Monday, 13 February 2017

Sew Along New Look 6871 - Week 2. The Yoke.

Ladies.....start your engines!

I've been dying to say that.  Small things, I know.

I hope everyone has had a fun 'Week One' and that you're happy with your progress so far.  Even if you feel you can't keep up, just enjoy the journey.....we all have a lifetime ahead to stitch, create, imagine, design and learn. What a gorgeous thought. 

Okay, let's get stuck into week two.  This post might be a bit long-winded but I want to ensure we don't lose our beginning sewists along the way.

Preparing to sew.

In the sewing directions on page 1 of the instruction sheet, the seam allowance is 5/8" or 1.5cm.  If you are not quite sure about being able to keep your seam allowance to that measurement or perhaps don't know if you can sew a consistent straight line, an easy thing to do is to place a piece of masking tape along the needle plate of your machine at the appropriate measurement to use as a guide. 

The tape I've used in this photo is from the painting section at Bunnings.  Painter's tape has less 'tack' as it's designed to be stuck on walls without removing the paint, so it shouldn't leave a sticky residue on your machine.


Interfacing is used to stiffen the lining/facing fabric of the yoke and provide stability to the garment.  It's really just a matter of personal preference, depending on the look you require and the stability of the fabric you are using. Think about whether you want to use interfacing on the yoke pieces.  I did for my blue dress as the fabric was quite fine, but usually I don't use it as I prefer garments to be lovely and soft.

Iron interfacing (if using) on to the wrong side of the yoke facings.  Ensure that the interfacings are cut marginally smaller than the facing piece or put some glad bake on your ironing board to prevent the interfacing sticking where it's not supposed to!  

Prepare the yoke.

This is your opportunity to add lace or embroidery to the yoke (step 2 on the instruction sheet), or perhaps you have decided to do a 'pieced' yoke as I have done in the following photo.


Set your machine at the longest stitch length (for my machine, that's 5) and sew two parallel lines just inside the seam allowance.  For those who haven't yet used their machine to sew gathering stitch, here is a great tutorial.

Gather fabric by pulling the two top threads on the right, ensuring that you only gather the fabric up enough to match the notches.

In the following photo you can see that there's not a great deal of gathering required and there's not a lot of fullness at the front.  Good for anyone who is not wanting to enhance the bust (I should be so lucky).

Pin securely so that the gathering doesn't slip when sewing.

Remember to keep notches matching.  This will ensure the gathers are neatly in the middle, where they're supposed to be.

Stitch along the seam allowance.  Placing the pins at this angle allows you to sew right up to the pinned fabric and also allows you to grasp them easily for removal.  Remember to put your machine back to regular stitch length, (for me that's about 2.5 to 3.0).

An alternative to gathering.

If anyone doesn't really like gathers, an alternative is to make a little inverted pleat just by folding the fabric in the centre taking up the full width of the excess and ensuring that the notches still match.

On the back yoke I've made two little pleats either side of the centre.  This will hopefully give a bit of room for movement across the shoulder blade area.

Attach facing to yoke.

Place facing and yoke right sides together and stitch all the way around the neck edge.

Layer seam.

At step 9 you are asked to 'layer seam'.  This means to cut away some of the fabric from one layer of the seam allowance, thereby reducing some of the bulk.  For this I use 'Duckbill' scissors which were originally designed for applique work I think.  These scissors have one blade that is larger so it's easier to see where the blades (and therefore fabric layers) are.  Somehow, for me, they reduce the chance of snipping fabric where it's not supposed to be snipped!


At step 9 you are also asked to 'understitch' the facing.  Understitching is a row of machine stitching which is done on the facing and seam allowance only and prevents the facings from rolling to the right side of the garment. There is a Professor Pincushion video here which explains how to understitch. 

In this photo the row of understitching is visible on the inside edge of the facing.  I've also tacked the facing down in preparation for ironing and securing the yoke. 

Secure yoke facing.

How you do this depends on whether you want to machine stitch or would prefer to hand stitch.  The instructions at step 10 suggest stitching 'close to lower edge of yokes, catching facing on inside'.  You can overlock or zig-zag the lower edge of the facing and machine stitch across.  I prefer to baste the armhole and neck edges to the facing to secure and then turn under a small hem on the bottom of the facing and hand stitch.  There are two reasons for this - one, I think it's much neater and two, I love hand stitching so I'm always looking for a little project to save until I sit down at the end of the day.

I find a good and clear way to pin is to put a small cutting board on the ironing board and lay the area to be pinned onto that.  The rest of the fabric can then drape down onto the floor and it's out of the way.  The cutting board prevents getting your garment pinned to the ironing board and it's a great height to work at.  

....and there you have it.  A bit of hand stitching and week two is done!

I'm slowly getting used to parking myself in front of this mirror with a camera, but I don't think I'll ever win any modelling competitions.  Not with wet hair anyway.  My gorgeous looks.....well that's another whole subject.  😊 

Next week we'll be tackling sleeves and bias binding.

Your tasks for this week.
  • Interface (if desired) and prepare yoke.
  • Stitch yoke to main body of garment. 

.........and finally, some words from Sonya Phillip of
"Making clothing is a conscious choice;  it is an investment of time over convenience.  The creation of a functional garment, engenders self-sufficiency and happiness.  Since it is perilous to compare what one makes to the immutable perfection of store-bought, in sewing for oneself it is the work itself and the recognition of flaws and gradual achievement of better skills as part of that work, that produces satisfaction."

Further Reading.

A youtube video on gathering.
Some hand stitching tips and techniques from Closet Case

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