Tutorial: Convertible Collar with Yoke

A few days ago I was asked to republish the convertible collar tutorial that I had on my now-defunct GigiSews.com site – here it is! As always, it’s so much easier to use 1/4″ seam allowances in this area. Your stitching will be easier, more accurate and you won’t have to trim. Here, I am using Kwik-Sew 2935 which includes 1/4″ seam allowances throughout.

I’ve increased the seam allowances in some areas (the side seams and sometimes the armscye) to give me the option of using flat-felled seams or even plain seams, depending on the project. There’s nothing wrong with using a 1/4″ throughout but I think that larger seam allowances and other seam finishes add more perceived value to the garment. Still, all of your enclosed seams should be 1/4″ – always, IMO.

With the exception of the collar, do not press anything until the end.

Step 1: Construct the collar. I always put a large X with chalk on the undercollar so as not to mix them up.

Step 2: Construct the inner yoke/front facing unit. The inner edges of your facings should be finished in some manner. Here, I’ve simply turned in 1/4″ and edgestitched.

Step 3: Attach the outer yoke to the front and back sections.

Step 4: Sew the collar into the neckline with a 1/8″ seam (so that you won’t have to remove any stitching later). Once you get the hang of this you may be able to skip this step. I still do it because I’m not a big fan of pinning. Having the collar sewn into position gives me one less piece to keep an eye on. Make sure the under collar is next to the outer yoke before sewing.

Step 5: Attach the inner yoke/front facing unit to the shirt/collar unit. I often sew this in two steps, first stitching across the neckline/collar and then down the facings/front edges.

Step 6: Now you’ll need to sew the front yoke seam. Many pattern directions will tell you to slipstitch or topstitch this seam. I sew it by machine from the inside. Hold the raw edges together as they should be sewn and fold the shirt inside. The outer edges will be easy, it gets trickier as you get close to the neckline. You only need to concern yourself with stitching just past the facing edge – don’t worry about getting right up to the neckline because you won’t be able to.

Step 7: I’m sorry (again) for the blurriness of this photo. This is the front yoke seam pinned and ready to sew.

Step 8: Once this seam is sewn you will have a small unsewn area next to the collar. I just leave it as is. If it bothers you, you can certainly sew it up by hand – if you’ll be edgestitching the yoke that will take care of it as well.

Step 9: Lay the shirt out flat, right side up, with the front facing you. Roll the back of the shirt up into the outer yoke area.

Step 10: Pull the fronts off to the side and bring the inner yoke around to meet the outer yoke.

Step 11: Here’s what it will look like – ready to be sewn.

Step 12: Turn everything right side out. Now you can press!

Finished! A nice, neat collar/yoke area completely finished by machine.

Notice that the design matches across the button opening. I always think that’s a nice touch – and it’s so very easy. Material for a future tutorial?


Filed under Tutorials

16 responses to “Tutorial: Convertible Collar with Yoke

  1. I have used these instructions, printed from your former blog. This method works beautifully. Thank you, Gigi.

  2. nanflan

    Great tutorial! I’m sure I’ll refer to it the next time I make a camp shirt.

    BTW, a tutorial on matching would make a good topic for a future entry. I’m looking forward to it!

  3. Tessa

    Thanks so much for posting this again. It works really well, and you’ve explained it so clearly. The only thing I’ve done differently is to leave attaching the back till the end. It’s just less fabric to get in the way while putting together the yoke/collar part.

  4. Oh this is a good one…printing it out right now.

  5. Chris B.


    Great work as always. Would you consider putting up the tutorial on matching designs too?

    I really miss all of the Divas on PR. I only realized this weekend that there was a problem. I hope you will not let a few bad apples spoil what was a wonderful learning experience for a lot of us. Some people just have to be spiteful and there is just not much one can do when we are brought to heel under their nasty ways. Just remember there are a lot of us that just love you and your work and are so inspired by your posts.

    Chris B.

  6. julia

    Dear Gigi,
    You are the best! I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply, but my sewing is done in 10 and 20 minute blocks of time. This is an XXL shirt, so even one seam can take the day’s time allowance. At least I can happily tell you that I survived jury duty!

    AND – my collar, yoke and facings, however, look amazing! Thank-you for such great directions! You’ve been printed out, 3-hole punched and stuck in the “Techniques” binder.

    I’ll send you photos, but you must be patient. Sleeves and flat-feld seams across the shoulders are done, but the sides, button/buttonholes and hems remain left to do.

    Thanks again, you are a very talented and generous person.


  7. Mary Ann

    Thanks for posting this tutorial again. I was hoping that I could find it, as my son who is going away to UM as a freshman in a couple of weeks has asked me to make him some “Aloha” shirts. KS 2935, here I come. I really appreciate your generosity.
    Mary Ann

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  9. marianne

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been searching all day for help on putting in a yoke. This process is too complicated for words only, and I am just not very good at visual-spatial tasks. I will follow your instructions step by step.

  10. Kris C.

    Thanks, Gigi! I just made my second KS 2935 shirt, but the first following these directions. At times, I looked at the picture and thought, “Huh?” But it all turned out beautifully! Thanks! I’ll be using these again for sure!

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  12. Mae

    Thanks Gigi, that is so helpful! And thanks, Pam, for mentioning it on your blog.

  13. Yes, I’m dragging this old thing out of the closet, it’s all Peter’s fault (MalePatternBoldness), I swear! He started this “Men’s Shirt Sew-Along” and there are about 150 of us following along…

    At the end of this post, you said, “Notice that the design matches across the button opening. I always think that’s a nice touch – and it’s so very easy. Material for a future tutorial?”

    Well, I’ve searched your tutorials and have discovered that perhaps this one was forgotten? I would LOVE to match the pattern on my bold paisley shirt (Kwik Sew 2777)! I know you’re busy with your fur coat at the moment but if you have the time, would you be able to pass along some tips?

    Forever grateful,