May 23, 2016

Lekala 4456 Blouse Sew-Along #3: Darts and yokes

Previously: Part 1 - Part 2

You're still hangin' in there. I like your style, babe. Ready to tackle the third installment of our six-part series? We'll be assembling the front and back pieces.

Today's Agenda:

  • Sew darts on front and back (5 minutes)
  • Sew center back seam (10 minutes)
  • Attach back yoke with lining (10 minutes)
  • Attach front yoke with lining (15 minutes)
  • Add welts (15 minutes)
  • Sew the shoulder seams (10 minutes)

Altogether, today's session will take about 1 hour and 5 minutes to complete.

Sew darts on front and back (5 minutes)

Darts? Gotta mark 'em before sewing. Good thing we already did
Pinch the fabric together, lining up the dart markings on both sides.
It's a little tricky to pinch  together the long fisheye darts in back, but you'll do fine.
Pin along the seam line of the dart. As you poke each pin through the fabric, make sure it follows the dart markings on both sides, for the entire length of the pin. This helps keep everything precise, especially where the points of the darts become really skinny and the fabric wants to roll one way or the other when you sew it.
My slender little pins look almost like basting thread, don't they?
Sew along the dart markings, removing each pin just before the needle reaches it. Press the darts with your steam iron. We have achieved dartfulness!

Sew center back seam (10 minutes)

Layer the two lower back pieces, wrong side out, and sew down that center seam, man!

If you're planning to finish your seams with serging or rayon seam binding, do that magic on the seam now. Need a refresher on rayon seam binding? Scoot over to Craftsy: Hong Kong Seam Finish for more info. The top end of the seam will be encased in the lined yoke, so it doesn't need to be pretty. And, of course, the bottom end of the seam is covered by the hem. So you're good to go.

Press the finished edges to one side with your steam iron.

Rayon seam binding going down the l-o-n-g center back seam

Attach back yoke with lining (10 minutes)

Lay down the yoke and lower back pieces in this order:
  • Inner yoke (lining): wrong side against the floor (i.e. right side faces you), with the top straight edge of the piece facing "north." 
    • No, we are not invoking an earth-mother ceremony. The edge doesn't need to literally point to compass-north; just "north" as if your floor were a map. Why? Because if I'd said "up", would I be talking about "up" as on a map (north), or "up" as in "upwards in relation to the floor" (aka the Z axis). Right? If you're not confused by now, congratulations! Just see the pic, below, for clarification.
  • Lower back (the pieces you sewed together in the last step): wrong side facing the floor (i.e. right side faces you), with the top straight edge lined up against the corresponding edge on the inner yoke.
  • Outer yoke (exterior): right side towards the floor (i.e. wrong side facing your eyeballs), with the straight edge of the piece lined up with the others.

It's a sandwich, yo! Yoke, lower back, and yoke lining. You can't see the yoke lining, because it's hidden beneath the bigger piece. But it's there, promise!
Sew along the north-facing seam line. You'll be sewing through three layers.

Flip up inner and outer yokes, and steam-iron them into place.
As viewed from the inside. My version's lining is the same as the fashion fabric. Also, it looks like the right-hand piece was cut waaaay off grain. Only it wasn't! This was a weird print to work with -- half of it was seemingly off-grain, and half was not. Suffice to say: this sucker is on grain, but doesn't look it. In case you were wondering.

Attach front yoke with lining (15 minutes)

And now we do the same thing with the front yokes. In fact, you can skip reading this section if you're a pro at yoke-layering.

For each side of the front bodice (right and left sides), lay down the pieces as follows:
  • Inner yoke (lining): wrong side against the floor (i.e. right side faces you), with the top straight edge of the piece facing "north." 
  • Lower front: wrong side facing the floor (i.e. right side faces you), with the top straight edge lined up against the corresponding edge on the inner yoke.
  • Outer yoke (exterior): right side toward the floor (i.e. right side facing your eyeballs), with the straight edge of the piece lined up with the others.
This front yoke situation looks eerily similar to the back yoke construction. 
Sew along the north-facing seam line, as before. Three layers, just like last time.

