western yoke mod tutorial

After many requests for a tutorial on how I added western details to the Archer shirt pattern (like I did on this shirt: here), I decided to do my best to walk you through it! A few disclaimers before we get started: I am not a professional pattern drafter by any means, so this method of mine is not necessarily the “right” way, but you did ask for “my” way so that’s what this is. Also, this is not a sponsored post or anything like that (I just really super love this pattern!). And lastly, I have Jen’s expressed permission to post these me-made illustrations that closely resemble her original pattern. Okay let’s do this!

The pattern I’m using as a base (my favorite shirt pattern!): The Archer by Jen at Grainline Studio

Supplies you’ll need to start:
1.) The Archer shirt pattern
2.) Some form of tracing paper (my favorite is Pellon 830)
3.) Something to write with (maybe two colors to help you distinguish lines)
4.) A straight ruler
5.) A curved styling design ruler (or a dinner plate to help you trace a curve)
6.) Your sewing machine and all that jazz…



Step One: Since we’re adding our own extended yoke to the back, we want to retrace the back pattern piece and the original yoke piece as one continuous piece. To do this, mark the 1/2″ seam allowance at the top of the back piece and the bottom of the yoke piece, then overlap them. This will negate the seam allowance and make sure you’re not adding any extra length to your new back pattern piece.

NOTE: If you’re working with View A, you’ll want to remove the excess width that forms the yoke pleat (if not, the new pointed yoke will come down over top of this pleat which looks a little funny). However, if you remove that excess pleat width all the way down, you will lose a significant amount of width at the hip! This worked in my favor as far as fit goes, but if you need extra ease in the hip you’ll need to sew Version B or make an adjustment towards the bottom of your new back piece on A.



Step Two: Now that you have your new back pattern piece traced we can start altering the yoke. I start by tracing the entire original yoke piece except for the bottom edge. To make the western style point, I extended the fold line by 1 and 5/8ths inches (this measurement can be altered to suit personal preference, but will include your 1/2″ seam allowance). Next, find the shoulder notch closest to the neckline and draw a line parallel to the fold until you intersect the original bottom edge of the yoke piece. Now we’re going to start shaping the curve to connect those two points. Using the curved edge of a styling design ruler (a round dinner plate works great too!) draw a short, smooth line from that established point on the right (illustrated above with the teal dotted line) down towards our new point on the left at the fold. Now, draw another short smooth line from the extended point on the left, up towards the curve you just made on the right. There will be a chunk in the middle that’s still open and unconnected at this point. You can sketch in the rest of this curve free-hand, or keep using your curved ruler with short smooth strokes until you have a nice smooth slope. There should be no obvious seam between the original yoke and your new yoke tracing. No need to re-add the seam allowance, it’s already there.



Step Three: If your first attempt was a little messy, re-trace your new yoke piece with the smoothest curve and without the original yoke lines, as shown above. Make sure you’re transferring all the original pattern markings and notches to your new western yoke piece. Yay! Your new back yoke piece is done! If you’re not interested in the front yoke pieces, you can skip to step six.



Step Four: To draft the front yoke pieces there are a few pattern markings on the front pattern piece that will help you. Lay a piece of tracing paper on top of the front pattern piece and start tracing the outside edge around the shoulder, neckline, and armhole. Also identify the grainline, the pocket placement line, the armhole notch, and the line where the button band folds over (all illustrated in teal above).



Step Five: The sizing/shape of these front yoke pieces can be varied to personal preference, but if you like the size of mine (shown in a recent post), this is what I did – Find the notch at the armhole and draw a small line 1/4th of an inch above it. Then draw a line (parallel to the pocket placement line) from this line you just marked, over to the grainline. Next, find the line that marks the fold of the button band and make a new mark 5/8ths of an inch to the right of it. Connect this point with the grainline at the line you just drew (shown above with the solid lines). Now that the general shape of your front yoke is established, you can add your 1/2″ seam allowance to your pattern piece (shown with the dotted line above). When you cut out this new piece, leave a bit of over hang at the seam allowance on the bottom, then fold that seam allowance up and cut off the excess so it’s even with the neckline and armhole. If you don’t do this, your seam allowance wont end flush with your pattern piece when you fold the allowance under to topstitch (think about what happens when you try to press a dart the wrong way. You need a little sticky-outty bit to keep things squared up along the neckline and armhole).

