Creative articles about sewing

Embroider a yoke and dye fabric with coffee

Coffee is my inspiration for this blog post.
I love coffee and always have a cup nearby while sewing. My favourite form of coffee is a cappuccino.
I was inspired by how the golden brown coffee peeks through the cream coloured foam to create interesting designs.

I found a gorgeous embroidery design already saved on my B535 sewing & embroidery machine that I was able to easily manipulate to create my own design for a decorative yoke. The colour thread I chose for the embroidery reminded me of the golden brown coffee.
To achieve the cream colour of cappuccino foam, I dyed my fabric in actual coffee!

If you are not as much a coffee lover then I recommend dyeing with tea!
Try different flavoured teas for different colours.

The style top I made was self drafted but you can easily adapt any basic top or dress pattern to incorporate a yoke.
I have included a pdf document explaining how to do so.



  • Embroidery module
  • Oval Hoop
  • Decorative Embroidery Thread
  • Stabilizer
  • DIY Yoke Pattern

Natural Fabric Dye:

  • Cotton Fabric
  • Coffee (Instant or Filter)
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Cooking Pot


Embroidery Design

To embroider, I used my Bernina 535 sewing machine and embroidery module.

The embroidery design I used came with the designs saved to my machine.

  1. Select the Embroidery Option.
    Choose the folder of designs saved to the machine’s memory.  

  2. Choose a square design. I chose design number 4.
  3. Select the Oval Hoop option.
    Select a larger hoop if your finished design is going to be bigger than 145mm x 255mm .  

  4. Adjust the size of the design to make it a bit smaller.
    We will adjust the size of the full design again later to the necessary size.  

  5. Duplicate the design and move it in line with the other square.
  6. Duplicate and arrange the squares to form an L shape.
    I used a total of 4 squares and adjusted the size of the complete design to be 121mm x 182mm.

Yoke Pattern

Click here to see how I drafted the yoke pattern:

DIY Yoke Pattern

If you aren’t dyeing your fabric, skip to the Embroidery section at the end.

Natural Fabric Dye: Coffee

I chose to pre-cut my fabric to eliminate excess fabric being dyed.
This meant that I didn’t need to make too large a dye mixture.

Remember you can replace the spoons of coffee with teabags.

  1. I brewed roughly the equivalent of 8 cups of black coffee (8 level table spoons of coffee to 1l water) and poured the coffee in to a pot on the stove.
    I kept the coffee grounds aside and wrapped them up in scrap fabric.
    Then I placed these little bundles in the coffee mixture so that they would keep adding to the colour.  

  2. Soak the fabric in a mix of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts warm, clean water for 20 mins.
    This helps the fabric absorb the dye and be colourfast.
    Wring out the fabric before placing it in the coffee mix.
    Keep it damp as it helps get an even dye.  

  3. Bring the coffee mixture to a boil, switch it off and add the damp fabric.
    I left the fabric in the coffee for a few hours.
    When you are happy with the colour, rinse the fabric in cold water.
    Some colour will wash out.
    If your fabric colour is too light, add it back to the coffee mixture for a while longer and rinse out again.  

  4. Hang your fabric out to dry and then iron it to heat set. Be careful not to burn the fabric.

Embroidering the yoke


  1. Instead of cutting out the shaped yoke pieces, cut 2 pieces of fabric to fit the hoop.
  2. Insert the piece of fabric in to the hoop with a piece of stabilizer beneath.
  3. Embroider your fabric using the design you created above.
  4. When you have embroidered 1 half of the yoke, remember to mirror the design before embroidering the other half of the yoke.
    Once you have embroidered, remove the stabilizer and cut the pieces to the necessary yoke shape using the pattern you drafted earlier.  

  5. Insert the yoke into the garment.
    I chose to reinforce my shoulder seams with top stitching as my fabric is a bit thin.  

  6. I finished off my seams with a 4-thread overlock stitch and the hems with a 3-thread rolled hem stitch.
  7. To finish the edge of the yoke, I used binding which I had also dyed with coffee.
    Ps. How gorgeous is the 24K gold, special edition Reverse Pattern Foot #1?!  


  • Natural fabrics like pure cotton fabric dye best. I used a cotton muslin.
  • The stronger the coffee, the darker the colour.
  • The longer you leave the fabric in the dye, the darker the end colour will be.
  • Always wash the garment in a cool wash to help prevent the colour from washing out too much.
  • The first time you machine wash the garment, add a teaspoon of salt with the detergent to help keep the colour from washing out.
  • Unfortunately the colour won’t always stay the same, the more often you wash the garment, the lighter the colour will get.

I would love to see what you create, please feel free to share with me!


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