The Skirt with a Yoke

Cotton voile skirt - photo by Kofi -

Family print fabric - Skirt with a yoke -

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 -

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.


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 -

… 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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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 -

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

Skirt with yoke - photo by Kofi -

Cotton voile skirt - photo by Kofi -

Cotton voile skirt - photo by Kofi -

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.


Author: Chuleenan

Chuleenan sews, collects hats and shoes, and is a fabric addict. She is also the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group.

13 thoughts on “The Skirt with a Yoke”

  1. Great tutorial that I shall be using! Love the pattern on your fabric, too. It’s totally an abstract version of The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. So cool!

  2. Ugh. I hope this doesn’t post twice. I just lost everything I typed. Here goes again… First, thx for your demo. Your skirt is beautiful! I’m about to gather a skirt from a yoke as well. When you did yours, did the lining also have basting/gathering stitches to pull or was the lining already basted to the skirt so you could gather the skirt and lining together as one piece? Also, I’m foggy on how you would line around the invisible zipper next time. Yours looks pretty darn good to me as it is here. I’ll take any advice you haveM I’ve never done this before! Pardon if this does post twice!

  3. Hello! Thx for the demo. Love your skirt! Especially the fabric! I’m about to make a skirt with a yoke that will need lining so I’ve studied the steps you took to do the same. My questions are: before you gathered the skirt and the lining while pinned together, did the lining pieces also have gathering basting stitches that you pulled to gather? Or did you gather the skirt and lining layers basted together as one? I’m a bit foggy on how you would’ve done the lining around invisible zipper differently. Yours looks pretty good to me! I’ll take any advice you have. I’ve never done this before! Thx!

    1. Hi, thanks for your comments! I just looked at the skirt lining and there was some gathering in the lining but not very much compared to to the skirt. From what I recallI, each piece was gathered separately, then pinned and adjusted. The lining fabric had slight gathering. Hope that helps.! I can look at the pattern instructions again if you need more info.

  4. C,

    I reallly like this fabric! You look pretty.

    “Do you have any favorite skirt patterns?”

    For now I do, Brussels Skirt, no. 1105,

    “Do you favor an A-line style, gathered, pleated or straight skirt?”

    It all depends. I lean toward straighter skirts being a size 20; especially for business or the ministry. Yet, I notice, like right now, I have on a three tiered skirt that is comfy and quite lovely. I am so in love with the Edwardian skirts and you now they are straight as a board.

    1. Thank you! The skirt was so busy and bright I thought it needed something basic on top. I thought of pairing it with a red top but that just seemed a bit much. 😉

  5. I love it! Such great colors!

    I’ve added a bit of elastic near the top (between the fabric and the lining) just to the back edge before to help keep a skirt in place a little better. The elastic just needs to be slightly smaller (maybe an inch less) than the length of the fabric edge and tacked in the seam allowance at center back and side seams.

    1. Thank you! And thanks for the tip about elastic. I could do this after the fact, right? I could just hand sew some elastic in place. I’ve got the zipper in the back so I could have two pieces of elastic – between center back and left side seam and then between center back and right side. 🙂

      1. Yes, you can do two pieces of elastic. =)

        You can also cut a little vertical hole in the lining to slide it in and then just zig over the hole and catch the “tails”. That’s how I’ve helped my sister fix worn-out elastic in her kids’ clothes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.