NOTE: I forgot this in the illustration, but your new grainline is parallel to the line that angles up toward the neck.

Now for the sewing!


Step Six: Using a long basting stitch, sew 1/2″ from the edge of your yoke piece to mark your seam allowance (I have the yoke shown over top of my back piece in the photo but they are not connected at this point).


Step Seven: Using that line of basting stitches as a guide, press your seam allowance towards the wrong side of the yoke piece.


Step Eight: Snip a few notches into the seam allowance (not all the way to the fold!) to help the fabric press flat along that curved edge.


Step Nine: Press your yoke piece again on the right side to ensure everything is nice and flat, and your curves look smooth and even. Then line up the yoke along the shoulders, neckline, and armholes matching notches and other markings. Pin the yoke down on the back piece (Generally I prefer to use as few pins as possible, but use as many as you feel you need).


Step Ten: Using a regular stitch length, topstitch very close to the edge of your yoke to conceal your seam allowances and secure your new western style yoke piece to the back pattern piece. Follow the rest of the Archer instructions to sew the shoulder seams. Use this same method for your front yoke pieces and follow the rest of the Archer pattern as instructed.

Ta-dah! Now you know how to make a fancy western style alteration to your Archer shirt!

I’ll be debuting the rest of this shirt soon so stay tuned ;)


p.s. The fabrics shown here are Clay Sundot from the Arizona fabric collection, and Robert Kaufman 4.5oz denim. I bought both from Hawthorne Threads.

how to sew a shirt hem with bias tape

I have a new tutorial on the Craftsy blog that I wanted to share here as well in case you missed it. As I mentioned previously, this is my new favorite method for hemming button-up shirts with curved hems. You can use this technique to hem any type of garment but it’s especially helpful on curved/inverted hem lines, like on a button-up. Not only is this method easier in my opinion, but I get a much cleaner finish on the bottom of my shirts than I do when I try to hem them the traditional way. Maybe you’ll get better results with this method, too!

Click here to see the full tutorial.


Have you used this method before? Do you find it easier like I do?


*Disclaimer – Unlike here on Lucky Lucille where you read 100% my own voice and content, my Craftsy posts are submitted to an editor. The editor titles my posts and will sometimes edit my copy and post format. Just something to keep in mind as you read. It’s still 98% me though!

vintage inspired kimono sleeve shirt tutorial

I’ve been waiting patiently to share this tutorial with you and now I can! Spoiler alert: there’s a full sewing tutorial for this pattern over on the Craftsy blog if you wanna skip to the good stuff, but I wanted to post a few more finished photos here too.


This vintage inspired kimono sleeve top is a super easy make and is so comfortable to wear! I think I’ll be living in these shirts come summer time. I’m very happy with the fit of this pattern, but I found the instructions to be a little confusing and there is some errata with the pieces. But fear not! I went through all that fine print in my tutorial, and I still  made a beautiful shirt despite the minor pattern mistakes.


I used a cotton voile that had been living in my stash for years because I was scared to use it (pffft! Silly!). I was so pleasantly surprised to learn how easy cotton voile was for me to sew with!! I didn’t find it overly slippery/fiddly to cut or handle (I use a rotary cutter on a mat so that might aid in the ease of cutting), and sewing with it was a breeze. The weave still feels sturdy like a cotton should, and it presses very well with an iron, but has just enough drape for a woven tee like this one! It’s lightweight and buttery to the touch. Awesome stuff.


I think cotton voile is my new favorite fabric! It’s a cotton, it comes in fun prints, it has just enough drape, and it’s available from all the quilting cotton companies I know and love (I currently have my eye fixed on this collection!). Lately I’ve been loving vintage influenced projects paired with modern prints. So fun!


