This yoke top, designed by Lauren Guthrie has been on my ‘to-do’ list since seeing it in Issue 5 of Love Sewing magazine in September last year. I wanted to wait until the Spring to make it and as the post title implies, I finished it recently, just after the Easter weekend. Just in time for this lovely weather we
are were having!
The skill level is described in the magazine as 3 hearts (think it might be on a scale from 1-3) which I would agree – it was challenging in parts. I recall the need for some Vienetta eating and watching of The Bachelor at one point! Everyone needs some guilty pleasures right?!
The bodice can either be gathered at the seam line with the yoke as shown in the main magazine picture or it can be pleated. What attracted me to the pattern, apart from it being a really pretty top, is that it offers a lot of opportunity for customising in terms of mixing and matching fabrics, piping etc. So many ideas!
Fabric and notions
I bought the fabric that I used for the bodice and collar from Guthrie and Ghani (a coincidence that it happens to be from her shop – not an intentional part of the garment plan!). I bought about 1 1/2 metres of it at the time as didn’t know what to make with it but just loved it.
On a return visit to G & G I had decided on my design of my yoke top – a contrasting yoke section with piping along the horizontal seam. I chose this plain blue cotton for the yoke, some pale blue bias binding for the piping and some yellow bias binding for finishing under the arm holes.
I did originally plan to have the collar blue aswell but I made a hash of cutting out the pieces from the blue fabric and didn’t leave myself enough to cut the collar out on the bias – so I used the patterned fabric for the collar instead (which actually I rather like!).
So here it is…
I was very baffled when I came to work out what size to cut as I could not find a size chart in the magazine or printed on the template pattern sheet. A quick google on the Love Sewing website gave me the information that I needed – it looks to me as though the size chart was an omission in the magazine. Here is the link to the size chart on their website.
I cut a size 10 from the pattern – you will see later that I needed to make some adjustments at the end as it did turn out too big for me.
I followed the pattern instructions to sew the 2 side seams as French seams. I have only sewn French seams once before when using chiffon. For those of you who might not know, French seams are a way of sewing a seam so that the raw edges are fully enclosed. They are useful for working with lightweight fabrics and also give a very tidy finish! It feels quite strange to begin with as you actually sew the first part of the seam with the wrong sides of the fabric together, not the right sides together. I won’t attempt to explain them but Tilly and the Buttons has done a good tutorial on them here. I did take some pics though to demonstrate…
It appears that there are different suggestions about how much seam allowance to include in the first and second seams. I used 2/8″ in the first seam and then 3/8″ in the second. I think it depends on how much seam/bulk you want showing on the inside of the garment. As long as you take this into consideration and they both add up to the total seam allowance in the pattern (in this case 5/8″) then you will be ok. Hope this makes sense! What I can also tell you about French seams is that it does make it more tricky to adjust the fit at the sides at a later stage, as I found out…….(more on that later!).
This was the first time I had used bias binding to finish off armhole edges (an alternative method to using facings) so thought I’d include a couple of pics of how I did this…
The next stage is working from inside the garment, to sew along the inner edge of the bias binding to secure it and fully enclose the raw edge (as I am about to do in the second picture above). I started to sew with yellow thread as that matched the binding, but then I realised that I didn’t want the yellow to show up on the outside of the garment. Equally if I used blue thread, that would show up on the yellow bias binding and potentially look even worse. A lightbulb moment occurred (may seem a simple step to some but took a while for me!) to use yellow thread in the top spool of my machine and blue thread in the bobbin – best of both worlds! You might be able to see this here…just…
And hey presto this is the result…
Gorgeous!!! Little did I know that I would have to unpick these beauties later on to adjust the fit….. 🙁
Collar, yoke and piping
I love the design of the collar. It lies really nicely and is such a lovely feature. I did find the construction of the collar and yoke quite challenging but taking it step by step I managed it. The piping insertion along the seam went ok but finishing off the edges at the armholes and trying to conceal them neatly was tricky for me and wasn’t particularly great in my opinion (don’t look too closely!).
The pattern uses 4 buttons but I think I used slightly bigger buttons so chose to use 3. I opted for self covered buttons like I did in my Delphine skirt which you can read about here– you will realise I am a fan of these buttons!
I did have some issues with the fit of the back of the yoke but realised this after sewing my buttonholes so had no option but to move the buttons over a bit. I did however still want to maintain a vaguely straight line of buttons (!!) so there is still a little excess in fabric at the back.
The final fit and adjustments
Once completed I did the done thing and wore it continuously for a few days! It did however feel a bit on the big side under the arm holes and around the bodice. I could have totally left it at that as it wasn’t a major issue but for me I find that clothes that are a bit more fitted seem to flatter my body shape more, particularly around the middle. And as i am somewhat of a perfectionist, I wanted to be totally happy with it. The picture below from the first set of pictures taken probably shows what I am talking about?
So I chose to take in the top at the side seams. Remember those lovely French seams and bias binding under the arm holes – that was what I had to take apart and hence the sad face! This was a bit of a faff (lesson learnt on making a toile next time!). To summarise, after unpicking the bias binding over both side seams and unpicking the French seams I took in the sides (can’t remember exactly how much but felt like quite a bit). I chose to do a straight forward seam this time and overlocked the raw edges. I snipped a section out of the centre of the bias binding, sewed the 2 ends together and reattached the binding. All in all I think i did quite a good job and although it doesn’t look as intended by the pattern, it could have actually meant to be like that!
And I am now much happier with the fit – PHEW! Anyone thinking “can’t tell the difference?”…don’t go there… I can!
- Make a toile to check the fit! It’s so disappointing when you have to unpick all of those lovely pieces of sewing – something which you could have avoided doing by taking more time initially to check the fit. However I am absolutely still learning and getting the right fit is one of my biggest challenges and areas for learning. I haven’t actually made a toile yet but have plans to make a jacket soon so will definitely be attempting to do one for that!
- Try the pleated variation and maybe omit the piping (but I do love piping!).
Well if anyone is still here reading then well done to you! I am so looking forward to wearing this top more when the weather hopefully sorts itself out! I have been wearing it with a white cardigan which looks really nice and ‘Summery’.
Has anyone else sewn this lovely top and how did you find the sew?
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