Free Pattern Hack: The Peony with a Shoulder Yoke

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The Peony Dress is one of those styles I never seem to tire of. I adore the figure flattering simplicity of a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. If you look through my closet you will find a fair amount of my wardrobe consists of this style silhouette. For this exact reason I am constantly looking for ways to keep this design fresh.

Today’s post comes from Haley, the newest addition to the Colette team! Haley is an experienced sewing teacher and seamstress and will be contributing a great deal here and over at Seamwork. Please welcome her! -Sarai

Enter the shoulder yoke. This thoughtful detail combines both form and function instantly upgrading the dress. While the yoke is a pretty point of interest on the garment, the gathers offer the benefit of bust shaping. I absolutely love how the waist gathers are echoed in the gathers of the bodice.


This detail is created by lowering the neck line, drawing in a yoke, then rotating the dart uptake towards the shoulder to create gathers. In this version, a yoke was added just to the front of the garment, but this element could easily be mirrored on the back of the garment. This detail offers endless opportunity for variation.

Try using contrasting fabric to highlight the yoke detail, or cutting the yoke out of a sheer fabric like organza or lace, to make a cocktail dress. You could even add piping to the yoke and waist seam to really add definition.


The fabric is Robert Kaufman’s Brussels Washer Linen in Mist (available from Hawthorne Threads in the US or Dragonfly Fabrics in the UK). This linen rayon blend is the perfect fabric for spring and summer sewing. It was a dream to sew with, and unlike many linens, it pressed like a dream. It comes in a variety of colors, including yarn dyed.

Remember, through the end of April, you can get Peony for 20% off when you use code PEONYMONTH at checkout. Download this free pattern hack to get started on your own today.


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Pattern of the month: Peony


Our Pattern of the Month for April is Peony!

Peony is one of our all-time best selling patterns. It has a sweet, classic shape with a bateau neckline and removable cummerbund belt.

Through the end of April, you can get Peony for 20% off when you use code PEONYMONTH at checkout.

We’ll also be sharing a pattern hack next week to transform Peony into a very different style, using some of the methods Devon has recently covered in Seamwork.


Wardrobe Architect April: What’s your biggest wardrobe challenge?


This month, we thought we’d take a brief pause in our Wardrobe Architect process to ask you: What challenges have you faced so far in planning your wardrobe?

I’m sure that each of us has our own particular challenges and hang ups around clothing. Maybe it’s a tendency to buy things you don’t need because they’re on sale. Maybe it’s being drawn to shapes that you don’t actually like wearing. Maybe you have undergone a life change and your wardrobe hasn’t kept up.

Because many of us undoubtedly have dealt with the same issues, I think it might be interesting to use this as an opportunity to help each other out.

Here is what I propose:

In the comments, let us all know if there is a particular difficulty or challenge you’ve faced with your wardrobe, if you want to share.

And then:

Read through some of the other comments and see if you have a similar experience you would like to share. You can reply directly to someone else’s comment and share your own experience.

You don’t have to give advice (unless you want to). But I think there’s something powerful in just talking about our own difficulties and how they interrelate.

Next month, Kris will be back to continue the Wardrobe Architect journey. The next thing we’ll be discussing is color, which is perfect, since that’s the theme for the next issue of Seamwork as well!

What is your biggest wardrobe challenge?

Image used in header via Maegan Tintari, cc license


The Floral Issue + Meet Astoria and Bristol


The April issue of Seamwork is up and ready for you to read!

In this issue:





Some favorite quotes from this issue:

"But if you measure your waist, and it’s 40”; you just make a 40” skirt. It’s a straightforward equation, and there’s really no point in pretending you’re a different size or judging the number." – Jenny Rushmore, Coming to Peace

"As women’s roles have developed and the moods and values of society have shifted, we see feminine florals morph in fashion." – Piper Springs, A Century of American Florals

"We miss quality. We want to feel creative and connected, and to avoid wearing clothing made in dangerous and exploitative sweatshops. We are a movement, and the fabric industry is catching up to us, slowly but surely." -Heather Lewenza, Good Silk Hunting

And here are the two new quick-to-sew patterns in this issue:


The Astoria pullover is a cropped little sweater inspired by the ultra-flattering knitwear styles of the 40s and 50s, but adapted for a more modern and casual look. It features a wide waistband, simple crew neck, and fitted shape. Make it up in a casual French terry or double gauze knit like we did, or go for a sweater knit to give it a dressier look. Astoria is a wonderfully comfortable transition piece for spring or fall and looks especially nice with a full skirt.


The Bristol skirt is a versatile semi-full gathered skirt with easy pull-on elastic waist and a single front pocket hidden in the center panel. This skirt is easy to make, might teach you a new sort of pocket construction, and can be made in a huge range of fabrics, from Liberty tana lawns to chambray to rayon challis. I think it looks especially lovely with a fitted top that ends near the waist (like Astoria above), or a white button down tied at the waistline a la Audrey Hepburn.


You can visit Seamworkmag.com to read the issue, download it from the current issue page, or subscribe to get the patterns.


New pattern hack: The cross-back Moneta

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I’ve been listening to the Psychedelic Furs a whole lot lately. I sometimes wish blog posts could have soundtracks, because I’d give this one Pretty in Pink, which is what was playing in my head when I took these pictures of Kristen.

Kristen bought this pink cotton jersey a while back but never got around to making a Moneta with it, so I offered to sew her this one on the condition that she’d model it for us. I just love the girly color and feminine back of this dress with her tomboy haircut.



The cross-back Moneta has a striking back view but looks almost identical from the front.


To make your own cross-back Moneta, get the instructions below. You will need to scoop out the back (you can adjust to make sure your bra is covered), then create two straps to criss-cross along the opening.

This will make a really pretty summer dress. Just make sure to wear sunscreen.



We created this pattern hack in collaboration with our friend Lauren Dahl, who is an amazing lady. Download the pattern hack pack by clicking below to get access to the download link. You’ll get all the pattern hacks we’ve created this year, as well as new hacks as they’re added each month.