This was my first experience with Salme patterns. The overall finished product and reasonable price allows me to overlook the few instructions and pattern errata I got slipped up on. They have tons of cute styles so I may give them another try in the future.

If you’d like to make a shirt like this, which you should because they’re ridiculously comfortable to wear and quick to make, check out my tutorial over on the Craftsy blog!



quick tips for assembling pdf patterns

For Archer Appreciation Month, I decided to share a few tips that make it easier to put together print-at-home PDF sewing patterns. There are many advantages to using PDF patterns: they’re instant (for all your whimsical sewing urges), you don’t have to leave your home to buy them (fellow hermits rejoice!), they’re more durable, and they usually cost less than the packaged versions. I think the only thing that causes people to shy away from them is the stigma that they’re a major pain to assemble, and a waste of resources.


First and foremost:

  • If you have a rotary cutting system at home already, then you should definitely be using it for cutting out your PDF patterns! Rather than throwing away my rotary blades when they get too dull for fabric, I save them for cutting paper. Investing in a separate rotary handle specifically for paper will give you more life out of your blades in the long run. You’re essentially giving each single blade a dual purpose, and therefore, a double shelf life.
  • In an effort to save paper, I never print out the sewing instructions that accompany each PDF pattern, I just look at them on my laptop instead.
  • Make sure you print your test square first before anything else (page 15 on the Archer pattern)! There’s nothing worse than printing all 37 pages of your PDF and then realizing the scale is too big or too small. Once I printed my test square and checked to make sure it was exactly 3 x 3 inches, then I went ahead and printed the rest of my pattern.


You can also save paper by printing only the view you intend to sew. Some companies offer each pattern variation separately, and some you’ll have to look at the pattern layout and decide which pages you want to print. For example, if you were printing a dress pattern, and you know you want it to be sleeveless, then don’t print the pages that include the sleeves! It’s a bit more hassle to print pages 1-16, 27-35, 38, 42 (you get the idea), but it’s worth it to me if I’m saving some paper.

I haven’t decided if I want to sew View A or View B yet, so I printed both Archer variations.


Leave your pages in sequential order and lay out your pieces in assembly line style for faster construction. Technically you do not need to cut out all four sides of each page. I stack three sheets together and cut only the right and bottom edges. By doing this, I can still overlap and connect the matching triangles, but I’m only doing half the work. There were a few pages I had to cut out individually because the paper fed through my printer at a funny angle, but for the most part I can cut 3 or 4 pages stacked on top of each other and everything still lines up (you can hold your stacked pages up to the light before you cut to make sure).

In the photo below, you can see this method in action.


Tape the pattern together as you cut out the pages so you don’t lose any or get them shuffled up. By cutting and taping in the order the pages were printed, everything will go together with ease. You won’t have to worry about finding piece 2D in a sea of paper, it will just conveniently come after 2C.


I use minimal tape initially until I can tell where I need to cut the actual pattern pieces. For example: I don’t need to put a piece of tape on the alignment triangles if they end up being in a space that’s not actually holding my pattern piece together when it’s cut out. Instead, I make sure I have tape holding two pieces together along the cutting lines in my specific size. This way I’m not wasting a lot of tape.

Another thing to consider (and this is actually good advice for working with any kind of pattern) is how much time you need to cut out and assemble your pattern completely, in one sitting. If you get started and then need to put it aside half way through, things are bound to get lost (or subjected to abuse by cats. Trust me, I speak from experience). Eliminate extra frustration by giving yourself ample time, and space for that matter, to prepare your patterns.

Hopefully these quick tips will help make your PDF pattern assembly a little less daunting!

Do you have any tips to add to the list?




how to sew a 1940s collar

Many seamstresses shy away from sewing collared shirts and dresses because the instructions can be pretty daunting to look at on paper. The good thing about 1940’s collars, like the one on this DuBarry Jumper Dress from 1943, is you usually don’t have to sew the dreaded collar stand. But even the lack of stand can still prove scary for some, so I’m here to walk you through the easiest collar you’ll ever sew. (At least I find this method to be easiest!)