Flip up the yokes, and iron that nice seam into a crisp knife edge.

Add welts (15 minutes)

Okay, so you've got these welt pieces. You've already interfaced one side.

Fold each welt piece in half, right sides together.

Starting at the point (left side, shown below), sew along the long edge. Pivot and continue sewing up the short edge, forming almost a right angle.

See the stitches along the bottom and left edge of the piece?

Turn each welt right side out. I just used my fingers to gently coax and roll it into shape. If that doesn't work, try this clever technique from So Sew Easy: Easy way to turn a tube of fabric, using a piece of plastic tubing (home beer brewers and/or aquarium owners, ya feel me?) and a smaller long pokey stick (like a chopstick or bamboo skewer).

Iron the right-side-out welts into a nice crisp shape.

Place the welt on the front of the bodice, along the line where the yoke meets the lower bodice. The un-sewn, pointy end of the welt lines up with the armscye. Pin into place; this will be a precision operation, so use plenty of pins.

The unfinished, pointed edge of the welt goes against the armscye.
Topstitch each welt into place, being careful to keep the top edge of the welt lined up exactly with the yoke seam. After trial and error, I decided my welt looked a little better with its top edge positioned slightly above the yoke seam, and having the topstitching directly along the seam line. Your version may call for a different treatment. No shame in trial-basting before committing to a final topstitch.

If you're into decorative details, now's the chance to add a little flair to your topstitching. I ended my topstitching with a triangle, but you can get as creative as you want. Why not? You're going to all the effort of making this thing. Class it up!

In this example, the topstitching (not the edge of the welt) is lined up directly with the yoke seam line. And, see the topstitching triangle at the end?

Sew the shoulder seams (10 minutes)

Bear with me.

I know this has been a lengthy, action-packed episode of this sew-along.

Thank you for sticking around.

And now I'm about to blow your mind.

We will be sewing the shoulder seams of the inner yokes, and the outer yokes, in a way that keeps the raw edges inside the lining. But, like a good magic trick, you just have to believe; pictures don't do it justice.

First, layer the front and back sides of your garment inside-out, with the wrong sides facing out.

Grab the inner yokes (lining) for the front and back pieces, and pull them around the side of the garment to meet each other -- around the armscye. Pin the shoulder seams of these inner yokes, with right sides together (wrong side out). Sew the seams you pinned.

I'm pulling the back inner yoke (lining) around the armscye to meet the front inner yoke (lining).

You'll end up with some weird misshapen thing. But hold on, we're about to fix that.

At this point, the outer yokes should still be un-sewn at the shoulder seams. Pin the front and back outer yokes together at the shoulder, right sides together (wrong side out), and sew the seam.

Flip the sewn-together inner yokes (linings) so they're right side out. If you did it correctly, the raw edges of the shoulder seams are encased in the lining, and will not be visible from either the outside or the inside of the garment.

The finished shoulder seams, as seen from the outside front of the garment. My hand is pulling the yoke linings out a little bit so you can see there's a seam, but this will be hidden when we attach the cap sleeves in a later installment.

Confused? I suspect you're exhausted by now, so if this part is driving you bananas, it's okay to throw in the towel. You can go ahead and treat the inner and outer yokes as one piece, and sew all four layers of the shoulder together, with raw edges exposed Apply a nice finish to the seam (like rayon seam binding or serging) and call it a day. No shame in that.

Finally -- and I promise this is the last step -- baste the raw edges of the yokes along the neckline. This will keep things together when we attach the collar later.

In Conclusion

You are a champ. No, seriously. You made it to the end of today's segment, which was stuffed with brain teasers as far as the eye could see, with aplomb and panache. Take a breather. Pour yourself a brandy and watch an episode of some period drama set during an age when brandy was considered medicine. Get the vapors, faint on a couch, and awake fanning yourself with some kind of ostrich-feather contraption. Then come back for the next installment, when we attach plackets, collar, and sleeves.

How's the progress in your atelier? Have questions? Wanna post pics of your shirt-in-progress? Go for it! I'm all ears. Well, and also eyes ... eyes for the pics. Ears and eyes. They both wanna hear and see what you've been up to. 

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