Pocket Tutorial: Adding Pockets to Pants Part II

Once you get your fabric all cut out, it is time to assemble the pants with the pockets. I will be making a fly front pant out of my favorite pant pattern (McCall’s 5941), using my drafted pocket pattern.

IMG_0567Lay the pocket backs down with the pant front on top. Lay the cut lining piece on top and cut the pant front to match the pocket. I am going to cut 3/8 more inches off because I want to wrap my pocket lining.

IMG_0568Put pocket lining on top of the pant front and serge or sew a straight stitch with a 3/8 inch seam. Iron the pocket open.

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Then fold it behind the pant front as it will be when worn. Press again and then top stitch if desired.

IMG_0571Line up the pocket back to the pocket front and stitch along the bottom. Feel free to stay stitch the top and side to the pant front as well if it is moving around too much for your tastes. I also baste the pocket closed at this time so everything lays flat.

Now I have a new pant front with a slash pocket in it! I continue to assemble the pants, catching the center front seam into the fly as I make it.

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See future pic for the full outfit. Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Pocket Drafting Tutorial: Adding Pockets to Pants Part I

I like to have pockets in almost everything, well at least one piece of my outfit, so I wanted to learn how to add pockets to pants. I tried a few different methods before settling on one. I tried putting them in the side seam and they just opened all the time, yuck. I also hate how pockets can get bunched up in your pants.

A word about tutorials: Thank you for taking the time to read mine. I advise trying to read at least 3 tutorials before trying a technique you are learning about. Each one is written a little differently and the more instructions you get the more depth of understanding you get.

Now back to pockets. I happened upon a great article in Threads for drafting pockets that include a front stay. Front tummy stays are great because even if you don’t have a belly you are trying to smooth they just make the front of your pants nice and flat. I put them in most of my pants. I think you could do this in skirts with a back or side zipper as well if you are adding pockets to those.

IMG_0561First get out the front pant of your favorite pants pattern. Mine is McCall’s 5941. Fold in and tape any darts the front has. Place on top of the paper (2 sheets).  (Ignore my red lines from a previous pocket draft.) I use heavier craft paper because my patterns get a lot of use.

Trace around the top of the pattern from the hip line, usually right below the notches. Mark all notches and the center front. Also mark 5/8 inches from the center front (towards the fly). Then free hand your desired pocket shape, curving up towards the center front. Mark your seam lines so you can figure out the slant opening. Draw two lines parallel to the fly, one on the center front and one on the 5/8 mark. (If you are doing side zip pants you will place your pattern on the fold at the center front line. If you are using the fly front like I am, you have to have seam allowance. If you are using a side zip pattern you can just mark the center front at the seam line where the two front pieces will meet.)

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Cut out the pattern and transfer the markings to the second piece. This will be your pocket back and cut out of your pant fabric. Some people cut front and back of the pockets out of the lining fabric and then cut a triangular overlay for the opening. I like the smoother look of the single layer of fabric.
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IMG_0563Now go back to you initial drafting piece and trace another pocket pattern on another piece of paper. Copy all markings. Measure 1.5 inches from the side seam along the top seam line and mark.   Measure 1.5 inches up from the notches at the seam line and mark. Put your hand down and make sure it is the width you want.  The smaller it is, the less it will gape.

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IMG_0566Using a ruler draw a straight line. Then draw 2 more lines parallel to this one 3/8 inches apart. Connect the farthest one to the pattern edge with perpendicular lines. The outer most line is the cutting line if you are going to wrap your lining fabric around the edge of the fabric. I do this when I have a fun lining and can add a little flash to the project. Usually my shirt will cover the pockets anyway but they are fun. The second line is for if you don’t want to show off the lining.

Now you have your pocket pattern. Cut two of the main pant fabric and two in your lining fabric. Do not use lining material for the pocket, it won’t hold up. Trust me I learned the hard way. Use a heavier satin poly fabric (with light interfacing) or a fun calico. I think you can get away with a fat quarter but I am not sure. Good luck adding pockets to everything!

See part II for how to put it all together.

Half Circle Blouse Tutorial

I saw this great sleeveless blouse on Pinterest based on a circle skirt pattern.  It was so cute and looked pretty easy but I couldn’t find any tutorials or even another example.  There are other shirts based on a circle skirt but few like this.  So I will attempt to write my process so others can try it too.

Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Ruler
  • At least 3 yds of fabric, should drape well 45”
  • Package of matching bias tape
  • Matching thread
  • Paper if you want to draft a pattern
  • Snaps, Velcro, or button
  1. Pattern Drafting:

I sketched my pattern out on a piece of paper first.  I measured my neck and then added an inch of overlap for fastening, then added seam allowances (I use 5/8” but use whatever you are used to).  That was my length for the neck band.  For finished width I decided on 2.5 inches so I doubled it and added seam allowances so my total was 17.5 inches long X 5 inches wide.  That was my neck band pattern.

