like to have gathering at the wrists, too. For example, if the circumference of your wrist is 6 inches, cut two lengths of elastic that each measure 7 inches in length.

Step 5: Create Ruching
Sew one end of the elastic to the beginning of your chalkline using a zigzag stitch with a wide stitch width and medium stitch length. Continue sewing the elastic to your garment along your chalkline, pulling gently on the elastic before it goes underneath the presser foot to stretch the elastic as you sew. Keep pulling the elastic as you sew to stretch it to fit your chalkine. You will probably have a little extra elastic when you get to the end of your chalkline, so just cut it off after you backtack the seam to secure the stitches—you do not want all this work to come undone! Repeat for each sleeve about 1 inch above each sleeve's hem.

Ruching gives your peasant top form; now you have turned a thrift shop muumuu into a cool peasant top.

Photos by: Matthew Carden

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Comments (4)

4mythreads writes: Measuring elastic: 'e.g. if the circumference of your wrist is 6 inches, cut two lengths of elastic that each measure 7 inches in length'.

Most tell you to measure 3/4 of your width, then add or subtract #". So confusing.

This is the best instruction I've seen regarding measuring elastic. So simple, no guessing involved. Thanks!

Posted: 12:04 am on June 30th
ontheround writes: Subversive Seamster is an awesome book! There are a ton of great ideas to re-vamp thrift store finds.
Posted: 9:28 am on June 8th
ShiningStar writes: This is very pretty. Most restyling/reconstruction projects I've seen are geared toward the very slim or very young. This project works for anyone. It would be good to see more of this. It's refreshing to see more restyling projects that work for all body types and ages.
Posted: 1:35 pm on May 9th
Laurel_Tuohy writes: *Sigh* These girls are endlessly stylish and inspiring...
Posted: 12:05 pm on April 22nd
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