Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sandi Henderson's "Gracie", a different way to construct the yoke...

I have totally enjoyed making Sandi Henderson's 'Gracie' pattern. I've done it a few times now, and marvel at its ease, until you get to the part with the bias on the neck.

I have nothing against bias binding per se, it's just hard to do it neatly when you tuck in the ends. After thinking on it, I decided to try to construct it a little differently.

Forgive the pictures as this is my first attempt at showing my work in progress, and the photos are a little rough. This will probably make more sense to those of you who have made this jumper a few times. Also, a little disclaimer. I am by NO means an expert in sewing, this is just my way of making this pattern easier for me.

So, you go along as normal, following the pattern instructions, until you get to the round yoke neck piece. Sew the ends as before, but then go ahead and stitch the inside seam of the yoke too. Now, Sandi's patterns have a 1/2" seam allowance. To account for the fact that you'll be leaving the bias edge out of my version completely, only do 1/4" seams so you don't have to adjust the pattern. Once you sew the inside edge, clip the seam allowance, turn right side out and press.

Then, instead of sandwiching the jumper between the outside of the yoke, just stitch one layer of the yoke to the jumper, leaving the other free. You will want to match up the back of the yoke seam with the edge of the back. So, only stitch one side, and only where it meets the actual jumper.

Once you get one side sewn down, press the seams toward the yoke. Then, press 1/4" under on the side that isn't sewn at all. This will serve as a guide when you pin it all down.

Then, pin the turned under edge just to your line of stitching. Pins are your friends here. Because you will be blind stitching and this jumper is reversible, I take a lot of care to make sure that the two sides are matching up so that when you topstitch on one side, it won't be wonky on the other.

Pin all the way around the yoke, and when you come to the arm section, turn both sides under and pin. Then, topstitch the entire yoke. And voila, no more bias binding. Finish the rest of the jumper as in the pattern.

I don't know if this method is any more or less tricky, but at least you don't have to make the bias tape and use more fabric.


icicle said...

A very timely and appreciated tip! I've been wanting to try the yoke versions but honestly, I didn't like the bias tape finish at the neck and have been too lazy to think beyond the pattern for an alternate way. Making bias tape does take up a fair amount of fabric too.
I like your version much better -- less fussy taping and a cleaner looking edge. Thanks for sharing!

ReginaH said...

Melissa, How genius!! I have to try this on my next Gracie. So much easier, maybe you should share this with Sandi. I know lots of people have trouble with the yoke. Thanks so much!!

littlegirlpearl said...

Well, I'm not sure it's easier, because there is a little more blind stitching, but this was an issue with the bias binding anyway, so I figure it's a wash. And cutting on the bias uses up a lot of yardage, so at least you save that way too. Glad you like the idea, let me know how it turns out for you!

Melissa said...

I will have to get the pattern and try this in order to make sense of it all-- I cannot, cannot understand sewing without doing it, you know? Why I toss out the directions after I cut the pattern, I guess. But I love the dress. Great fabric selection (as if that should come as a surprise?!)

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sweeter than cupcakes said...

Thanks for the idea. I love to save fabric!

Amy said...

Great idea! I've been fighting with that binding and the instructions were definitely lacking! This is much better!!

Whitney said...

This is great! I was searching around for advice on making the Gracie pattern, and I tried this technique tonight...I love it! I am not a fan of bias binding as it is, and this method worked great for me. Now I can make more Gracie patterns (working on the tiered dress right now) without frustration! :D

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to put this online. I sew all the time and was getting frustrated with Sandi's method. I like yours better!

Anne said...

Could you help me with something else regarding this pattern? I'm making the jumper from the Gracie pattern, and I'm up to where the instructions state to gather the front between the circle markings. Only, my pattern has no circle markings. So, I don't know how far from the edge of the bodice to go in and start gathering. I'm afraid this is going to make my yoke much more difficult! Thanks for any help you can give. Sandi hasn't answered any emails I've sent her.

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Kim Bankston said...

Love this tutorial. Unfortunately the pattern is no longer available. Do you know where I can find a similar pattern? I've been looking around on the internet and am coming up empty.

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