Welt pocket construction

Picking up where I left off yesterday, sew both folds into place with 1/4″ seam allowance, starting and stopping exactly (that’s critical) at the ending chalked lines.


Here you can see one side is done:


Now both sides are done


This is the view from the back. Both lines should be perfectly parallel. Look closely, one of my lines is too short:


It’s more obvious here. If you make this mistake, just restitch it till it meets that chalkline.


My corrected sample is shown here


Now cut the center slit. Remember to leave about 3/4″ uncut in the corners.


You’ll need to cut a Y into each corner. Get close -very close- to the stitching in the corner. I like to use homesewing applique scissors for this part. The scissors are very sharp with fine points.


Turn the pocket.


The pocket is turned. This looks pretty clean if you notice. Not bad for something that’s not even pressed.


And here it looks from top-side, also unpressed.


If I had one “tip” to show you, it’d be this one. Press that seam open. Yes, it’ll end up layered together anyway but this gives a nice clean line to the topside.


This is mine with the final pressing from the top-side


Your pocket should look like this from the back at this stage. See how crisp the welt lips are on the ends?


Now you want to sew up those triangles on each end.When you pressed this pocket, you created a faint line at the base of that triangle. Use that as your sewing line. Don’t worry about getting too close because you can pull the threads. The usual problem is people are too far away.


Here is the pocket sewn off. If you notice, the stitching is perfectly aligned with those first chalk marks I’d made.


And here’s another view of the triangle sewn off.


And here’s the completed view from the back


And a final view of the front. See, it’s easy once it’s pre-pressed with that embarrassingly low-tech paper jig.

Oh, and for those of you so inclined to hit that “Donations” button you see right up there underneath the search box, up there in the top of the right hand column? I’d be ever so grateful; it’s much appreciated and I have a long memory of who donates and who doesn’t and who asks the most questions versus those who don’t ;-)…

And now I’m off to the Solar Festival in Taos…….have a great weekend!

Entries in this series (links open in a new window):
Zippered welt pockets
Welt-Reece machine operations
Marking & Cutting
Welt and paper jig
Welt pocket construction

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  1. Jess says:

    Oh! Now I see what the jig is used for. The way I did it was way less acurate. What about top stitching? I Love this tutorial!

  2. Gigi says:

    Wow, Kathleen! I just can’t believe what a huge difference that paper jig makes! Thank you ever so much for sharing this with us. I can’t wait to make my own paper jig. :-)

  3. Tom Willmon says:

    Jigs. Oh yeah, I make them at the drop of a hat, but mostly in mechanical work. Any time a particular hole pattern will be drilled more than once. Or as a guide for cutting out a shape. Or to accurately locate one feature relative to another. And this on rigid materials – wood, plastics, metals.

    Sometimes I’ll do it for a one-time job that’s in a difficult place to reach, or when I don’t want the hassle of correcting a screw-up (like mounting an outlet on the side of my shop building).

    Just consider how much better you can lay out a feature for your flexible-in-all-directions cloth material if you first do your layout on a rigid, stable medium (like Oaktag [folder material]), correct your mistakes with eraser and pencil, transfer to, and _then_ cut that precious cloth!

    Tom, in mid-New Mexico, USA

  4. J says:

    Is there a minimum or maximum size a welt can be? (I understand it can’t be smaller or thinner than is workable, or so large it might defeat the purpose)
    Can it be two different visual thicknesses on top and bottom?
    If it’s a stiff fabric should it be reinforced with interfacing anyhow?

  5. kathleen says:

    Welts can be whatever you engineer them to be. If you want welts that are 3/8″ wide for example (the ones I did were 1/4″) you’d need a jig that folded at 1-1/4″ and your pattern for the welt would need to be 1/2″ wider.

    I’ve actually made welt pockets that had a different upper and lower lip. You need to piece your fabrics to match halfway but the total width would still need to be 3″.

    If it’s a stiff fabric, yes, you need to fuse it anyway. And I say that knowing most of you will most likely ignore that advice ;). In cutting a huge hole into it, you’ve destabilized the fabric. Fusing helps keep its shape in direct relation to the rest of the garment. In cutting into it, you’ve un-stiffed it from a structural standpoint.

