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. ūüėČ

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. ūüėČ

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?

Making a Dress from the Book: BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern

Construction Details A
Clockwise from top left: Muslin of bodice, pinning darts in fashion fabric and lining, pinning fashion fabric and lining at neckline, attaching neck and armhole facings to lining

In December I bought the book BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern at a sewing event at Britex Fabrics and I had also interviewed the author, Jamie Lau. Naturally, I had to make something from the book! And when BurdaStyle announced a sewing contest using a pattern from the book, I had some incentive to get going. But first I had to think about what to make and wrote here about my initial criteria and what I was considering. After I looked over the fabric in my stash, I knew that making a dress from the book would be my best option.

At first I thought I would use the pattern for the Jamie Shift Dress because I had some great wool crepe that I could color block. But it would have taken me a lot more time (and muslins!) to adjust the pattern so it would be more flattering to my curvy figure.

So I finally decided to use the master pattern for the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress. It’s from the chapter that features fashions from the 1950s, an era when dresses had full skirts and women wore crinolines.

Audrey Hepburn in the 1957 film Funny Face

This pattern has a square neckline but I decided to give it more of a boat neck, which is a style I really like. That neckline always makes me think of Audrey Hepburn and the dress she wore in the 1957 film Funny Face, which also stars Fred Astaire who plays a fashion photographer.

To change the neckline of the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress, I traced the neckline of the Jamie Shift Dress but made it wider at the shoulders.

I made one muslin of the bodice but once I tried it on I realized I made it too wide. It didn’t look right and my bra straps showed. So I traced out another pattern but only made it about an inch wider than the Jamie neckline — much better!

My other adjustment to the bodice was that I decided to line it. The pattern uses facings. So using my muslin, I cut out the bodice twice – once from my fashion fabric, which I got from Discount Fabrics in San Francisco, and a second time from my lining fabric (a lovely Bemberg rayon lining from Britex).

I pinned and sewed the front and back darts on all the pieces and then I pinned the neck and armhole facings to my lining front and back. My fashion fabric has a soft hand and I wanted it to give it a little more stiffness around the sleeves. I used a very lightweight interfacing on the facings.

Next I attached front and back at the shoulders of the lining version and the fashion fabric. To put the two pieces together, I followed the clear instructions in the tutorial “How to Line a Sleeveless Dress,” which I found on the blog Blithe Stitches. Though my dress wasn’t exactly sleeveless and it also had a side zipper, the directions still worked for me.

Tomorrow I’ll be writing more about how I finished lining the bodice, dealing with the side invisible zipper, and additional construction details.

In the meantime, you can see more photos of the dress on my BurdaStyle project page¬†and you can vote for my dress here. My ¬†dress is one of 20 finalists in the contest! So please check out the contest entries and if you’re a member you can cast your vote. It’s free to join!

 

Sewing Contests – Updated 2/18/2013

I’ve never entered any sewing contests before but I hope to enter my first one this year – the BurdaStyle Vintage Modern Sewing Contest. It’ll help me keep to my sewing resolution – to make, not buy clothes this year.

I decided that if I’m going to make something for a contest, it needed to meet the following criteria: 1. I would be making something I would wear; 2. the garment would use fabric from my stash; and 3. ¬†I would gain more sewing skills.

To help me decide, I flipped through the book BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern, looking at the designs and the recommended fabrics. I wanted something that would be relatively easy to make, allow for some creativity, and use my stash. (When the contest was first announced last month, the deadline was in early February so I needed to make sure I’d have enough time to make something. The deadline is now February 15 – yay more time!)

Clockwise from top left: cotton voile, cotton sateen, wool crepe, denim
Clockwise from top left: a pretty cotton voile, cotton sateen, “plaid” wool crepe, denim (really a dark denim, not grey)

I saw that some dresses used silk charmeuse so I crossed those off my list (only silk I have on hand is velvet or sheer, no charmeuse). But there were a few garments that would use some of my stash: a top (cotton voile), a 1950s dress (cotton sateen), 1960s dress (wool crepe), and a cool pair of bell-bottom pants (cotton denim).

