An experiment… lotus blossom welt pockets.

Morning assorted sewey sewertons. Today, lacking anything better to blog about, I’m all about process. No finished projects, just documentation of a sewing experiment. I’ve been a busy bee, working on Mr. Bug’s coat as well as a raincoat, but these projects all take time rabbits, and that leaves me with nothing to blog about! So I’ll show you my first attempt of drafting and assembling a set-in welt pocket with funky, curved welts. They look like lotus blossoms to me… here’s my first practice pocket –sorry for the odd angle (the point of the pocket should point down!) and bad light!

You may be wondering at this point why on earth I’m working on chevron pockets, as lovely as they are. Well, it’s the spring palette challenge. As I mentioned in my recent existentially dreadful post I originally planned on a nice grey skirt with a flippy little ruffle. Maybe linen. I ended up buying some nice pewter linen/rayon blend that appeals to me but is a very heavy weight – nearing denim. Flips and ruffles were no longer an option, but I still wanted something fun with a few quirky details. After looking around I found this skirt on the anthropologie website.
skirt

For the last few days, I’ve been working out the details of the skirt. I started with a simple straight skirt and added a cut-on fly. I putzed around with waistband ideas and played with the width of the darts. I finally decided tonight to tackle the pockets, which really are the main draw of the skirt. Here’s a closeup of the pocket, with a nice view of the external darts…
jpocket

After looking around online and in my various reference books, I decided to use silk organza to face the cut out part of the welt. Then I relied on the edgestitching detail to secure the rest of the pocket pieces to the skirt. I snapped photos along the way, and while I’m happy with the result, feel MORE THAN free to chime in with suggestions, for I am certainly no wizard of pockets!

Cutting and facing the pocket opening

To determine the size and shape of the pocket, I started out by stretching out the image from Anthropologie to 19” high in photoshop. After I got it ‘life sized’ I drug guides to form a box around the pocket and used those to determine the size of the inspiration pockets. I drafted a pattern piece from that and traced it onto a piece of muslin. Next I pinned a piece of silk organza (it’s dark brown) over my tracing (on the right side of the sample) and sewed along the pink lines. On the real skirt, I’ll interface the other side, but I skipped that for my test pocket.
      003

I flipped the sample over and cut as marked in yellow below. For anyone who’s done a welt pocket, you’ll recognize the general idea of what I did – I added two more cuts at the points to help me turn the fabric.

I turned the organza through to the other side and pressed the heck out of it! I think silk organza is really necessary for this step, it takes steam so well! Here’s a shot of the organza pulled through and pressed from the front and the back.
      

Preparing and inserting the welts

Next I prepared and inserted the welts. I had drawn a pattern piece for this as well, and it worked well enough, although on my next version I’ll make the welts larger. To start, I cut four of the welts, then sewed each pair together along the top edge with a quarter inch seam (marked in yellow in the photo on the right.) I notched the curved edge, turned and pressed.

I tried putting the welts into the opening separately, but they were all over the place, even using double sided tape. I ended up attaching them at the center by positioning as well as I could, then stitching inside the fold of the welt that was on top – my stitch line is circled in yellow in the two photos below, I hope these photos make sense!
 

To attach the welt, I positioned where I wanted it and edgestitched along the sides and bottom (shown in yellow in the photo on the left.) On the right you can see how it looks from the wrong side. mmmm…. pretty….
  

Making and inserting the pocket bags

Next up, pocket bags! I cut a facing out of the muslin for the ‘back’ of the pocket – the side that is attached to the top of the pocket and is closest to the body when the garment is worn. This facing covers up the gap left after inserting the welts. Here is the facing and the pocket lining material for the back pocket piece. And a mis-labeled pattern piece sitting by the scissors.

I sewed the pocket facing and lining pieces together and pressed (on the right below.) I used that completed piece as a template to make the front pocket lining piece.

Next I attached the front pocket lining piece (the all red piece.) This piece is closer to the garment when worn and is attached to the bottom of the welt. I had a hard time envisioning how this would work, as I haven’t sewn a lot of inner/outer corners to each other. I ended up just doing one side first, starting at the point and pinning well, then stitching close to the edgestitching attaching the welt to the ‘sample’ garment. Below you can see how I attached one side – the yellow line shows the stitching.

When I went back to pin the other side, I had to clip a bit to get the fabric where I wanted it (clip circled in yellow below.) Once clipped, it pinned on very easily.