  6. Natasha says:

    I finally got round to doing this tutorial but I ended up with a 3/32″ gap between the two lips when finished. Should the lips meet?

  7. Crissi says:

    You are amazing. I am working on a vest with a mccall pattern that has a welt pocket and It never would have worked. My family does alot of reinactments and costume partys so I do alot of sewing and these pictures you have make a world of difference! Your instructions are so much better than the patterns!! Thank you so much for what you are doing!!!!

  8. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for the quick tutorial..you taught me better than my teacher at fashion school! Ever thinking bout becoming one? ^___^

  9. Nicky A says:

    I just found this site. This is an excellent tutorial for the Welt Pocket. But, I don’t have the beginning of these instructions. Is it possible to get them?
    Thank you.

  10. Teresa says:

    I’m w/Nicky…I, too, just found this site and it appears to be EXACTLY what I am looking for except that the instructions are incomplete, only referring to but not including the previous day’s work. :'( I would LOVE to have the complete instructions. Would this be possible? Thank you.

  11. Kathleen says:

    If you go back one day, you will find the instructions as promised. Use the left pointing arrowed entry at the top of the page until you get to the day before. Not one entry, one day.

    It’d be nice if just 1/100th of you would leave a donation. I’d do more tutorials.

  12. Cindy Shockney says:

    I am interested in how to construct a welt pocket with a zipper? I am making a purse and it has two or more welt pocket with zippers.
    Thank You Cindy

  13. Mina says:

    Your welt pocket instructions are fantastic. I’ve been trying to follow the pattern instructions on a waistcoat pattern and the pocket looked rubbish – but your way looks amazing and its so simple! Your pictures make it so much easier.

    Thanks very much!


  14. Michelle says:

    Thank you sooooo much! Im doing a Burda pattern out the magazine – and it just ASSUMES that you know what they are explaining – of course there are no pictures to their explanations! I Googled Welt pockets – and I came across this site – I will definately keep this site for future assistance! Thx once again!

  15. Mar Law says:

    I really appreciate your clear instructions and photos. I got a bit lost between the two posts as I wasn’t sure with positioning of the welts but it turned out beautifully, way better than I could have done with any other instructions I have found online (and couldn’t find any at the library). I’m not an entrepreneur, just a home sewer trying to make the best handbag ever! Well, what I actually want to use which I can’t find at the shops at any price (couldn’t find a pattern for one either so I’m making it all up as I go). I can’t see anywhere your book is available in Australia and I’m too tight to pay postage from the US – but not so tight I didn’t make a tiny donation (I didn’t know how much but I figured every little counts?) as I really do appreciate you sharing some serious knowledge that is no doubt hard won. Thank you.

  16. I have made a few practice welts using the paper jig now, so I feel competent to make a welt on my good fabric, but I can’t decide how best to incorporate the welt and the back pocket fabric. Would you stitch the pocket fabric over the welt seam lines and then cut the slit thru the welt and the pocket fabric at the same time?

  17. I don’t think I’d like a bulky effect after working so hard to learn how to turn out this sleek welt. :-) What was so difficult for me? Well… if the most important thing is stitching both lines exactly the same length, then the second most important thing must be making sure that the welt seams are no narrower than 1/4 inch (with the 3″ wide jig, that is). Stitching even slightly under 1/4 inch results in a welt where the lips don’t meet. I made several welts, all of which gapped. I kept re-reading the instructions trying to figure it out. Finally I decided to measure my seams… which I discovered were closer to 3/16″ than 1/4.” Once I made the welts slightly wider… voila! No gap.

  18. Frances says:

    I too would love to donate, as I have been enjoying your tutorials immensely. However, either I am not very perceptive, or the site has changed since this was originally posted because I can’t find a donation link. Maybe I will have to just donate by treating myself to your book. :-)

    I have been mulling over this tutorial series and comparing it with other tutorials that show how to add the bag to the welted pocket. The other tutorials I have found are just not as good, and the way that their pocket bags turn out does not look like my ready to wear pants at all.

