DIY Detachable Peplum Skirt

Versatile, irresistible—you basically have to do this.

One of my favorite things in life is when one thing can be worn over another thing to make it look completely different. Detachable peplum skirts are perfect for exactly that! Take a plain pencil skirt, for example—add detachable peplum and, what do you know, that skirt isn’t so plain anymore. I also think it looks pretty cool when worn over a pair of shorts or form-fitting jeans. And this is not something you should spend a lot of money on, because on top of being versatile, it’s reasonably simple to make. Today I’m gonna show you how.

You’ll need:

  • A large piece of paper for making the skirt pattern. I used freezer paper because of its size and dispensability, but you could also use newspaper.
  • Pencil/pen
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • One yard of fabric. Circular skirts generally work well with all types of fabric, so choose whatever material you want.
  • Sewing machine
  • Sew-on snaps, buttons, or a badge

Making the pattern:

1. The first thing you’ll need to do is jot down some measurements. Start by taking your waist measurement, or the measurement of the part of your waist where you want the skirt to sit. Add another two inches to this number for seam allowance, and divide that number by six to get the radius of your waistline opening, which is that doughnut hole you see in the fabric a few steps below. For example, my waist measurement is 28 inches, so I divided 30 by six to get a final measurement of five.

2. Take your measuring tape, place it diagonally from the upper left-hand corner of the paper, and with a pen, mark where your radius measurement hits.

3. Keeping the measuring tape aligned with the corner of the paper, continue marking that measurement at different points on the paper, like you see me doing above.

4. Connect each of these points to form a curved edge.

5. Use a similar technique to measure and mark a ½-inch wide seam allowance. Take the measuring tape and make these marks above the line of the waistline curve, and connect them to form a second curve.

6. From the waistline curve (the outer line), measure and mark the desired length for the peplum. I found six inches to be a good length, and I added half an inch for seam allowance.

7. Keep the top of the measuring tape lined up with the waistline curve, and continue marking the skirt-length measurement at different points. You see where this is going, right? So yes, go ahead and connect all the marks to form yet another curve. This will be the hem.

8. Now you’ve got your peplum pattern! Cut it out along the inner- and outermost curves and move on to the next step.

Cutting the fabric:

1. Fold your fabric into quarters—once vertically, and once horizontally—and line up the peplum pattern with the two folded sides. Pin the pattern in place and cut along the edges of it, at the top and bottom.

2. After you unfold the peplum, you should have a circular piece of fabric like this. There will be creases where the folds of the fabric were. Cut along one of these creases with scissors.

3. Now it’s time to make the waistband. For this you’ll need to take some of the remaining fabric and fold it in half. Then decide how thick you want the waistband to be, and double that measurement. (You’re going to fold the waistband in half when you sew it to your peplum skirt.) For example, I wanted my waistband to be 1½-inches thick, so here my measurement is going to be three inches. Measure from the selvage (aka the finished edge of the fabric) and mark with a pencil.

The width of the waistband will depend on your waistline measurement. Seeing as my waist measurement came to 30 inches with the seam allowance, I divided that measurement in half (15) and marked the fabric. Cut along the dotted lines shown above according to your measurements. When I unfolded my fabric, it was 3 x 30 inches.

You should have two pieces of fabric that look like this. Now you can start assembling the whole thing!

Making the skirt:

1. With the printed side of the waistband facing down, line up the raw edge of the waistband (the edge that you cut as opposed to the selvage) with the waist of the peplum. Pin together and sew about a ½-inch away from the raw edges. It can be a little tricky to sew a straight edge (your waistband) to a curved edge (the peplum waistline), but I find that if you just use a ton of sewing pins, you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

2. Once you have the waistband attached to the skirt, keep the printed side of the skirt facing down, and pin and sew a ¼-inch hem on each unfinished side of the peplum.

3. Fold the waistband over and line up the edge with the waistline seam from step one. Pin in place.

4. Once you have your waistband pinned in place, it should look like this.

5. Use the machine’s presser feet (the part that looks like two little appendages and presses the cloth to the table of the machine) as a guide to sew the waistband down about ¼-inch away from the edge (where you see the dotted lines above).

6. The very last bit of sewing you’ll need to do is hemming the skirt. With the printed side facing down (not pictured), fold the hem over about half an inch. Pin it in place and sew. Since the hem of the skirt is circular, it will likely ripple a little after it’s been sewn. To flatten, press the hem with a hot iron.

