Rounded Yoke Summer Dress

Fun retro dress

A friend gave me this dress and I love everything about it except the color washes me out. It’s retro and fun and super comfy so I thought I would try to find another like it but I couldn’t so I thought I’d sew something similar.

I thought I would just whip up a sleeveless dress with a rounded yoke. How easy! {Insert the sound of screeching brakes and shattering glass}

It was a nightmare to make!

So many things went wrong!


The Good

To tell you the truth, I can’t think of anything positive to say about this experience. I guess it didn’t turn out too horribly but it wasn’t great.

The Bad

The biggest problem was my sewing machine. I have never been more disappointed in a sewing machine as I am with this one. It is a Singer 8060. I feel guilty about even saying this because my boyfriend bought it for me as a surprise and he spent good money on it. I loved it for a few days because it was quiet and sewed straight lines smoothly but after a few day, I started finding out it was cheap and was not any better than the cheapest machines out there. In fact, my old $150 Brother was a better machine.

Three days in, the automatic thread cutter broke. Instead of cutting the thread, it sucked the fabric underneath the sewing plate so I would have to try to dig it out without destroying my fabric. I decided to just not use that feature. I didn’t want to send it back for something so simple.

It stopped being super quiet about five days in. It wasn’t loud. It was just like my other machines.

One of the biggest reasons my boyfriend bought the machine was because it claimed it could sew through thick layers of fabric and was great for quilting but it had troubles even going over seams or hemming cotton fabric. I had never had a machine that had problems going over seams. I have to pull the fabric through whenever it sews over a seam. I thought maybe I could adjust the feed dogs because they seem to be up pretty far but it gives the option of having them up or down. There is no in between.

It’s almost impossible to sew stretch fabric, even with a walking foot and putting paper underneath the fabric. It eats the fabric. I’ve tried everything I can think of but it still eats it, especially at the start of the seam.

I could not find a pattern in my size so I adjusted a pattern I already had.

The Ugly



I first cut out the fabric for the yoke but it kept rolling up on itself so I tried ironing on thin facing. That was a no-go. I forgot to put paper or a teflon sheet on top and mucked up my iron. I tried sewing it but my machine kept eating it.

The fabric was too thin and I could not find anything else so I thought I would crochet a yoke. An hour later I had a yoke but it was way to thick and it stuck up like wings at the shoulders.

Crochet yoke

I bought a blue men’s t-shirt. I bought heavier infusible facing and ironed it on the fabric before I cut it out. It worked but the fabric was no longer stretchy. I was determined to make it work.

Cut out yoke

A lot if times, the dress neckline gets sandwiched into the yoke but this would be nearly impossible to do with stretch knits and my machine so I did not do that.

I made sure I changed my needle to a ball point for stretch knits before I even started the project. The best stitch for stretch knits for me is the lightning bolt stitch. That’s probably not the official name for it. A straight stitch will just pop the stitches if it gets pulled so never use a straight stitch on stretch knits.

Lightning Bolt Stitch

There were four pieces: two fronts and two backs. I sewed the front to the back for both pieces but left one end open.

Keep one end open

Put the top on the bottom with right sides facing and sew the inner edge and the outer edge. Turn right side out.

I pressed it and turned each edge inward.

Turn edge inside

I tried to sew the circle closed but my sewing machine would not sew through the layers so I ended up unfolding the edges and sewing it together so there was an ugly unfinished edge underneath.

I cut out the dress part and sewed the front to the back.

Body of dress

I sewed a strip of fabric along the arm holes and turned it inside and sewed two rows to keep it down. I clipped the edges of the curves carefully.

Armhole facing

I decided to pleat the top of the neckline instead if gathering it. I made one big pleat in the middle and two smaller pleats on each side. I sewed over the pleats before  I sewed it to the underside of the yoke.

I did two small pleats in the back about three inches from each edge.

Pleat the neckline

Sewing the yoke to the neckline was hard because my sewing machine did not like how thick it was but I forced it through.

The hem stretched a bit because the sewing machine kept trying to eat the fabric.

I need a new machine before I attempt stretch knits again.

I love the pattern of this fabric. It didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked but it will work for comfortable days at home.

Published by dragonlion64

I love to craft. I sew, crochet, do duct tape crafts and recently, I bought a Cricut and I'm using it quite a bit. I get an idea in my head and I have to try it.

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