by Esi Hutcheson
We recently made our 212 Five Frontier Shirts into a PDF version with updated sizing - now in range XS-2XL. In this blog post I will show you how to make piping trim as well as piping the decorative yokes, plackets, and pockets for the decorative cowboy shirt for Views D and E of this pattern.
Early Considerations and Plans
Views D and E have a cutout western motif for the front of the shirt, and a curved yoke for the back of the shirt. You can use different color (and type) fabrics for the yokes and the piping trim for lots of options for how you want your shirt to look. Note: you can also make this shirt without these curved yokes for a simple button-down shirt, but I really like the design and wanted to make a shirt with these fun yokes.
There are an infinite amount of color combinations I could have gone with. I knew I wanted a white linen base for my shirt, but I struggled picking out colors for the yokes, plackets and piping. I printed the line drawing for View D and colored it in to see what I was drawn to. This is an excellent way to make decisions for your sewing ideas. You can print the line drawings (easy to do from the PDF pattern) and color them in, or sketch them out in a notebook.
I found a burnt orange silk dupioni scrap big enough to use for the yokes and plackets, as well as a metallic burnt umber poly silk blend scrap for my piping. I really liked this combination.
To make your own piping, you'll need cord - at least 3 to 5 yards. When you buy typical piping cord there will most likely be enough, at least for this pattern. I used silky cord, but twine will work as well, the cord needs to be around ⅛”/3mm in diameter. I wanted to create my own piping because I thought it would look best with the fabric I am using for the yokes and plackets. For this shirt, you could buy piping, but making your own is not very hard and gives you many more options for colors and fabrics.
You will need strips of fabric at at least 1½"/2.5cm wide cut along the grainline or bias. I cut on the grainline and it was fine, but bias cut will give you more flexibility for tight curves. You can create your piping at minimum one yard increments, or as long as you'd like. The pattern calls for 5 yards of piping, however I used 3 yards and made a size Medium in View D. To make enough bias (or cut on the grainline) binding for piping you will need about 1 yard of fabric.
To make continuous strips on the bias, you can watch our video tutorial on how to do this with a small amount of fabric (or click here to watch the video). This technique works well for cutting the fabric needed for the piping.
Place the cord in the center of the fabric strip, leaving a tail of cord sticking out of one end (to make sure the cord doesn't get pulled through the piping).
Fold the fabric in half wrong sides together lengthwise encasing the cord. Pin in place and stitch using a zipper foot or piping foot. Stitch very close to the cord, leaving 1/2" to 3/4" seam allowance.
You have made your own piping.
Making the Yokes and Inserting Piping
I changed the Front Yoke K, taking away the scalloped curves at the bottom edge. They look super fun, but I wanted it to be more simple. Feel free to change up the design how you like.
To begin piping the bull's head yoke. Mark stitching lines for bull’s head yoke on the right side of yoke K, but do not cut yet. I used tracing paper and a tracing wheel ( Folkwear sells both of those items) to transfer all the marks needed for the yoke and pocket opening placements.
Then, trim the pipping down to ⅜"/1cm from the seam. That is the seam allowance needed for piping the bull's head of the yoke.
Line up raw edge of piping with marked cutting lines, clipping piping as you pin, and leaving an extra ½”/13mm of piping at either end.
Using a zipper foot, and starting with upper curve of bull’s head, stitch to dot, and repeat in same way with bottom of bull’s Head, making sure not to catch the seam allowance of the other piping.
When you are finished with both sides, cut away the bull’s head, clip to each dot and press raw edges to inside.
Cut down the piping seam allowance to ½”/13mm to pipe the bottom edge of FRONT and BACK yokes K and M in the same way, pivoting at dots (if you are following the pattern - remember, I made my yoke curved rather than scalloped). Clip to each dot. Press raw edges to the wrong side.
Trim the cord of the piping on both yokes K and M by pinning the piping cord in place, then pull the cord at each end slightly, and trim off ½”/13mm to reduce bulk in seam corners. Be sure not to pull the cord out! Pin carefully (or even stitch the cord in place with a few hand stitches). And you can also stitch the ends of the cord on the wrong side of the garment in place so it won't come out.
Pin yokes K to the two fronts, and making sure the design meets at the center front. Topstitch on yokes close to piping, using a zipper foot. Baste the raw edges at shoulder and arms.
How To Sew "Smile" Pockets
These "smile" pockets can be used on Views D and E of the 212 Five Frontier Shirt pattern. But, you could also add them to any fun shirt you are making. The "smile", of course, refers to the shape of the opening of the pocket - small smiles on the front of the shirt. These are really slit pockets, and you can reinforce the corners with some hand embroidery, or a few stitches, or with small patches.
First, cut down your piping seam allowance to ¼”/6mm from the stitching.
Beginning with the bottom of the stitching line of the pocket opening, line up the stitching on the piping to the stitching line on the pocket opening. Pin in place and stitch using a zipper foot.
Stitch piping on ¼”/6mm seam line, tapering to ⅛”/3mm at dots, and leaving ½”/13mm of piping at either end (stitch along the stitching line on the pattern piece, if using). Backstitch at beginning and end.
Folding seam allowance of piping back out of the way, repeat with piping at top. Pin the piping on the top edge of the pocket opening in the same way as the bottom. Stitch (keep the seam allowance from bottom section of piping out of the way).
Trim the cord at the corners in the same way as for the front and back yokes K and M to reduce the bulk.
Before sewing the pocket you can zig zag, serge or pink the raw edges of the pocket pieces (O and P).
Right sides together, pin back pocket bag O to front over top pocket piping. Stitch wrong side up, over previous stitching line. However you will not see the previous stitching line, so when stitching using the zipper foot make sure you can see the piping bulge from underneath the pocket bag piece, and that will help you follow the stitching line the best you can. You could also trace the line onto the piece if that helps.
Do the same with front pocket P - attaching it to the bottom of the pocket opening.
Now, slash on Slash Line as marked on the pattern and clip to the dots at the corner. Turn pockets and cord ends to inside and press.
Right sides together, stitch back pocket and top pocket together, being careful not to catch in front piece N.
The Pockets are finished! Look at the 212 Cowboy Lore for decorative reinforcement for the pocket smile on the last page.
Sew the back yoke and piping using the same method you did for the front.
Piping for the Decorative Sleeve Plackets
Trim the piping seam allowance down to ⅜"/1cm. for the seam allowance for the decorative placket.
Pipe edges of decorative placket V in the same way as I did for the yokes, and clipping curves where necessary. Press raw edges under to wrong side. When you apply the decorative cuff to the sleeve, just stitch close to the piping with a zipper foot.
Continue with your instructions to finish your shirt!
Thank you for reading, Folkwear would love to see your version as always! Here is mine! I love it so much. It was a challenge for sure but I'm proud of myself now I can pipe my own yokes and any future yokes to come.
February 14, 2024