How to sew Ruby with a divided yoke

how to sew Ruby with a divided yoke / made by rae

I promised this tutorial last May when I first posted the rose colored Ruby with divided yoke shown below, and since then I’ve had more than one email asking when it would be posted. I guess that makes this a long-awaited tutorial. Sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? I think it is special! It’s a great way to mix up an already super-versatile pattern (Ruby) with a new look.

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

To make Ruby with a divided yoke, you need to line the yoke and assemble the main part of the top in a slightly different order, something I demonstrate in my Ruby with a lined yoke videos, and I’ll refer to the video series for the assembly of the main part of the top rather than walk you through the entire process here. Because of this, it helps if you’ve made a Ruby with a lined yoke, but is not required. Note to beginners: I’d really recommend trying the basic pattern first before attempting either lined mod!

Step 1. Cut Yokes
You’ll need FOUR front yokes, because instead of cutting on the fold, you’ll be adding 1/4” at center front (CF) to accommodate the slit in the front. So take your front yoke pattern piece, add 1/4” at CF, and cut four (so: two sets, one for the lining, one for the outer).

Cut TWO back yokes on the fold, one for the lining and one for the outer

Step 2. Sew yokes together at shoulders
With right sides together, sew each yoke together at the shoulders. Each back yoke will be sewn to two front yokes. Now you have two yokes, one for the lining, and one for the outer.

Step 3. Sew yokes together
Starting and ending 1/2” from the bottom edge of each yoke (it helps to mark this with chalk or fabric marker), sew the yokes together along the neckline and armholes.

Step 4. Turn yoke right side out
Press the armhole and neckline seams, clip them, and then turn the yoke right side out and press again.

Next, fold back the lining along each of the three bottom edges and pin it away from the edge so that it won’t get in the way when you attach the yoke to the main part of the dress/top.

How to sew Ruby with a divided yoke / made by rae

Step 5. Assemble the main dress/top
Sew the front and back of the MAIN dress/top together along the side seams, press and finish the seams. Next, finish the armholes with bias binding attached to the outside and then flipped and stitched to the inside. NOTE: I demonstrate how to do this in this video (skip ahead to 3 min 30 sec to see this).

Finally, gather the top edges of the main dress/top as instructed in steps 3 and 4 of the pattern to prepare to attach it to the yoke.

Step 6. Attach yoke to main dress/top
Pin the back outer yoke to the back main dress/top, matching edges and notches, and pull on the gathering threads until the two are the same size. Distribute gathers evenly and then sew together with a 1/2” seam. Repeat for the front, makin sure that the two front edges are lined up right next to each other. I usually backtack a few times where the two edges meet when sewing this seam.

Clip the seam allowance of the main dress/top at center front right up to — but not through — the seam line (very important!). Press front and back yoke seams towards the yoke.

Step 7. Fold down lining and hand stitch
Fold the lower edge of the lining so that it just covers the yoke seams you just sewed. The trickiest part of this will be at the center front, where the seam allowances need to separate at the notch you clipped. Pin and then stitch by hand in place to finish.

. . . . . . . .

You can see more pics of this Ruby in action over at this post. All of the Ruby tutorials and mods can be found on the Ruby page, and you can buy the Ruby sewing pattern in my shop!

Rose Ruby with Divided Yoke

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

I always get a little overwhelmed in spring with all the new things I want to sew; clothes for kids, clothes for me, all the ideas and designs in my head, all the new patterns online getting me inspired. It happened again this year: last month I felt really overwhelmed by work and life, and it wasn’t great, and I can’t say I figured out a great way to deal with it so this isn’t a personal victory story or anything like that. However, I managed to attack a few things on my WIP pile, including a Ruby top with a black lawn yoke and pink voile bottom that I had started just after Hugo was born, tried on, decided that I looked like a cow in it (oh ye post partum body issues, le sigh…), and abandoned. I took off the black yoke, sewed a new divided/lined yoke from the pink main fabric, and hemmed it so it has a cropped length (about a 3″ hem allowance instead of 1″). Can’t believe how much more I love this thing now.

