Tutorial: Finishing the welt pocket

finished_pocket_bag1Rather late in the game, I’m adding another tutorial to the welt pocket series (links at close). It did not occur to me that one would need specific instructions but I was obviously wrong. Not the first time and certainly not the last.

I took several photos of the process but they seem difficult to follow. That is my opinion, you may find them perfectly clear. In the interests of clarity, I created illustrations too. If you’d like to compare, I uploaded the photos and am posting the illustrations below. Perhaps between the two, the process will be clear.

The below presumes you’ve completed the first part of the welt pocket and only need to attach the under welt and pocket bag. If you lack patterns for the under welt and pocket bag, here are some suggestions:

The welt pattern pieces should extend 1″ beyond the width of your desired pocket size on each side. Meaning, the welts of a finished 6″ pocket will be 8″ wide. [More specific pattern and construction details are found by following the links at close.] The top welt is 3″ long. The under welt is 1/2″ shorter than the top welt or 2 1/2″ long.

The pocket bag pattern length is twice the desired pocket depth. If you want a pocket bag that is 6″ deep, cut your pattern 12″ long. It should be the same width as the welts. For the purposes of illustration, my under welt is 2.5″ long and 8″ wide. The pocket bag is 8″ wide and 12″ long.

The first step is to join the under welt to the pocket bag. This is illustrated in #2 and #3 below.


The next step is to join the top edge of the under welt to the back of the welt pocket (#4 below).


In step 5 above, join the pocket bag to the lower edge of the welt pocket.

In step 6, also above, you close off the sides of the pocket bag, catching all layers.

Do let me know if this answered your questions. If not, I can elaborate as needed. Again I remind you that there are photos of the process if these illustrations aren’t clear. Happy sewing!

Welt-Reece machine operations
Marking & Cutting
Welt and paper jig
Welt pocket construction

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  1. Sarra Bess says:

    Ooooooooh, that’s what you mean by “under welt”. Everything makes so much more sense now.

    Thank you SO much for this, Kathleen. I can put welt pockets on my next suit jacket now!

  2. Lisa Blank says:

    I knew how to finish the pocket but didn’t know the term “under welt”. Tucking that one away…

    I’m not sure if it’s just me and my way of thinking, but I find the description of the dimensions confusing. The under welt and pocket bag are the same widths (8″). They are different lengths (2.5″ and 12″ respectively). I know what you mean and the illustrations confirm, but the text seems to say something different. Yes?

  3. Leslie K says:

    Fantastic Kathleen. I just sent some $ too, your tutorials are so well done. I find the illustration easier to follow than the pictures.

  4. Adrienne Myers says:

    I would have called the “under welt” a “pocket facing”, because that’s how my brain screws words all up in here. Illustrations are *perfect*.

  5. Julia says:

    I have one comment, please correct me if i am wrong, but the pocket shown is a JET(S) pocket, because it has got two small JETTS. WELT pocket should have one JET only facing upwards or sidewise in classical using (like chest pocket on the men’s wear baser).

    This article is very timely, because we were discussing at work how to call the stitch which holding pocket closed while it is in retail, and should be removed for using pocket in real life. We called it TEMPORAY STITCH for the technical drawing purpose. Is anyone can suggest proper name for it.

    Thank you very much for you blog! It is one of if not the only professional blog out there.

    Big fan/Julia

  6. Kathleen says:

    Lisa: I know exactly what you’re talking about. I was unsure about it myself when I was writing it. I’ll rethink it and modify. Thanks.

    Leslie: Glad that you concur. Taking photos is so much easier and faster. A pity I couldn’t use them. This was an actual project for a customer so I couldn’t use contrasting fabrics like I usually do for tutorials.

    Adrienne: Noted, pocket facing is good too. I guess it depends on the term one learned first.

    Julia: Jetted or Besom is more commonly used in Western Europe. Some Englishmen have become rather annoyed with me about it so I tell them that as soon as they start calling an elevator an elevator rather than a lift, I’ll start calling this a jetted pocket :). Also see: Confusing Terminology.

  7. chris says:

    Thanks Kathleen – the illustrations are very easy to follow. I know over the years you’ve mentioned that you don’t have time to write a book on all these techniques. But I know it would be a best seller if you ever did. I can’t imagine I’ll ever actually maunfacture on a big scale – but even making occasional custom garments has been made easier by following your tutorials. Your invisible zipper & facings tutorial comes to mind especially :)

  8. Kathleen says:

    I’m getting closer, Chris. I’ve decided not to take on any more customers and once my back load clears up, I hope to make real progress. I may do a kickstarter for it because I’ll need income if I’m writing full time.

  9. Zuwena says:

    The illustrations were excellent; and with them the photographs made much more sense. I feel that I might have been confused had there only been the photographs. Of course, color contrast fabrics might have made it better. I also think that it might have been clearer in the photos if the bottom sewn was to the pocket welt first and then the top.
    I agree with Lisa re the “wide” and “width” references. I had to read through it twice to be sure I was understanding everything correctly.
    Again, as one of the other commenters mentioned, the term “under welt” was new to me. All in all it was a wonderful lesson. I am so lucky to have a friend who shared this with me. Thank you!

  10. Tara says:

    As always, a great tutorial – I would definitely “kick-in” for a sewing technique book from you Kathleen.
    Quick question – I’ve been extending the bottom part of the welt itself and using that long flap to fold up and create the pocket bag. Is that wrong? Is there any advantage to using the underwelt and seperate pocket back instead?

  11. Kathleen says:

    Tara: There is no problem using a longer welt but for two reasons. One, having a lighter weight pocket bag makes the finish lie smoother. Second, the usual size welts are easy to fit in a marker and use up some of the empty space which increases yield. If neither of these two matter to you then go for it.

  12. patricia says:

    oh my gosh… this was my biggest challenge ever in sewing classes… no matter how many times the teacher explained and showed me the steps to make this pocket, my welt pockets never worked.
    i will try to make one following your steps. if then, i get to do one, it means that even a cat could sew one as well.
    thank you sooooooo very much.

  13. KarenL says:

    Thank you for this, and for your other tutorials.

    BTW I have recommended your book to people as seemed appropriate. (“I’m designing children’s clothes these days.” “Do you have the…”) The book is so very informative and useful, even though I’m not actually in the business.

    Please count me as another one very interested in any how-to book you might decide to write.

  14. Marsha says:

    Kathleen, just a bit of a moot point.
    Is understitching the pocket facing seam allowance onto the pocket lining side necessary to prevent the pocket from riding up? I find that the understitched seam is stiffer (obviously due to two rows of stitching). I’m wondering whether in your experience it actually does any noticeable favour to worth justify sewing it on.

  15. Kathleen says:

    I never have that I can think of. I don’t think it would hurt if someone wanted to do it tho. I don’t think it would keep the pocket from riding up. If that were an issue, I’d loosely tack it to something.

  16. Angie Boudreax says:

    I am getting ready to send a pattern to my craftsy shop and need a good illustration/diagram for the welt pocket. May I have permission to use the above diagram, of course, giving you credit for the drawing? I would also like to add a link to your webpage so that customers who purchase this pattern can come over to your webpage and learn more about the techniques in your blog. Thanks!

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