The Skirt with a Yoke

Family print fabric - Skirt with a yoke - csews.com

Great colors and cool Art Deco-like design – that was my first reaction when I saw this cotton voile at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I thought it was an abstract swirly motif, which is what made me want to get it. Later I realized that it was a family. Yep. Look at it and you’ll see that there’s a mother, father, and baby – check out the slippered foot towards the bottom of each family. This discovery made me like it less so I put it in the closet, where it languished for about two years before I finally decided to make this skirt with a yoke.

Butterick B5756 cotton voile skirt with a yoke - csews.com

I’m glad I finally made something out of the fabric! I like it a lot more than I did before I stuck it in the closet. 😉

I started this skirt back in August and finally finished it in September. I posted about the pocket but I got caught up in my Fall for Cotton project (My Fall for Cotton Project Is Finished!) and writing about this skirt got put on the back burner. The photo at the top is from How to Add a Patch Pocket to a Skirt.

Folks who follow my Instagram feed have seen the various stages of putting it together. I wrote about the lining – Bemberg Lining for a Skirt – a while ago. But I ended up getting regular rayon, not Bemberg because that was what was available. (Note: Bemberg is a high-quality rayon with the feel of silk. It’s breathable, which is why high-end designers like to use it in their garments. Also rayon doesn’t generate static like silk and poly can, which is what makes it a better lining for a skirt. You can read a brief history of Bemberg here at the Fabric and Buttons website of Waechter’s Fine Fabrics.)

The skirt pattern is Butterick B5756, which is still available – though not for long as its current sale price is $4.99 on the Butterick site. I cut size 16.

Materials

Butterick 5756 – $1 (on sale at Joann’s)
3.5 yards of cotton voile – approximately $50 (I got 4 yards of it on sale a couple of years ago from Britex Fabrics. I can’t remember what I paid for it but it wasn’t cheap. I used more than the recommended yardage to match the pattern.)
1.5 yards of rayon lining – $15
zipper – $2 (pattern calls for a regular zipper, I used invisible)
hook & eye
matching thread
fusible stay tape (optional, my addition)

The cool thing about making a gathered skirt with a yoke is that you only need to make a muslin of the yoke. You can just adjust the gathering that goes below to make it bigger or smaller. How easy is that?

muslin of skirt yoke - B5756

I put the muslin yoke around my waist, held it together in the back and saw that it fit. I thought I might need to add more to the hips but there’s a lot of ease in this pattern so I didn’t need to make any adjustments. It was a little loose, but I thought that would be OK because I like skirts a little low in the waist. A zipper goes in the center back, which is why there are two separate pieces for the back yoke.

Here are the pattern pieces for the yoke. You cut two of each piece because the yoke is “self-lined” with the fashion fabric. The gathered skirt has its own lining.

Skirt yoke B5756 pattern pieces

This rayon was rather slippery so I made a “muslin sandwich” to cut it. I prewashed both the fashion fabric and the lining in cold water.

Sandwich lining fabric between muslin

My sandwich worked out pretty well but I should have used more pins. The popcorn was good too – nothing like snacking and sewing!

Cutting the lining fabric

Cutting rayon lining between muslin

I thought this could be a good time to try out the Japanese fusible stay tape I bought from Sandra Betzinger at the Pattern Review Weekend in San Francisco earlier this year. I wanted to reinforce the fabric around the zipper. This stay tape is more of a medium weight so I probably should have used something that was lightweight.

Fusible tape on zipper area

For this skirt, you sew the gathering stitches in the fashion fabric, then you pin and baste it to the lining, and then gather the top edge of the skirt.

Pinned and basted gathering at top of skirt

Then you sew the skirt to the yoke – leaving the center back open for the zipper. I didn’t think about how sewing the lining to the yoke would affect how the invisible zipper would look on the inside – not very neat. If I make this skirt again, I’ll have to remember to stop sewing 5/8″ from both ends when attaching the lining to the gathered fabric…

Yoke, lining & zipper - csews.com

… to avoid having it look like this. Or I guess you could add another 1/2″ to both sides of the lining in the zipper area so it could cover part of the zipper. I just didn’t feel like unpicking all the stitches (including a bit of the gathering) from that bit of lining behind the zipper. So I left it  as is. No one can see it anyway – except if they see it here. 😉

Zipper & lining - csews.com

Here’s what it looks like on the right side. I was slightly off where the center back seams meet. But I don’t think it’s too noticeable because the fabric is busy!