Ruby with divided yoke

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

The fabric is Pickering Voile from Dry Goods Design, and it’s super sheer and fairly wrinkle resistant. They won’t have it anymore, but if you keep an eye on that shop, I promise you’ll find some gem apparel fabric. The rose pink works well with my white jeans (I got fistbumped by a homeless lady the other day who told me they were — and I quote — “White, tight, and right”) and my decades-old Gap jean jacket. Oh and my new haircut! So easy! So quick to dry!! Looks good with my glasses!!! Haircut for the win.

Rose Ruby with divided yoke

I’ll post a how-to for the divided yoke Ruby soon. Meanwhile you can check out my past Ruby posts and tutorials on the Ruby Page, or just get yourself started with the Ruby pattern from my shop.

Anyway, I hope you’re full of spring sewing mojo! But if you’re suffering from Spring Sewing Idea Paralysis, try taking something off the WIP pile instead. It might work for you too!

Ruby with poms

I realize my need to add pom poms to things I make is becoming borderline obsessive. I haven’t found a support group yet, so it is going to be ADD POMS TO ALL THE THINGS YEEHAW until someone stages an intervention. Just so you know.


Latest Pom Victim: this white double gauze Ruby top (pattern: Ruby Dress and Top).


The fabric is a solid white double gauze that I picked up at Pink Castle here in Ann Arbor. Every time I make a piece of clothing with solid fabric I wonder why I don’t do it more. Solid pieces are the connector blocks in my handmade wardrobe. I’ve just made a chambray tank that is serving a similar purpose that I’ll post soon. Solid fabrics may be less exciting to look at than crazy prints, but they sure are practical.



As for adding poms to this Ruby, since the weave was pretty loose, I opted to stitch the trim on by hand after I lined the yoke.


By the way, this top is another piece of my Spring/Summer Handmade Wardrobe that I posted about here. Stay tuned for more!

PS. Want to see everything I’ve ever made that has pom poms on it? You got it.

Bonsai Bag / Bianca with poms / Geranium with poms / Clementine Geranium with poms / Pom Pom scarf (that’s even a tutorial!) / Pom pom scarf for Clementine / shorts with pom poms / Orange Washi with poms

Loominous Ruby and the sad tale of a jumpsuit gone awry

Loominous Ruby Top

You may remember that earlier this year I made a pair of Luna Pants from this very same fabric. One day by chance I folded those pants on top of a pair of dark skinny jeans and fell in love with the combination of the green with the denim and realized “I think I need a top from that fabric too.”

Loominous Ruby Top

Considering how ridiculously comfortable the pants were, it was a no-brainer to buy more fabric (Loominous by Anna Maria Horner) to make a simple summer top. And considering Ruby is possibly the quickest and easiest of all of my women’s patterns to make, that was a no-brainer too.

Loominous Ruby Top

This top was part of my Spring/Summer Handmade Wardrobe planning sketch (I blogged about that here), so now I can cross that one off the to-sew list.

Loominous Ruby Top

At some point in the process — I don’t exactly remember when — it occurred to me that these two things (top, pants) could be combined to make a faux jumpsuit without the obvious disadvantages of a real jumpsuit (I am referring, of course, to the difficulties one might encounter trying to use the restroom, among other things). Once the thought was there, it was impossible not to act on it. Photographic evidence:

Loominous Faux Jumpsuit

I’m not sure why it never occurred to me that I would look like a giant green leprechaun. And the glasses and the shoes really did not help at ALL…geez. Perhaps with a different color (black?) things would have been different, but I think it is safe to say that I Will Not Be Caught Dead wearing this ensemble out of the house.

I thought you would get a kick out of the photo, though.

Picking a cover for Ruby

I thought it would be fun to show you something that Elli is working on these days, a little behind-the-scenes post of sorts. We took a break from new pattern production this summer after Beatrix (honestly we all just needed to step away, that one was really intense), and I wanted to work on putting a few more of our women’s patterns into print before we started on something new. Ruby seemed like a great candidate because it would make the perfect beginner garment sewing class, and we’ve noticed that the shops that carry my print patterns often use them for sewing classes.


It takes quite a bit of work to turn a digital pattern into a print pattern because not only do the instructions have to be laid out differently, we also need a cover for the pattern. A few years ago I hired Lauren Dahl to create a cover for the Washi Dress pattern, so Elli (who does all of our graphics work now; she also happens to be my sister) used the layout Lauren created for Washi to make something similar for Ruby.


You can see we narrowed it down to two candidates for the cover sample. I made the yellow Ruby top out of some double gauze and lace I had left over from other projects (the yellow double gauze was from this Josephine, and the lace was from this lace top). I’ve worn the top a few times this summer but I made it mainly thinking it might make a good cover photo for the print pattern. Here it is on the hanger:


And on me:


The other candidate for the cover shots was this Ruby Dress (if you follow that link you’ll see I’ve been thinking about the cover of this pattern for over a year). Here it is on the hanger:


And on me:


Jess and Elli and I spent a little time discussing which one of these shots was better for the cover. If we chose the yellow top cover, the lace might scare people away if they thought they could only use lace for the yoke (any fabric will do!) or were worried about it being see-through, but on the other hand, the solid yellow is really pretty universally appealing whereas the red feather print might be more of a personal taste thing. The red dress cover is my favorite photo of the two, but we were worried that the point on the bottom of the skirt might look too A-line; the dress hangs a little straighter normally and we didn’t want to give the wrong impression about its shape. So we zoomed in a little for the cover draft you see above, but then you can’t tell how long it is.

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Can you believe we spend so much time talking about such tiny details?? Sometimes I think I overthink this stuff way too much. Anyway, we’re sending the proofs to the printer this week so you’ll know which one we chose soon!!!

Ruby Dress in chambray and voile


I needed some new photos for the print cover of the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern so I had Karen whip up this chambray and voile version last week at the studio. I have been hoarding this fabric forever and ever so it’s fun to have finally turned it into something wearable.


Ruby will be the next women’s pattern of mine to go into print. It’s true that I already have some great photos of Ruby — this Leah Duncan Tule/grey chambray version was a big hit — but it seems a bit misleading to use that one for the paper pattern cover because it shows the yoke with a lining rather than the default bias-bound neck and armholes. The lining technique IS covered in my video series for adding a yoke lining, but the instructions were a bit too complicated to put into a pattern meant for beginners; it’s really better seen than read. So I guess the question is: is it OK to put a lined version on the cover, if we have to send people to the website to see the videos? I don’t know. The second question is: will this version (made with gorgeous Anna Maria Horner voile and indigo union chambray) SELL the dress as well as the original dress? I hope so. What do you think?


Anyway, now I have a beautiful summer dress and some new photos to boot — my sister Elli just had a baby a month earlier than expected (more on that hopefully soon!!!) so things are moving a little slower than usual in the pattern production department, but that’s fine. It’s a Baby Year over here, and I think that is pretty fantastic.

You can purchase the Ruby Dress Sewing Pattern (in a PDF version!) right here.

Summer is for Josephines and Rubies

Some hot and steamy days are ahead of us, so I wanted to share some of my favorite summery renditions of my Josephine and Ruby patterns.

Even though we released the Josephine Tunic & Blouse when hot weather was the furthest thing from my mind, View C has instructions to make a sleeveless top with side vents. Jaime from Fancy Tiger Crafts made a gorgeous version out of Cloud9 Fabrics’ Palos Verdes Voile.


As the mercury rises, I’ve rekindled my love for the Ruby Dress & Top pattern. It sews up so quickly, and it’s versatile: wear it with shorts or a skirt, or enjoy it on its own as a light, breezy dress.

Sarah made this bright and cheery dress and blogged about it here.

sarah ruby

I love the bold prints paired with solid yokes on all of these:

ruby mosaic

Above, Top Left: I Sew You Sew’s Ruby top with a Washi Expansion Pack [shortened] sleeve!
Top Right: Meagan blogged about her top here, and put a nice curved Wiksten Tank hem on it. Nice mashup!

Bottom Left: Spencer’s dress
Bottom Right: Katie’s dress

Have you made any summery Rubies or Josephines? Share them with us on Instagram with hashtags #rubydress and #josephinepattern, or in their Flickr photo pools (Josephine, Ruby) !

