Background Info on Blouses with Waistline Yokes

When I first read about blouses with waistline yokes I wanted to try making one of my own. The upper portion of the blouse is made with a fitted or unfitted blouse. The yoke below the waistline can be derived from a pencil skirt pattern. It controls the fullness of the upper portion of the blouse. There is less shifting and moving around of fabric so that the upper portion of the blouse always looks neat.

Blouse with waistline yoke from the revised and updated edition of “Couture Sewing Techniques” by Claire B. Shaeffer.

I have both the original and the updated editions of “Couture Sewing Techniques” by Claire B. Shaeffer and use them as starting points whenever I’m looking to incorporate designer details into my own dressmaking. Shaeffer explains that the yoke is often made in a lightweight fabric so as not to be noticeable under a garment. Sometimes it is hemmed, as shown in this silk blouse. Depending on the weight of the fabric, the hem may simply be finshed by hand overcasting.

The Donna Blouse, inspired by the kinds of everyday outfits worn by actress Donna Reed on her early 1960s TV show.

The finished version of the Donna Blouse is made from a lightweight cotton shirting. I thought chiffon would be too lightweight for the blouse yoke. Since the skirt for this outfit is made of a medium weight Linaire (poly/rayon blend) I thought making the yoke in the same fabric would work out well. And it did! The blouse fabric has the right weight to add just the right amount of support under the skirt and help it flare out a little more. Which turns out to be good since this skirt will have a full slip but not a 1950s petticoat underneath.

Meeting of the blouse bodice and the waistline yoke. Center front is traced in orange cotton basting thread.

One thing Shaeffer did not reveal was how the deisngers approach closing the blouse below the waistline. Since the Donna Blouse is using buttons that are raised, rounded and have a surface texture I wasn’t certain about continuing buttonholes past the waistline.

This is how the buttons would look if they were placed beneath the waistline when the blouse is worn with the skirt.

I pinned a button below the waistline on the dress form along the center front line. When the Donna Half Circle Skirt was put on over it a very unattractive bump resulted. I resolved the issue by planning to make buttonholes that began at the end of the lapel and ended slightly above the waistband of the skirt. The Donna Blouse will be closed by small snaps at the waistline and slightly below.

In the next posting I will detail how the buttonhole spacing was determined using instructions from “The Vogue Sewing Book”, 1970 edition.