    In the three pairs of pants I have inspected from my closet, the fused welt fabric extends down something like 2 inches below the top of the welt, and is somehow attached to/enclosed by (in a way that I cannot see without seam ripping) the pocket bag. The pocket bag is finished with french seams, which if the bag is along for the ride while the welts lips are stitched and turned I cannot imagine the procedural steps. Then the whole pocket bag extends up and is sewn under the waist band, which is probably just a matter of having the pocket bag pattern piece be the right size to extend that far.

    Are these extra details something that you cover in your book? I am not at all on an entrepreneurial path, but I am interested in good sewing technique and have been browsing various books searching for one that will give me the nitty gritty sewing methodology.

  19. Frances,
    The Donation button is on the F-I home page. Look at the scissors in the banner at the top; below that is “About Fashion-Incubator”; below that is the “Make a Donation” button.

  20. Kathleen says:

    Are these extra details something that you cover in your book? I am not at all on an entrepreneurial path, but I am interested in good sewing technique and have been browsing various books searching for one that will give me the nitty gritty sewing methodology.

    Hi Frances, no, this isn’t covered in my book altho I keep saying I’m going to write something about sewing at some point. Some home sewers get it because they’re curious to know if the industry is really like it is said to be but I’m not offended if they don’t buy it.

    You bring up an interesting point tho, specifically that pockets are designed to sew in, in specific ways depending on the function. Best example of that is the back pocket of a pant because a good one should be attached at the waist seam before the waistband is sewn on so it is well anchored. It gets a lot of use. Depending on function and placement, there are ways to stabilize other welt pockets and if those will get a lot of use (overcoats etc), it should probably be done. It really wouldn’t hurt anything to stabilize *all* welt pockets, just a matter of overkill.

    And I appreciate your generous offer. You can send donations to me via paypal at kfasanellaATyahooDOTcom. Welcome to the site!

  21. Frances says:

    Found the donation button! Thanks, Alison.

    I think that a book about professional sewing construction order-of-operations would be well received. The word I read most from home sewers regarding things like welt pockets is “fiddly,” but your instructions are decidedly un-fiddly. Line sewers probably have more experience, which helps them do things efficiently, but I’m sure the procedure used to sew things (and more accurate patterns) also plays a role in how efficient the construction process is.

  22. Shiela Hanlon says:

    I agree with Frances. I would love to find a “how-to” book detailing the order-of-operations of professional sewing construction (and also find it to be of the same high caliber as the instructions on this site, of course). A welt is typically not needed in isolation but only in context of the pocket behind. Kathleen? Have you begun writing yet?

  23. Kathleen says:

    Re: “fiddly”. Our experience of watching a demonstration of the welt pocket machine (video) at SPESA comes to mind. That salesman was so mad at us for saying you could sew perfect welt pockets without their machine. Even after I told him that the reason ours came out right is because I reverse engineered to do manually, what the machine did automatically. Which is not to say a machine isn’t the best option but if you don’t make lots of them, it’s hard to justify the cost of a machine ($16K-$25K). I can only aspire to have need of such a thing.

    Thanks to Frances and Shiela (second time) for donations!

    Shiela: I’m always writing this stuff but it has yet to sort itself into a coherent whole. My internal editor gets in the way too often trying to second guess what readers will find useful. And I don’t know what to call it; “Yet Another Sewing Book” comes to mind. There’s a spectrum of sewing instructions. I should post a sample of versions used in industry as a point of comparison. I think it could be shocking or surprising. These are not detailed at all as most are accustomed to seeing but most closely resemble the order of operations from an engineering stand point.

    I would have posted samples long ago but a site I really liked (and wanted to link to) took all this stuff down years ago. That site (from the mid 90’s) was way beyond its time. It was put up at the behest of the director of a technical college in Hong Kong which was established by none other than the patriarch of what later became Alvanon dress forms. That would be Dr. Kenneth Wang. He was a genius -and very generous (as is his daughter Janice Wang who is the flagship underwriter of this site). He died recently, too young of cancer. I was very sad. I had hoped to meet him one day, the only reason I really wanted to go to Hong Kong. I’m sure his daughter has a funny story about me, that I was more impressed about meeting her because she was his daughter rather than because she was the CEO of Alvanon and our generous benefactor.

  24. Laura says:

    “What readers will find useful”: a newbie home sewist tells all!