Here, both sides are attached and pressed. You can see a bit of rippling in the middle by the point, which doesn’t bug me. For one thing, it wouldn’t be noticeable on the skirt and for another, I drafted the angle of the curves a bit ‘freehand’ so my drafting might have just been off a bit.

Next I attached the pocket piece with the facing. That was much easier. I just lined it up neatly behind the pocket opening, pinned and finished edgestitching as shown by the yellow line below. I’m tempted to make this pocket facing in something fun (polka dots, anyone?) but may try to keep it toned down a bit…

The final step was to sew the two pocket lining pieces together. For anyone who has done a welt pocket before, I didn’t have to deal with sewing to the triangles to close up the sides. Since I edgestitched down to the bottom of the pocket opening in the last step, the sides were already secure and stitched. I carefully folded back the garment sample piece (all the muslin and organza) and pinned the pocket pieces together so they would hang smooth and straight. Then I stitched around the edges (shown in yellow.)
 

And I’m done! The pockets were surprisingly perfect in size. I thought I’d made the lining pieces way too short, but they feel great! I’ll pin the sample pockets onto my muslin to make sure, but they seem really well sized. I’ll do a lot more interfacing on the final as well and will try to plan my sewing time so that I have access to a serger for finishing a lot of the pieces as they will be exposed inside an unlined skirt.

Here’s a shot from the back. Not the most lovely sight. I cleaned up all the extra fabric with pinking shears.

A little peek inside the pocket. I think the facing is the perfect width!

One more shot to tide you over until I have a finished skirt in my sweaty little paws to show off!

15 Comments

  1. […] captures and stores all those cool tutorials with it’s web clipper extension.  That lotus welt pocket how-to that I would kick myself if I didn’t save.  I got it in all it’s full page […]

  2. [...] captures and stores all those cool tutorials with it’s web clipper extension.  That lotus welt pocket how-to that I would kick myself if I didn’t save. I got it in all it’s full page glory [...]

  3. Jan Albritton says:

    IHi Patty, I LOVE the Lotus Blosson Skirt – the great pockets and the very cool hem. I ‘d love to get my hands on the pattern of the skirt you got from Anthropologie. I searched their website for the skirt, but no luck , which is not really surprising, considering it has been about two years since you got itfrom them. Any idea where I could get my hands on a pattern for the skirt itself??? I’m really grateful for your very detailed tutorial of how you made the pockets! The skirt looks fan-freakin’-tastic on you!!! If you can point me in a direction of the skirt pattern, I would be indebted to you, my dear!!! I am really enjoying cruising your blog and find it quite entertaining, as well as educational. Thanks for the ride! Jan

  4. DonnaRae says:

    I Loooooooooove that pocket. You are do crafty. I will have to copy your knock off.
    I am busy ready all about you and your blog now.

  5. dixie says:

    thanks for the tutorial! i'm really temped to put those pockets on the back of some summer shorts. so cute! you did a great job!

  6. Omega says:

    WOW, you did a great job on the pockets. I love it. Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. melissa says:

    Fantastic pockets and a truly great tutorial (very easy to understand!). I'm so inspired to put these pockets on my next pair of jeans – how great would these look as back pockets there??

  8. lazystitching says:

    So impressed, I'm speechless!

  9. The Cupcake Goddess says:

    Oh I've bookmarked this tutorial for future sewing pleasure! Lovely tutorial and what a great idea to incorporate into a skirt or even jacket. Love!

    xoxo,
    Sunni

  10. Tanit-Isis says:

    Love! I just might have to knock off your knock-off at some point, be warned ;). And to think, I flicked past that skirt with barely a look…

  11. LAP says:

    I LOVE THESE! You are the best tutorialist ever. I mean it.

  12. Evie says:

    Lovely! That's such an interesting touch, and beautifully executed. I may have to give that a try one of these days. And thanks for such an incredibly detailed tutorial!

  13. Laurwyn says:

    Ooooooh! That is so nice! I admire your quest to detail almost perfection! I never thought of different welt shapes, but that makes sense now! You explained it so well, like Gertie-level-well!

  14. Psycho Sue- Sew Misunderstood says:

    you worked so hard, and it paid off!

  15. Jilly Be says:

    A fantastically beautiful success, I say! I'm on a bit of a welt kick myself now (just learning them) & I LOVE what you've done! I'll be watching for the final product. Thank you for such an excellent pictorial/tutorial :)

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