I’ve received requests to shed some light on pocket construction, so I prepared this welt pocket tutorial. And because it’s my tutorial, of course I added some variations to the theme to make it more interesting.
This tutorial will explain both how to construct the pattern and how to sew the pocket.
I don’t know about you, but personally I’ve done my share of welt pockets at school. It seems to be one of the favorite subjects of sewing classes. Well, welt pockets AND collars. If you’re familiar with the single- and double welts already, you can skip the first part and check out the variations directly.
Double welt pocket
Starting with the most popular welt pocket.
Here’s how you construct the pattern:
First you should decide the final length of the pocket, for example 12 cm (4,7in).
Then the width of the single welt. The easiest way is to have both the welt and seam allowance be the same size. Later you’ll see why. In this case I chose 0,7cm (0,3in). The welt is folded in half, so you need to double this measurement. You can round up to 1,5cm (0,6in).
After this you add the seam allowance 0,7cm (0,3in) on both sides. The short ends will have a wider seam allowance, 1,5cm (0,6in).
The pocket bag pattern has exactly the same width as the welt. You can even leave the seam-allowance to 1,5cm (0,6in), except for the side that’s going to be attached to the welt. That should have the same seam allowance as the welt has, which in this case is 0,7cm (0,3in).
There are two pocket bags: one for each welt. This means the pocket bag that starts from the upper edge of the pocket will be a bit larger. Exactly 1,5cm (0,6in) larger using the measurements I chose. Because that’s the width of the two welts put together.
In case you want to have a facing, that will be attached on top of the larger pocket bag. You can see the blue zone in the drawing. However, the more simple solution is to cut the larger pocket bag directly in the same fabric as your garment.
Sewing the double welt pocket
First, mark the position of the pocket on the right side of your garment. That could be just two dots or you can unite the dots with a line, too. Just use the kind of marker that isn’t permanent.
Otherwise use basting thread or even just pins.
Interface the area around this line on the wrong side.
Here are the pocket pieces. Remember to interface the welts, too, and then press them in half.
Then you start by pinning one of the welts on the right side. If you drew the line, that will make it easier to keep it straight. The raw edge of the welt will be towards the centre.
Here you’ll see the advantage of having the seam allowance and welt width be the same size.
Sew exactly from point A to point B.
Then pin the second welt lined up with the first one. Raw edge towards the centre.
And sew that, too. The start- and endpoints should match exactly with those of the first welt.
Now you can slit the base fabric between the two welts like this:
Don’t cut the welts and be careful not to cut too much; stop exactly at the point the stitches end. Sewing welts requires precision!
Then you can pull the welts to the wrong side through the slit. Press the seams and the little triangles at the short ends so that you’ll see this nice rectangle on the right side.
This is what you should see on the wrong side:
If you have a facing, you should attach it to the upper part of your larger pocket bag at this point. And then attach the whole thing to the upper welt.
Sew on top of the previous stitches if you can.
And then attach the smaller pocket bag.
When you have both pocket bags sewn to the welts, press the lower one downwards.
Just a few things to do now to finish the pocket. First, sew the little triangles in place. You should have a line where you pressed them, so use it as a guide.
These stitches keep the two welts lined up. Make sure they are not overlapping or that there isn’t a gap in between.
Finally, sew all around the pocket bag, closing the two bag-pieces.
Here’s the double welt pocket all finished:
Single welt pocket
This might be a bit easier than the previous pocket. You’d typically see these at the back of pants.
The pattern is almost identical to the double welt pocket pattern. It’s just that there’s only one welt, which is wider. To make things more simple, I chose 1,5cm (0,6in) as the final width.
So for the pattern I doubled that and got 3cm (1,2in). Then I added seam-allowance, 0,7cm (0,3in) on both sides and 1,5cm (0,6in) to the short ends as usual.
The pocket bag is the same as for the double welt pocket. But this time, the larger pocket bag will be attached directly at the base fabric, as there is only one welt.
Sewing the single welt pocket
Start by preparing the base fabric as before. Mark the pocket position, add interfacing. Also, interface the welt and fold it in half.
Pin the welt, matching it with the marks. Raw edges towards the centre.
Sew between points A and B.
Pin the larger pocket bag directly to the base fabric, wrong side up. Line it up with the welt.
Sew between points A and B.
Slit the base fabric in the middle without cutting the welt or the pocket bag. Stop exactly at the end of the stitches.
Pull the welt and the pocket bag through the slit to the wrong side and press.
Now you can attach the smaller pocket bag to the welt. Sew on top of the previous stitches.
The rest works the same as with the double welt. First sew the little triangles in place.
And then sew around the pocket bag to close it.
