Saturday, June 9, 2012

How to draft a pocket for pants that don't have one.

Since I'm working on my gray pants and decided to make a regular quarter pocket instead of an inseam pocket or a patch pocket, I decided to share with you the way I got about drafting and sewing these pockets.

I don't claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination, and I'm mostly a self taught sewer, but this is the way I do it, and for me, it's easy, intuitive, and goes rather quickly. 

DRAFTING a 3/4 Pocket for your slacks draft

Start with a copy of your basic slacks front draft. Take the front piece, and pin out the darts, with the dart legs going towards the side seam, as if they were sewn.

Because I'm attempting a weight loss program and hope that I will need to take in the side seams on my pants, I've used a larger than normal pocket area of about 1/3 of the distance from the center front seam to the side seam for my pocket depth. Anything from 1/4 to 1/2 of the front is typical for slacks pockets, but for women, quarter pockets are most seen.

Draw in the shape of the pocket you want. I've made mine a bit deeper and wider than I normally would. Mark the grain line on the pocket piece before cutting! Cut the pocket piece off the draft. If you want seam allowances added to your pattern, add them now to each cut edge so you won't forget. You will use the cut off piece as a facing for your pocketing if you make it out of quilting cotton or regular pocketing. 

Get a new piece of tissue paper, and trace off the front side piece. You can do any width up to and including the full front width of the pants, or more typically, start at the inside dart and draft from there. Be sure to add the grain line that mimics the pants front.
The next piece of tissue paper will be the back side of the pocket or pocket pouch. I do separate pieces as it takes less fabric and I can use scraps or remnants for the pocketing. Trace off the pocket piece top, center, and bottom lines. Trace the side seam off your front pattern piece. Mark grain lines and add seam allowances if desired. If you prefer, you can just double your tissue paper when you're making the first pocket piece, cut it double, and then cut off the facing piece before adding seam allowances. Note the notch where the pocket piece edge should hit.
Note: These are your pants, so if you prefer, you can use a rectangle with straight bottom and a fold on the interior side of the pocket. I like the rounded pockets a bit better as I feel they produce less lint. 

Cut your pocket pieces from your preferred fabric. I like quilting cottons for the cheerful view when my pants are open, but you can use fashion fabric, dedicated pocketing, or even heavy muslin.

Cut your pocket facings from your fashion fabric using the piece you originally cut off the side of the pants front, and being sure to add seam allowances.

Cut the facings out of your fashion fabric if you're using any thing other than fashion fabric for your pocketing. 


Finish the inside edge of your pocket facing if you are using one prior to any other steps. I have had them ravel inside the pocket and it's a mess! 

Sew facing to pocket bag with wrong sides together. Press to set stitches and then set aside. If you haven't done so already, sew darts in front. 

Place wrong side of pocket piece to right side of front. You can see where I didn't get my seam allowances exactly the same. I'll fix that when I'm doing the waistband. Stitch along the curved edge, being very careful not to stretch the seam. 

If you want to be sure it doesn't bag, you can sew a narrow piece of twill tape to the underside of the seam. (Sew the twill tape to the wrong side of front.) Cut it about 1/4" shorter than the seam, and stretch the twill tape to meet the length of the pocket edge as you're sewing. 

Press flat first. Then press seam open. Clip curves. Trim seam allowances. Under stitch. 

Turn pocket to  inside, and edge stitch and then top stitch the outside edge of the pocket. Press again to  to set the stitches. Use clapper if necessary to get it nice and flat.

Get the pocket pieces you previously set aside. You want to place them under the finished front pieces being sure the facings are under the pocket opening if applicable. Match the side seams and the waist seam line and carefully pin the pocket pouch under the front piece. Note: If you have a tummy, placing the pieces on a pressing ham will give you a slight curve to allow for the tummy. Baste the pocket edge to the pocket pouch. 

Now, turn the pieces over and stitch the pocket seam. If the pocket pouch and the pocket seam lines don't match perfectly, that's fairly normal. Once you've stitched the seam and reinforced it with a second line of stitching approximately 1/8' away, you can either serge the bottom or zig zag in a very tight stitch for further reinforcement. Press flat. Baste upper pocket edge to waist seam allowance. You're done!

Finished pockets on Pants Front

If there's something I didn't make clear, drop me a note and I'll see if I can explain more fully.

More Later!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Moving forward in my spare time!

Well, I finally have a few minutes to update the blog. Things seem to be moving slowly as I've been super busy at work, and that's taking a lot of my time. Don't you hate it when your real life interferes with your sewing time!

Here are the two pair of pants I made before my Cambridge/Boston trip. Unfortunately, they're not on me, but on the shower rod as I don't have the amazing ability to take my own picture. :P}} With the dark color, you can't really see any details even though I lightened them and tried to get the pockets visible. I did stick a handkerchief it the pocket of the twills, but it's barely visible either!

Navy cotton twills with patch pockets

Denim Trouser Jeans with patch pockets

They are very similar, and both fabrics are from my stash. One is a cotton twill from Joann I think, and the other is a dark wash denim from who knows where. I did manage to find a nice brass button for the denim ones, so they at least resemble jeans. I've gone back to buttons for my pants instead of the little hooks. For one thing, I have about a zillion buttons around here, and for another, I think they look nicer and make a flatter waistband under knit tops.

I'm posting a picture of the latest Collette Sorbetto top. It's a woven, quilting cotton, bought in 2011 I think, that's been in my stash. The jacket is one I made last year, or maybe the year before, which is a major morph that started life as Simplicity #4273. It's from a piece of Rayon-Linen blend from Joann with a Bemberg Ambiance lining. I love that stuff! I try to use it for all my day to day linings, including when I'm making wool pants. It just feels great against my skin, and the ability to breathe makes it appropriate for all but the hottest days. When I'm making a really spiffy jacket though, I'll go with a wild printed silk charmeuse. To me, it's worth the extra cost to have the luxury of a silk lining, and since my clothing is usually kind of staid, the wild prints make me happy and fulfill my wild child side. :P}}
Cotton Sorbetto top Morphed into a tank top

Cotton tank top with rayon-linen jacket

I'm pretty sure I'm going to try to get the Summer 6Pak at Stitcher's Guild completed. I did the navy pants and the jeans in May, so they will count, if I get a navy jacket done to make an outer column. I am trying how to figure out how to make this top count, and I have some gray cotton twill on my cutting board with enough to make pants and a jacket. Then I've been looking at Robin's jacket in progress over at A Little Sewing, Vogue #1293, and think it would be fabulous as an upscale Jean Jacket. So I have the pattern here, and that will probably get started as soon as I finish the grey pants and jacket unless I decide I need to do the tan crop pants and top first. We'll see how things go. I'm thinking the tan crop pants and top will make a nice inner column, and I couldn't help myself and just ordered a nice cotton floral with creams and various tans and browns that would make a nice over shirt that can be worn as a jacket or a shirt when it gets colder. I'm thinking Simplicity #2370 for it. Don't know whether it will be cap sleeves or longer sleeves?

I know it's not too exciting to see my pants sewing as I've done so many pair, they're almost done by rote now, with few changes other than pockets. So I won't bore you with that! But I do hope to have a new outfit posted soon!

Now to get the next outfit done. I'm so excited about sewing again since I've found the "sewing community" over at Stitcher's Guild.

More later!