What has it got in its Pocketsies?

Progress on my jeans has been slow. There are a lot of bugs going around our family and I’m really longing for a few days when no-one in the house is feeling ill/injured/tired.

However, I have managed quite a bit, including pockets. Eventually. I started with the front pockets, which I aimed to do “properly” before doing a basting fit. Oh, so many mistakes. First off, I used a different seam allowance to the front and back pieces, not a good start. Also I cut them out of my main fabric, but decided to stick with this as the denim is quite lightweight. Also I should’ve looked inside my shop bought jeans, because I got completely the wrong end of the stick of what I was trying to achieve. Or I should’ve paid more attention to my blog reading, as afterwards I realised that I had previously read a post on Did You Make That which clearly showed what my pockets should look like (clue, a lot like the bottom picture). Oh, the benefits of hindsight.

This is what I was working from

Front-Hip Pockets:Finish raw curved edges of pocket corner pieces. Pin corner pieces to pocket bags as marked on pattern, with both right sides up, and stitch corner pieces in place close to edge.

So, I know realise that the aim is a pocket bag in a different fabric with a patch of denim sewed over the top corner so that the pocket fabric isn’t visible when you’re wearing them. The instructions were to just zigzag/overlock the edge of this patch and stitch it down, which seemed terribly messy to me, but I have since realised that’s how my shop bought jeans are done and I never noticed, so it actually would work fine. Anyway, I bound my patch with bias binding, a scrap from my stash which didn’t match and was badly sewed it on as I tried to cut corners and not pin it. Now, the observant amongst you will have noticed that as my pocket lining is cut from denim this was completely unnecessary, but the ridiculousness of my former logic doesn’t end there…

So close, and yet so far

So close, and yet so far

Yup, I used my patch piece of denim and attached it to the curve of the pocket bag which is there to join it to the trouser fronts. I sewed it right down, and added an extra row of stitching for stability further up where the pocket lining curved edge was. I was feeling quite pleased with myself at this point for deciphering the instructions and put my coin pocket on over the fabric join. And then I went onto the next step of trying to attatch it to my fronts and realised my error. (In my defense, the line on the pattern piece showing where I should have put them wasn’t marked and wasn’t quite the same size as my pattern piece.) The lesson here is if the instructions are challenging, try reading ahead to see if your interpretation makes sense further down the line.

That's better

That’s better

Some unpicking later and I got it right. I forwent the unnecessary patch, but marked the line of where it would be in chalk. If just one person can learn from my mistake I reckon it’s worth it.

spot the deliberate mistake

spot the deliberate mistake

Here they are attached to the fronts, which looks wrong, due to aforementioned seam allowance discrepancies. I followed the instructions and understitched the linings, then pressed, then edgestitched them (in black), but it felt like overkill, surely you don’t need to do both and then topstitching? Is that usual? Although the topstitching is further away from the pocket as suggested in the pattern.

The back pockets went better – I ignored most of the instructions and used a technique I picked up on another pattern!

back pockets - first stage

back pockets – first stage

To start with I pressed the top edge down to the outside along where the top of the pocket will be (i.e. the wrong way), and then pressed the seam allowance in half back up. Then I sewed a line of straight stitching along the seam line on the other sides of my pocket.

pressed

pressed

Then after clipping my top corners, I turned the seam allowance at the top the right way (i.e. to the back) and pressed it. The stitching helps hold the top seam allowance neatly in place as well as helping give a neat line to press your other seam allowances along.

and top stitched (the tailors chalk mark is still there, making them look wobblier then they are, as I may not have quite followed it exactly ;) )

and top stitched (the tailors chalk mark is still there, making them look wobblier then they are, as I may not have quite followed it exactly 😉 )

I did add a line of stitching in black along the top edge, which wasn’t in the instructions. The instructions at this point are “Stitch decorative topstitching on pockets as marked on pattern” – I have checked and I’m convinced that in the mass of lines that form the pattern pieces on the sheet I was tracing from there is no topstitching marked on the back pocket piece. I could’ve done any kind of topstitching, or indeed none, but I actually copied the lines as best I could from the line drawing of the finished trousers. I made sure they were at the same points at the side of both pockets and also above the point of the v (which isn’t in the centre, I figured out they’re meant to be asymetric pockets, after a few moments thinking I’d cut them out wrongly) and I did the rest of the curve free hand. They work well enough for me. I did them all in contrsast thread, although the pattern suggests just the middle line to be like that, because I like my topstitching thread and how it brings out the subtle brown colour of the warp threads.

The pockets are now in place on the back, with a very short length zig zag at the tops to secure them rather than a rivet – a feature I’ve seen on ready to wear jeans. I couldn’t face rivets. After fiddling with the fit a bit, I’ve now taken them apart again (they were just basted) and I’m waiting for my sewing mojo to come back before tackling the fly. Fingers crossed that all this faffing is worth it and I end up with several pairs of lovely trousers from this pattern.

Do you have any top tips for keeping your motivation going on a longer project? Having abandoned a waistcoat to do this I’m struggling not to abandon this to make myself some tops that I can wear with them if they’re ever finished….

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