In my quest not to rush my sewing projects so much, I’ve been taking things slow with the Big Bow Coat project that I’m working on at the moment.
In the last instalment of my progress I showed you my toile and since then I’ve been tackling the welt pockets.
For those of you who haven’t used Lekala patterns before, the instructions are extremely minimal.
For inserting the welt pocket, they just give one long step with no pictures at all to work it out!
Originally I was planning on following the amazing instructions in the Colette Patterns Anise Companion e-book that I have previously found really easy to follow. However, the pockets in this coat are different and don’t have the same pattern pieces so it all didn’t really make sense – I just figured out my own way, so read on if you fancy seeing how I did it.
The text in italics indicated the instructions that come with the pattern and the rest is my interpretation of them.
1. Fold off-set welt in half lengthwise right sides together and overstitch side edges. Turn offset welt out and press. Put decorative stitch along the contour at 1 cm off the edge.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Once folded in half with right sides together, I sewed the two short edges with a 1cm seam allowance and turned it inside out. I then topstitched about 4mm from the folded edge around the sides and the folded edge.
2. Mark the line on offset welt, determining the width of offset welt when ready.
I marked my line half way between the fold and raw edge of the welt.
3. Topstitch small pocket bag onto inner side of offset welt, leveling details along centre.
Along the straight edge of both small and large pocket bag I pressed the 1cm seam allowance in place so that I could use the crease as a guide to line it up with the chalk mark you did in step 2. I then lined up the crease over the chalk mark on the welt and sewed the pocket bag in place - making sure it was centered over the welt. Then press the pocket bag to the side as the picture shows.
4. Lay offset welt onto right side of front part to marking line right side downwards. Stitch offset welt.
This bit jumps the gun a bit and presumes that you have already marked the welt out onto the front of your coat. You probably haven’t. So do it now. I thread traced the four points of the welt from the pattern by doing tailors tacks. Then I joined up the tacks to create a long thin rectangle. Draw a line down the middle and mark the corners like little triangles.
Cut a rectangle of interfacing a bit bigger than the marking and iron it onto the wrong side of the fabric where the rectangle is (it will be on the other side of the fabric). This will strengthen the opening of pocket once you come to cut it open.
The right side of the welt is the side that doesn’t have the small pocket bag attached to it. Place that side down onto the front of the jacket with the pocket bag pointing towards the centre front of the coat.
Align that line of stitching that you can see over the edge of the rectangle that is closest to the centre front and stitch over it again to attach the welt to the coat. The picture below shows the welt already sewn on, and then folded back so you can see the chalk rectangle underneath.
5. Stitch big pocket bag to other pocket marking line.
Using that crease that you ironed to the edge of the big pocket bag in step 3, place the crease over the other side of the rectangle marked on the front of the coat. The straight raw edge of the pocket bag should be towards the other pocket bag. Make sure that the big pocket bag curves downward; otherwise it won’t match up to the small pocket bag. Stitch in place.
6. Cut the pocket opening in the centre between marking lines, making cross cuts to corners of pocket marking.
Using small scissors with a good point on them, carefully cut along the line in the centre of the rectangle and follow it out at an angle towards the corners. You should end up with a little pointy triangle at each end of the rectangle.
7. Turn onto wrong side details of pocket. Straighten seam allowances and press.
Push the small and big pocket bag through the slit you have just cut so that they are at hidden. Using the tip of the iron, press the big pocket bag to the inside.
8. Sew edges of pocket bags, fixing corners of pocket.
Now working from the wrong side of the fabric, with the pocket bags pointing towards the centre front of the coat, fold the main fabric down so that you can see the little triangle pointing upwards, just like the picture below. You might need to zip foot on your machine here as the fabric can be quite thick and bulky. Sew the little triangle in place to the big pocket bag. You might also want to hand tack this in place first. I didn’t but it was a bit fiddly as it’s so small. Repeat at the other end of the rectangle.
Sew the big and small pocket bags together with a 1cm seam allowance and finish off the raw edges.
9. Mark a line on offset welt at 5.5 cm off the fold. Bend offset welt along marked line. Fasten offset welt to front part with 2-3 stitches in four corners.
I have to admit I don’t actually know what the first bit of this means. I secured the welt on the outside of the coat along the two short ends of the rectangle that you can see and then hand tacked it closed so that it didn’t stretch out and get in the way as I sew the rest of the coat.
And there we have one looooog step on inserting a welt pocket broken down into 9 easier ones. If it doesn’t make sense reading it all at once, usually it will once you have the pieces of fabric in front of you. So don’t be put too off if it looks complicated. If in doubt, have a practise on some off cuts. I did that and it certainly helped the anxiety levels as and stitched and cut into my coat pieces!
I hope it help those of you who fancy inserting welts, I’m more than happy to be corrected if anyone has any other tips or methods!
My next thing to tackle is the collar - the instructions aren't much better for that either!