Then I drafted the blouse pattern on a piece of paper.  I knew my fabric was going to be 58” which is 29” folded.  I then assumed I would fold the fabric over from the end to form a square 29” by 29”.  Now I had to do some fancy figuring (remember the geometry!) to figure out the rest of the measurements.  I know I wanted to gather the neck into the neck band to I wanted the neck opening to be double my neck size so for me that was about 30 inches.  In order to figure out how to mark my circle I needed the radius of the neck opening.  For those of you who have forgotten your geometry, radius = circumference/3.14.  So with a 30” circumference my radius was 4.77 inches.  The radius for your hem circle is as wide as your fabric will allow, which for me is 29”.

circle blouse pattern

  1. Cutting the circle:

So I wanted to do a practice mock up before cutting into my favorite fabric to I went to Joann’s with my coupons and got some nice fabric for a trial run.  When I got home I realized the fabric I liked was only 41” wide.  I want to keep my original pattern and make the next one like that.  I modified the original pattern to be only a half circle. So I folded the fabric in half and drafted my circle.  I had to adjust the neck radius because I still wanted the circumference for my neck to be approximately 30” on the half circle.  All I did was double the radius (about 10 inches) I found for my full circle measurement and there was my new neckline.  For the hemline I just used the rest of the fabric and made it as wide as possible; I can always shorten it.

half circle cut           draft with sleeves cut

  1. Estimating the armholes:

Once I have the half circle draped on the dress form, I pin the seam up to under the arm.  Then I estimate the length of the armholes.  I cut the non-seam side down to match where I pinned the seam so I had two slits on each side.  Then I wanted to round the armholes for a better fit and face them with bias tape.  I used a cup to give some shape and cut a teardrop shape.

armhole 1                                armhole 2armhole 3                      armhole on dressform

I think the arm holes are a little low so I will take the neckline down an inch after I do the facing since I have plenty of length and a little more fabric gathered into the neck won’t hurt.  Now I know I need to start with shorter armholes.

  1. Face the armholes:

I wanted to practice using bias tape facing for my armholes so I made bias tape out of a fat quarter that complimented the fabric.  I followed this bias tape tutorial and found it easy.  I used the Scientific Seamstress’ bias tape maker to fold it instead of buying one.

armhole facing

  1. Gather the neck and finish the neckband:

The neckband is interfaced with a light facing.  Press it right sides together and sew the sides.  Turn and press again and then turn the hem under and press. I marked the sides of the neckband with a little over lap for snaps.  Gather the front between the armholes so it fits in the front half of the neckband.  Right sides together and sew, keeping the other layers free.  Do the same with the back.  Fold the neckband down so the gathered part is between the two layers and the hem is turned under.  If you made the back or inside of the neck band a little longer than the front you can stitch in the ditch to secure the inside of the neckband to the front.  Sew on snaps at neck side.

sewing into neckband                                stitching in the ditch

  1. Hem:

I wanted to face the hem with the same as the armholes but didn’t have quite enough to do it so I settled for a narrow hem using my narrow hem foot.  I have a hard time keeping it lined up right so it is not as neat as I’d like.  I have to keep practicing.

hem

  1. Make a belt (optional):

I didn’t have much fabric left so I just made a bias strip, folded it in half and sew.  Turn it so the right side is out and iron.  Sew ends close.  Or you can skip the belt for a maternity shirt or use a store bought belt.  You could also make a coordinating belt out of a men’s tie!

final                                    final back

Clothing from Scarves: the Top

So I saw this beautiful over shirt in a window in Las Vegas.

1 Scarf poncho inspiration

I just had to go into the store and inspect it closer to see if it was easy to copy.  It looked so easy, like two of the same scarves attached together with a few buttons.  They showed it worn as in the picture or you could turn it to have the buttons go down the front and back and the sides short.   Very cool.

I searched and search and could not find 2 scarves with the great border detailing that would look so good like this.  I settled on a scarf for $11 in a souvenir shop that I could at least try something similar with.  I will keep looking for scarves like these!

So I had a long scarf that I folded in half length-wise and creased.  I found the center by folding it again in half width-wise so I knew where to start my neck hole.  I measured my dress form to estimate how wide I wanted the neck hole to be and cut it.  Tried it on and it fit great, so I used the serger to bind (with a rolled hem) the neck hole with a little stabilizer for support.  You could also use seam binding sewn on if you don’t have a serger.  I put it back on and realized the sleeves (sides) were just too long so I measured to my wrist and shortened them accordingly, again using a rolled hem to finish all four sides.

After trying it on again I thought it would work better if it didn’t fly around so much so I put it on the dress form and sewed 2 seams up the sides with a loose fit.  Ta Da!  Instant (well almost) shirt.

scarf poncho on form

I saw that crop shirts are back in but if you are like most of us, wearing one is just not that flattering.  I got the look of the crop without being too obvious by layering a crop turtle neck under my overshirt.  Paired with a pair of black pants and fun shoes and I am all set!  I received 3 compliments on the first day I wore it!  Some from strangers approaching me in the mall!