I wanted to do a nice job on the patch pockets of the Mara shirt dress I’m making for my mum, but Stylearc is sadistically terse with their instructions. So I dipped into my tome of power – Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing – wherein lie the instructions for achieving the clean finish on the pocket flap attachment (below). I’ve done a demo of this in Tutorial One. In Tutorial Two I show my way of making the patch pocket using two pieces of fabric instead of one. These are then bagged out. Probably to many of you this won’t be a revelation. Again, this produces a clean finish so there’s no risk of peering inside the finished pocket to the sight of raggedy or fraying seam allowances.
N.B. The pocket here is a sample sewn from an old bedsheet. Unfortunately, the weave in the cotton is causing something of a photographic moiré effect, especially if I post the pictures in a large size. Click on any photo to enlarge it. If you get moiré, just pretend it’s watered silk!
Tutorial One: The Pocket Flap
The pocket flap should be attached after the pocket has been sewn onto the shirt.
1 – Cut 2 flap pieces for each pocket with the seam allowance of 1.5cm for the seam where the pocket is attached to the shirt body. Stylearc Mara has a 1cm SA for this seam so I’ve extended it by 0.5cm as shown.
2 – Interface/fuse one piece. Trim the second piece by 1mm around the three non-straight sides.
3 – Stitch around the three sides up to the 1.5cm seam allowance, leaving the tops opened (this is very important). Press to embed stitches and trim the wide seam then give the shorter seams a small trim. Turn out, press flap, pressing the seam allowances to the inside. Now is a good time to place flap over the pocket to double-check the flap is wider than the pocket.
4 – Align raw edge of flap with the top of the attached pocket, and stitch pocket flap along the 1.5 seam allowance. IMPORTANT: place flap so the interfaced part lies against the shirt body and the non-interfaced piece is uppermost.
5 – Trim the interfaced seam allowance by half. If it helps, press the top seam allowance out of the way.
6 – Tuck the top Seam Allowance over the bottom one, using the iron tip to fold away bulging corners. Press.
7 – Topstitch the seam allowance securely and press.
8 – Press flap closed. If you’re paranoid about it flapping upwards, you can topstitch the top edge down or secure the tops of the sides to the shirt with a few stitches.
Tutorial Two: The Patch Pocket
The first step is to create the pocket piece with a box pleat. Stylearc’s Mara instructions ask for the pocket to then be shaped at the rounded corners by pressing the seam allowances under. My method requires less skill, I think. Cut the second piece to same size as the pocket after the box pleat is made. If your shirt fabric is thick, consider using a thinner fabric in matching colour such as a lining fabric.
1 – Fold pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, and stitch top to bottom. Press stitching but avoid the folded edge. Open the sides, press fingers down on folded edge to make a box pleat.
2 – Cut a ‘double’, the same size as patch pocket then trim 1-2mm from the seam allowances. This should prevent the pocket lining from rolling outward on the finished pocket.
3 – with right sides together, stitch two pocket pieces together along the top seam, using a basting stitch for approx. 4cm of the length.
4 – Press seam allowances open
5 – Fold so the right sides are together again, and stitch the remaining seams. Press the sides and bottom seam and trim all around but don’t trim the top seam to more than 0.75cm. Cut open the basting stitches along the top seam.
6 – Turn right side out through opening, pushing corners outward, and sew the pocket closed using the ladder stitch. (I’m slightly in love with the ladder stitch tbh). If they’re visible, you can use the holes of the basting stitches as your guide for even sewing! Press patch pocket, rolling the lining to the inside, then sew the patch onto the shirt.
7 – Attach patch to garment then attack pocket flap as outlined in Tutorial One.
I’d love to hear if you’ve come by another own method of achieving good results as I can be a genius for missing the obvious.
Advice also needed on this: I’m making the Mara dress for myself and would like to add to it the elements of another Stylearc design, the Italia shirt dress, for which I didn’t buy the pattern. I’m after the sleeve tabs (which seem simple) but also would like to add the hem gusset. Any idea how to produce the hem gusset neatly?! I was hoping to find a RTW garment with one of these and analyse how it’s been done but nothing so far in my search.