This is in response to questions about how we did the yoke on the cloak of my Journey cosplay so that it would sit more comfortably on the shoulders like a real piece of clothing. My wife offered to write this one up for me as she is more versed in this than I am. Thus in my wife’s words:
Ok, about the yoke I designed for the Journey cloak. In essence, what happened was this: We started by cutting a large (50-inch radius) half-circle of fabric like the original tutorial said, and then I gave the cut-out piece to ASGeek and told him to wrap it around himself so that I could check the length and make sure it was going to be big enough to fit him. Well, that part was fine, but I could tell even then from the way that the fabric was bunching up around his neck that it was just not going to lie flat and actually be comfortable (or aesthetically pleasing) to wear as-is. There was also a second problem in that the straight edges of the half circle didn’t want to hang straight down like the cloak in the game when we held them together at his throat, but instead angled away to either side. So I said, “I think I can fix both issues, but it’s going to make the project more complicated,” and ASGeek told me to just do whatever I needed to.
So, with him still “wearing” the cut-out fabric, I pulled the straight edges together until they hung parallel to each other the way they should, and then up until the front hem of the cloak was more or less even with the back. I then safety-pinned both edges together as high up as I could without making the fit too tight around his arms, somewhere around sternum height, and used tailor’s chalk to mark along the top edges of his shoulders, a little way down the outside of his upper arms, and then horizontally across his chest to the pinned spot. Then we unpinned everything, folded the half-circle in half again (to make a quarter-circle) and cut out the excess fabric using the chalk lines as a guide. See below for a rough graphical representation of what was removed:
From there, I used the measurements of the piece we’d removed (and a few extra measurements of ASGeek himself) to make a pattern for the yoke, which was meant to replace the missing piece. The image below will give you an idea of the basic shape of the yoke and how I arrived at the measurements we used—this was obviously made to fit a specific person, so if you want to reproduce it for someone else you’ll need to take your own set of measurements and adjust things accordingly (don’t forget to add 1/2 an inch to each side for a seam allowance!):
I think it took me a couple of attempts to get the shape of the yoke just right, and sewing it to the larger cloak piece was a challenge because of the sharp angles in a couple of places. But it did end up doing basically what I wanted, which was to make the upper part of the cloak lie flat across ASGeek’s shoulders and chest in the same way as a tailored shirt, just without sleeves. Here’s a photo of the yoke on the finished cloak while it’s actually being worn, to show you more of what I mean—note the horizontal seam just at the level of the lower fastening, and you can also see a bit of the one that goes up the outside of his arm to the point of his shoulder:
To be honest, though, as well as I thought the cloak came out when we were done with it, the whole thing with the yoke was really a kluge—I went with it more because I didn’t want to waste that big piece of fabric we’d already cut than because it was really the best way to solve the problem. If I had the project to do over again, I would skip the big half-circle thing entirely and instead make the cloak in four “panels,” two in front and two in back. What became the yoke on the original cloak would be incorporated into the overall shape of the front panels in this kind of design, and all the pieces would (I think) have dimensions that would fit on a standard 43-inch bolt of muslin or broadcloth, so you wouldn’t have to worry about finding quilting fabric in the right color. See the diagrams below for an idea of what I mean—naturally this is all theoretical right now, and I’d probably have to play with the shapes and the measurements a bit to get everything looking right. But I do think this would be a lot easier and a much better way to go about making a Journey cloak than what we actually did:
Hope that helps you visualize the whole thing better!