Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Inside pockets - smoke and mirrors

My next sewing session on the Alcantara coat was a mid-week evening, so I kept it to relatively simple stuff rather than anything too involved. That I save for the weekends!

The work I had done on the calico coat was now paying dividends, as I could confidently storm ahead and start cutting the final cloth without the usual stages of cutting and adjusting as I went along. This time I would know they would all fit together right, pretty much first time.

In one evening I cut essentially the rest of the whole coat, bar the collar, which I felt needed special attention. I won’t show you all this now, but will reveal the cutting of the coat as I tackle the assembly of each relative section.

The first manageable part I decided to assemble were the lapel fronts, which although they are cut, don’t get sewn in until much later, but the inside pockets can be set now. It is so much easier doing it while the lapels are loose pieces of fabric: it is like sewing a demonstration or test.
The pattern is marked with the roll of the lapel and pocket positions, though the Sonic pocket is now canceled (see right).

I then transfer the pocket position from the pattern (see left) and mark it in tailor’s chalk; and attach the lower welt, which is made of interfaced orange Dipon fabric (see below - top left). The welt is pinned upside-down, rightside facing down. The back of the pocket is attached in the same way and the width of the pocket is sewn between the vertical chalk marks. I then carefully slit the gap between the two lines of stitching (see below - top right).

When I get to the ends, I cut the split into a Y shape, finishing as close as I dare to the last stitch of the sewing (see above - bottom left). It is then a simple case of turning the sewn parts inside-out through the slit (see above - bottom right) and pressing it all out nice and flat.

I then insert the pocket lining between the front welt and the pocket back, and sew vertically down the side of the pocket, making sure I catch the tiny triangle of fabric that was made by the Y shaped cutting earlier. I am alway worried it will tear through, so I go over it three of four times (see right). The best type of fabric to use here is called silesia, and is often used for pocket linings. I am using black silesia for the coat.

Again, if you want to find out more about doing welted pockets, this is a very good site:

Now, my solution to the Sonic Screwdriver pocket: I have sewn an off-centre vertical line up the pocket lining, creating a narrow pocket for the Screwdriver (see above - left). I have then sewn a false floor to the other side of the pocket, creating a shallower, but wider pocket, in which I shall keep my iPhone or iPod! I have only sewed the divider up to below the welt, so from the outside it does not look any different, only when you look inside can you see it has been altered (see above - right).

Seen here (right) is the divided pocket and its content, before the lining has been sewn around it.
(Before you say - I don’t know what I have done with my new series Sonic, so I am using an old classic series one to demonstrate.)

The next thing I do is sort out the inside lining. 
First I sew the length of the lining, top to bottom, stopping and starting a few millimetres above and below the pocket welt, making sure I don’t catch the pocket lining in the process (see below - top left). I then cut the lining over the welt, branching out into a Y shape (similar to when I did the welt) to the corners of where I want my lining to boarder the pocket (see below - top right).

I then pin all the way around the pocket, trying to keep everything in shape and as tight as possible (see above - bottom left). Because my hand stitching skills are not all that (I am only a wizz with my trusty 103 year old Singer) I then top-stitch as close to the edge as I dare, starting an inch or so above the pocket, and finishing similarly below (see above - bottom right). I need to flip the pocket lining underneath as I am sewing so as not to catch it and seal it up!

Finally, here is how my pocket compares to the real thing . . .

I’m please with that!
You can’t tell that the pocket is divided in two, and it looks just like the real thing.

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