Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

‘The Magic Yoke’ trick & collar finish

muranojo | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi, everyone!

I’m in the process of making a Hawaiian shirt for my husband, and wanted to try the nifty ‘Magic Yoke’ trick I found in the March issue (#111, page 37) of ‘Threads.’

Here’s the problem:  My pattern uses a two-piece yoke, but does not include a collar band, and I’d like to get a clean finish with the inside collar…is there any way to do this, short of handstitching or topstitching the inside collar to the inside yoke?  (The article does not provide instructions on how to attach a collar using the Magic Yoke trick.)  If I do topstitch, how can I make sure I do a good job of catching the underside so it doesn’t look too sloppy?  (I realize I can at least get a clean finish with the bottom of the yoke by attaching both yokes to the back with a single seam.)

Hope this makes sense!

The sample shirt used in the ‘Magic Yoke’ article photo appears to have a nice clean inside finish, but the inside collar/top yoke may have been hand-stitched with a slipstitch.

Have been trying to get pointers out of David Page Coffin’s Shirtmaking, but his instructions are specific to patterns with collar bands.

Thanks so much for any help!

Edited 9/7/2004 3:03 pm ET by Jo


  1. ShannonG4d | | #1

    I can think of a couple of options.

    The collar itself will not reach to the front shirt edge on most shirts of this style.  If this is the case with yours, you will want to machine finish the part of the front edge that becomes something like a "lapel" when worn.

    Complete the "magic yoke" as the article indicates. 

    On the yoke and the facing (separately) do a row of machine stitching just shy of 5/8 inch.  This will assist you later in perfectly positioning the collar.

    Mark the point where the collar will end on the neckline on each side.  Fold back the fabric, right sides together, and stitch this bit (usually it's no more than a couple inches) to complete the "lapel" part.

    Insert the finished collar into the "hole" you just made at the neckline.  Stitch the collar to either the facing side or the outside (my preference would be the facing side), leaving the other free from stitching at this time.  Use the guide stitching for correct placement of your stitching.

    Now fold the remaining side just outside the guide stitching and press.  Insert a bit of steam a seam or lightweight fusible web and gently fuse in place to hold.

    Topstitch, knowing the web will hold everything in place neatly!


    1. muranojo | | #2

      Shannon, thanks so much for taking the time to share these tips!  I really appreciate it.  However, I have few other questions, as some of this is somewhat unclear to me. 

      You said to do a row of machine stitching on the yoke and the facing (separately).  By facing, do you mean the 2nd yoke (or the yoke facing)?  Also, do I do the stitching after I complete the magic yoke trick, which would mean I'd have to stitch each piece separately around the neck opening, as the magic yoke encloses the neck opening. (This seems difficult, seems it would be easier to stitch before I enclose the yoke??)

      Also, since I'd be sewing the 'lapel' part of the shirt front separately from the collar (not a continuous seam around the collar and the lapel), seems like there'd be an opening??

      When the collar is enclosed, do I topstitch just the collar section?

      Sorry I'm having trouble imagining this...I'm certainly not an expert at garment construction.

      Have you seen this illustrated in a magazine or book?

      Thanks again for your patience and help!


      1. ShannonG4d | | #4


        Do you already have the yoke and yoke facing attached?  If not, there is a bit easier method I could give you.


        1. muranojo | | #5

          Shannon, nope, haven't started that part yet, so I'd love to hear your ideas!

          Sue, thanks for your reply, but I'd like to try the yoke finishing trick that was covered in the Threads article for a nice, clean finish.  While the article explains how to enclose all the seams within the yoke, it doesn't explain what to do with the collar portion...so, unless there's another trick out there, I was assuming the collar would have to be slip-stitiched on the inside or topstitched over the inside yoke facing.

          I'm using an 'authentic' Hawaiian pattern I got in Kauai from Victoria Jones Collection.  It suggests stitching the yoke facing to front facings at forward shoulder edges, stitiching yoke facing to neck edge over collar, then hand-sewing yoke facing over front and back yoke seams and across top of armhole (shoulder).  If I read the Threads yoke article correctly, that process would eliminate the need to hand stitch, but it doesn't explain how to attach/finish the collar to a yoke that's been completed in that manner.

          Boy, these sewing steps are hard to explain in writing without pictures, ha!

          Thanks again for your help. 


  2. suesew | | #3

    If I'm thinking about this correctly, couldn't you put the shirt together without the yoke facing and when you have the collar sewn on and the front lapels finished you can sew the yoke facing by machine to the neck edge and the shoulder seams and then to the bottom of the yoke last. You would be sewing right side of the yoke facing against the inside seams.,but it would end up facing the body. Does this make sense?

  3. ElonaM | | #6

    Jo, I'd suggest you get this McCall's pattern:


    It's a Palmer & Pletsch pattern, full shirt instructions in a box, if you will. I've used it (earlier versions of the pattern, but they're pretty much the same) to make my DH the well-over twenty Hawaiian-style shirts he has hanging in his closet.

    While it's not exactly the technique you're looking for, it is about the fastest and slickest treatment I've ever used, resulting in fully-finished edges with NO handwork.

    To make sure the topstitching on the yoke is tidy, you just put little dots of Aileene's tacky glue on the inside seam allowances to hold everything in place while you topstitch.

    1. muranojo | | #7

      Sounds great, Elona!  I'll have to get one for the next shirt.  (I came back from HI with 28 yds. of Hawaiian/Bali fabric.)

      1. muranojo | | #8

        O.K., here's what I ended up doing.  I did go ahead and complete the Magic Yoke trick, but just couldn't figure out how to handle the 'lapel' part of the collar (the yoke trick enclosed part of the lapel, so I couldn't work around it).  Ended up ripping it all out. 

        Instead, I finished the collar per pattern instructions, which enclosed the upper inside and outside yokes.  Next, I went back to at least part of the Magic Yoke trick to enclose the bottom inside yoke with the back of the shirt and the bottom of the back yoke.  Finally, I edgestitched the inside yoke to the shoulder seams. 

        So, the final finish looks great...and I only had to stitch the inside yoke to the shoulder seam vs. handstitching.

        Thanks for all of your suggestions.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More