September 19, 2020
Adding a welt pocket to the back waistband
The 229 Sailor Pant is loaded with design features and in this Sew Along we are going to learn how to make a fine pocket tailoring technique known as the double welt pocket. This pocket opening is actually built into the back waistband of the pant. Most welt pockets are made using with one or two welts. "Welt" refers to the narrow fabric strips that bind and cover the edges of pocket openings, which in this case will be double. The actual pocket bag is hidden away inside the back of the pant.
There are many methods in making a welt pocket, whether incorporating one or two welts. Here, we are going to learn how to make a double welt pocket, with a simple, yet beautifully engineered technique, without the usual separate welt pieces. Instead, this simple technique creates welts by simply folding the fabric is place!
The pattern has designated the welt pocket to be located in the back RIGHT waistband (as you are wearing the pant). As noted on the Waistband pattern piece, move the the rectangular welt pocket opening over 1" (2.5cm) toward the center back, for each size larger than the size 30.
Today, we will be working with three fabric pieces: RIGHT Waistband E, Pocket Welt I, and Pocket Bag J.
Step 1: Adding Fusible Interfacing
Learning to make a welt pocket is not difficult, but measuring precisely and ensuring accurate placement and stitching is important. With that said, the first task is to create a well crafted pocket opening. The pocket opening is indicated on the Waistband and Welt Pocket. Transfer the pocket opening markings on the pattern to the wrong side of Right Waistband and Welt Pocket. Be sure the rectangles are straight on your fabric pieces.
The pocket opening can potentially get a lot of use and could benefit from some added strength and stability. Adding a bit of fusible interfacing will help ensure this needed reinforcement. Cut two pieces of light weight fusible interfacing measuring, 1-1/4" x 5 3/4" (3.2cm x 14.6cm) each. Center and draw the pocket opening rectangle (3/4"x 5" (1.9x13cm)) on the fusible interfacing.
Use a pin to help align the corner markings of the rectangles on the interfacing and the Waistband. Iron one piece of lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of Waistband, over the pocket opening markings. Use a pin to help align the corner markings and iron the other piece of fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the pocket opening of Welt Pocket.
Using pins to align the corners of the pocket opening with interfacing.
Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of Welt Pocket I
The fusible interfacing also gives you an easy place to draw your guide lines and using it will help stabilize the fabric once you cut the corners to prevent fraying out at the corners.
The rectangular opening drawn out with care.
The photo below shows the fusible interfacing aligned and ironed to the wrong side of Waistband and Welt pocket. Notice I am using a lining fabric for Pocket Bag... for a creative touch.
Step 2: Sew the Pocket Welt and the Pocket Bag
With right sides together, stitch the Pocket Welt (I) and the Pocket Bag (J) at the bottom edges. These two pieces now become the pocket bag. Finish the bottom seam.
Welt Pocket I and Pocket Bag J right sides together and sewn at bottom edge.
Step 3: Align The Pocket Openings
Pin the right side of the Welt Pocket to the right side of the Waistband, using pins to carefully match and align the corners of the pocket opening.
Use pins to align the corners of Waistband and Welt Pocket.
Waistband and Pocket Welt pined and aligned and corners.
Step 4: Stitch Parallel Lines
To secure the Pocket Welt to the Waistband, stitch along the horizontal (longer) parallel lines of the welt pocket opening. It is important to make sure you start and finish in the same place for each line. This is important to ensure a rectangular pocket opening (rather than a parallelogram or a skewed pocket opening). You may need to adjust the stitch length when you reach the end of the line, in order to end exactly where you want. Or, turn the last stitch or two with the hand wheel to ensure you are exact. Back stitch at each end.
Needle inserted precisely on the corner to start stitching
Sewing the parallel lines each precisely the same length to create a perfect rectangle.
The parallel lines of the rectangle precisely sewn.
Step 5: Prepare & Cut Slit Pocket Opening
If you have not already, draw a horizontal center line between the two parallel lines you just stitched. Measure in 1/2” (13mm) from the vertical, or short ends, of the rectangle and mark with a dot. Draw an angled line from the dot to each corner to create cutting guide lines. Repeat on the other vertical end of the rectangular opening. These markings are on the pattern pieces, so you can use them as a guide.
Drawn center parallel line and corner cutting guides.
Fold the pocket in half (use a pin to be sure the center line is aligned) and cut a small slit through all the layers of the fabric. This initial snip will help you get started in cutting the center horizontal slit line.
Use a pin to align the center parallel line.
Make initial small cut on the center guide line.
Continue to cut along the center line and stop at the dot you marked. Then cut diagonally, to the corner edges using the guide lines you drew in. Cut as close a possible, without cutting into the stitching and cut just up to the corner and not beyond.
Cutting center line of welt pocket opening.
Carefully cutting to corner of welt pocket opening.
