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Mar 26, 2013

Hot Pockets or "Get Welt Soon"



Friends, I am totally not a welt pocket expert but I did have moderate success today on the four pockets I made for my flower-power sheet jacket.

I'm not one of those bloggers who learns it on Tuesday and teaches it on Wednesday -- not that there's anything wrong with that provided the person is a good instructor -- so I will only tell you what helped me make these pockets: practice and working out logically what I was actually trying to do.   Also looking at RTW jacket pockets and examining how they are finished.



Welts are kind of like little facings that are folded back, leaving an extended edge, or "lip" exposed, if that makes sense.  It helped me to remember that if the rectangle I was cutting was 6" x 1/2", then the welts (I'm talking double welts here) must be 1/4" wide when folded back, so that two add up to 1/2".  Too narrow and you'll have exposed space; too wide and the welts will overlap.  Is that clear?  Even knowing this, do you think my welts were perfect?  They were not, but they're good enough for me right now.



There are many, many good tutorials out there, and welt pockets are explained in just about every sewing book ever written.  If welt pockets are part of your sewing pattern, then the pattern instructions will probably provide their own directions.  There's not one right way to make these; you have to find a way that makes sense to you.

You can attach the pocket bag on top of the welts and pull the whole thing through your hole, or you can attach the pocket bag later.  The pocket bag may be one piece that's folded in half or two separate pieces sewn together, or have a lapped facing (so you don't see the lining through the opening).  What made mine complex is that, with the exception of the inside breast pocket, all my pockets were parallelograms rather than neat rectangles.

To add insult to injury, since the pocket is attached on top of a dart, the pattern piece looks like this:



It's not simply a question of tracing a 1/2" x 6" rectangle onto the front; the long sides are parallel but the top line is shorter than the bottom one and the two short edges are not parallel with each other (I think that would be rhombus.).



One more complication is that these pockets  are on the diagonal and have flaps.  The good news is that these flaps will cover any imperfections in the welts themselves.



I traced and stitched my two long parallel lines from the wrong side (I used to make the mistake of stitching around all four sides), and then, using those stitch lines as guides, attached first my welts, then atop the upper welt, my flap, and then atop the lower welt, the front of my pocket bag.  After cutting and pulling the welts, flap, and front pocket bag through -- and of course, stitching down the little triangles at either end -- I then stitched on the back of my pocket bag (as per the Simplicity instructions).



Another way to do this is to attach both bags to their respective welt (upper and lower) and pull them both through the hole.  I tried this on the second pocket but it wasn't much of a time saver, alas.





The most important thing is that the welts not be wider than 1/2".  But there are many other piddly things to think about.  Since I fear that half of you are bored silly and the other half utterly lost, I'll let it go at that.

My top breast pocket has an outer welt that must be slip stitched along the edges.  You'll find one like it on most men's blazers.  Why?  Who knows!



My final pocket was the easiest: the inside breast pocket.  This is made without adding welts.  The "lips" are formed from folding back the cut edges of the pocket bag.  What makes this pocket challenging is that half of it falls on the polyester lining, which must be interfaced before cutting.



That is all for today.  The eagle-eyed among you may be wondering why one of my pocket flaps has tiny black marks, like dirt.  Here's the answer:



What looks like rust is merely the accumulated crud of nearly four months of ironing without cleaning the face plate.  It's way past time to clean that mess up before it really ruins something.

Friends, when's the last time you cleaned your iron?  If your reflection in the bottom looks like the shroud of Turin, it may be time to take a little gentle abrasive -- I'm sure people have suggestions on what to use; spit won't cut it, I tried -- and clean that baby up.

Have a great day, everybody!

All that work and you can't even SEE my pockets!

37 comments:

  1. The good thing is once you've found a welt technique you personally like then you can apply it to pretty much most welt pockets AND bound buttonholes which are essential mini welts. Well technically welt pockets are bound pockets but you get the idea.

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  2. They sell a product at Panda in the garment district that I used quite successfully after my iron nearly ruined a white shirtdress. You rub it while the sole is hot so do it with windows open, the smell is not great... Great pockets!

