Learn how to sew welt pockets. A welt pocket is a tailored, bound pocket found mostly on men’s jackets or blazers. It is also known as a bound pocket because it has a fabric binding to neaten the edges of the pocket opening. The welt pocket is often used to display the man’s handkerchief on a smart suit. The pockets lie flat and are finished with the welt which is the binding applied to the raw edge of the cut pocket.
How to Sew Welt Pockets
Before you learn how to sew welt pockets, it is important to understand its construction. The pocket part of the welt pocket is attached to the inside of the garment and the welt is the binding seen on the outside.
Following specific steps to complete the pocket makes it an easier project to complete than you may think. Take it step by step and follow the below tutorial. This is a simplified version of how to sew welt pockets that will give you great results every time.
Steps of how to sew welt pockets:
Step 1 - Cut the Parts
Follow your pattern and get all the pattern pieces for the pocket ready. This includes the pocket bag (the part that makes the actual pocket) the welt pocket piece and interfacing.
Making your Own Welt Pattern
If your pattern didn't come with a welt pocket, here is some information to help you draft your own. These instructions are for a 6 inch (15cm) pocket with a 1 inch (2.5cm) welt.
- Interfacing - Cut interfacing 2 inches (5cm) wide by 8 inches long (20cm). The interfacing should be 2 inches longer than your finished pocket.
- Pocket Pouch - Cut 2 pieces of fabric 8 inches x 8 inches (20x20xm). The pouch should be at least 2 inches wider than the finished pocket. The finished height will be around 3 inches shorter than you cut. One of these pocket pouch pieces will show on the outside so you may want it to match your garment. I used a contrasting red. The other pocket pouch piece will be on the inside and not easily visible. I used the pink chambray.
Step 2 - Transfer Markings
Transfer the pocket markings onto the front of the garment. Make the marking on both the front and back of the garment.
If you are making your own pattern - On both pieces of interfacing, draw 2 parallel lines 6 inches (15cm) long and 1 inch (2.5cm) apart. If you wish to have a narrower pocket you can make the lines closer.
Step 3 - Interfacing
Fuse the interfacing in the desired position the WRONG side of the garment.
Fuse the interfacing on the WRONG side of one of the pouch pieces leaving a 1 ½ inch (4cm) gap at the top. This is the piece of fabric that will show on the outside.
Step 4 - Stitch the Welt
Pin the pouch to the FRONT of the garment with right sides together, matching the dots you marked as the placement markings. The lines on the interfacing should match up.
The easiest way to check this is to put a pin through each end and make sure everything is aligned.
Machine stitch only the top and bottom marked lines stopping exactly at the marked dots. Backstitch to finish securely.
Step 6 - Cut the Welt
Draw a triangle at each end and a line through the center. The triangle should finish about ½ inch (12mm) from the end of the stitching.
Cut a slit through both layers of fabric between the two stitching lines of the welt.
Use a rotary cutter for a clean cut if you have one. Use small sharp scissors to cut a Y shape into the corners at both ends of the slit. Do not cut into the actual stitching.
Press the cut seam allowance open at the top and the bottom of the welt. Press all the way to the ends of the cut Y shape.
Step 6 - Turn and Press
Turn the garment to the wrong side and reach through the opening to pull the pouch rectangle through the garment to the wrong side.
Press the rectangle flat. Gently pull the corners of the welt fabric until it makes a rectangular opening. Check your trimming inside if you feel the pocket is not lying correctly.
Step 8 - Fold the Pocket
Grab the edges of the pouch a couple of inches down and pinch it into a fold.
Bring this fold up to the top edge of the rectangular hole.
Press it down. There should just be a tiny slit visible.
Step 8 - Stitch the Triangle
Open up the sides of the garment to reveal the triangles.
Stitch the triangle to the pouch as close to the garment as possible backstitching to secure the ends.
This will hold the fold of fabric in place leaving nothing visible on the outside of the garment.
Step 9 - Pocket Bag
Flip the garment over and topstitch through all layers along the sides and bottom.
This is how the back now looks. It is best to use a matching bobbin to your pouch color and that way you won't notice the stitching.
Cut down your second pouch piece so it is the same size as the red pouch piece. Put them right sides together.
Stitch around the pouch pieces. You will just be stitching through the pouch and not through the garment front. They are quite easy to separate from the garment.
Flip your garment to the right side and topstitch across the top edge.
How to Sew Welt Pockets - Variations
You have made a welt pocket! It will look very professional from the front and the pocket bag is neatly contained on the inside of the garment on the wrong side. This is the basic welt pocket. The following variations will give you other ideas.
Variations of the original welt pocket:
Single Welt Pocket
The singe welt pocket is the basic welt pocket made from the same fabric as the garment. The bonded edges of the pocket using the welt fabric are known as the lips of the pocket. A single welt pocket has one side or lip of the pocket meeting the other side of the bonded edge. The initial sewing is the same for both a single and a double welt.
Double Welt Pocket
The double welt pocket is stitched in the same way as the single but both edges or lips are pulled forward to meet in the middle of the pocket window. Two bonded edges show on the front side of the double welt pocket.
Welt Pocket with a Flap
- Firstly you prepare the flap according to your pattern. The length of the flap needs to be the same as the finished welt pocket. Cut two pieces per flap and put interfacing on one of them. If you wish to have a buttonhole or loop to close the flap this step must be done before inserting the flap. It is easier to work on the flap before it is inserted into the pocket.
- Follow the directions to make the welt pocket. The flap is attached between the upper welt and the pocket bag. This step is done before attaching the pocket bag.
- Attach the pocket bag and finish off the pocket on the front with a button to close the flap.
Decorative Welt Pockets
Welt pockets do not have to be rectangular or straight. A scalloped or shaped edge can be sewn as a decorative edge. In this case the welt needs to be sewn in two pieces. The edge can not be folded in order to get a decorative edge.
Slanted Welt Pocket
A welt pocket can be set at a slant especially in a jacket like the bomber jacket worn by pilots. The welt is set at a slant and this makes it easier to slip hands into the pocket. The welt may also be set into the seam as part of the seam before it is finished.
Zip Welt Pocket
The concept of a welt pocket lends itself to setting in a short zip to close the pocket with the decorative welt on the outside to neaten the zip. The pocket pouch is attached to the inside to neaten the pocket and the zip does the closure trick. Zip welt pockets are useful and at the same time make a fashion statement.
How to Sew Welt Pockets - In Conclusion
The welt pocket needs some practice and perhaps trying a sample on a piece of scrap fabric to try out the steps to complete this pocket style will help. Make a sampler to follow because this is a ‘seeing is believing’ dressmaking technique. It is challenging but once you have mastered how to sew welt pockets you will be grateful you tried them out.