Welt Pocket

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The Welt Pocket is an increasingly popular pocket choice on apparel items.  The technique isn’t difficult and it is easily translated for use on bags as well.  This technique post shows you how to make a welt pocket with a decorative flap.  The following tutorial is the pocket for this coat.

Pocket placement and size really depends on your hand size, body shape, and end use of the pocket.  The pocket opening should be at least as wide as your hand (plus some ease so it isn’t difficult to use the pocket and to not put extra stress on the fabric around the pocket).  A good way to determine pocket placement is to hold the fabric pieces up to your body and imagine using the pocket.


Preparing the inside of the garment: 
Once you have decided where your pocket will be placed in your garment, reinforce the area with interfacing appropriate for the garment you are making and the fabric you are using.  Mark the pocket placement on the inside of the garment (on the interfacing).  The opening should be as wide as you determined would be best for the garment, and 1″ tall for a standard pocket.

I used horsehair interfacing and applied it to the interlining with pad stitching.  For a garment without interlining, interfacing should be applied to the shell (outer-most) fabric.

Making the Pocket Flap:
The pocket flap in this example is simply decorative and covers the opening of the pocket.  Here is how I made it.
• The end of the pocket flap that sews into the garment should be slightly smaller than the width of the pocket opening.  For light-weight fabrics 1/8″ smaller is okay; if the fabric is medium to heavy weight 1/4″ smaller is better.
• The flap should cover the 1″ opening of the pocket with a bit extra height to cover the sewing lines. The flap rises 1 1/4″ and then folds back a distance of 1 1/2″ to cover all the stitching lines of the pocket.  I added curved corners because I liked the visual detail.
• Where the flap joins the garment is slightly smaller than the pocket opening.  To cover the stitching lines of the pocket the flap edges are extended wider than the width of the pocket opening. Create a smooth curve.
• I added a seam allowance I was comfortable sewing around curves (1/4″) for the edges of the pocket flap that will show.  The end of the pocket flap that will be sewn into the welt pocket has a 1/2″ seam allowance (or 1/2 the height of the pocket opening that was marked on the inside of the garment).

Interface the inside of your pocket flap.  If you are using iron-on interfacing, you only need to interface 1 layer of the pocket flap material.

I applied horsehair interfacing to my shell fabric.

Sew the pocket flap lining to the shell fabric – right sides together – along the 3 edges that will show on the outside of the garment.  Leave the edge that will sew into the pocket unsewn.

Trim the corners, turn right side out, press.


Preparing the Pocket:
The fabric the actual pocket should be comprised of a lighter weight fabric than the shell of the garment.  On this pocket, there is a chance of the pocket opening showing unintentionally.  To counter that, I applied a little patch of shell fabric at the top edge of my pocket.  I sewed the shell fabric on top of the lighter weight pocket fabric.

Sewing the Pocket Opening:
Before we can actually sew the pocket opening, we have to make sure everything is lined up on the front side of the fabric.  To avoid chalk marks on the front side of the garment, I use straight pins to mark each corner of the pocket opening.

Align the pocket flap for sewing into the pocket opening.  The flap should be placed with the lining side down.  The flap has a 1/2″ seam allowance at the open end.  To place it in the correct spot, the open end of the flap should sit 1/2″ above the lower line of the pocket opening.

This step is crucial to having a great end result and should not be skipped. Hand baste the pocket flap in place! As you can see in the photo below, I drew chalk line on the pocket flap.  The line is the lower edge of the pocket opening.  I hand stitching a line of basting just inside this chalk line through all the layers to hold everything in place.  On welt pockets, hand basting is very important – pin basting won’t cut it!

Place one pocket piece on top of the garment and flap. *This is the pocket piece without the shell fabric patch.* Using the pins that marked the corners of the pocket opening for reference, draw your pocket opening sewing lines on the pocket fabric.

Hand baste just inside your final sewing lines.

Very carefully machine stitch along your marked sewing lines.

Cut through all the layers of fabric.  Cut a line half way between the two long sides of the pocket opening, when you get close to the short ends, trim to -but not through- the corners of your pocket opening.

Turn the pocket fabric to the wrong side of the garment. Press the seam allowances to the inside of the garment.

Place the second pocket piece (with the shell fabric patch) atop the pocket piece attached to the garment.  The shell fabric patch should align with the pocket opening.  Sew the 2 layers of pocket fabric together.

This is what the right side of the garment should look like at this point.

Finishing Touches:
Fold the pocket flap to cover the pocket opening. Pin in place.

• Hand stitch the edge of the pocket flap to the pocket opening.
• Near the fold of the flap, sew several stitches in the same place to make a secure connection point as it will receive strain when you use the pocket.
• Tack the top layer of pocket flap to the garment in a few places to hold it in place.

The inside of my garment was a bit of a mess.  There were many layers of fabric – many of which are resistant to pressing.  Basically, it was bulky with many layers of fabric that weren’t playing nicely together.

Some fabrics won’t be an issue like this.  If your pocket does have the same issue, tack the seam allowances in place with catch stitch.  I had an interlining to sew to, if you are working directly with your shell fabric, make sure you take tiny, tiny stitches through your main fabric so they don’t show on the front.

Now you have a functional welt pocket!

There are variations on the welt pocket that include tacking a zipper into the opening or having a simple fold of fabric cover the pocket opening.  The welt pocket is one of my favorite choices when adding pockets to a garment.  I will post variations on the welt pocket in the future when I make garments that use those techniques!