Day three of our stretch jean sew-along! We’ve assembled our supplies, then cut and marked our pattern. Today we get to stitching, with our front pockets. You know what’s super-cool about these pockets? They are abso-fricken-lutely gorgeous! They are made with pocket stays (you will not want to make a trouser without them, after today!), hand-set rivets, and a french-seamed finish!
OK, so front pockets are kind of super-fun!
Let’s talk parts.
Below, we have (from top-left, clockwise) the pocket pieces, the jean front (you can see the marked topstitching and the thread-tacked fly junction), a pressed coin pocket, the pocket overlay (again, marked by tracing), and the two curved pocket stays:
A few notes before proceeding. First: the coin pocket in this pattern is perfectly symmetrical. They aren’t always, in which case you’d want to mark your outseam. I put my coin pocket on the right side of the jean. You can put yours on the left; or both sides if you like!
Another reminder: I have gone ahead and finished all outseam pieces (the pocket bag, the jean front, the jean back, and the jean yoke) as well as the three bottom edges of the pocket overlay. This is because I don’t like to finish all the bulk in the outseam. Trust me, this is the kind of goofy detail that emerges once you’ve made five, ten pair of jeans. If you don’t understand why I do all this pre-finishing, don’t worry about it for now. When we get to that outseam, we’ll talk about it more!
Back to the pockets! So, after pressing the heck out of the coin pocket seam allowances and topstitching the top edge with either one or two lines of stitching, we apply it to one of the overlay pieces – which as you can see, we’ve also serge-finished:
Here is the underside of the overlay. You’ll never see this side, as it’s going to be right against your pocket bag. Here I’ve pulled all threads from the double topstitching. I will be knotting them and hiding the tails in between all layers:
OK! Next, we pin the overlay to the pocket bag and stitch down. Here, we get to make a decision. If our pocket bag fabric is two-sided, as mine is (meaning there is a “right” and “wrong” side to the fabric) we have to decide if we ant the right side inside the pocket, or showing when we turn the jean inside out. I like my “right side” to show when the jeans are inside out, so this means I place my overlay on the wrong side of the pocket bag:
You know what is so fun about this overlay? You can stitch it down any way you like! You can straight-stitch, coverstitch, mock-overlock, whatever. I like to do a zig-zag the exact width of the serge-finish. It’s my jam.
I then go ahead and baste the top edge of this overlay – shown at the top of this photo:
And finally, add a little label. You need to think very carefully where the pocket bag falls, to make sure you don’t accidentally hide the label between the pocket and the front thigh! (ask me how I know this!)
This pocket decor is a really fun opportunity. I’ve placed lots of little labels or stencils in here, for a personal touch:
What is the point of a pocket stay? Simply, it provides structure and strength, and prohibits stretch. Pockets are almost always cut on a curve or on some bias angle. This means that even with stay stitching, the area is weak and prone to stretching – all the more true upon wear (jeans should be made to last!), and really true given stretch fabrics! When we tear a crossgrain 1″ strip of fabric then steam the Dickens out of it, into a curve, we are essentially going to be stitching our pocket curve RIGHT ON TOP OF a strong, maximum-stretched out line of thread. It is like magic! If you don’t believe me, make up one pocket without a stay and the other with – and see what you think!
Or just go ahead and get started! First, stitch the stay 1/16″ away from the stitching line, using your regular 2.5mm construction stitch, applying the stay to the wrong side of the jean front:
Now, go ahead and apply your pocket piece, and stitch on the seamline:
Turn and press, allowing 3/16″ roll from the right side. Then think to yourself, “Dayyyyuuummm that pcoket is looking good!”
Go ahead and stitch from the outside of the pocket – one topstitching line, or two. Or three if you’re dangerous!
Um, did I mention how good your pockets look? Here we are, from the wrong-side:
And here is a peek into the pocket curve – where no one will look – and we can see our little stay and our clips:
Ppress the pocket in half, inner-sides of the pocket together. Give a light steam-press to get a crisp foldline. Don’t worry if your pocket doesn’t lay as flat as mine. This comes with accuracy in cutting and stitching.
Go ahead and sew the three edges I pinned above (the bottom part of the pocket), at 3/16″, then trim to 1/8″:
Turn the pocket inside-out, and press the heck out of those seams you just trimmed:
Go ahead and stitch, 1/4″ from this folded, pressed edge. Hey, did anyone else way back in the day not trim their French seam first pass well enough, and end up catching a million threads in their second seam, which can never be fully removed? Oh. Yeah, me neither.
After another light press, go ahead and turn the pocket back to wearable formation. Gorgeous!
OK! We’re almost done. Time to set a rivet in the coin pocket. You can do this in both sides of the pocket, or just one.
I always start by pushing an awl through the right side of the rivet ocation, to make sure I get the right position:
Usually, I then get to push the awl through the wrong side, to get a good clear channel for the rivet prong.
At this point, you have a couple choices. Most denim and pocketing will be lightweight enough that the rivet leg will be too long when sticking out of the fabric, waiting for the cap. You can either trim the rivet leg to 1/8″, or simply put a couple “spacers” with fabric in from the backside of the rivet (this is what I do – easier and safer than trimming rivet legs!):
Here’s my rivet – ready for the cap and to be hammered!
One thing I learned about hammering rivets – make sure you are using a hard hammer, and on a very hard surface – not a wooden or soft surface!
And finally – in general, I secure the front pocket to the jean front by pinging the side seam and basting the top edge.
So – that’s it! We have a couple really beautiful front pockets! I never get tired of how pretty they look from the inside!
That’s it for today! Next we are making – dun dun DUN!!! – our zip fly!