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September 8, 2013

TUTORIAL--Chevron (Bias) Pockets and Yokes...The Easy Way!



I love the look of Chevron details on a shirt or other garment, don't you?   I like the added interest they give to the Pockets and the Yokes of the shirts I design, and so do my clients.



But it can get fiddly and frustrating to cut one one piece on the diagonal, then move it (without stretching), to cut its opposite "twin"..all the while trying to cut the second piece so that all the stripes match exactly after it is sewn!

In my studio, getting it right the first time is important because time is of the essence and I don't like to waste fabric. So, I'll show you a method I've used for most of my shirt-making career to create these kinds of bias details.  
(You may click any of the photos to enlarge them.)

After laying out the pattern, I find that there is usually some extra fabric left, or that there are large enough scraps after the pattern is cut out.  For this method I start with 2 rectangular pieces that are about 10-12" wide, and about 13-16" long--


Then I lay them on top of of each other, right sides together. I try my best to match the grain-lines, but having it perfectly straight at this point is just a goal, not a strict necessity. If it looks good to my eye, (as shown below), it's "perfect" enough.


Now...to decide the angle to cut...hmm. Do I want a 45-degree angle...or Not? It's up to you to decide. There is no rule that a chevron must be at a 45-degree angle. So I don't stress over it.   I just place my ruler on an angle as shown below, and cut off a triangle with my rotary cutter--




Discard the small cut-off triangle pieces, you will be working with the larger pieces.  
Now is when some precision is needed.  Move the top piece down so that it is about 1/4-inch away from the angled edge of the bottom piece, as shown below. Move it a little bit to the left if needed. The Top piece shown below is now about 1/4-inch away from the bottom piece along their angled edges. 

(Tip-- If I am losing you here at this step...take 2 pieces of paper, lay them on top of each other, cut off a triangle through both layers, and then move the top piece down a bit...see? The top angled edge is now also  "moved over" and you can see the bottom angled edge...just like in the example in fabric that I show here.) 

Look closely at the photo below. Note that the reason for moving the top piece is so that the stripes match almost perfectly along the angled edges. All that matters now are those angled edges. This is important.


Next, take your pieces to the machine....no, don't bother to pin anything. I told you that this is an easy method and it is, I promise!  For one thing, there will be no guessing if the stripes are going to match...because we can See them, and since we can See both edges of the angled pieces that are about to be sewn together...Yippee...there is No "blind" matching!

So then, at the machine....start to line up your stripes....and start to sew a 1/4-inch seam on the TOP layer, as shown below. As you continue to sew, shift the layers a bit if necessary, so that the stripes match....and since we can actually see them, it is not hard to match them.


This is what the sewn piece will look like when the stitching is complete--

...and below, a close-up photo of the stitched seam--
(What? It doesn't look like those stripes are matched along the cut edges (seam allowances)? They were when I shifted the piece when sewing, but then afterwards the bias edges relaxed and naturally shifted a bit, while the stitching is holding the matched stripes firmly in place. Wait until you see the finished piece <<smile>>)

Next, press the seam allowances flat, being careful not the stretch the seam. Yes, one seam allowance is bigger (wider) than the other. You can trim it...I usually do. It's just one quick-but-careful cut with my rotary cutter.

Then press the seam allowance open...again being careful not to stretch the seam.  

This is what the seam looks like from the Wrong (back) Side, after pressing--

And this is what the entire piece looks like from the Right (front) Side--

...and here is a close-up of the nicely matched chevron seam--

So here we have a piece of fabric with a chevron (mitered/angled) seam running through it, now what?  All that is left to do is place the center of the yoke pattern piece along that stitched seam (as shown below), and cut it out!   I even had room for a pocket!


And when cut out, there is a lovely bias-seamed chevron striped yoke, ready to be sewn to the rest of the shirt pieces--

Just one more thing....yes, of course you can cut your yoke or pocket or whatever pattern piece so that the chevron stripes are "pointed" in the opposite direction than what I've demonstrated here. If you look at the yellow pocket shown near the top of this tutorial, you'll see that I chose to have the points of those angles run "down" rather than "up".

So, what do you think?  Is this fast easy method one that you might try the next time you add bias-seamed (chevron) details to a garment?


57 comments:

  1. Lovely lovely lovely bit of great technique. This blog is going to be great. Thank you, Pam!

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  2. hehehe. Clever Pam. Great fast technique. And I love what you can do with stripes too.

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  3. Love it! Great way to match stripes. Slapping forehead now!

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  4. Genius! I will certainly remember this technique! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Melina ;)9/08/2013

    Wow-that is an awesome tutorial!!!

    Thank you so much!! You are a genius-beautiful!!

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  6. I absolutely love it!

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  7. What a great technique!!!!!!!

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  8. Great tutorial!! Thanks!

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  9. great tutorial thanks!!

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  10. What a great idea! I love stripes and will certainly use this tip.

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  11. Thank you, Pam! What great information. Now if I can just figure out how to add this to Feedly.

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  12. Brilliant! I absolutely signed up to follow your new blog site. Thank you for the hard work you put into your blogs.

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  13. Clever tip! I'm going to bookmark this one. :)

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  14. AWESOME!!!!!! Thank you!