Step 6: Pull the Pocket Bag Through the Slit
Now we need to pull the whole pocket bag through the slit to the other side (to the wrong side of the garment fabric).
Pull the pocket bag through the slit pocket opening.
View of the fabric pulled to the opposite side before shaping the edges and corners
Step 7: Shape the Pocket Opening
Take a minute and get re-oriented. The right side of the garment should be facing up and the right side of the Pocket Welt/Pocket Bag should be seen facing up through the opening. The interfacing pieces will not be visible.
Right side of waistband facing up to start shaping pocket opening
Now, use your fingers to manipulate the stitched edges of the rectangle opening into straight crisp edges. Gently pull and twist the fabric to set the shape of the corners and pinch with your fingers to create right angle corners.
Use your fingers to shape the edges and corners of the pocket opening.
The idea is to create a well crafted rectangular pocket opening. Once you are satisfied with the rectangle pocket opening, press to set.
Press the edges to set the pocket opening.
The rectangular welt pocket opening.
Step 8: Creating the Welts
Turn your work over, with the wrong side of the Waistband and the right side of the pocket fabric should be facing up.
Now, we are going to make the welts. To do this, simply fold the top of the Pocket Welt into a pleat so that the top half of the pocket opening is covered. To help ensure the pleat aligns exactly with half of the opening, mark the center of the short edges as a guide. Press the top welt into place creating a nice clean edge to the pleat and pin to secure.
Folding top welt pleat to cover half of pocket opening
Now, fold up the bottom of the Pocket Welt into a pleat so that the bottom half of the pocket opening is covered and meets in the center. Be sure that each welt pleat is the same width and align touching in the center. Press the bottom welt into place.
Folding up the bottom welt pleat to cover the other half of the pocket opening.
View of the welt pocket pleats folded on the backside of the waistband.
Turn your work over, so the right side of the Waistband is facing up, and inspect your welts. Realign and press again if you need to. Make everything as neat as you possibly can.
Making sure the welts are even.
Step 9: Sew Welts in Place
Now, the welt needs to be secured in place. There are three suggested techniques to tack the welts in place and secure the integrity of the pocket construction. I will demonstrate all three versions to create a detailed finish and completely ensure a secure pocket opening. Be sure the pocket bag is out of the way before you start.
Version 1: Stitch and back tack the shorter vertical edges of the pocket opening on the inside of the pocket opening. This secures the welts to the underneath of the pocket. Use thread that blends into the fabric when using this version. But, to really secure the welts, use version 2 or 3 as well.
Stitch and back tack the shorter edge to secure the welts underneath the pocket.
Version 2: Edge stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch all the way around the inside of the welt. Use thread that blends into the fabric when using this version.
Edge stitch or stitch-in-the-ditch all the way around the inside of the welt.
Version 3: Top stitch all the way around the pocket opening outer edge. This not only secures the pocket, but adds a detail that can be played up or down. Use a thread that blends with your garment fabric, or use a contrasting thread to stand out. If using a contrasting thread, avoid back stitching. Top stitching adds a casual or sporty aesthetic, so if you are going or a more elegant look you may want to skip top stitching.
Top stitching around the pocket opening creates a nice detail and secures the welts in place.
To create a sharp corner when top stitching, instead of pivoting your sewing at the corners. Leave a long tail thread (top thread) on the right side of your work and an equally long (bobbin thread) tail on the underneath side of your work. Thread the top thread to a needle and pull through to the underneath side. Using the ending stitch length to determine where to pull the thread to the underneath side. To secure the stitch, tie the two threads together a few times and cut to tidy the long threads.
Thread the top thread tail through a needle and pull to the backside.
The corner threads of the top stitching tied off on the backside of the pocket opening.
Close up of the top stitching corners. Notice the stitch-in-the-ditch stitching too.
Step 10: Stitch Up The Pocket Bag
Fold the Pocket Bag up to face the Pocket Welt. Align the sides and pin into place. Then, sew both sides of the pocket using a 1/2" (13mm) seam allowance. Being sure to back stitch at the start and finish. Finish the pocket edges in any technique you prefer when making a finished garment.
Sewing the side seam edges of the pocket. Notice the waistband is folded back and out of the way.
Now, the top of the pocket needs to be sewn up. With the right side of the Waistband facing up, fold the top of the Waistband down over the welt. The idea is to move the fabric out of the way so you can sew the top of the pocket together and get as close as possible to the welts.
Sewing the top of the pocket closed. Folding the top of the waist band out of the way.
The welt pocket is complete!
Set this portion of the project aside for the time being. We will attach the waist band to the pant after we do a few other things first.
The waist band welt pocket is complete.
A peek at the pocket lining.
Hope your Welt Pocket was a success! Next, join me for Day Four of the Sew Along and we will assemble the Waistband and the Waistband Curtain.
February 14, 2024