Chinese silk Yoke top ….. finally done


If I say so myself, this Yoke top by Lauren Guthrie looks effortlessly chic – however, it was not effortless to make and has been trailing around me and the blog for five months!


I returned from China in August with this metre of gorgeous silk and another metre of a different floral design. I read up on how to sew with silk, bought appropriate needles and pins and was ready to go.  The pattern features in Learn to Sew with Lauren but I actually picked the pattern up in issue 5 of Love Sewing (what a great magazine).


(I am absolutely freezing my tits off in these photos by the way – a gorgeously sunny morning whilst the ground was crisp with frost). Anyway, I made a start and I can’t remember why but, I got a bit stuck with the yoke so it became a WIP whilst I tinkered about with other things.

imageCome October I picked it up again, determined not to be one of these people who end up with piles of unfinished objects; the Yoke Top and I went on holiday for a week in the Peaks (alongside Dahlia who was very demanding and prevented the Yoke Top and I from really making much progress).  Again, it disappeared under other sewing priorities.

imageIn December, I took it to the first Sewing Club at Sew Pretty – the fabric was much admired by everyone but I got distracted by the hem on my lace dress and no progress was made.  It sat in its little purple folder for another month (I keep all of my various projects (doesn’t have to be sewing) in clear, purple plastic envelope files).

imageCome January it was Sewing Club again and I spent two hours working on the yoke.  I have to say, I do find yokes difficult.  I managed to get the front correct with Katya‘s help but when left to my own devices for the back, I just couldn’t work out how to do it.  I find construction and “seeing” how things fit together REALLY difficult – I think I must have some kind of condition, Discalculia maybe, linked to fabric rather than numbers. So the back had the raw seams exposed rather than all being neatly hidden away. However, on the plus side, I bravely whisked that single seam through the overlocker and it didn’t end in tears!

imageJust look at the absolute pig’s ear I made of the button holes.  I am supposed to have a one step button holer but it doesn’t work.  I did look at a couple of Youtube videos and I actually don’t think it is me!  The machine does the bar at the bottom, sews one side and then just stops. So I have to reset it all so that the machine it thinks it is doing another one and I have to turn the fabric 180% and wiggle it across a bit.  I only bought my machine in April so it is still under warranty from John Lewis but I don’t think I can bear to be parted from it for the weeks I’ve heard it takes for a repair.  So, I am just going to have to get better at bodging it OR only make garments without buttons.

imageSo, to conclude, Lauren’s Yoke top feels lovely against the skin and I am really looking forward to wearing it with a jacket for an evening out – just don’t look too closely at the finish! My next project is a skirt I will wear IF I ever get to an interview!

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x


20 responses

  1. Pingback: The Button Man | clarinda kaleidoscope

  2. Pingback: Outerwear, Underwear – it’s all happening here! | clarinda kaleidoscope

  3. Hi there, I’ve just been giggling to myself whilst reading your blog as I too keep pulling this top out to continue, then get stuck so put it away, get it out again, put it away….. I’m really stuck on the collar construction, I just can’t make sense of the instructions, so before I give up and end up bias binding instead, do you have any tips for the collar? I have the collar constructed correctly (I think) but cannot work out how it attached correctly to the yoke??!! Thanks Mel


  4. Lovely top. looks gorgeous with the fabric!
    Sewing buttonholes into silk!! Just reading it terrifies me haha
    How was fabric shopping in China like price/quality? I’m going in May and wanna work out the budget now for fabric so I don’t go crazy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, the quality is superb. I bought mine from a silkworm farm/factory. It worked out at about £35 per metre which is why I only bought 2 x 1m but still fairly extravagant. I probably could have got cheaper in a market – although I went to a fair few and never actually saw any on sale. I’ll be really interested to see what you get. I LOVED China by the way – an incredibly interesting country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds amazing, now I want to put going to a silkworm factory on my tourist list! I want to get the good stuff so I did budget a bit but at £35 a meter I guess I’m gonna have to add more. I’m going in May for two months and I definitely wanna show my buys and The markets, thanks for letting me know 🙂 I’m counting the days until I go!! haha


  5. How absolutely gorgeous! It’s the perfect top to wear effortlessly with skinny jeans. The silk is beautiful. And top sewing marks to you for freezing in the name of craft!! With regard to your button holes, I kept having problems with my one-step button hole function. The problem turned out to be the lever which you put behind the special foot properly (it’s a Janome), which had regularly popped back up. Sorry about the non-technical explanation but that’s how I got it sorted. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mine is also a Janome (of course it is!) so I’ll have a look at the lever. I do want to be able to do neater buttonholes because I’ve got a couple of shirts/blouses on my To Do list. Have a good week – what’s on your sewing agenda? A skirt for me x


  6. Wow! Your top looks great! Bet it will be fun to wear in the summer when you don’t have to hide it under loads of layers! How did you find working with the silk? Its one of these things that gives me the fear!! Plus the button holes look fine – even if they were proper wonky they’re hidden by the buttons anyways 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A gorgeous garment. Can’t see the ‘bodge’ either and my eyesight is pretty good! Well done for mastering the silk and surviving the frost!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your determination, both to finish this off and to stand there in the freezing cold to show it off 🙂 Well done on both scores! The fabric is just beautiful and Hila’s absolutely right, you really wouldn’t notice any bodges! I think we all fret over them though so you’re not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is odd isn’t it how we all draw attention to what we’re least satisfied with – even on projects which have generally gone well. I can’t really get a decent photo indoors with my IPAD so there could be a couple more months yet when I have to brave the garden for my pics – the neighbours clearly think I’m barmy!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Beautiful top! Your buttonholes – honestly had to really sqiint to see the ‘bodge’ you allege! They are fine, buttonholes are under buttons so anyone leaning in really close to look just be like “Dude, thats weird, like seriously weird..” :-). Digging the fabric too! Yokes scare me – they are so out there and no where to hide, silk scares me even more with its expense and decilateness ; so kudos for making this. I …erm….also need to take on board your exemplary actions towards WIPs/UFOs. I am one if those people that let them pile up!

    Liked by 1 person

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