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    Replies
    1. I tried baking soda but it got caught in the steam holes. Otherwise it did a great job! ;)

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    2. I ruined an iron like that-- the baking soda got stuck up in the steam holes and I spent a few hours trying to scratch it all out before chucking the whole thing (it burned me all the time with leaking hot water, so it wasn't a big loss, but still).

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  3. welt pocket= giant bound button hole

    or thats how I think of them anyway, somehow it makes them seem less intimidating

    can't help on the iron :( mine is in a similar sorry state

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  4. I've had success cleaning the iron with wax paper. Iron across the wax paper while hot and the gunk comes off. I iron across some paper towels to finish up. My gunk is accumulated fusible webbing - is yours the same?

    (ah - your floral sheeting is so familiar, my old bed sheets!)

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  5. I've had moderate success with putting welt pockets in the linings of my tote bags and purses...but they've all been small, perfectly straight, and usually only visible to me! Is is strange that I'd rather put a zipper pocket in than a welted one?

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  6. Ceramic stove cleaner can be used while the iron is warm. Squirt it on an old square of towel and buff the sole. Flip it and steam press it and the holes should be clean as well. An everlasting bottle ran me about $6 and change at the hardware store.

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  7. My iron is my baby, and it must be kept clean! I use Dritz iron cleaner successfully; it's the same as the product sold by Rowenta in a boxed kit. My grandmother always kept a piece of paraffin wrapped in an old washcloth on the ironing board; whenever the iron began to drag, she would run it over the paraffin to clean it. Just be sure to run the iron over another clean cloth to remove any residual paraffin or iron cleaner. I've also heard of people using wax paper.

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  8. Last week I bloody used my iron on a newly finished dress and it left 6 little rust marks :(
    After washing the dress about 18 times it finally came out (faded, I can still see it)

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  9. Nice pockets. I didn't even know what a welt pocket was until I came on here. I knew what they looked like, but never knew the name. My iron is old and I need a new one. However, after reading some of these tips I might just try a few for now. I still need a new one.

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  10. Baby wipes for the iron...discovered after I had kids.

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  11. I use "Iron Off" from the notions department.
    ...on a hot iron...

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    Replies
    1. Same here and I always use a silk organza press cloth which also helps extend having to clean off crud.

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    2. Phyllis,

      I like when you talk crud.

      CABLE!

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  12. On a cool iron, wet an old piece of terry cloth with denatured alcohol (from the hardware store) and rub, turning cloth as needed. I found this trick after having the sticky side of fusible interfacing and the sole of my iron meet up cause I wasn't paying attention.

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  13. #1. LOVE that jacket. Wish you were making it for me.
    #2. Very nice welts!
    #3. Just buy commercially made (and available anywhere -- grocery store, drug store, wherever) steam iron cleaner. Follow the directions. Takes about a minute. You will regret it forever if you don't do that soon. You will permanently iron in the smudges that stuff will leave on your fabric! Don't delay. Clean your iron.

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  14. Hands down, best and easiest way to clean an iron: those Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge thingies. When the iron is cool... dampen the sponge, but squeeze out most of the water. Then rub over the iron. That's it. I couldn't believe how fast the crud came off!

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  15. I'm so impressed with your welt pockets. BUT... I'm more impressed with your total recall of basic Euclidean geometry. I wouldn't have known the difference between a rhombus and an ink stain!
    I agree with Ellen: Mr. Clean Magic Erasers do the trick for me, and I've cooked the fusible side of the interfacing right on the iron. It still came off. -Babe

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  16. I didn't pay a whole lot at attention to what your iron was made of but my mom used to clean her iron like this. She had an old black steam iron with a metal bottom. Not sure if it will work if your iron has a coating on it. Anyway, she would take a brown paper bag and tear it open and pour table salt on it and run the iron over it till everything came clean. Then she would run the iron over a damp towel to get rid of any salt residue. Hope that helps.

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  17. The jacket is looking great. I use the Mr. Clean eraser sponge and it works great.

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  18. For about 40 years I never had to clean my iron. I used spray starch and ironed dresses and uniforms. About 2008 bought a rowenta and have been cleaning frequently ever since. I can even take a clean iron and iron a clean garment straight out of the dryer. I think they are putting something on fabric that I have never seen before

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  19. Mr. Clean magic eraser works well as does the Rowenta iron cleaner.
    That shape you're talking about - it's actually a trapezoid. A rhombus has four equal sides.