Ruby Sparkles

posted by jess

Well, Summer arrived the other day. And my hair said, “We’re thinking big.” I should have prepared myself, because when I posted this photo on IG, my hairdresser later texted me, “Wow Nice texture! I’m sure that will be a lot of fun throughout the humid season.” I’m strategically not letting you see the right-hand side of my head in these photos, because it has a different hairdo.

Whoops, I didn’t hijack Rae’s blog to talk about my hair though; I actually wanted to do some show and tell from my own Spring Top Sewing. I just finished my favorite Ruby to date, and I thought I’d share the mods I made.

I cut out the fabric for the top and didn’t change the length at all. You can hardly tell, but I put an elastic in the hem. I sewed the hem exactly as indicated in the pattern, but left a 1″ opening to thread a 1/4″ elastic through the entire hem. I held it in place with a safety pin to try it on, then sewed the elastic ends together before finishing off the hem. I have a couple of store-bought tops that have the really loose elastic in the hem, and I like how it gives the top a little bit more shape on me.

j ruby 2

Instead of sewing gathers in the back, I made a box pleat.

ruby back

I followed Rae’s yoke lining video tutorials, and used bias binding for the exposed portion of the armholes.

Instead of turning the bias binding to the outside of the garment like Rae did here, I sewed the bias tape to the outside of the armhole, then folded it all the way in before topstitching (Rae did that on this version).

j ruby 1

Finally, a word about the fabric. For the yoke, I used Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons (colorway lipstick for the outer, and apricot for the lining). The main fabric for the top is a score from the covered Bazaar in Istanbul. There is some really gaudy stuff there, let me tell you. This print is less visually stimulating than a lot of what I saw there, believe it or not. It’s a simple black background with fuchsia, peach, and pink fireworks, upon which gold and pink roses have been superimposed. Then they glued on some sequin-like sparkles for good measure. Honestly, I don’t usually wear much in the way of shiny/sparkly, but I think the solid yoke contrast helps calm things down a bit, and this top is crazy comfy. I think I’ll be wearing this a lot!

Spring Top Sewalong 2014 is underway! Read more here; and add your photos to the Flickr Pool!

Ruby with a washi sleeve


One of the most common questions I got when the Ruby Dress pattern came out this summer was “can you add a sleeve to it?” It was hard for me to say “not yet!” but I knew that we had two new gathered sleeves coming out in both the Washi Expansion Pack and the Josephine pattern (we’re working on it!) that would work nicely with Ruby. I finally had a chance to test the Washi XP sleeve out on this Ruby top (fabric is Anna Maria Horner’s Field Study rayon challis) and it worked great!


I love a gathered sleeve because the generous fit means it’s comfortable, and it’s easy to sew because it will fit just about any armhole. Because I love to mix and match when I sew for myself, rather than making the same thing over and over (hence Washi XP), it made sense to design a sleeve that will be interchangeable with all of my patterns. At some point I would like to make an ungathered, fitted sleeve too, but I really prefer the gathered sleeve right now. Anyway, this is one step closer to my dream of creating a portfolio of women’s patterns that all work well together so you can make endless variations.


So you can see that I took these photos a while back, when I was about 12 weeks pregnant…not much of a belly to show for myself there yet! (Now? There’s no hiding it)


To add a Washi XP sleeve to Ruby (and this will work with the Josephine sleeve as well), you simply sew the entire dress or top together up to the side seam step, then gather the top of the sleeve between the marks and sew it to the armhole. Once the sleeve is attached, you can finish the side seams and hem the dress and sleeve, and you’re done. Pretty simple! It’s a bit more difficult to add a sleeve AND a lining for the Ruby yoke, but it can be done. If you really want to try this, you might want to email me first so I can send you a little step-by-step.


By the way, probably the second most common question I get about the Ruby is “can it be made with knits?” We added knits to the list of recommended fabrics for the main part of the Ruby, but not the yoke, with the idea that the yoke really shouldn’t be made from knits unless it’s a super-stable (non-stretchy) knit. It makes sense right? If your yoke stretches out, the whole top is going to look kinda saggy. So the answer is, yes, Ruby can be made with knit fabrics, but shoot for less stretchy knits like interlock or jerseys with less stretch to avoid getting a saggy yoke and armhole.