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  15. Becky D.9/08/2013

    So simple, yet it is brilliant! Looking forward to the new blog.

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  16. I'm going to make use of this today! And congrats on your new blog. :-)

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  17. Absolutely brilliant!!!!! Love it thanks so much for sharing!!!!! Linda Lee
    P.S. Love the new blog :-)

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  18. Oh my word! That is a brilliant technique!! I can't wait to try it out, and since I have been planning a stripey dress for this month's personal sewing project, it won't be that long 'til I get the chance...

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  19. Ahhhh! I have some fabulous shirting that will be perfect for this technique. Thanks, Pam!

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  20. Hi Pam, thanks for this great valuable tutorial. Congrats on your new blog.
    Els

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  21. very excited to see this blog! i've sewn several shirts this year and have studied david coffin's book religiously... i look forward to all the info you have to share. great tip on the chevron matching!

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  22. Jean S9/08/2013

    congrats on the new blog; I'm sure it will be super popular!

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  23. Holy mackerel--how ingenious!

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  24. Very easy to follow---which means I'll actually try it! Thanks.

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  25. LauraUK9/08/2013

    Brilliant! Thank you for sharing, and in such a clear, easy to follow manner.

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  26. I've said this before about your fabulous techniques and will say it again, Brilliant! You give us all such an education, Pam. Thank you so much.

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  27. I had no idea that this stylish looking effect was actually just so easy to do! Off to give it a go...J

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  28. So clever! I can definitely see myself using this trick in the future!

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  29. Rebecca D9/08/2013

    That certainly does look easy. Thanks so much and I can't wait to read more.

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  30. This is wonderful.As a big fan of stripes and chevrons, I thank you!

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  31. After reading this, I think I could really make a decent attempt at a chevron! Thank-you

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  32. oh wow! That is so clever. Thank you for showing how to do that - I have done it the hard way in the past and not been entirely happy with the result.

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  33. I'll be trying this for sure. Thanks so much for sharing your secrets.

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  34. Great tutorial from a great pro! Congratulations on the new site! Looking forward to continue reading you

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  35. So glad to see you up and blogging again! Great tutorial -- as are all of yours. I'm using it today!

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  36. Anonymous9/09/2013

    Do you use a Steady Betty to keep from stretching the seam when pressing or anything similar?
    Susan

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  37. Hi Susan....no I don't use many pressing aids aside from the usual tailoring tools. In fact, not being a quilter, I had to Google the product you mentioned because I had never heard of it. It looks very handy!

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  38. What a great way to chevron fabric before cutting for a perfect
    match...........so clever!
    Thanks, K

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  39. Smashing idea Pam! Thanks for the tip. Hope you are feeling back in the pink of health!

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  40. Love this brilliant tip! Thank you!

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  41. First, congratulations Pam on your new and improved blogspot. I JUST found out about your 'move', so I missed out on all of the anticipation.

    Now, I remember seeing this technique for the pocket, but hadn't seen it applied to a yoke (or if you did the yoke before I completely spaced it out)...and I've got to say its so simply cool!

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  42. Lorielou9/12/2013

    Congratulations on your new blog site, I love your tutorials!!

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  43. Great tutorial, Pam (pinned!)!
    I'm now following here too (GFC + Bloglovin')
    MammaNene @ SergerPepper

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  44. Oh, how I have struggled with this! Your method is so much simpler! Thanks.

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  45. This is brilliant! Thank you so much, Pam! I love stripes but they can be so testy.

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  46. Anonymous11/18/2013

    Just found your new blog and have become a follower on Bloglovin. I have a question about the chevron tutorial - which will show that I am not a confident sewer. I understand yokes on shirts are usually two layers. Is the "chevron" technique used for both layers?

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    Replies
    1. Hi! While some shirt-makers choose to chevron both the inner and outer yoke...I prefer to have the inner yoke cut on the straight-grain, in one piece. I use a solid color fabric for the inside piece.

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  47. Anonymous12/31/2013

    I just found your blog. Thank you for taking the time to share. I've been sewing for 50 years. I've sewn everything from a wedding dress to a garish pair of golf pants. But it took me probably 40 years to learn your trick of making the fabric and then cutting out the pattern. In years past, I would have cut the yoke pattern in half, fussy cut the stripes, made a mistake and started all over again, frustrated. You have shown how to eliminate a headache and end up with a very professional product. Ta-Dah!!
    KathyDe

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  48. Anonymous2/08/2014

    That's brilliant!

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  49. Parabéns, você é maravilhosa.

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  50. Parabéns, você é maravilhosa.

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  51. Anonymous6/18/2014

    Thanks a million. I have used this technique several times with great success. By adjusting the angle of the piecing it it easy to have the front yoke seam parallel with a stripe, like a Paul Smith shirt. Brava!

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  52. Hi Pam, I hope your health is better than it was. I just love your tutorials. I read and re-read them over and over again. I have just found the one about elastic casing and it's brilliant yet so simple. And this one, sewing chevrons is brilliant and I can't wait to try it. I must say I love your clear elastic and your collar point turner are awesome. Must try your interfacing next.

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  53. Fabulous! Pam, your tutorials are so helpful and perfectly clear. Thanks a million for your generous efforts. I do hope good health has returned and am wishing you well, always.

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