The Peony Dress is one of those styles I never seem to tire of. I adore the figure flattering simplicity of a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. If you look through my closet you will find a fair amount of my wardrobe consists of this style silhouette. For this exact reason I am constantly looking for ways to keep this design fresh.
Enter the shoulder yoke. This thoughtful detail combines both form and function instantly upgrading the dress. While the yoke is a pretty point of interest on the garment, the gathers offer the benefit of bust shaping. I absolutely love how the waist gathers are echoed in the gathers of the bodice.
This detail is created by lowering the neck line, drawing in a yoke, then rotating the dart uptake towards the shoulder to create gathers. In this version, a yoke was added just to the front of the garment, but this element could easily be mirrored on the back of the garment. This detail offers endless opportunity for variation.
Try using contrasting fabric to highlight the yoke detail, or cutting the yoke out of a sheer fabric like organza or lace, to make a cocktail dress. You could even add piping to the yoke and waist seam to really add definition.
The fabric is Robert Kaufman’s Brussels Washer Linen in Mist (available from Hawthorne Threads in the US or Dragonfly Fabrics in the UK). This linen rayon blend is the perfect fabric for spring and summer sewing. It was a dream to sew with, and unlike many linens, it pressed like a dream. It comes in a variety of colors, including yarn dyed.
Remember, through the end of April, you can get Peony for 20% off when you use code PEONYMONTH at checkout. Download this free pattern hack to get started on your own today.