Let’s sew a single-welt pocket! The photos in this blog post are for a Grainline Studios Tamarack Jacket, but they will be helpful for any single-welt pocket.
Sewing a single – or double – welt pocket is scary because it involves cutting a long slit in the middle of your project. But, if you take the time to be precise, your welt pocket will turn out great. If you want more help, check out my YouTube Video.
Note: For these photos, I quilted a small section of fabric to use as a pretend jacket front. The ‘right’ side is blue and the ‘wrong’ side is yellow. You of course will be inserting your pockets into the actual front of your jacket.
Step 1: Prepare
To get ready to sew a single welt pocket, apply fusible interfacing to the wrong side of both pocket welts (one welt for each pocket). Fold them right-sides-together hot-dog style, and stitch along the short ends with a ½” seam allowance. Grade the seams, clip the corners and flip the welts right-side-out. Press and set aside.
Next, ¼” from the raw edge, draw a parallel line. Transfer the two dots from the Front Pattern Piece and the Top Pocket Bag Pattern Piece onto your jacket and top pocket bag.
Then, with a marker that will disappear, draw a line connecting the two dots on the ‘right’ side of your jacket. This is the pocket placement line.
Draw lines ¼” above and ¼” below the placement line, extending them ¾” beyond the original dots. Next, draw two lines (perpendicular to your first three lines) through the placement dots to mark the ends of the pocket. These lines should also extend ¾” on either end.
Hand baste along the lines through all the layers of your jacket so that you can see the welt rectangle on the wrong side of the front.
Step 2: Place the Welt
Take your prepared welts and align the raw edge of the welt with the pocket placement line on the right side of the jacket. Baste the welt in place along the ¼” line you drew (over the top of your original basting).
Step 3: Attach the Pocket Bag
Place the pocket bag over the jacket front (‘wrong’ side of the pocket to ‘right’ side of the jacket), aligning the pocket-placement dots. The curved edge of the pocket bag should be pointing toward the neckline of the jacket. Pin in place.
Next, flip your jacket so that the ‘wrong’ side is facing up. Starting in the center of one long edge, stitch a rectangle following your basting stitches exactly. Pivot at the corners. Count the number of stitches on the first short edge, and sew the same number of stitches on the second short edge.
Step 4: Cut and Press
Now comes the scary part. You’re going to cut along the center pocket placement line through all layers, starting and stopping ½” from either short end. (I draw a mark at ½” before I start cutting.)
At the ½” point, clip into the corners to, but not through, the stitching, creating a triangle at either end of the opening. Not clipping far enough can cause puckers in the next step, but cutting through the stitches will ruin your pocket. You can always clip further if you need to during the next step, so err on the side of caution.
Next, pull the pocket bag through the hole you just cut, and press it flat from the wrong side. The pocket bag should frame the opening you cut. If there are puckers at any of the corners, go back and carefully snip closer to the stitching. Don’t worry if this step takes a long time: It is the key to a nice welt pocket.
Step 5: Finish the Pocket Bag
From the ‘right’ side of your jacket, topstitch along the top edge of the rectangular pocket opening. Backstitch at both ends. The top pocket bag (though now on the inside of the jacket) should still be pointing towards the neckline. Be careful not to catch the welt when stitching.
Next, matching their un-curved edges, place the bottom pocket bag wrong-sides-together on the top pocket bag. The curved edges of both will not yet match up. Both bags should be pointing toward the neckline.
Holding the pocket bags together, flip the front of the jacket to reveal the welt seam allowance. Stitch along the existing welt stitching line, catching both pocket bags and the bottom of the welt. Make sure not to extend your stitches beyond the welt to the jacket itself.
Next, flip your jacket so that you’re once again looking at the wrong side. Fold the bottom (shorter) pocket bag down toward the jacket’s hemline and press. Then, fold the top pocket bag so its curved edges match up with the curved edges of the bottom pocket bag. Press, and pin the pocket bags together.
Flip your jacket right-side up, and – holding your jacket out of the way – sew the pocket bags together with a ½” seam allowance. Avoid catching the jacket or the little welt triangles in your stitching.
Step 6: Finishing
Sew the little welt triangles to the pocket bags along the original stitching line, and finish the edges of your pocket bag using your preferred method.
Finally, slipstitch the ends of the welt to the jacket to secure it in place. You can also slipstitch the top of the pocket bag to the lining of the jacket to anchor it in place.
Ta -da! You’re done sewing a beautiful single-welt pocket!