Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The joy of pockets

My tote bag project included a pocket. I had experience with similar pockets, but for this one I had to miter the corners in a way I had not done before. This type of corner adds a little time to the pocket making process, but it is not too difficult or time consuming. Making pockets is fun. I need a lot more practice before I can make the perfect pocket, but every pocket I make is better than its predecessor. I wish to share with you the joy of pockets. There are many types of pockets out there. This is just one of them, and my method is just one of many for making this particular type. I posted instructions for this type because it is the one with which I am most familiar. By the end of the semester I will know how to make at least three more.

Step 1: Cut out your pattern piece.

The piece will be 1” wider and 1 ¾” taller than the finished pocket. Pockets will usually be cut on the lengthwise grain, but if you are working with stripes, a plaid, or a print you may want your pocket on the crosswise grain or bias for aesthetic purposes. The white line is a fold line that we will get to in step 7. On patterns it may be marked with a line or with notches.

Step 2: Fold in the edges.

Fold in the sides and bottom ½”. Press.
At this point it is possible to skip to step 6, but if you do so the corners of your pockets may bulge out a little. If you are using light weight fabrics it probably will not be a problem, but with heavier fabrics you should use steps 3 through 5.

Step 3: Mitering the corners, part 1

Unfold the edges at the bottom corner, but do not press. Fold in the corners at a 45 degree angle so that the fold lines line up. Press.

Step 4: Mitering the corners, part2

Fold the pocket so that the wrong sides are together. The bottom and side must line up. Stitch along the fold line from step 3.

Step 5: Mitering the corners, part 3

Trim off the seam allowances from step 4. Press the corners.

Step 6: Pocket hem, part 1

Fold in top of pocket ¼”. Press

Step 7: Pocket hem, part 2

Fold the top to the right side of the pocket along the fold line mentioned in step 1. Press only the corners. Stitch along the side fold lines. Cut off part of the seam allowance.

Step 8: Turn

Turn the pocket.

Step 9: Topstitch

Topstitch the top of the pocket 1/8” above the bottom of the hem. Topstitching should be done on the right side of the pocket. The needle thread looks better than the bobbin thread. Backtacks will show, so you may wish to pull the thread to the wrong side and tie it off.

Step 10: Attach pocket

Attach the pocket to your garment by edgestitching 1/8” (or less) from the edge of the pocket. The top of the pocket must be reinforced with additional stitching. I like to stitch two or three stitches along the top and make a triangle (right). Another method is to make a rectangle and continue topstitching along the edge of the pocket 1/8” in from the edgestitching (left). There are many more ways to attach these pockets. The differences are more aesthetic than functional.

This style pocket can be found on shirts. I used denim because I had some scraps available. The back pockets on jeans are a little different. I prefer broadcloth to denim for shirts, but for a demonstration I do not think it matters. If you use a contrasting color thread your topstitching must be perfect. Mine is not. Matching color thread is more forgiving if your stitch lines are not perfectly straight. I like pockets; they hold my stuff.

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