Yoke? Or not Yoked?


June 10, 2013 by Janna Roznos

I am currently working on my next garment for my 2013 Challenge: Sew-A-Garment-from-each-issue-of-Burda-Style-Magazine.

This garment is from June the issue.  Yet another blouse.  I like blouses; I like blouses better than T-shirts although I do have a lot of T-shirts.

The biggest fit issue I have with a blouse or any top, for that matter, is that I have a rounded back.

 Image from Sandra Betzina's book, Fast Fit.

Image from Sandra Betzina’s book, Fast Fit.


I don’t really have a dowager’s hump.


Image from Palmer/Pletsch Fit for Real People

Image from Palmer/Pletsch Fit for Real People

But, I do have a rounded back from years of sitting in front of a computer and, of course, sitting in front of a sewing machine. Also, I spent my youth as a competitive swimmer.  Okay, so the last one may be a little far fetched, but if my mother was here she would have told you that.

Anyway, one of the alterations that I do (there are several pattern alterations for a rounded back) is that I add a yoke on the back of the blouse.

The back of my blouse

The back of my blouse

This way I can get a nice fit from the neck down over my shoulders and then the lower back I add a box pleat so I have amble room over my hips.  I also sew two yoke pieces (one on the inside of the garment and one on the outside garment) for added strength at the shoulders and where the yokes meet the back pleated portion and I nice finished look inside and out.

Image from Singer Sewing for Style

Image from Singer Sewing for Style

This construction technique is illustrated in lots of different sewing books and it is a common industry standard especially in men’s shirts. So I get a great fitting blouse but also a nicely constructed blouse too.

The downside of this is that a seam runs across the back, which in a busy fabric or a plain fabric may not be an issue, but if I wanted to fabric design to run down the length of the back than I would need to do some pattern matching.

But while I was at Contemporary Crafts Market last weekend I saw a blouse with this design which may resolve redrafting a blouse pattern to add a yoke, but still get the same fit.

My sketch of the back of  a blouse.

My sketch of the back of a blouse.

I didn’t take a cell phone pic of it (I never do) but just wait to come home and draw it out.

I don’t remember what the front of the blouse looked like, because quite frankly it didn’t impress me much, but the back and this nifty inverted pleat did.

Rather than making a yoke and a pleated back like I have done on this blouse, this design allows the fitting for the rounded back in the depth of the pleat and then it is released where the additional room is needed – just like the bottom of the yoke and the pleated back.  My next blouse may have this design.  I just need to work out the details in some muslin and see if this will give me the same fit as that of a yoke.


This is why I like going to craft shows.  I always see some new design that I can try and incorporate into my own garments.  You never know when inspiration will strike.

2 thoughts on “Yoke? Or not Yoked?

  1. Tia Dia says:

    I like your sketch. I’ve not really paid any attention to the back of my shoulders/neck area when I’m sewing for myself, but having read several posts about this very fitting issue over the last few weeks, it’s in the forefront of my mind when it comes to fitting my next garment. I love the fabric of your first top. Love paisley!

  2. Gjeometry says:

    Hmmm, I think I may have a rounded back as well. I’m learning all kinds of, uhhh, anomalies that my body appears to have now that I’ve started sewing. I’m not really enjoying that part, but it is necessary to create the proper fit!!

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