Before you can officially call this skirt finished, you’ll need to add some type of closure to the waistband. There are a bunch of different ways you can go about doing this. You can sew on some snaps, or a button if you feel comfortable creating a buttonhole. You can also simply fasten the two ends of the waistband together with a badge and call it a day. This is exactly what I did. It isn’t permanent, but it works just as well as the other options, and you can coordinate it with your skirt or the rest of your outfit.

That’s all there is to it! Now all you have to do is try it on and see how utterly fabulous you look in your new ~*handmade*~ peplum skirt. ♦


  • Mary the freak February 14th, 2013 3:16 PM

    Yay! This is so awesome! Marlena, your DIYs are amazing.

  • darksideoftherainbow February 14th, 2013 3:22 PM

    the diy on rookie is out of control. seriously, every FREAKIN idea/tutorial is amazing. i love you guys so much! i’m doing this ASAP. also, everything is always so easy to follow. rookie rocks my world!

  • JoanaNielsen February 14th, 2013 3:31 PM

    This is an awesome tutorial! I’ve never tought of doing a detachable peplum! It really can change an entire outfit! Thank you!

  • katiestarrynight February 14th, 2013 3:34 PM

    This is awesome! Love the DIYs!
    Katie xx

  • whatever February 14th, 2013 4:05 PM

    oh my god marlena you are so amazing. i’m so doing this with my “very hungry catterpillar” fabric.

  • hellyrey February 14th, 2013 4:24 PM

    Sweet! I will definitely give this a try.

  • hiraari February 14th, 2013 5:02 PM

    AAAH YESSS!!!! I always wanted a peplum, thank you so much marlena, always loving your tutorials!

  • love_soup February 14th, 2013 5:28 PM

    Love this! (But I’d trade the skirt for that tank top any day :)

  • Tyknos93 February 14th, 2013 6:49 PM

    Okay, I got a sewing machine for Christmas and it’s REALLY nice, but I’m such a novice I’m afraid I’ll screw everything up…but I think this’ll be my first project. I have about a yard of really cute fabric this will be perfect for.

  • Jacklyn February 14th, 2013 7:08 PM


  • AmyL February 14th, 2013 7:24 PM

    This is literally the most perfect thing I have seen EVAR.

  • periwinkle_dreams February 14th, 2013 8:25 PM

    This is so cool! I can sew, but I don’t really know how to use patterns. But this looks pretty doable, so now I’m wondering, if I just make the skirt length longer, will I end up with a nice little circle skirt?

    • Marlena February 14th, 2013 10:50 PM

      Yeah, totally! You’ll need a lot more than 1 yard of fabric to make a full-size circle skirt, though. Depending on your size you’ll need at least 2 yards, maybe 3.

  • StrawberryTwist February 15th, 2013 1:13 AM

    This is so ADORABLE!!! If only I knew how to sew… hahah :)

  • Gabby February 15th, 2013 6:15 PM

    Marlena, you’re a genius! Be my best friend!

  • aidee February 18th, 2013 7:13 PM


  • Toile La La February 19th, 2013 11:26 AM

    This Rookie peplum skirt tutorial by Marlena is fantastic… and the other DIY fashion looks just as exciting.

    Love the transformational/convertible aspect of the peplum skirt.

    I had an idea for a variation of Marlena’s peplum… it could be made reversible. Pick two fabrics, cut out the pattern twice. Sew right side to right side, turn wrong side to wrong side (so the pretty fabrics show again), iron the joining seam at the bottom and add a row of stitching 1″ from the lower edge – to add weight to the hem). Finish the waistband. An interesting button-pin is an easy way to close the skirt.

    Now, when you want a quick fashion-change, just flip the skirt. When the wind blows, or when you’re dancing – both fabrics show.

    Going to mention the Rookie DIYs to all the new fashion-artists.

  • Liz Thrash February 21st, 2013 12:32 AM


  • Liz Thrash February 21st, 2013 12:35 AM

    Troubleshooting: I used a thicker fabric so i had issues with my skirt poofing unevenly. Luckly I have sewing experience so i knew to apply ease to my sewing allowance so that it would look “normal.” If anyone else has issues with using thicker fabrics and notices it looks weird try easing the seem allowance, because it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

  • itsaoifedahling February 27th, 2013 12:13 PM

    I’m reeeally bad at sewing but I’ll give it a try anyways :) wish me luck! :)

  • Sea goddess March 11th, 2013 11:05 PM

    I just did one today!!! It’s gonna be my bff’s bday present!! Awesome and simple instructions Rookie <3

  • This is my Alias May 22nd, 2013 5:37 PM

    this is for crafty people who can meausre accuratley and got an A in math (not me!!)