Vintage Sewing

Welt Pocket- Take 1

July 10, 2012

After calling for help in an earlier post on my blog and wanting to throw my fabric down after what seemed like hours of youtube tutorials I used an awesome tutorial by Melanie on Seamstress: Poppykettle on welt pockets. I am proud to say after what seemed like hours I have made my first welt pocket. Check that one off the list 🙂 I think I did it correctly. But I do have some questions! (Also, seeing this was only a rough-draft I used white thread. I hope this doesn’t distract you!)


1. How do you make sure your welt rectangle is straight? I am drafting it so I have no pattern.

2. How do you make it so it does not looked “pulled”? I am assuming it is because the stitching lines when I first started were not perfectly even.

2a. How do I ensure my stitch lines are even? My machine back-stitches kinda funky. Any hints?

3. The welt seems crooked. Why??

4. Any other hints/helpful tricks?


I don’t want to clog the posts with pictures. There are some more pictures here. Any ideas help.

  1. Yay! I’m so glad that tutorial helped you! 🙂 I wish I could answer your questions, but I’ve actually never done this sort of pocket before. But I will say any time I’m trying to line anything up sewing-wise, I have a huge square clear plastic ruler from the quilting section of JoAnn’s that I find handy for that sort of thing. It’s about 14″ square so it works for lots of stuff!

    1. Thanks Jenni! I want to get one of those squaring tools. I have been squaring by measuring etc.

      I am currently making another test pocket. It is still puckering at the corners. Not sure why.

  2. Honestly, for a first welt pocket, that’s really good!

    I chalk all my lines on the backside, because straight lines are vital to getting welts to look right. For stuff that really matters (good tailoring and/or plain fabrics where every detail shows), it’s so worth it to take a few minutes to baste in your lines first. You can do a really big running stitch, and then you can see your lines from both sides and not worry about brushing them off, blurring them, or not being able to get them off at the end.

    As to the puckering, I think you’re not clipping the corners close enough. You need to be sure you’ve stitched the rectangle very securely, then clip riiiiiiight up to the corner, like literally leaving one thread of the fabric uncut. You’ll need a good pair of embroidery-type scissors, as the kind you cut fabric with are far too big for that kind of precision. It feels scary but you’ll nail it all down with your stitching in the ditch once you get it all turned and pressed. It’s also important that when you stitch the corners, you are turning exactly 90 degrees with your needle down. You don’t want anything remotely resembling a curve.

    If your machine’s backstitch is wonky, don’t backstitch at all – instead, after you cut the threads (leaving plenty of tail), use a pin to tease the end stitch to the underside (so top and bottom threads are both now on the bottom) and tie a knot. This is a cleaner, more permanent finish for any kind of topstitching work whether your backstitch is working or not!

    Finally, if there’s any overlapping when you get it all turned and pressed, you want your welt piece to lap over the body, not the body over the welt. You need a free path inward for your hand or anything you’re sticking into the pocket.

  3. RBK, that’s an awesome welt pocket for your first go! I’ve only ever done these once, it scares the bejebus outta me to have to cut into the main part of my garment so I try to avoid them if possible. Although, practice does make all the difference.

    Jessamyn – Thanks for the excellent description of the process. I’ve had simliar problems and your solutions will be very helpful the next time I get up the courage to sew welted pockets.

  4. For the backstitch problem you can also do like this (works well for light fabrics too) :
    put your needle in the fabric 1cm away from where you should begin to sew, then turn your fabric 180°, sew normally for 1cm (to the real begining of your line), let your needle in the fabric, 180° again, and straight ahead to the end of your sewing line.
    (I don’t think I’m beeing very clear here…)

    1. I think what Cecile is describing is how you “backstitch” on an old treadle sewing machine that doesn’t have reverse, which is how I learned. What she is saying is that you start out a few stitches ahead of your actual starting point, with your fabric turned the wrong way, and stitch (presser foot down) to the actual starting point. Now with the needle down and presser foot up, turn the fabric back around to the right direction and stitch (presser foot down again 😉 the seam. You are basically doing a u-turn with your machine.

      You could also start stitching your rectangle on a long side of the welt instead of at the corner, and when you get back to that point, just overlap the stitching by and inch or so.

  5. Thanks so much for all your awesome advice. Rich was impressed with how the pocket came out. I am still a little picky about it, but he insists it’s perfect. It maybe that he is my “soon to be” and is trying to be supportive 🙂

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