Welt!

Pocket, that is. Although, a raised, stinging mark on the flesh might not be too far off, either.

Yesterday, I took the plunge and cut another set of Ellen pants from my grey pinstripe wool. There’s actually quite a bit of this fabric—the pants only used about half—so doubtless there’s a blazer in my future.

The pattern comes with instructions to line the front piece to the knee (underline, actually, if you read the instructions). I did want to line, as I’m a bit hesitant about having wool trousers to begin with, never mind against my legs. So I cut out lining pieces front and back out of some of the leftover lining from my coat. Yes, these are going to be winter trousers. (Somehow the term “trousers” seems much more natural when I’m not talking about casual attire.) If any of you have any advice for how to line trousers with a fly, I’d love to hear it. My usual tutorial for installing a fly is Debbie Cook’s, but that, of course, doesn’t involve any kind of lining, and the only advice I could find in my Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing (my one and only sewing tome) was to construct separately and slipstitch around the zipper; nor did a quick google yield anything more specific. Maybe I’m over-thinking it, but I have this sinking feeling that I’m going to end up with a bulky mess right at the front of my otherwise-sleek trousers.

Someday I should really invest in a good book on tailoring. And in pinking shears.

Welt pockets---testing, testing, 1...2...

Anyway, I decided I wanted welt pockets on the rear. Now, I have always thoroughly avoided welt-anything to date (including the related technique, bound buttonholes). Not out of dislike, but out of pure chicken-shit-edness. There are any number of excellent tutorials on making welt pockets out there, which I have read over at various times. My tome has a description as well. Most recently, Gigi went over the process briefly, so that was the one I turned to, though it’s not particularly in-depth. Two admonitions stuck out in my mind: practice and precision.

Neither are my forte. Especially when it comes to sewing.

Nevertheless, I dutifully sorted through my scraps and started ironing and interfacing etc. After the first test welt, I decided to interface future welts. It looks fine, but it feels more sturdy with the interfacing, a little less likely to sag and expose the pocket lining.

Note: this is not intended to be a tutorial. I pretty much still suck at this. This is mostly intended to remind me of what I did (and maybe what not to do next time).

Drawing the future-welt box on the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric was easy. Figuring out the relationship between the box-size and the welt (especially depth) took a little more mental gymnastics. I eventually settled on a welt that was 2cm wide (including a .5 cm seam allowance) and a box that was 7mm on either side of the line (the line being about 1mm wide, it all added up to 1.5 cm, the same width as my welt. Oh, good!

Welt pinned in place on right side of fabric, pointing down.

Next, how do you orient this? The whole thing gets flipped through and around, which is quite dizzying to my little, spatially-challenged brain. So, to start, your folded welt goes on the outside, pointing DOWN away from where the pocket will be. Its seam line goes along the bottom edge of the box, the raw bottom edge of the welt (currently pointing up) goes roughly along the middle of the welt. Well, technically 2mm off, in my example, but what’s a mm or 2 between friends?

(And dear lord, imperial people, I can understand inches in the macro range—I use them myself, to my shame—but how on earth do you wrap your minds around measurements like “5/32″ of an inch? Mind-boggling! Give me my millimetres any day.)

I pushed pins through the fabric to locate the corners of my box on the right side, pinned the welt in place, and then basted it in for my sanity’s sake. Next the pocket lining goes on TOP of this (yes, on the right side of the fabric!) I used a single piece for my samples but two pieces sewn together for my actual pants. The single piece was a better idea. Probably there’s a different way to do it if you’re going to use two pieces, but what ever. Position the pocket lining over the welt on the right side of the fabric, facing down. I got this right the first time (unlike the welt…I had to rip off my first one)

Stitch around your box from the wrong side, so you can see your lines. Be achingly, brutally, precise.

Did I mention that I am lacking in precision?

People suggest counting your stitches along the short sides. I tried. Usually it took 7, sometimes 6, once only 5. This had less to do with my boxes being uneven than me not letting the fabric feed through evenly.

Blurry pictures of cutting through the welt.

Then… you cut. I love my little dissection scissors as they’re sharp, pointed, and tiny, but I think I need a new pair to keep dedicated for sewing. My husband has been using these to trim his hair and they’re not as sharp as they used to be :P.

The trick is to clip right into the corners, without clipping through your stitches. I did pretty well on the practice welts, actually, but not quite as well on the real thing; I blame it partly on my heavier lining fabric, and partly on being nervous about clipping my stitches.

Tucking everything through.

