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Note: We are publishing these instructions because of a discussion on a recent Quiltropolis List about perfect welt pockets. If you haven't checked out the Quiltropolis site and joined one of their discussion groups, please do! We have a link to Quiltropolis on our Links page.
These instructions are included as provided to the list -- there are no diagrams or photos available yet, but we hope to add them at a later date.
I took a class from a custom tailor about 5 years ago and learned how to make these pockets. This is a self-faced welt pocket. Because it is self-faced there is less bulk in the seams and because you use one larger piece of fabric instead of smaller strips of bias its extremely easy to get good results. Ive talked to many teachers, looked at their methods and also looked at the methods provided in pattern directions and I havent seen this duplicated exactly. If anyone has used this method before please let me know. If these directions seem long, its only because a picture is worth a thousand words and I have no pictures! Ive tried to explain everything in detail so even a less experienced seamstress can follow along. Here we go . . .
- Transfer welt markings onto WRONG side of jacket. Make sure the four corners of the welt rectangle are accurately marked. (I am assuming for these directions that the welt when finished will be ½ inch deep.) I use chalk for marking and a ruler.
- Fuse a piece of lightweight knit interfacing that is approximately 2 inches deep and 2 inches wider than the finished welt (you should have I inch each side extra) over the markings on the wrong side of jacket. If you cant see markings after interfacing is fused then retrace. I generally fuse my entire jacket front (and the rest as well) because I find the finished garment wears better and looks better, but it will depend on your taste and choice of fabric. You must use a good quality, very lightweight interfacing to do this.
- For the welt and pocket facing, make a rectangle pattern that is 2" wider than the finished welt will be and about 7 inches long. Mark a line at a 45 degree angle from the 7" straight edge to mark what will be the straight of grain. (You will be cutting the rectangle out on the bias) Cut your welt pattern out of the jacket fabric or a contrasting fabric if you prefer. If your fabric is very light or frays easily you can also fuse the entire welt piece, but use a light knit as well to retain some of the flexibility of the bias.
- Once youve cut the welt, mark a chalk line across the wrong side of the fabric dividing the 7" length into 3" on one side and 4" on the other side. Also draw two vertical chalk lines each 1" from either side of the welt piece that are parallel to the 7" sides of the piece. Your chalk lines should look something like this +-----+
- With the jacket right side facing you, lay the welt on the jacket front (right sides together) with the long horizontal chalk line laying where the welt opening will be and the 4" of fabric above the welt and the 3" below the welt. The vertical chalk lines should match the corners of the welt marked on the jackets wrong side. I usually poke pins through the jacket from the wrong side where the corners of the welt are marked to check.
NOW HERES THE EASY PART
- With the welt facing you, and an accurate ¼ seam foot on your machine, sew two separate straight stitching lines across the welt ¼ " from either side of the center chalk line, starting and stopping exactly where the parallel lines that are 1" from either side of the welt intersect (the corners of your welt) DO NOT stitch in a rectangle across the corners!! I usually back stitch when I start and stop but if you have one of those machines that takes an extra stitch when you stop, crank the wheel by hand to make it accurate or take tiny stitches instead.
- With the WELT facing you, cut through the welt layer only from side to side on the center chalk line.
- Turn the jacket over so you are looking at the wrong side of the jacket. You should see two parallel lines of stitching. With small sharp scissors cut down the middle between the two lines of stitching, stopping about ¾" in from each end. Being careful not to cut through the welt fabric, clip the jacket fabric to each corner, leaving a small ¾" long triangle of fabric intact at each end. Your cutting line should look like this from the wrong side of the jacket. >------< Make sure you clip right to each corner, but not past or through the stitching line.
- With your jacket front facing you, look though the slit you have created. Can you see light without pulling the pieces apart? Trim the edges slightly on the welt and the jacket (dont trim the triangles) until you can see a definite slit of light. You need enough room here to accommodate two thicknesses of the fabric. If you fabric is bulky the slit will be wider, if it is light-weight, the slit will be thinner.
- On your iron board, lay your jacket with right side and welt pieces facing you. Press the top piece of welt DOWN towards the welt, and the bottom piece of welt UP towards the welt. Make sure and press ALL THE WAY to the end of each welt piece. You should actually have a ¼" fold turned under at each end of the welt top and bottom. Be precise here, it helps later!!
- Pull the welt pieces through the slit to the wrong side of the jacket wrapping the bottom one down and the top one up around and over the ¼" seam allowances (slightly less after trimming). I leave the right side of the jacket facing me as I do this so I can see how the welts appear and if they are even and not overlapping. They should meet exactly in the center with no gap or overlap. If they overlap, trim a small amount more off of the ¼" seam allowance until the problem is solved. If they gap, you trimmed too much off, but you can leave a bit of slack in the welt fabric as you wrap it around the seam allowance to correct this.
- When you are satisfied that the welts are even (dont worry about the little triangles while you do this), then lay the jacket with the front facing you on the ironing board. I press the body of the welt lightly and then I hold the welt in place with my left hand and hold a finger of my left hand firmly down on the right corner of the welt and flip the jacket fabric back over my left hand so I can see underneath. Straighten the welt ends so they line up with the welt, folding the ¼" fold that is already there once again, so it lines up perfectly with the welt. I find this is the hardest part!! Press to hold in place, then gently pull the triangle through to the wrong side and lay it right side down flat against the rolled ends of the welt. Move the jacket to your sewing machine without disturbing any layers (I usually take a tiny scrap of fusible interfacing and place it over the triangle and ends of welt and fuse on, to keep all the layers in place before I move to the sewing machine) and stitch straight across the triangle, catching in the welt ends, stitching as close as possible to the end of welt stitching lines and the corners of the triangle. Repeat for the other side of the welt.
- Check the front of your jacket to make sure the welts are completely even and flat. Press again from both sides. You may want to insert paper between your welt ends and the body of the jacket before you press to avoid shiny marks.
- Stitch in the ditch continuously around the entire welt from the outside of the jacket with matching thread and pulling the seams gently apart. You shouldnt see the stitching when you are done. Dont start or stop at a corner. Pull your threads to the inside and knot when you are done.
- From the wrong side, now press the top flap facing of the welt down over the welt. You should have two facing pieces about 2" deep with raw edges even. If they are not quite even, trim a bit away.
- Now you are ready to attach the pocket bag. Measure a rectangle of lining twice as deep as you want your pocket, minus the depth of the welt facing and plus seam allowances. With right sides together, stitch one end of the pocket bag to one welt facing and the other end of the pocket bag to the other facing. Press so the pocket lies flat and stitch across the ends of the pocket bag, catching in the facing and welt ends. Trim seams and finish raw edges.
- Thats it!
The main thing to remember is start and stop your stitching exactly at the ends of the welt. When you wrap the welt around the seam allowance, for best results you need to press the resulting folds all the way to the end of the welt piece. AND, you need to stitch accurately across the corner triangles.
This welt method can be adapted to single welts and asymmetric welts. The facing part doesnt work with an asymmetric welt, because it will lie at an odd angel but you can trim away the excess fabric and attach a second piece of jacket fabric to act as a facing behind the welt.
This method also works very well for bound buttonholes.
Id welcome any feedback! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Cahoon, Get Creative! Show Manager
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