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Mar 12, 2013

Making Welt Pockets or "Take a Deep Breath and Pray"



Greetings, patient readers!

As you can see above, I was alerted to yet another image of that Marc Jacobs daisy print silk gown (actually poly silk -- though it's never stated in these fashion spreads) that so many of you apparently loathe.  I just find it a strange fabric choice for a ballgown -- the equivalent of a liver-flavored lollipop.

Yesterday and today (yes, it took two days) were all about pockets.  Cutting diagonal welt pockets in poly silk taffeta is a task I wouldn't recommend to anyone who cries easily.  Then again, this fabric doesn't water spot so maybe it doesn't matter.  As I mentioned yesterday, I used the pocket pieces from a nicely drafted Burda coat pattern and -- big mistake -- the Burda instructions.  The first pocket was a disaster, but you know something?  Most sewing disasters are reparable as long as you don't unintentionally cut or rip your fabric.  I had to take everything apart: remove the welt and top and bottom pocket pieces from the already-slashed pocket opening and reattach them. 

I'll skip the ugly photos and show you how, in the end, I saved the pocket.  It's not perfect -- it's incredibly difficult to work with taffeta as it doesn't ease -- but it's good enough.  I learned the hard way the welt should not be interfaced (too thick) and must be cut on the diagonal so that when it's attached to the jacket front, it runs in the same direction as the jacket front fabric (i.e., parallel to the selvage).  Otherwise the welt catches the light wrong and looks very wonky.  Who knew?



Of course, my second pocket was much, much easier since I'd made (most of) my mistakes already.





Those little inside corners are very difficult to get perfect, and any pucker or wrinkle is obvious.  It's sturdier fabric than it looks, however.

I also added an inside pocket to my lining, which I cut last night.  This pocket was much easier to make since it's horizontal (and not visible from the outside so much lower stakes).  I copied the measurements from an old beige windbreaker I own.











Here's my full lining.  I used my gray poly for the sleeves (in case the nylon is too hot), which is exactly how my old windbreaker is done.





So now what remains is mainly the zipper insertion and the collar.  Would you believe I still haven't decided what kind of collar I want?  I'm leaning toward Mandarin or motorcycle and away from what I'd used on my preppy teddy bear print muslin, if you can remember back that far.

Then there's the zipper insertion.  I have a few options.  I have my finished facings from when I didn't think I'd line the jacket.  I can attach the lining and treat the jacket fronts as one with the lining, attaching the zipper to both layers and then adding the facing on top of the lining/taffeta combo.  Or, I can attach the the facings and the lining along the inside edges of the facing, cutting away the excess lining (if that makes sense), so I'll only be inserting the zipper between the outer layer of taffeta and the taffeta facing.  A lot will depend too on what kind of collar I choose and how it attaches.



I want the zipper to be exposed.  When I examine the exposed zipper on my windbreaker, it looks like it was attached to the zipper right-side-of-lining to wrong-side-of-zipper, and then turned and topstitched.  Same on the front.  The question is, do I attach these both to the zipper at the same time?  I'm nervous that the exposed zipper tape won't look even if I'm stitching from the underside.





The more I sew the more I realize there are many ways to do things rather than a single right way.  With these kinds of details, I just try to come up with a method that makes sense and works.  In the worst case, I can hand baste.  Anyway, I'm certainly open to your suggestions, if you have any.

OK, time to get back to work.

Have a great day, everybody!

21 comments:

  1. I feel your pain! Coincidently, I spent 5 hours today on doing welt pockets for the back of the trousers. The precisions it requires drives me nuts! :)http://www.design-closeup.com/

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  2. congrats on the difficult, but successful, pocket operation! :-)

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  3. Welt pockets in polyester are not for the feint of heart...Interestingly, that editorial pic of the Jacobs gown fits the overal mood of the dress. It looks a more than a little depressed; perfect for the fight that ruined one's special evening out. Perhaps during dinner, she confessed to sleeping with his brother before the yachting accident that took his life. Or maybe during the intermission at the Opera, while drinking their champagne, his mistress made an appearance and the whole affair was exposed - ready made for Page 6! Am I reading too much into it? Your jacket will be a MUCH happier garment!

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    1. Love your take; that photo was (if I remember correctly) taken from a Vogue editorial about the dissolution of a marriage and the discovery of an affair. I remember it got a few angry "letters to the editor" for it's tawdry subject matter.

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    2. That dress ought to be rented out for just such an occasion.

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  4. The pockets look great and who can blame you on the grain, in any other fabric it would look better if the grain matched the pocket opening.

    Since you have the facing I would seam that to the lining and treat that whole thing as the lining. I don't see any advantage to having a facing on top of a fully lined jacket.

    For the zipper, seam the tape to the jacket wrong sides together, then when it comes time to attach lining and jacket, sew another pass along the same stitching line but with the lining underneath. Then once the jacket is fully lined, and right side out, you press the seams away from the zipper, inside and out. Then topstitch the attachment seam from the exterior of the jacket, lining the presser foot up with the fold. This should topstitch the lining nicely, too, but will definitely look good from the outside.

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    1. Alas, I put the beautiful black binding on the edges of my facings for nothing! ;)

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    2. Well if it's already done, you could sew the bound edge to the lining. Assuming it's not too bulky. You certainly see piping inserted into seams between facings and linings so it wouldn't look much different than that.

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  5. Your pockets are masterpieces! And I love the gown. (There goes my credibility, but I had to say it. lol)

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  6. I thought I hated the dress in yesterday's posting, but the picture from today makes me kind of love it. A strange sort of bipolar effect rather in keeping with such an unusual ball gown.
    Brave man making welt pockets of poly-silk fabric. You made them look good though.

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  7. Would you do a letterman collar, out of ribbing? That would look interesting.
    If you lay your facing over the lining wrong side of facing to right side of lining, line up the raw edges, top stitch the facing on just inside your binding, then cut away the lining underneath, you get the best of both worlds. AND your lovely binding will show!

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  8. I am going to be in the minority and say I do like the dress on the right person.

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  9. I'm a basting fan (tacking here in the UK), as I hate having to take out machine stitching. Quicker and easier to tack once and machine once.

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  10. I second the motion about tacking that zipper!

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  11. Congratulations on the lovely pockets! Here's a tip for easier stitching: Don't start and stop at the corners. Start on one of the long edges.

    I think that woman slept in that gown. Or got into a fist-fight. Or both.

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  12. Hi Peter - Your welt pockets look great! I love, love, love welt pockets and the challenge of making them. To someone who does not know how to sew, they look so innocent, but you know the time and love that goes into them!

    And I have to say - I love this fabric! I can't wait to see the full reveal. This spring is all about bold. And you have it covered.

    Cindi

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  13. Alex in CaliforniaMarch 13, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Do you think the fabric was produced in silk and poly silk?

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  14. Your pockets look great! I actually like the way they subtly break up the print. You must be relieved to put that step behind you!

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  15. It's coming along nicely, and I'm loving the yellow lining. Good call on changing the sleeve lining to another fabric.

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  16. OMG, thank you for this post! Now I feel totally normal as I'm not the only one who had some seriously bad time with Burda's welt pocket instructions! I know, I know, you have like tons more experience than me but it definitely makes me feel better that I did not understand it if even a pro like you had trouble, haha

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  17. I'm sorry, I didn't see the dress... I was being hypnotized by the gorgeous Ewan McGregor!!!

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