Here’s the finished single welt pocket:
Adding a flap
How about if you want to add a flap to your double welt pocket?
Well, this is quite simple. First you prepare the pattern.
The length of the flap should be the same as your finished welt pocket, or maybe 2mm smaller. Draw a shape you like and then add seam allowance all around. Use the same seam allowance your welts have at least at the upper part.
You’ll need to cut 2 pieces per pocket and interface one of them.
Sew the flap, turn it right side out and press.
The flap will be sewn between the upper welt and the pocket bag. So you must do it before attaching the pocket bag.
It’s handy to have the same seam allowance as the welt has. This way, it doesn’t stick out at all.
After this you can attach the pocket bag normally.
Oh, in case you want a button loop to your double welt pocket, this would be the same position you attach that, too.
Anyways, here’s the pocket:
Welt pocket variations
Those were the classic welt pockets. But there are so many ways you can alter them to create more unique pockets! Let’s see a couple of ideas.
Scalloped single welt
For example, who says you have to have a rectangle shaped welt? You can make whatever shape you want! The only thing that this causes, is that you can’t fold it in half, but instead cut 2 pieces per pocket and sew them together first. Just like you do with the pocket flap I just showed.
I did a scalloped welt as an example. This was the pattern:
If you want to be able to sew in the short ends, leave a 1,5cm (0,6in) + seam allowance of straight line at the beginning of the welt, before drawing your desired shape. Start sewing after this point. Otherwise you must hand stitch the short ends after finishing the pocket.
Here’s what I mean:
This way you can sew the welt in normally. Attach the larger pocket bag above, as usual.
Here’s the finished pocket:
So which shape would you design?
Curved double welt pocket
Here’s another one. This requires cutting the welts on bias.
Draw a random curve. Just remember that shallow curves are easier to sew.
The pocket bag has the same shape at the upper edge as the curve, otherwise the pattern is identical to the normal double welt pocket.
To know how long your welts need to be, measure the length of the curve – and add 1,5cm (0,6in) on both sides.
Decide the width. The more narrower ones are easier to shape. These, too, will be folded in half, so the final width you need to cut is 2x welt width + 2x seam allowance.
After cutting the welts, fold them in half and prepare the curves a bit with steam iron. Use a light weight interfacing, also on bias.
You can copy the curve directly from your pocket bag pattern to the garment.
You’ll need more pins to attach the welts before sewing.
Other than that, this works exactly like the normal double welt pocket. So after having attached the first welt, line up and sew the second welt.
Cut the slit as usual and cut some notches to the curve.
Then pull the welts to the wrong side and press. This will be a bit more difficult than the normal welt pocket.
Attach the pocket bags, following the curves.
Sew the little triangles and close the pocket bags.
In the end you might have to do some steaming to flatten the welts.
Here’s the finished pocket:
Single welt with a knot
How about adding a knot in the middle of the welt?
The pattern is otherwise identical to the single welt pocket pattern, but you have to add extra length to the welt so that you can make the knot.
I’d say at least 7cm (2,8in).
So this welt would have the same 12cm (4,7in) as the final length. But instead of just adding those 7cm to 12cm would not be correct, because the knot itself will occupy some space. So we need to take off for example 2cm (0,8in) to accommodate the knot.
Although interfacing would be a good thing, in this case it’s a bit of a hassle, so I left it out. In case you want to use it, choose a really light weight interfacing.
Here’s how you prepare the welt:
After this you can treat the knotted welt as a normal single welt and sew the pocket in the same way as usual. If your knot has a right side, place it downwards.
Here’s the only small difference. You must attach the welt by sewing on both sides of the knot. It will be a bit difficult to sew near the knot.
Don’t worry about the hole next to the knot. You’ll cover it when you attach the pocket bag.
This is how the finished pocket looks like:
If you’re looking for really special welt pockets, I’ll show you a couple of Shingo Sato’s pocket challenges.
From the previous single welt with a knot, it’s a small step to a double welt with a knot.
This of course means the pocket has two entrances. The idea is the same as with the single welt: You add space for making the knot in the middle.
But this time you make the knot with both welts together. Also the sewing order is different. Can you resolve the riddle?
The double welt with a knot was not the only welt pocket with a knot Shingo Sato designed. How about this one? Curved double single welt with a knot in the middle (or something!)
I found the pattern, too, for this one:
To finish this article, here’s a welt pocket -bodice. This was also one of the tasks at Shingo Sato’s Masters’ Challenge a few years ago.
You just sew one pocket at a time and then sew the next pocket partly on top of it, slashing the welt and the pocket bag as you go.
I hope you enjoyed my welt pocket tutorial and got some new ideas for pockets. I prepared the basic welt pocket pattern for you to exercise. You can access it by subscribing here: