It's Friday and it's been a fun week of getting our Franklin dress to the half-way point. I'm super excited to put my dress down and start planning our Thanksgiving dinner. Which means reserving my meal down at the local grocer. Confession: I hate to cook!
Ok, let's get right into it with putting the pleats into our yoke. Pull out your front yoke pieces with the pleat lines on them -- piece # 5. Following the pleat lines on the pattern piece, lightly mark the lines on the right side of the fabric with pencil, chalk or disappearing ink. Also mark the Center Front (CF) line as well. You should have 5 lines total on each yoke piece.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I hand basted the lines so you could see them better. You definitely do not have to do this. A lightly drawn line is perfectly fine. You can see I also marked the CF line too. That will come in handy next week.
To make the pleats, start with the two lines closest to the arm hole. Pin the two lines together forming a pleat to the right side of the fabric.
Pin the whole pleat from top to bottom of the yoke.
Do the same for the next two lines to form the second pleat.
Stitch each pleat from top to bottom. Repeat for the other yoke. When you've completed all four pleats, take them to the iron and press the pleats towards the CF. Hold the fabric taught with your non-ironing hand to put a little tension on the pleats and your pleats should press nice and straight.
Now admire your handiwork before we move on. This is the focal point of the dress and will look so cute on your little lady.
The next step is to put interfacing on the yoke facing to give an extra layer of protection for the button holes once the dress starts getting pulled on and off by your free-spirited gal. Cut two 1" x 5" pieces of interfacing for the center fronts of both sides and place them on the yoke front on the ironing board. The edge of the interfacing should line up with the edge of the fabric and the fusible should be facing down. It's ok if it is a little longer than the fabric. It will get trimmed off later.
Fusible interfacing can really gum up the iron if you're not careful so I like to use a press cloth. It's just a scrap of muslin or light colored cotton fabric that acts as a shield from a hot iron. Lay the press cloth over the yoke and interfacing and press. The press cloth will also keep your fabric from burning when you have to keep the iron on the interfacing for an extended period of time. Press cloths are good for pressing delicates like chiffon and synthetics like polyester. Anything that has a chance of getting burned by an iron should be protected by a cloth.
Grab both your back yoke pieces and all of your front yoke pieces. Pin both front yoke pieces to the back yoke at the shoulders. Do the same for the front yoke facing and back yoke facing.
Stitch the shoulder seam 1/2" from the edge and pink the seams. Do this for all four shoulder seams (one yoke and one yoke facing).
Press open the shoulder seams.
Make sure you have two stitched yokes that look like this. One yoke with pleats. One yoke with interfacing.
Place the yokes right sides together so that all the edges match up. They should be exactly the same size (give or take a smidgeon for human error). Pin along the CF edge and neckline.
Stitch along the front edge of the yoke, 1/2" from the edge. As you approach the front corner, back stitch a few stitches past the turning point. Turn the corner with your machine needle and backstitch a few spots again to secure the corner. Check out the picture to see this in action. Stitch around the neckline and back down the front.
Trim the front edge and neckline to 1/4".
Trim the corners of the fronts at an angle.
Clip into the curves of the neckline. You want to clip right up against the stitch line without clipping the stitch. Don't hesitate to liberally clip the neckline. It will help it lay better when you turn the yoke right side out.
With the point of your iron, press open the front seams on both sides. You won't be able to get all the way up to the corner, but do your best to get as close as possible.
Carefully try to press the neck curve open using your fingers and the point of the iron.
We're almost there! I can feel the weekend calling my name.
Turn the yoke rightside out.
The yoke looks a little bubbly right now which is ok. We'll press it out right after we push out the front corners.
I like to use a chopstick to push out the front corners. The goal is to get a nice sharp corner without poking through the corner. It's fairly easy to do so be gentle pushing out the corner. The chopstick is nice because the point is blunt.
After I've got a nice square corner, I'm ready to press. Since we pressed open the seams a few steps back, it should be fairly easy to press the yoke with the edges nice and crisp.
Since it's the end of the week I've decided to do the buttonholes on Monday. Too much thinking and calculating for a Friday afternoon.
Enjoy your weekend! I know I will!