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  20. "Shroud of Turin"----ha!! made my day--you rock!

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  21. I actually went back and looked for the dirt on the pocket flaps...not noticeable.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad you wrote again, because I've been thinking about you and your laundry issues all day.

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  22. Ooh, these pockets look great! You should be proud! Do you have a mini panic attack when you cut the welts open? I always do. :)

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  23. I've been using Dritz hot iron clearer for about 20 years and love it. you just squeeze a bit onto a thickly folded cloth and rub your hot iron all over to remove the gunk. Works great and I'm partial to the smell. It comes in a little tube and they sometimes sell it in a set with a rough terry cloth and a flannel for buffing.

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  24. Alex in CaliforniaMarch 27, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    I use steel wool to get rid of the crud on my iron's surface. I remember my father using steel wool to polish the chrome on his cars. I use spray starch and it can scorch and accumulate on the iron. I take a few swipes on the non-Teflon surface while the iron is still hot and it comes off easily with the surface not being scratched. Experiment on an old iron if you are wary of any suggestions.

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  25. My iron was cleaned on Monday - unfortunately, the reason it was cleaned was because my husband went to iron his pants before work and smeared black crud all over them. :-\ But, he scrubbed the heck out of it and now my iron is shiny!

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  26. Well, count me in the 50% that's completely lost! LOL! To me, "welts" are the things you get when you accidentally burn yourself (which I somehow manage to do fairly frequently), "pocket bags" are purses, and "lips" are, well...I think that's rather obvious. But it's fascinating to see you doing all of this...and doing it WELL!

    As far as the iron goes, I'm not an accomplished sewist(?) seamstress(?) by any means, but I usually just ditch the iron altogether and go with a really good steamer. Alas, I don't imagine that would give you the nice clean, pressed folds you need in your fabric.

    If it's any consolation (which it's probably not, since I've melted more clothes with my iron than I've actually successfully pressed), my iron looks like that ALL THE TIME. But I'm pretty sure my mom once told me that the black stuff isn't just from ironing a lot... it's actually mineral buildup from the water that you're using in the iron. Supposedly using distilled water fixes the problem.

    I have no idea if she's right about that... her advice can be questionable (she also once told me that it's fine to eat pasta sauce that's gone bad, just as long as you skim off the mold that's growing on top before you eat it). So I'd take her advice with a grain of salt. Hehee!

    Sorry... this has been a totally rambly comment. But you make learning fun, and now I'm inspired to try and pick up an actual pattern (which I could never quite figure out how to read...my spatial awareness skills are pretty limited...I can't even put stuff in the freezer the right way so it fits), and try and figure out what I'm looking at!

    Your jacket will be smashing!! I can't wait to see the next post! Keep smiling, Peter... you're like a ray of sunshine in my day!

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  27. I just had to buy a new iron. My old one had a chip in the faceplate which was causing my precious silk fabric to run! I have a feeling it must have been because I had ironed over a pin, maybe?? Regardless, to answer your question, in the 5-6 years I had the iron, I never cleaned it once. But I imagine that is not the standard :)

    Those welt pockets look great!

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  28. I agree with anonymous above. Plain table salt on a brown paper bag and press the bejeesus out of it. It takes a little work, but you almost always have salt when you need to clean that iron in a pressing emergency!

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  29. If the dart intersecting with the welt is too complex, you can always shorten the dart.

    To clean the iron, I think I used a nasty-smelling cream in a tube. It may have been Rowenta, as someone else described above.

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  30. Easy Peasy Iron Cleaner--- Purell Hand Sanitizer liquid or gel (or generic equiv that is alcohol based). Squirt some on a clean rag (terrycloth works best for me). Rub the COLD plate of your iron with the rag...gunk will be gone! Spray the bottom of the iron with water to rinse off any remaining gel. :) Works on ceramic-clad iron sole plates too!

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  31. Mr clean magic eraser works wonder for an iron. Especially if you use any kind of starch that gets stuck on there. I have no idea what in it other than "magic" but it does the trick without damaging the iron. And super easy too. :)
    Also, those welt pockets are amazing. Really great job.

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