How to add welt pockets to any pattern

Hello everyone! Happy June (and happy birthday to me on the 3rd and to my daughter on the 5th!)!

I’m back with the second installment of pockets. Yep, today we are tackling welt pockets. I used the Dream Big Bubble Dress as my pattern of choice, but any dress will work! For this one, you’ll want some scrap fabric that you can cut into your pocket pieces. How much fabric you need depends on how big you want your pockets to be. I laid my daughter’s hand over the quilting ruler to get a rough estimate of how much room she would need/want and decided to make her pockets about 4.5” wide by 5” deep.

After knowing the rough finished size of my pocket, I cut out my pocket pieces. You will need to cut two pieces of fabric for each pocket, one for each side, and they will be different lengths. Because we sew the pocket pieces to the right side of the fabric and then turn them inside after cutting the hole for your hand, the length of one piece needs to go from the top of the welt to the bottom. For example, if you wanted a 3/4” welt (the part that sticks up to cover the pocket hole) and a 5” deep pocket, you would need to cut the fabric at 5 and ¾” PLUS seam allowance. I used the 3/8” seam allowance on the Bubble Dress, so I added that much to all four sides. My total width was 5 ¼” and the total depth was 6 ½”.

Now to cut the bottom part of the pocket. This piece has to be longer because we will fold it up to create the welt. Since we fold it up, it doubles over on itself for the length of the welt, so it needs to be 1 ½” longer than the pocket (for a ¾” welt). The total length I cut was 7 ¼” (5” for pocket, 1 ½” for welt and ¾” for total seam allowance on top and bottom) and the width was 5 ¼” again.

If you thought calculating the size of the pocket was rough, marking your placement lines is the difficult part, at least for me. The odd fabric I pulled from my stash was thin and stretchy, so you’ll see what happens when the fabric doesn’t stay in place and sewing lines get wonky…

For pocket placement, I measured 3” out from the center of the pattern piece for my daughter who is about to be 2 years old. You can really just eyeball the first one to what feels right and then measure and place the other pocket to match. On the Dream Big Bubble Dress, my pattern piece was pretty long, so I wanted to make sure the pockets stayed close to the center since it is gathered so much. I also measured them down from the top about 4 inches, which was a third from the top.

Now to draw out where we want the pocket to go. You’re going to draw a rectangle that is the final width of your pocket (4 ½”) by your welt size (3/4”). My pictures are of the right side of my fabric, but I found with the thin, stretchiness of my fabric, it was better to sew the pocket pieces from the backside. Draw a lengthwise line down the middle of the box and add triangles at the end (See picture). These triangles will get sewn down to close the size of the pocket/welt. The black lines are where we sew the pocket pieces, and the red lines are where we will cut open the pocket once the pieces are sewn into place.

Place your pocket pattern pieces, right sides together with the main fabric, right up against each other along that middle line (red). Transfer the black sewing lines to the pocket pieces (so you know where to sew). This is where I wished I would have pinned more, flipped the fabric over to transfer the lines to the wrong side of the main fabric, and sewn from the back. The first pocket did not stay in place along my sewing lines. The pattern piece on TOP is the SHORTER one and the pocket piece on the bottom is the longer one.

Once you have sewn them down, cut on the red lines and flip the pocket fabric to the other side of the main fabric and press. Make sure you pay close attention to the corners, if you sew too far or too short on the corner, the welt box won’t be nice and rectangular.

After pressing, work from the backside to fold up the bottom pocket piece to cover the welt opening. Press! Pin at the top and pin the two pocket pieces together. Then sew the pocket pieces together (right sides together now). They should match up pretty well if everything was measured correctly. Otherwise one might be a tad longer/shorter and your pocket ends up just a slightly different size. The picture shows how the bottom piece of fabric is folded up to form the welt.

Then sew down those little triangles on the edges by sewing them to the main fabric. When you top stitch around the welt opening, you will sew the seam allowance of the pocket down on the sides in the same spot as the triangles and along the top edge. Make sure when you topstitch the bottom of the welt, you don’t sew your pocket back closed! You’ll have to move it out of the way.

Repeat on the next pocket, and you’re done!
Here’s what happened to the pocket that didn’t get sewn on straight… Compared to the good one.

Fortunately, my daughter is too little to care, and with the gathers of the dress, you don’t even notice it.

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