How to (possibly not) put pockets into vertical welts.

It’s been a rather experimental week here at Casa de Sew-and-So. First up was trying to get the pocket bags into the shorts, which I’ll go into more detail with in a moment. I’ve also got a yarn-dying experiment going on as I type, and my wrap that I finished a month or two ago (finally) blocked and drying out in the yard. So hopefully those will turn out well.

I found it surprisingly difficult to find suggestions and/or tutorials for getting the pocket bags into vertical welt pockets! It seems like everything I checked out–books, blogs, Google–was geared more towards the little rectangular ones that get attached to horizontal jacket pockets and such. Nothing on pants pockets. And BurdaStyle instructions being what they are…yeah. No help there. So here’s a little mini-tutorial on how I did it– both so I can remember it once I get to the pants, and so if anyone out there is having a similar problem, hopefully I can help you out a bit. (Note: This is not a tutorial on making the actual welt part of it, because there’s a bajillion tutorials on that already, and this was only my first set. And therefore not as clean a finish as I’d ideally like–hoping I can avoid the corner puckers next time!)

(Second note: With everything being dark on dark, this isn’t the best tutorial pictorally. But if people are interested, I can redo this later with more and better pictures once I get to the pants. Since they’ll be lighter, things might be easier to see.)

So here’s one half of the front of my shorts, with the welts all sewn in and basted shut and ready to go. The first thing I did was to pin one half of the pocket (not sewn together yet) onto the shorts, wrong sides together. (In retrospect, I probably should have done the right side of the pocket to the wrong side of the shorts, so it would look a little better inside the pocket. Oh well, you live, you learn.) I pinned all around the welt to hold it in place as firmly as possible.

The next thing I did was to baste along all of the long edges of the pocket– both the outer edges where they joined the shorts, and the inner edge where the two welts meet–through to the pocket layer. This was to hold it in place, and to give me a cut line. (No picture of this step, sorry!) I did it by hand since I’d have better control that way, and the longer stitches would be easier to rip out later.

Then I cut on the wrong side of the pocket–first along that center basted line, and then the two little triangular snips at either end, just like for making the welts. So it looked kind of like this:


Again, you can’t really see the basting, since I used light blue thread against that mottled green background. But I promise you that it’s there.

The next thing was to fold the cut edges back along the basting, like I’m doing here. Not quite all the way to the stitching, since I did my basting right up along the edge, because you want the machine to catch the stitches. (Otherwise, it’ll be like the second pocket I did, when it was much later at night and I was just trying to get this step done, where I almost entirely missed it and had to hand-sew things.)

I pinned from the right side of the shorts, just to make it easier to get them out–you just have to check to make sure the fabric is being caught by the pins underneath. Then I just did a basic “stitch in the ditch” all around the pocket.

This is where I should have taken a picture of the underside with everything stitched up. But I didn’t. Again, sorry.

Next step was to layer the outer pocket on top and stitch it up. I did regular stitching on the curved edge, followed by a zig-zag right on the edge to give it a nicer finish. And then I just machine-basted it to the top and sides, a little within the seam allowance.

Then I undid all of the basting that was holding the welt edges closed, and was left with this. (See what I mean about the puckers? But at least I have a nice pocket to shove my hand into now.)

So there you have it. There’s probably a better way to do this, and if anyone knows of one and wouldn’t mind sharing, I’m all ears! Otherwise, again, if this is something people are interested in, I’ll redo the tutorial with more pictures when I make the pants. Just let me know.


3 thoughts on “How to (possibly not) put pockets into vertical welts.

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