How to Machine Sew a Shirt Yoke - the Burrito Method

How to Machine Sew a Shirt Yoke - the Burrito Method

Sewing a yoke on a shirt or dress creates some interesting detail and a professional looking finish, but what about the inside? Some sewing patterns suggest sewing a yoke on the inside and outside, usually hand stitching the internal yoke. Well here's a technique that allows you to machine stitch the whole shebang and feel like a total sewing ninja.


Place the external yoke right sides together with the back bodice piece.

Pinning an external shirt yoke

Place the internal yoke's right side to the wrong side of the back bodice.

Pinning an internal yoke

Check any notches and centre back are matched accurately.

Sew the three layers of fabric together using the seam allowance suggested by your pattern (do this throughout this process).

If you prefer you could sew one yoke to the bodice first then sew the second ensuring the stitching lines match up or one is slightly inside the other, but parallel.

Trim and grade the seam allowances if necessary and press towards the yoke.

Trimming the yoke seam Pressing yoke seams

Sew the bodice front pieces right sides together to the external yoke only at the shoulder seams leaving the internal yoke hanging free.

Pinning the shoulder seams

Lay the bodice on a table inside out with the front bodice pieces on the top nearest you and the internal yoke and back bodice underneath next to the table.

Preparing the shirt for the burrito yoke method

Roll the front bodice and back bodice together towards the shoulder seams like you would roll a sleeping bag or burrito! Depending on the bulkiness of your fabric you may need to roll it tighter.

As you reach the top the internal yoke will be revealed from underneath.

Rolling a shirt to sew the burrito method

Pull it over the rolled up bodice pieces.

Sewing a yoke the burrito no hand sewing method

Pin the shoulder seams to the shoulder seam you have already sewn making sure you don't catch any fabric from the main bodice.

Pinning the shoulder seams

You should now have something which looks like a burrito.

Sewing a yoke the burrito method

Pin and stitch the shoulder seams in place then trim or grade as necessary.

Now for the fun part.

Pull the main bodice fabric through the neckhole until the whole thing is turned the right way out.

Turning a shirt yoke through  Turning a machine sewn yoke through

Et voila, super neat and professional on the inside and out.

Machine sewing a shirt yoke Sewing a shirt yoke

Give everything a good press and edge stitch close the the seams to secure everything in place.

Have fun sewing!


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