    I’m fairly new to sewing, meaning I’ve made a few pajama pants, a (crummy) shirt or two, a simple dress, and as a child, loads of lumpy pillows. I came across your blog and some of your comments on patternreview.com last week, and I’ve spent the better part of my spare time since then devouring your blog.

    In regard to “Another Book About Sewing” book, this is what I’d like to know:

    How should a home sewist should approach a sewing project? I’ll need a pattern that fits–which pattern size should I choose, and what should I do if I don’t fit into any of the listed sizes, and how do I take my measurements, let alone adjust the pattern to fit me assuming I’m different from the listed measurements? Do I need to make a body double (e.g. out of duct tape or saran wrap)? Do I need to learn how to grade? What do I do if a book you used to recommend is out of print (WAH!)?

    I don’t want to start from scratch each time (learned that from your blog). Actually, I personally don’t want to start from scratch EVER, but I do want to start from the right place—what is the right place? Do I need to read a book on pattern making (I’ve seen your recommendation/reviews for those)? Should I walk the pattern, and if so, how?

    Once I have a pattern that’s going to fit (or at least has a good chance of fitting), then is tracing it onto oak tag the best method for me to follow even though I’ll only make one or two of that pattern? (I now know to cut the lines off. Always.)

    The fact that I may need to ignore or be flabbergasted at the included instructions for my chosen pattern fills me with dread. I don’t know enough to know when the instructions are ridiculous. So I’ll need to know basic sewing procedures that are routinely botched (and about ease, and how to get rid of it because it’s a myth (and thank heaven for that!), and how to get lovely looking arm holes (armscyes?) even though I can’t tell a pretty one from a not so pretty one (without looking up your posts about them).

    Those aren’t just hypothetical questions. They are on my mind constantly these days and I’m trying desperately to find a reliable answer to them. If they are too general, or if I botched the terminology, it’s because I’m so new that I’m practically clueless. And, your blog is chock full of posts I haven’t yet read (as this comment may very well reveal), but I’m working on getting to them (and gleaning the answers to my questions as I go).

    Thank you for making so much available on your blog–you are a ray of hope for a newbie like me.

  25. martyn waites says:

    as a tailor i would like to inform you that the pocket illustrated in this tutorial is a double jetted pocket and not a welt pocket.

  26. Kathleen says:

    I’ll make you a deal Martyn. As a US citizen, as soon as you all begin calling elevators by their proper name i.e. elevators, not “lifts”, I’ll call welt pockets, jetted pockets. Deal? Ditto for bloomers, flats, knicking…hopefully my point is made (tongue in cheek). :)

  27. Barbara says:

    Great tutorial. paper jigs are great. However Martin is right, your tutoral is for a double jetted pocket. A welt pocket is the type used for the breast pocket on a man’s jacket
    Two great nations devided by a common language, I can’t remember who said that.
    If a lift is an elevator, what is an elevator? a moving staircase?
    You should hear what we call an eraser! but that’s another story :-)

  28. Barbara says:

    Escalator, I’m such a dope!
    But it is late and I’ve had a busy day. That’s my excuse and I’m stricking to it and you do do great tutorials.

  29. Kathleen says:

    “What readers will find useful”: a newbie home sewist tells all!…In regard to “Another Book About Sewing” book, this is what I’d like to know: How should a home sewist should approach a sewing project? I’ll need a pattern that fits–which pattern size should I choose, and what should I do if I don’t fit into any of the listed sizes, and how do I take my measurements, let alone adjust the pattern to fit me assuming I’m different from the listed measurements? …

    Sorry I overlooked this comment from so long ago. I can’t write this book you describe. Knowing so little about home sewing, I’m far from qualified. There’s a lot of books in that space but none in industrial sewing and we really need one. Minimally, I can write a beginning industrial sewing book. I do think that much of it could also be useful to enthusiasts but you’d have to adapt the instruction to suit your purposes which is no different from what an industrial operation would do. The difference is, we know we need to vary sewing processes to meld with our desired finish, equipment we have at our disposal and lastly, the skills our operators have or could be trained to acquire.

