Thanks for reading the Colette blog!  This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.


Free Pattern Hack: The Peony with a Shoulder Yoke


Hey there & thank you for reading the Colette blog!

This site is no longer being updated so head over to Seamwork to get all the latest patterns, tutorials, video classes, and more.

Go to Seamwork

01-peonyhacksmaller copy

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.

Today’s post comes from Haley, the newest addition to the Colette team! Haley is an experienced sewing teacher and seamstress and will be contributing a great deal here and over at Seamwork. Please welcome her! -Sarai

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.

Get the Pattern Hack Pack

Haley Glenn   —   Editorial Director

Five years ago, Haley left the apparel industry to join the world of home sewing. She has been empowering women to sew ever since – first through years of in-person teaching at Sew LA, and now through her writing at Colette. Haley writes tutorials and articles on our blog, teaches sewalongs, and writes and edits for our magazine, Seamwork.

Comments 20


This is lovely. I might like it better than the original. Perfect for work!


How beautiful! I love that linen/rayon blend. I sewed 2 pairs of drawstring pants, a tunic, and a Sorbetto top from it last year. Fantastic stuff!


This is adorable! I am definitely going to do this on my first Peony dress.


I love the yoke, and that gorgeous fabric. The dress looks beautiful! Thanks for another awesome pattern hack! And, welcome, Haley!


Lovely – i hadn’t looked too hard at this as i am not such a fan of the bateau style neckline – but i now think i might be buying this pattern this weekend…..

Betty Jordan Wester

This is really beautiful :)

Betty Jordan Wester

And I’m really glad you said what kind of fabric it was.

SJ Kurtz

Nice hack, and a swell teachable moment (yes, you can alter a pattern a little bit, just a little).


Yay!!! Well done Haley! Miss you but happy to “see” you here on the blog! XOXO


This is so pretty! I have been dying for a gray dress, and thinking of adding shoulder gathers to my Peony when this came along!
One problem, I see a dart on the bust – so what does it mean to “rotat[e] the dart uptake towards the shoulder to create gathers.” I’m pretty experienced in altering patterns, but for this pattern I’m confused. Sorry. Any help?


Hi Lissa!
Be sure to take a look at the illustrations in the downloadable pattern hack file, they are super helpful!

After the shoulder yoke has been created, the waist dart is cut away, then a slash line is cut from the bodice yoke seam, to the apex. The uptake is then rotated to the shoulder, this eliminates the waist dart and creates gathers at the bodice yoke seam instead.

Thanks for the question!!


This is so pretty. Never really looked at this pattern before, but I love it. Will have to think again about either downloading WinZip or updating windows so I can download the pattern hacks!


This is really beautiful, But don’t you ever consider sleeves for people who don’t like to show their upper arms?


Hi Kelly! View 1 of the pattern has 3/4 length sleeves, you could definitely apply the same pattern hack to that view!

Mary Kay

I like this better than the original version, I think, but I’m wondering at what point would you make a full bust adjustment?


Hi Mary Kay! That is an excellent question. I would recommend doing a bust adjustment (or any other flat pattern adjustments) before adding the yoke and rotating the dart.

Mary Kay

Thank you, Haley. A good example of why making a muslin first is always a good idea!

Laura Smith

I love this dress pattern. Have not made it yet but am planning to make this a part of my summer sewing line-up. My sister is getting married soon and I have this crazy idea to adapt this dress as a wedding dress for her. This yoke detail and waist gathers have just skyrocketed my ideas for this dress. Keep up the marvelous designs.


Amazing pattern! :) Thank you so much for that! :)
Is there a chance you can explain how did you make the gathering in the skirt?
Thanks :)

We’re sorry, comments for this post have been closed.