What Is Yoke In Sewing: Types And Uses

Last Updated on 9 months by Susan Mayrich

The answer to what is yoke in sewing is that it’s the part of a garment that can be decorative or structural. To help you further understand what a yoke is, you can read more about its type and uses below. 

what is yoke in sewing

Furthermore, we’ll include a tutorial for making and putting a yoke to your sewing project. And speaking of sewing clothes, why not read our guide on how to sew patches with a sewing machine

It’s always helpful to learn not just how to make garments but also how to repair them.


What Does Yoke Mean In Sewing?

The yoke refers to a part of a garment that can be functional or decorative to ensure that the structure of the clothing is emphasized. You can see it on the neck, shoulders, or waist part, around various areas that are often loose. 


Types of yokes


  • Basic yoke

From the name itself, the basic yoke is a simple or plain yoke that you cut and join according to the garment’s structure, its intended use, and even the wearer. It is also cut and joined with the seam, typically seen on the front and back of a men’s shirt


  • Decorative yoke

The decorative yoke adds visual interest to the garment. So other than using a contrasting color fabric for the yoke, the sewer can also add piping to its edges for additional styling. 


Front vs back yoke

The front yoke refers to the one you put around the neck, and the back yoke is what goes over the shoulders behind the garment. Both ensure that the shirt will drape perfectly, and you can cut them separately. 


What Is The Purpose Of The Yoke?

  • Commonly used on shirts, coats, skirts, dresses, and trousers for shaping or adding volume
  • For adding details and decorative interest to an otherwise plain-looking garment
  • For supporting loose parts of the clothing
  • V-shaped yokes add curves to the features of the jeans that you seat on, while inverted yokes ensure a fuller seat since the middle part of it is higher than the seams outside
  • Wide yokes provide a low-slung look on pants, and straight yokes will ensure that the pants will fall straight perfectly
  • Upward arc yokes give shape to the garment to enhance the rear part of women’s clothing


How Do You Make A Yoke Pattern?

These steps are for making a yoke pattern for the front and back of the shirt:

  1. Draw a line above the bust for the front yoke and above the shoulder blades for the back yoke
  2. Merge the front and back pieces along the shoulder line so you’ll lose the shoulder seam and the back yoke extends an inch to the front
  3. Make a straight line from the center back to the middle of the armhole on your back yoke to determine the back yoke line
  4. Make a line parallel from the shoulder line for about an inch away on the front yoke
  5. Align the front yoke to the back yoke via the shoulder line
  6. Allocate the seam allowance around the edges of the pieces

Since the back yoke is usually attached to a gathered area, consider reading how to gather fabric with a sewing machine


How Do You Cut A Yoke?

The following are for cutting a yoke at the skirt waist:

  1. Draw a line from the side seam to the middle of the front below the darts of the skirt
  2. Cut along the line you made, providing you the upper and lower part of the skirt
  3. Close the waist darts to create a seam between the portions you made


What Is A Yoke In Sewing A Skirt?

Adding a yoke to the skirt ensures that the waistline looks smooth since you’ll be moving the dart to the yoke’s seam. Drafting a skirt with a yoke on the waist, especially skirts with darts will make it look smoother and fit better. 

This is because the darts or the folds provide shape to the wearer’s bust since it takes the ease of the pattern. However, it can look much better if you add a yoke to the waist. 


How Do You Put Yoke On A Blouse?

  1. Align the external yoke with the back bodice right side together
  2. Align the right side of the internal yoke to the wrong side of the back bodice 
  3. Check if the notches and center back are matching, then sew the fabric layers with the proper seam allowance
  4. Trim the excess seams and press towards the yoke
  5. Sew the front bodice pieces right side together with the external yoke at the shoulder seams
  6. Lay the bodice inside out with the front bodice pieces facing you and the internal yoke and back bodice underneath 
  7. Roll the front and back bodice towards the shoulder seams, so the internal yoke becomes visible
  8. Pull the yoke over the rolled bodice and pin the shoulder seams to the part you have already sewn
  9. Sew and trim as needed
  10. Pull the bodice through the neck hole to turn the blouse right side out 
  11. Press and finish the seams



And that’s it! We just learned what is yoke in sewing, which enhances the shape and support of various garment pieces. 

It comes in different types and shapes ranging from basic and decorative to straight, pointed, and curved. As a beginner, it can be tricky to cut and sew the yoke, so it’s best to practice with many patterns to get the hang of it. 

We hope this was helpful; leave us a question if you have any. 

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