Monday, April 7, 2014

Patch pockets by machine

I had an email question about setting patch pockets by machine.

It's not complicated, but requires precision and a little bit of practice. It's also best to get the heavier, stiff pattern paper, not the usual brown stuff.

Traditionally, patch pockets are assembled and then sewn on to the coat by hand; this is fairly easy, especially when dealing with a check that needs to be matched, but is not as strong as a pocket that was set by machine.

The first step is to draw out the finished shape of the patch, and cut a hard paper template, and add notches on each straight edge plus at each rounded corner.

Next, determine what width of seam allowance you will use- I suggest 3/16", which, aside from being a decent size, is also the width of the standard presser foot on an industrial machine so you can use the edge of the foot as a sewing guide. Trace the finished patch on to another piece of hard paper, then add the seam allowance around the edges that will be sewn down, then add another 1/8". This extra 1/8" will help the patch to lay smoothly over the hip without being tight. Transfer notches; this is now your cut patch pattern.

The industrial method would be to fuse a block of cloth larger than the patch, then sewn a piece of lining , right sides together, to the top edge of the patch block. Fold down the cloth so that one inch of cloth is turned to the inside and the lining covers the inside of the patch. Using the cut patch pattern, mark the cut shape on the block, then baste or machine stitch the lining and cloth together so they don't move. Now cut the patch and overlock the edges.

Using more hard paper, retrace the finished patch again, but this time, measure inside the finished shape the width of the seam allowance, transfer notches and cut out. You will use this smaller pattern to mark the position on the front of the coat. Be precise, using very sharp chalk, and mark notches carefully- these are crucial. You can usually use wax for this as it will be concealed by the pocket.

Now place the patch on the coat, right side to right side, butting up the cut edge of the pocket to the marked line on the coat. Using the edge of the presser foot as a guide along the cut edge of the patch, sew 3/16" from the cut edge.Since the marker was 3/16" smaller than the finished size of the pocket, your seam line will now fall exactly on the finished edge line of the pocket. The first side of the pocket is easy, but as you approach the curve it gets a bit trickier- you need to lift the pocket up and use both hands to turn the pocket and the front as you come around, being very careful to match the placement notches. Keep sewing in one go all the way around the pocket. If you need to stop sewing for whatever reason (such as notches not matching) it is usually best to rip the whole thing and start again.

So Aaron, I hope this is clear. Let me know if anything is still confusing to you.


Stoney Lonesome Sew Works said...

Thank you! Very helpful.

A said...

Thanks for taking the time to explain the process! I picked up a few extra tips that I will definitely try next time.

studiofaro said...

Great tutorial. This is a beautiful pocket that takes practice to get right. Thx for sharing. :)

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