I’ve been wanting to try adding a lace yoke to Kymy’s Dolman for months now, but hadn’t found the perfect combination of fabric a lace to speak to my heart until recently. I’m not sure which I’m more in love with … the look of the lace yoke or my combination of fabrics!
I bought a yard of this awesome sewing machine heartbeat fabric from Knitorious custom fabric group on Facebook. I really wanted two yards, but apparently it was the last yard available since the site wouldn’t let me purchase two! After dyeing it aqua, I wanted to use a pattern that would showcase it well but not look silly or juvenile. When I found this crochet-look chevron lace knit (at Walmart, of all places to find stretch lace!), I knew it was meant to be the perfect match!
I wanted the yoke to be seamless across my shoulders because I was afraid a seam would be distracting by breaking up the lace pattern. To solve my dilemma, I did a little modifying that ended up widening the Kymy’s Dolman sleeves. If you are afraid the added fabric would be too wide around your arms, you can skip the step where I show how to make the front and back yokes into one piece and the only difference then would be having to sew the shoulder seam during construction.
Okay, here we go!
First, you need to choose how low you want your yoke to start. I made mine about 5 inches down from the point where the neckline meets the shoulder seam on the pattern. Draw a line (red dashed line in above drawing) at that height at a 90 degree angle from the “fold” edge on the pattern. Then trace everything above the drawn line, adding 3/8 inch of room below the line to account for seam allowance. This step needs to be done for both the front and the back pattern pieces.
To make the yoke seamless, flip one yoke around to match up the points where the neckline meets the shoulder seam. Place the two pieces so the “fold” edges are in a straight line with each other (I used the lines on my cutting mat to keep them aligned) and so the ends of the front and back necklines are just touching. Tape tracing paper into the gap (blue area in above drawing) between the two shoulder seams (red lines in above drawing). This filled in area creates the added width on the sleeve. If you don’t want to add any width, you can skip this step and simply cut both front and back yokes from lace and sew the shoulder seam.
Cut one of the new yoke pattern piece (on the fold) from your lace yoke fabric. The fabric stretch should be along the width of the yoke. Once cut and unfolded, the lace yoke should look similar to the above photo (front yoke is on the bottom). Set aside while you cut the bottom part of the dolman.
For the body of the dolman, you will go back to your original pattern pieces. Fold 3/8 inch above and parallel to the line you drew to mark the yoke height (red dashed line in above drawing). The extra 3/8 inch above the line will be the seam allowance to attach the yoke. Do this for both the front and the back pieces of the dolman. Cut the body pieces of your dolman from your fabric.
When laid out (while still folded), your yoked dolman pieces should look similar to the above photo. I also chose to cut a neckband (not pictured) for my dolman, because I wasn’t sure folding and hemming would work well with the sharp corners where the front and back neckline meet. To figure the length of a neckband, measure the entire neckline and multiply by .85 (effectively finding 85% of the neckline length). Cut a rectangle (with the fabric’s stretch along the length) that length by 1.5 inches for a narrow finished neckband.
Once everything is cut out, you are ready to sew!
Pin the bottom “front” edge of the yoke (if you didn’t mark front and back, the front neckline should be a bit longer than the back) to the top edge of the front body piece, with right sides together and raw edges aligned. Sew with 3/8 inch seam allowance, press the seam allowance toward the body, and topstitch it down. Repeat with the bottom back edge of the yoke and the top edge of the back body piece.
To attach the neckband, first fold your rectangle right sides together and sew the two short ends together. Then fold the raw edges to each other with wrong sides touching and press. Divide both the dolman neckline and the band into fourths and mark with pins. Pin the neckband to the neckline, matching up pins (I like to place the neckband seam where the shoulder seam would be on the neckline). Your band length will be shorter than the neckline. As you sew it on with 3/8 inch seam allowance, carefully stretch only the band between each set of pins to equal the length of that portion of the neckline. Press the seam allowance toward the shirt and topstitch it down.
Now you can finish constructing your shirt as per the pattern. Fold front to back with right sides together and sew the side seams. Hem or band the bottom edge and you’re finished!
I love how the seamless yoke looks across my shoulders! I think the chevron in the lace is just edgy enough to dress up the main fabric so it looks fabulous! I chose to make the tunic length version (View E) of Kymy’s Dolman, but added the band from View C to the bottom edge to pull it back in.
I love the end result and it pairs perfectly with my ‘Get Moving’ Leggings in knee capri length! I sized up for my leggings to have a more everyday fit rather than the activewear compression fit. They are so comfortable that I really need to get some full-length leggings sewn up before cold weather arrives!
Happy Sewing!! ~ Joelle