Welt pockets are not a common feature on sweatshirts, but I love the structure they add to the Jasper Sweater/Dress. They give a polished look to the design and they’re not so hard once you understand the process. They are considered one of the more tricky techniques to master, but that just makes it more satisfying to add to your skill set! So no need to worry, if you need more words and photo’s to understand this process, that’s what you get in this post.
What you need:
- The front piece, welt strips and both pocket pieces
- Basting thread
- Washable fabric marker
- Iron & press cloth
- Sewing machine (duh)
Step 1: Welt strips
Mark all the notches on the welt strips, the front piece and the pocket pieces. Use a washable fabric marker like a pencil or chalk.
Press the welt strips in half with the right sides out, lengthwise. Match the marks of the welt strips to the right side of the front piece. The fold in the welt strip points to the inside, the raw edges to the outside. Baste the welt strip in place. I do this by hand because it gives me greater control over the position. This is also the reason why I don’t just pin it.
Step 2: Jersey pocket piece
Lay the jersey pocket piece on top of the front right sides together, matching the notches and sandwiching the welt strips. I used a grey cotton jersey for the tutorial purpose, but in general you’ll want to use a colour close to your main fabric colour. Pin in place.
Sew a line between the notches, straight over the welt strip. It is more important to be in the middle of the welt strip than that you precisely match the notches. If your marks are a bit off, use the welt strip as a guide. You can feel it underneath your fingers as you sew.
Step 3: Cut
You’re going to turn the pieces inside out in the next step. To be able to do this, you’ll need to make some cuts. Cut a single layer at a time. Start cutting from the raw edge towards the welt strip, at 3/4″ (2 cm) from the notches. When you’re halfway, pivot towards the end of the stitching line you just sewed. Cut right until the tip of that line, but not through or beyond. Repeat this on either end of the welt strip, and on both pocket piece and front piece.
Step 4: Turn
Now stick your hand in between the layers from top to bottom. Grab the hem of the front piece and pull it through, so the pocket piece is now on the wrong side of the front piece. The welt piece already should be looking good! If it’s not straight you can go back in and sew a new line. Be sure that you leave enough welt strip to stick out though.
Step 5: The little flaps
Now we need to secure these little flaps that are sticking out still on either end of the welt strips. I’ve thought long and hard on what to call these, but nothing else came to mind so little flaps it is! There’s one of each fabric layer on either end, so 8 flaps in total. You’ll sew the four at the bottom first, then the four at the top.
To get them in the right position, fold the pocket piece and front piece towards the top. The pocket piece on top, the front piece on the bottom. Pull the little flaps down and align their edges. If the fabric is bunching at the ends of the stitching line, pull them a bit more out. Align the flaps so they are parallel to the side seam next to the welt strip. Pin them in place.
Now sew a straight line from the end of the stitching line towards the side edge, through the flaps and the welt strip. The stitching line should be perpendicular to the welt strip and come out at the notches of the side edges. Repeat for the other three welt corners. And that’s it, you’ve got your welt in!
Step 6: Grade & press
Go back in and grade the seam allowances of the welt strip and the fabric you cut into. The purpose of grading is to reduce bulk and create a smooth transition from areas with a lot of fabric layers to areas with less layers. In this case, to create a smooth transition between the area of the welt (6 layers) to the area around it (2 layers). I like to keep the outside layers longest, and cut the inner layers a bit shorter. Turn it the right way around again and press your pockets.
Step 7: Pocket piece 2
Lay the second pocket piece on top of the jersey one, matching notches. Sew the tops and bottoms together. Finish the seams if desired, or if your fabric curls. Baste the edges of the pocket to the side seam allowance to keep them in place. It might seem a bit redundant, but it ensures they will line up nicely when you attach the side panels.
That’s it, you’ve made single welt pockets! The process is not exactly the same on other garments, but I hope you have a better understanding of the process now. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know in the comments!