    The only way around it would be to write a book covering only one specific product class -say coats- something I’ve thought about. Even then it would be a very long book because for industry, it would have to cover the gamut of complexity in coat making and also, the different kinds of sewing options that exist across various price point categories.

  30. ek says:

    “Effective Sewing Techniques (or Methods), from the Fashion Incubator”
    “Effective Production Sewing, from the Fashion Incubator”

    You’ve talked about a book for years now. What would you want to call it? I know that a full scale book is a huge undertaking, so I want to encourage you to ‘train up’ to it. How about collecting the tutorials you have now and putting them in a small, spiral bound (I hate to say book)– book.
    Sell this to us folks so we can use it as a reference, and so that you get just compensation for all the work that has gone into creating these wonderful tutorials over the years. As time passes and you create more tutorials, so can create new, expanded additions without having to completely recreate the book.

    I also wonder if it would provide more psychological pressure on those who reference your techniques without crediting you. Blogs are new school, folks don’t treat them the same as old school printed references. Maye a printed resource would be cited more. Then again, some folks are just so desperate for attention they’ll steal credit from anyone. :(

    This is really just a long winded thanks for your efforts and sharing.

  31. Tina says:

    That is a great suggestion ek. Although I would probably recommend adding a couple of tutorials that are not free. Gives people more incentive to buy the book. Just my 2cents.

  32. Franca says:

    Hi I have just quickly tried this – I was look for another way to do my jet pockets and I did it just quick without preparing the jig – great great great. Of course I will make a jig – i promise1


  33. Adrienne Myers says:

    I would buy a compilation of already- completed- tutorials. I would afterwards love/ use it to death, and then later replace it. Even if they were the ones already available on the website sans forum.

  34. anne jewell says:

    i am enthused about ek’s suggestion of a spiral- or ring-bound book. this is a GREAT tutorial
    and i would gladly buy your book.–anne

  35. Andy Nguyen says:

    Wow, consider this old dog schooled! I’ve sewn for 30 years and it’d never occur to me to start with ONE piece of material for a welt pocket’s two welts! Thanks!

  36. Rae says:

    What a wonderful tutorial – I’ve tried to sew welts for years using commercial pattern instructions. Your instructions are clear and the result is so professional. Thanks Kathleen, I appreciate being able to use your website. A donation periodically is well worth the skills I am picking up – thank you!

  37. This tutorial is great.. it helped me master the welt pocket, but only after numerous attempts. I finally discovered the key– that stitching 1/4 inch in from each edge is absolutely critical; otherwise, the welt “lips” will either be too far apart (“open”).. or too close together (overlapping).

  38. Kiran says:

    Ive just done a welt flap pocket on my trench coat and noticed after cutting and top stitching that they both face the same way. So I’ve done one wrong and one right! Silly me I know! Is there anyway I can correct without having to buy more fabric as I have enough for where the pocket lays on the side panel but the grain won’t be correct! Is it possible to unpick the welt flap and pocket and position it the right way then sew it up again?

    Would be great to hear what you think

  39. Misty says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how appreciative I am of your consistency and attention to detail. You are a rare gem, and an immense help!

  40. Anne Elliot says:

    Misty is so right! Couldn’t say it better myself. The things I am learning!! Tonight that included how to convert the precise measurements to metric :). I really get the relationship between welt stitch width and welts meeting from the comments!

  41. Lisa B says:

    If you want your welts to be finished 1/2 each how wide do you make your paper jigs? I have been reading all of the welt pocket tutorials and I have worked thru the jig tutorial and will sew it up but when I looked at the finishing of the welt pocket it looks like the welts are two separate pieces. Is this a different techniques than what you showed in the tutorials? I am getting confused

    • Kathleen says:

      We don’t want the welts to 1/2″ wide but 1/4″. Total pocket width is 1/2″.

      I realize the finishing looks like 2 separate pieces but it is not. Sometimes, it can be helpful to suspend disbelief to try something without wholly understanding the logic behind it. I recommend that approach. Just go with the flow, relax, do it step by step. What will it cost you? Half an hour and a scrap of muslin? I think you’ll be pleased.

  42. Tereze says:

    I have to thank you for this in depth tutorial, it’s just what I needed to successfully sew my first 2 welt pockets.
    Thank you so much for sharing

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