Once your box is snipped open (cut on an angle into the corners, making little triangles at each short end), you flip the whole shebang—that prolapse of pocketing and weltishness blighting the right side of your fabric—through to the inside, where it properly belongs. The edges of the welt itself show, which flummoxed me a bit when I first did it. For the next one I trimmed the edges on an angle (as you can see in the image above of the welt pinned in place), which seemed to make for less bulk at the bottom corners when flipping through. I have not seen this in other tutorials, and it may very well be a bad idea in the long run).

Sewing the "little triangles" down to the pocketing after pushing everything through.

Once you have it tucked through, you iron everything in place; Tug on those little side triangles and then stitch them down. This is supposed to make sure the welt lies flat and the hole’s edges are nice and rectangular. Sewing it down wasn’t actually as tricky as I had feared (I’m still scared of the button-hole-sized equivalent, though)

Stitch around the edges of your pocket bag, and voila! You have a welt pocket!

The real thing. Not... so perfect.

Well, in theory. I still have some issues getting the welt perfectly flat at the corners, not having it gaping, and other niceties. Precision, precision. I actually did slightly better on my second practice welt than on the pants themselves. /sigh. That being said, I think I’m more irritated with my inability to match the stripes properly (I tried! I REALLY DID!) than with the welts themselves. I may end up putting a small button in to keep them from sagging, as the shiny silver lining REALLY shows.

Also, it’s snowing again. Although seeing as it’s the end of October, I need to stop whining about that. At least it’s not sticking yet. :)

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Welt!

  1. Oh, you’re braver than me to attempt welt pockets hun!

    Re: fly-zipper + lining, I just flicked through my “Pants for Real People” book (I brought it into work today so a colleague could read up on something). On page 158 under finishing tips they say… “Hand slipstitch lining to zipper tape. TIP: In fitted pants, leave lining loose around zipper to keep it fromm ripping when you bend“.

    Re: darts on lining vs. fashion fabric they also say this… “Press darts or pleats in opposite direction of those in the fashion fabric.” and “Don’t sew tucks in lining. Simply pin to fit when you drop lining into pant and pin to waistline. Pin in the opposite direction of the pleats. Then complete waistband“I guess this is to reduce bulk ?
    :) Claire

  2. looking good for your first ‘real’ attempt ;)
    i get around stripe matching on things like that by flipping the stripe perpendicular, lil’ bit o’contrast and no hassle lining pesky little lines up :)

  3. … as above – I have seen Burda cut their pinstripes on the bias to avoid the matching issue – it does create an interesting effect as well.

  4. I didn’t want to do the perpendicular stripes as they would’ve been horizontal in the welt (highlighting any small deviation from grain or possibly not even showing up at all depending on the way they ended up folded), but the bias is brilliant. Next time. Part of the problem was being unable to match both top and bottom of the welt due to the welt being on a slight angle relative to the stripe. Not that I’m convinced that I had my pocket placement right, either, but I’m choosing not to worry about that at this point :).

    The advice from PFRP sounds pretty much like what my Readers’ Digest guide said, though I’ll keep the “leave it loose” option in mind (my lining is pretty sturdy, though, not overly worried about it ripping). By some miracle I had already pressed the darts in opposite directions (yay for logic at work). Next up: fly installation. Can’t you see me swooning for joy?

  5. I’m an imperial person and I have to say when it comes to measurements like that I officially convert to cm..it’s much easier.
    Your welts look good for the first; mine looked nothing like that and I haven’t tried them again since

  6. Sue

    Well done with the welt pockets!
    I have to say, I have a pair of pants with welt back pockets, that I made, and they are such a pest to iron. Because that pesky lining pokes through and doesn’t sit flat nicely then if you iron too hard you leave the outline of the pocket on your pants back. Next pair I make I’m leaving the pockets off. Yours may iron a lot better than mine do. I hope so, sorry, please don’t take what I said in the wrong way. :)

    • LOL that’s all right. I’m still wondering if “pants that require ironing” will work at all in my wardrobe ;). The ironing didn’t seem to be a problem so far (aside from the lining showing a bit at the top of the welt), so I’m hopeful. My bottom just feels naked without pockets :(.

  7. Bravo on your welts! I get the theory behind welt pockets and have made a few successful ones, but haven’t tried the single welt yet.

  8. Your welts look fantastic!

    I tried them once: two practice attempts, one making the welt on the wrong side of the fabric (doh). On the real thing I screwed up again and had the welt fabric wrong side out, or something. So I made a slot seam.

  9. Pingback: How many ways to bind a buttonhole? « Tanit-Isis Sews

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