TUTORIAL--Perfect Pocket Flaps every time!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
There are  many interesting things that I have learned about shirt-making over the years, and one was how to sew pocket flaps...and other "shirt-parts" without seam allowances. Yes, you read that right...I'll be showing you how many custom Shirt-makers sew first, then add the allowances later.

Here is one example of the method, 
using the pocket flap from Colette Pattern's Negroni Shirt.

Since the pattern is multi-sized, I backed all the tissue pattern pieces with some nasty old spun-poly interfacing I've had stashed for years...in preparations for tracing the size I need to make the shirt. Note that the pocket flap of the Negroni Shirt is the same for all sizes.  The first thing I did was to attach the pattern piece to an clean file folder with a stapler, as you see above. I stapled it to the card-stock  so it would stay in place as I traced around it...which is the next step.  Then I quickly added the 1/4" the seam lines to all but the top long straight side of the flap pattern, as you can see below.

Next, I cut it out....cutting OFF the side and bottom seam allowances and discarding them. Now I had a hard copy of the pocket flap, minus its side and bottom seam allowances.

Then it was time to take a piece of Interfacing, fold it in half wrong sides together , and lay my newly trimmed pocket flap on top. The next step is to cut out 2 identical pieces of interfacing, and the best way I've found to keep all the layers from shifting while I cut is to staple them together, as you see below.

Just FYI..the interfacing used in this demo is the new ProWoven Light-Crisp 100% cotton Fusible from www.FashionSewingSupply.com  Many shirtmakers  cut the small pieces like pocket flaps last, from the scraps left after cutting the main pieces. So after the interfacing pieces were cut out (and staples removed) they were each fused to a scrap of fabric that was folded RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. In the photo below, the folded edge of the fabric piece is at the top, and the Interfacing piece is being fused about 1/2-inch below the fold.

Time to sew!  But how can this flap be sewn if there are no seam allowances...remember I  trimmed them all off except the long top one. Well, it doesn't matter one bit, as you will soon see... 

 ...because I used the interfacing as my stitching guide!   (as shown below..stitched twice in contrast thread so you can see it clearly)
...and as you can see, I chose to stitch "straight-through" the angles of the interfacing template..it is the way I was trained, and is my preference. You may choose to pivot-and-turn, with your needle in the down position to take the turns...but do make sharp turns and follow the outline of the template exactly. Note the top long edge is left unsewn...because that is where the flap will be turned right-side-out.

Next, I needed to add those seam allowances back!  But first I cut right along the edge of the interfacing on the top long edge, but then I cut 1/8" away from the stitching around all the other edges, as you see below. And as you can see I also trimmed the "corner-points"

After I fused the remaining piece of interfacing to another piece of fabric, then stitched and trimmed...I was ready to turn the flaps. And because they were sewn using identically cut pieces of fused interfacing as the "stitching guide"..the flaps are identical twins.  The ones you see below were left unpressed...just turned by hand and patted flat with my hand..and look how good they look.  OK...I'll confess..my iron stopped working just before I was ready to press the flaps...but I wanted to post this tutorial and it might take a while to get another iron...etc, etc. But heck, even unpressed they look a great deal better than many I've made using a different sewing method and an iron that worked!