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November 7, 2017

Holy Yokes! Vintage Dress Pattern – Two ways! – Pt. 1 of 2

By Arleen

Holy yokes! Here it is. The new (old!) wardrobe staple for your favorite little miss! Some years back I came across this pattern and added it to my Birch Sewing list. We always need to sew up samples, so it’s wise to keep an arsenal of utterly adorable kiddo patterns on hand. I recently re stumbled upon this one, and thought it would be a nice change of pace. Although it is specifically a summer dress pattern, I would love to see a flannel version layered on a long sleeve blouse or turtleneck sweater. Or corduroy? Forget about it.

You can find your copy from Emailed Vintage Patterns on Etsy here!



I turned to Birch Fabrics (of course – I may be just a little biased!) for my fabric picks. What better than a cozy printed poplin? Tree stripes and little white bunnies! Uhm, yes! Here is the fabric just after I prewashed. Pre washing is key! Especially for cotton garments that are meant to withstand wash after wash. You want to make sure you get that first wash shrinking done with.


White Bunny from “Little” Fabric Collection + Branches in Cream from Charley Harper “Western Birds” Fabric Collection.


I began by cutting out my pattern pieces and tracing the front yokes onto the fabric. I couldn’t resist adding some embroidered details. The pattern comes with great suggestions for customizing, and even includes a sheet of common embroidery stitches.


I marked on the pattern piece where I wanted my starbursts. I then used my transfer paper to mark the fabric.


I would like to take this time to introduce you to my favorite piece of transfer paper. I couldn’t even tell you where I found it, but I can tell you it is quite old and I have yet to find a comparable alternative. I have tried at least three different leading brands of tracing paper, and none have worked nearly as well as my single, tattered and torn piece.


I chose a deep burnt orange embroidery floss as a pop of color on this tonal cream print.


Remember I mentioned that cheat sheet of common embroidery stitches? The Lazy Daisy stitch for the bunny dress yoke is a skill I picked up from this very cheat sheet. My Sunday afternoon included pizza, beer, catching up on Stranger Things and stitching this. Weekend relaxation accomplished!


Lazy Daisy stitch topped with a french knot.


These starburst are pulling on my heart strings. Stitched starburst on everything please!


Now you can take in all of your handy needlework, and hopefully, haven’t spilt any beer on your project.


Completed front yokes. Now we can get to the sewing!


Next step is assembling the yokes. Cut the amount of pieces as the pattern directs. For the v-neck version, sew the middle seam first. Now join each front and back yoke and coordinating facing at the shoulder seams. Trim your seam allowance and press open.


FYI, I could not find the seam allowance noted anywhere on this pattern. Standard is 5/8″, so I did a 1/2″ seam allowance just to give me a little wiggle room. After the fact, I can safely say 5/8″ is probably the intention for this pattern.


Your assembly line of yokes and facings should look a little like this.


Carefully pin your yoke and facing pieces right sides together. Stitch along the neck line and arm holes.



The pattern doesn’t really tell you this, but you need to deal with your seam allowance before you pull your fabric through the front. I used pinking shears to take the seam allowance to a scant 1/4″. This will reduce bulk, fraying, and allow the curve to lay flat.



After trimming, check the back closures page. I used some skinny bias tape from another project to make loops for buttons. The pattern instructions explain this step quite well, so I wont go into great detail. Then pulled through the front opening and pressed.



 I was lucky to find some perfectly coordinating vintage buttons from my stash. How cute are these?



Pretty, pretty yokes, and cute buttons to boot! Next week we will prepare and attach the skirt and finish up this project. I encourage you to give it a try as well! This pattern is a simple sew, with endless possibilities. And now you know a gal who’s done it, so please advert your questions my way.

Happy Sewing!

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5 Responses to Holy Yokes! Vintage Dress Pattern – Two ways! – Pt. 1 of 2

  1. RetroRuth Reply

    November 7, 2017 at 9:22 am

    That is soooooooooooooooooo flippin’ cute, Arleen! I can’t even! I can’t even pick a favorite. 🙂

    • Arleen Hillyer Reply

      November 7, 2017 at 9:41 am

      Thanks Ruth! That’s exactly why I needed to make two! I just couldn’t decide!

  2. Sara In AZ Reply

    November 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    YES! Starbursts!!! Love that soooooo much!

  3. Lindsay Goranson Reply

    November 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    So fantastic, Arleen! I love the fabric choices too. 🙂

  4. MidModMichelle Reply

    November 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Sooo cute! Can’t wait to see the finished pieces! 🙂

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