Invisible zipper on skirt - csews.com

I really do like this skirt – even though the fabric is far busier than what I typically wear. I like the pocket I added but putting anything heavy in it weighs down the skirt because it’s a lightweight fabric and there is no waistband. I just put one pocket on the right side, which you can see here.

Butterick 5756 skirt with a yoke - photo by Kofi - csews.com

For some reason, my husband tends to cut off my feet in some photos. I think this is the only back view I’ve got.

Back of skirt - csews.com

The lining! I’m glad I went with red instead of blue. Thanks to Brooke of Custom Style, Catja of Gjeometry and Samina of Sew Everything for chiming in on that post!

Skirt lining - photo by Kofi - csews.com

And here are more photos from that warm September day in Berkeley.

Skirt with yoke - photo by Kofi - csews.com

Cotton voile skirt - photo by Kofi - csews.com

Cotton voile skirt - photo by Kofi - csews.com

The skirt is a bit loose at the waist so when I walk, it shifts a bit so I have to pay attention and make sure the side seam doesn’t move to the front. That’s a little annoying. If I use this pattern again, I could bring it about an inch for a closer fit. I have this same problem with some bias cut skirts I’ve made too. These are all skirts without waistbands so maybe that’s part of the problem. Have you had this issue with any skirts you’ve made? What did you do to fix it? I’ve thought about adding a little rubberized strip along the side seam at the hip but I haven’t tried that yet.

I do like my skirts to have some ease – then I don’t have to worry about things getting tight after a full meal and dessert. Heheh.

Do you have any favorite skirt patterns? Do you favor an A-line style, gathered, pleated or straight skirt? I like patterns with full skirts because they look best with my hips and because I have a big stride when I walk. Straight skirts aren’t really my thing unless I can walk in them without shortening my stride.

 

Bemberg Lining for a Skirt

B5756
Butterick B5756

I’m making a skirt using this Butterick pattern (B5756), which I got a while ago. I like skirts with a yoke. I’m making version C (the green skirt pictured, at right, on the pattern illustration) but a couple inches longer because I like a mid-calf length. My fabric is a cotton voile, which I got at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco – on one of its rare sale days last year. I knew I wanted some Bemberg lining, which is breathable and anti-static. (To read more about why it makes such an excellent lining check out Bemberg-the King of Linings at Tailor on Ten.)

Earlier this week, I took a break from work and popped into Britex to choose a skirt lining color. (Lucky me – I can walk from my office to Britex in about 12 minutes.) I left my swatch at home but I had a photo of the fabric on my phone – granted the colors wouldn’t be exact but hey, it’s a lining color.

Family fabric

I told the salesperson that I was thinking of going with a light yellow to match the background color of my fashion fabric, this cotton voile, which has an Art Deco look to it. (If you look closely you can see a family there. The darker blue is the hair of the parents.)

But he told me that a lighter color would just wash out the colors. I asked him what color he would recommend and he said he’d go with the darkest color – the blue.

“Would that affect the the colors – like make the yellow look green?” I asked.

“No, I’ve done this before,” he said. “It won’t affect the color. Besides you don’t want a light color because it’ll get dirty.”

All excellent points, eh? I’ve only lined a few things: a wool jacket, some vests, and hats – and all those things were with medium-weight fabric, not a lightweight fabric like voile.

So then I thought, OK if I go with a darker color, then how about red? So he pulled out a couple reds, one was more orangey so we rejected that. Then he cut some swatches, which I then took home with me.

Here are the swatches, which Britex staples to a nice card.

Swatches

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s what the fabric looks like with this white fabric behind it. It does seem a little washed out.

Fabric against white (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here it is with blue against it:

Fabric against blue (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here it is with the red.

Fabric against red (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m leaning towards the red. Which color would you pick to line this skirt? Blue or red?

Using Rick Rack to Trim a Skirt

Rick rack reminds me of childhood. It seems like a quaint trim but it can add a nice accent to skirt or jacket – especially when you only have the botom of its scalloped edge visible along the hem.

I bought this long grey skirt a while ago and I decided that if I wanted to keep wearing it I had to change the look. I had some giant rick rack (1.5 inches wide is pretty huge), which I bought when I was in Los Angeles a couple months ago. So I thought, why not add it to my boring skirt?

One evening I just basted it in place and then hand sewed the rick rack on the skirt. The place where the two ends joined wasn’t exactly seamless but I think it turned out OK. The ends join on the side so you don’t really notice it.

Here are some details of the steps I took.

Basting rick rack – wrong side view
Basting rick rack – right side view
Here’s where the rick rack joins at the side seam.