Monday, August 29, 2011

Sew Easy - Part 8 - The Java Beans Dress

Easy Sewing Tutorial: Round yoke dress pattern
Java Beans Dress Sewing Tutorial

You can read the story behind this series and the first part here. Click here to read the secondthirdfourth, fifth (Strawberry Vanilla Dress Pattern), sixth and seventh( Carnival Dress) edition of this series.

This Baby Cord has been sitting in my stash for a few months now. Looking at how much I loved this print in the first place, that was very very unusual, I had to do something about it. So I first made a pair of pants from these. But I still had some more of it. So I created this round yoke dress.
I have an amazing stash of brown/chocolate color quilting cottons, this print seemed to go so well with green brown print, I couldn't help pair these two.

Supplies: For making the dress for a two year old.
2 Fabrics in contrasting colors -
Fabric #1 - quarter yd. - Make sure this fabric has a little body - something like corduroy, denim would work better than quilting cottons.
Fabric #2 - half yd. any lightweight cotton fabric will do.

Buttons - two buttons coordinated with fabric


Measure the child at the shoulders to determine how wide should be the neck of the dress. Lets call this distance NW. It came out to be 4 inches for me.
Measure again starting from the point where neck and shoulder meet to how deep you want the neck to be.
Lets call it ND. It was 3 inches in my case.

Also measure how deep you want the neck to be in the back...lets call it BND.


First lets cut out the neck/yoke of the dress:
drafting the yoke of the dress

Fold fabric 1 into 2 along the width, now fold it again about 8 inches from one end Draw the lines as follows. Mark point A at ND inch from corner of the fold. Mark point E at ND+5 inches.
Mark point B at NW/2 inch from corner along the width. Mark point F at NW/2+5 inches.
Draw straight lines from A and B which meet at C.

Draw straight lines from E and F which meet at G.
You get two rectangles, one inside the other.

Note - If my pics look out of proportion, that's because I just took NW+3, and ND+3 for the outer rectangle...However, after finishing the dress I realized that a little wider yoke would work much better. So that's why I'm going with 5 inches, instead of 3.


drafting the yoke of the dress

Now using those rectangles as guide, mark neckline at the inner rectangle and  yoke at the outer rectangle.


cut out yoke

Cut Along the curve, and unfold once. If the fabric is joined at the shoulders, cut it apart.

Repeat the same for back neck and yoke, just replace ND by BND.


Here are both the neck pieces and their linings.

 Now sew along the shoulders and neck line ( inner semi circle).

Snip notches along the curve. Take care of not cutting into the seam

Turn out, Iron.

Do the same for back neck piece.

Now lets work on the skirt.


Sew along the length to make a tube.


Turn out and fold along the length, such that the seam falls on the fold. In the pic above, the seam is towards the left hand side. Now cut out a curve of about 2 inches radius from the other end ( that is, not on fold)
This is the cut for the armholes.

Note: This will become only part of the armholes, not the complete armhole because part of it will come from the yoke, where it doesn't get attached to the skirt. To further understand read on a few more steps.

unfold. Here's what it looks like.

Now turn the tube inside out once again, so that wrong side is outside. Now take a piece of fabric 2 and place it beneath the armhole such that right sides are together. Now sew along the curve.


Cut out the extra part from the binding fabric.


Cut the extra fabric along the curve such that you're left with a 1.5 inch wide strip parallel to the curve. Snip the seam allowance along the curve. This helps in turning the fabric easily along the curve.

Turn the extra fabric inside.


preparing the armholes

Fold the strip inside and sew. I chose to sew it inside by hand hemming...just because I sometimes feel like hand-sewing. You could either hand-sew the binding at armhole, or you could just use machine sewing.
Repeat the same for the other armhole.

Now sew two parallel seams along the edge of the fabric starting from one end of armhole to another on. Pull the bobbin thread to gather the fabric.
 Repeat with the other side of the fabric from one armhole to another.

If it has the seam in the middle then its the back of the skirt, if it doesn't then its the front.


sewing the yoke to the dress

Now adjust the gathers such that they cover the yoke except for 2-2.5 inches on either side.
Now sandwich the gathered skirt between the two layers of the yoke, make sure it is fitting evenly between the two ends. Now fold in the edges of the yoke from both layers and sew some running stitches to hold it in place. See picture, there are running stitches done in red on the outer edge of yoke.

Note: You can always use some pins to hold all the three layers together, but I have a certain phobia of pins. I avoid them as much as I can, especially on baby clothes. Its my worst nightmare that I would leave a pin in the finished garment and it will poke a little one...ouch! So you could use the pins but I'm more comfortable with big running stitches.

Note: The 2-2.5 inch that you leave on the sides will become the armholes that I had been referring to in step 11. 

sewing the yoke to the dress

Now sew on along those running stitches as close to the edge as you can. You can't really see my seam here because its been done with a green thread. Just know that there's a seam along those red stitches. OK?
Pull out the running stitches.

button closures on the yoke

Now sew two coordinating buttons on the front shoulders and make two buttonholes on the back shoulders. You can use any other closures like, hook-eye, Velcro tabs or snaps here. I just love the button look that's why I went with buttons.
Hem the dress by folding once and sewing and then folding again and sewing. And you're done!
To be honest, I'm not completely satisfied with the proportions of the dress. I think I should have made the yoke wider so that the bodice wouldn't get overwhelmed by the skirt. Oh well! However, I did include the measurements for a wider bodice in the instructions, so yours will look better than mine.

round yoke dress sewing pattern

Somehow an elephant stumbled upon my Java Beans dress before my toddler could...

java beans dress sewing tutorial

java beans dress sewing tutorial

I know, I know, I need better props...but he's so cute!


  1. Very cute! I like that you used corduroy...makes seem a little on the fall side :-)

  2. Love it! I really like the brown fabric. Thanks for posting.

    Just hopped over from Hope Studios Tutorial Tuesday - please hop over if you get a minute or two:

  3. Such a sweet dress! Great tutorial! Thanks so much for linking up to the Tuesday To Do Party! Can't wait to see what you've been up to this week!

  4. I like this codrouy fabric and nice colors.. When I will get to see Twinkle wearing it?

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