At first I thought I would tackle the pretty top, which has a really nice lace detail. But it does require some pattern making. You use the bodice from a dress pattern in the book and then make several adjustments, following the step-by-step instructions, to make the pattern. (To read more about the book, check out my interview with its author Jamie Lau.)

I did start drafting it but then I decided I didn’t have enough time to complete that pattern, make a muslin to check the fit, etc. I don’t have any experience with pattern drafting – the most I’ve done with a pattern is take a vintage pattern and grade it up a size.

So decided to switch to the Jamie Shift Dress – a 1960s style dress with simple lines. I went to Loehmann’s and tried on a couple sleeveless shift dresses to see if that style would suit my figure. (The store is a block from my office and they have plenty of designer duds.) Most of them looked OK but the necklines on some of them didn’t look so great because of my broad shoulders. But I thought I could make it work.

I traced the pattern for the Jamie Shift Dress a couple weeks ago. Before I cut the muslin, I adjusted the waist a size smaller, which is what I usually need to do with patterns. (Depending on my mood, I view that as: A. my waist is too small for my hips or B. my hips are too big for my waist – at least according to so-called standard sizes.)

I have this very nice wool crepe with a black-and-white plaid pattern on it (see photo above). And I got very excited about making the dress half plaid and half solid black. I also decided that I would line it instead of using a facing. I would just use the pattern from the dress to make the lining.

Though I already have some black wool crepe it seemed like it was of a lesser weight than the plaid so I splurged and went to Britex Fabrics and bought a remnant of solid black imported from Italy (with imported prices too!).

MuslinLast weekend I put together a muslin – complete with invisible zipper and lining.¬†However when I tried my muslin on, I was kinda swimming in it and it dawned on me that it’s really a style more suited to a thin person with no hips (uh, so not me). Some of the dresses I tried on at Loehmann’s had darts in them, which I should have remembered. (sigh) this dress only has bust darts, no curves.

Nevertheless, I really like the idea of color blocking so I want to make it work. I’m in the midst of adjusting the pattern to make it curve more to my body instead of being so straight up and down.

I also used some of the black wool crepe (not the expensive Italian remnant from Britex) in my stash to make a second muslin with an adjusted neckline – more of a boatneck showing all of my collarbone. I also wanted to practice sewing the invisible zipper and see what problems I could have with lining it. I’ve only lined vests and a jacket. I tried¬†bemberg lining¬†and no facing¬†to see how that would work.

The problem is that I can’t understitch all the way around the neckline and because wool crepe has such a drape to it, you can tell where the understitching ends. I’ve been contemplating using a facing and lining, using a lining that’s closer in weight to the crepe, or using the facing pattern to cut out some interfacing and attach that to the lining.

On Twitter, @bydaiyami¬†of Sisters Are Making It For Themselves told me “Facing+lining probably the official way. Lining has to drape similarly, but no need for same weight, IMO.” @Tantisis¬† of Tanit-Isis Sews agreed and added “Although I far prefer sewing a heavier lining. Facing will keep the lining from showing at the arms, too.”

@bydaiyami also suggested that I check out a Threads article on quick lining, which you can find here. After reading that article I think I’ll go with facing and lining – just sew the facing on the lining.

Now I need to draft a pattern that curves more and has back and front darts.

Napkin sketchI made these sketches on a napkin at dinner last night – trying to keep the ’60s flavor but make it curve more. ¬†If it doesn’t work out, my backup plan is to make the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress, which is more suited to my body.

Have you ever entered any sewing contests? What was that experience like? Did you like it? Love it Hate it?

UPDATE 2/18/2013 — I decided I didn’t have enough time to make modifications to the Jamie Shift Dress in order to finish a garment by my deadline of February 9. I gave myself that deadline because I found a photographer willing to photograph me in exchange for a garment I would make for her. I did make the Elizabeth Gathered-Waist Dress, which worked out really well. I made a few modification, which you can read about in my contest entry here.