TUTORIAL-- Fast and Easy "Twin" Pockets

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I often get requests from my clients for a shirt with two pockets, like this one...

 At my studio we call them "Twin Pockets" if they are to be of identical shape...but getting them to actually be identical can be a challenge!

Here is the fast and easy method that I use to make 2 rounded pockets that are the exact size and shape--

 TIP-- this method is much easier to do if your pocket pattern seam allowance is 1/4". Make a copy of your pocket pattern and trim the seam allowances to 1/4" if needed.

 Start with a piece of fabric that is at least 3-4" longer than your pocket pattern and at least twice as wide. Then tear it to get one perfectly straight on-grain edge--

Then fold the torn edge 1" to the wrong side and press...

Then turn it again 1" to the wrong side and press. This gives a double-folded edge that will become the hem of both pockets.

Next take the fabric to your machine, and stitch the top as if you were hemming a pocket (which actually is what is being done :)   All  stitching shown here is in contrast thread so it can be seen more easily...click any of the photos to enlarge them.

So now we have a piece of fabric that has one straight edge that has been double folded and hemmed.  The next step it to fold it in half, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, matching the top "hemmed" edges exactly. You will know that you have folded it correctly when the smooth side (right side)  is inside the fold, and you can SEE the "lip" of the hem that was stitched (the wrong side).  All that is being done here is folding the piece in half  -RIGHT- sides together and making sure the "hemmed" edge is aligned along the top.

Now we need to make this hemmed piece of folded fabric into 2 pockets! 

 Position your pocket pattern on top of the folded fabric as shown below.  The fabric has already been hemmed, so the pocket is placed as shown...with the Hem allowance above the double folded (hem) edges Remember, because the fabric has already been hemmed...the hem allowance of the pattern is NO LONGER NEEDED....so that is why it extends above the fabric.

Now take a ordinary pencil, and trace all the way around the pocket pattern, as shown.

 This is what it will look like after the pocket has been traced--

 Now, carefully take your traced pocket to the sewing machine (you may place a pin or two to help keep the layers straight if you want to).  LOOSEN THE Top TENSION OF YOUR MACHINE. Then with a regular stitch length...stitch INSIDE the traced line the width of your pattern's seam allowance. As you can see from the previous photos of my pattern, my seam allowance is 1/4"..so it's easy to use the edge of my presser-foot as a guide.  (Please read the TIP about seam allowance at the start of this tutorial).

Next, remove the excess fabric around the pockets (remember, we are making 2 at the same time), by trimming along the PENCIL LINE. DO NOT cut the STITCHES!

After the excess has been trimmed, we now have two pockets that have been loosely stitched Right Sides Together.  The next step is to turn the unit right side out, and roll the seams between your fingers so that the seams are even along all the edges. 

Then firmly press the "joined" pockets.  As you are pressing, the seam allowances (now inside) are being perfectly and identically pressed...no guess work...no tedious templates.

After pressing, pull out the stitching that is holding the two pockets together.  This should be easy to do...but if not, use a seam ripper to help separate the pockets.

This what your pockets will look like from the WRONG side--

And this is what your pockets will look like from the right side...lovely and identical, already hemmed and ready to be sewn to your garment !