This particular DuBarry pattern instructs you to simply “make a bias facing” for the back neck, but in my tutorial I’ll walk you through what that actually entails. You’ll find that this method leaves barely any actual collar sewing because you’re really just sewing the facings over top of your collar piece. You’ll see…


(*notes: This method only works with a shirt or dress pattern that has the front facings built into the bodice/shirt pattern piece. The directions have corresponding photos beneath each step.)

I highly recommend tracing your vintage patterns before working with them! You can learn how to do that in this tutorial.

Step One: Create a back neck facing to match your front bodice facings. Use a piece of tracing paper, a scrap piece of pattern tissue, or just trace the new facing directly onto a scrap piece of fabric. Your back neck facing will be cut on the fold at the center back, and sewn to the front facing at the shoulder. It is important to make sure your facings are the same width at the shoulder seam. It is also important to make sure your back neck facing mirrors your back bodice piece at the neckline. In the photo below, I have a scrap piece of tracing paper placed over top of my pattern pieces.


Step Two: Once you have your facing piece, cut it out on the bias fold. The bias cut will make it easier to sew your facing to the neckline, but it’s not critical to cut this way if you’re trying to conserve fabric. A regular cut on the fold will work just fine.


Step Three: With right sides together, sew your collar along all sides except for the neckline. Then, flip your collar to the outside, press, and topstitch. Baste the neckline edges closed. This is your finished collar. Next, find the center of your collar by folding it in half and making a small mark on the neckline edge. Do the same on your back bodice piece as shown below.


Step Four: Pin and baste your finished collar to the bodice, matching center backs. The side of your collar that you want facing down on your finished garment, should be facing down when you sew. Ease the collar as you baste to make sure your bodice is not getting bunched under the collar.


Step Five: With right sides together, sew your back neck facing to the front facing at the shoulder seam. Do this for both the left and right sides of your bodice fronts, making sure your back facing does not twist in the process.


Step Six: Press open your facings at the shoulder seams and lay out your bodice so you can see what you’re working with. The right side of your pressed seams (on both the bodice and facings) should be up, as well as the top side of your collar.  The wrong side of your pressed open seams should be down on the table, leaving a full circle that will become your finished neckline. So far so good? Almost done! (The dashed lines in the photo below show what you’ve sewn so far.)


Step Seven: Find the center of your back neck facing and back bodice/collar piece again. Bring the right side of your back neck facing down onto the top side of your collar/right side of your back bodice piece. By doing this, the full circle shape in step six will become a half circle. Check to make sure your front facings line up (right sides together) to form your lapel points.


Step Eight: Pin and stitch from one lapel point, across the collar, and to the other lapel point. (Step Seven, when pinned correctly, will look like the photo below.) Ease as you stitch the facings down through the collar and bodice pieces, checking to make sure your bodice fabric isn’t getting pinched under the collar as you sew.


Step Nine: Check to make sure you’ve sewn your facings down correctly. Then clip your seam allowances, turn your front lapel corners, and press your back neck facing down onto the back bodice piece.


Step 10: Inspect your work! Check to make sure everything looks good from the inside. The raw edge of your collar should be concealed under the back neck facing. The raw edges of your bodice shoulder seams and facing shoulder seams should be together. Does yours look like this? Yes? Excellent! (You can tack, or invisibly stitch, your back facing to the bodice if you find it doesn’t like to stay down.)


Now turn your shirt/dress bodice right side out and inspect again. Looks good to me!


You did it! Now you can sew a 1940’s collar in just 10 steps.


I’ll debut my completed DuBarry dress when I announce the winner of the Vintage4me2 giveaway! Make sure you enter before midnight on the 28th, and take advantage of that 26% off coupon before it expires!

Let me know if this tutorial was helpful for you.