Shirt Pocket with Flap

1 shirt pocket with flapI 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.  1 mara shirt dressSo 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). 1 topstitch seam allowanceI’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.

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1 cut flaps

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.

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Step 2 - Interface one piece.  Trim the second piece by 1mm around the three non-straight sides

2 – Interface/fuse one piece. Trim the second piece by 1mm around the three non-straight sides.

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Step 3 - Stitch around the three sides up to the 1.5cm Seam Allowance.  Press to embed stitches and trim the wide seam giving the shorter seams a scant trim

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.

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Step 4 - With raw edge aligned with the top of the attached pocket, stich pocket flap along the 1.5 Seam Allowance.  IMPORTANT: the interfaced piece should be against the shirt body and the non-interfaced piece should be closer to you.

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.

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Step 5 - trim the interfaced seam allowance by half.  If it helps, press the top seam allowance out of the way.

5 – Trim the interfaced seam allowance by half. If it helps, press the top seam allowance out of the way.

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Press the top Seam Allowance over the bottom one, using the iron tip to fold away bulging corners.

6 – Tuck the top Seam Allowance over the bottom one, using the iron tip to fold away bulging corners. Press.

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7 - Topstitch the seam allowance securely and 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.

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.

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1 - Fold pocket piece in half, wrong sides together, and stitch top to bottom to form box pleat.  Press.

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.

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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.

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.

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3 - with right sides together, stitch two pocket pieces together along the top seam, using a basting stitch for approx. 4cm of the length.

3 – with right sides together, stitch two pocket pieces together along the top seam, using a basting stitch for approx. 4cm of the length.

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4 - Press seam allowances open

4 – Press seam allowances open

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5 - Fold so the right sides are together again, and stitch the remaining seams.  Press and trim.  Cut open the basting stitches along the top seam.

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.

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6 - Turn right side out through opening and sew the pocket closed using the ladder stitch.  You can use the holes of the basting stitches as your guide for even stitches.  Press patch pocket, rolling the lining to the inside, then sew the patch onto the shirt.

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.

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7 - Attach patch to garment then attach pocket flap as outlined in Tutorial One.

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.

Stylearc ItaliaAdvice 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.

10 thoughts on “Shirt Pocket with Flap

  1. Nice tutorial, Marianna. Looks similar to the only pair of pocket flaps that I have ever sewn (for pants!). I like the Italia shirt dress pattern. I think I’m blind though as I can’t see the hem gussets on the modeled garment (which is pretty). That’s the sort of thing I would have to wing.

  2. Bookmarked that tutorial – thank you.
    I’d create the gusset in the flat pattern I think. It doesn’t look to be split at the side so wouldn’t one create a style line add SA. Then sew it in ur on come to think of it. Overlock and top stitch. Hubbies shirt buts at the side are created similarly.. The gusset can be hemmed as one with the hem ur hemmed separately?

  3. I love both these shirt dresses and have been trying to decide which one to buy. I can’t wait to see how yours turns out. This is also a very clear and helpful tutorial. Cheers!

  4. I usually try to avoid patch pockets on the chest as I am already fairly generously endowed in that area and don’t want to add any excess 😉 However, I’m bookmarking this tutorial because, if I should ever feel the need, this is the one I’ll be following. Your finished pockets look so neat and well finished. For the gusset on the other dress, as somebody else has mentioned, you could check out any shirts Mr. S. might have hanging in his wardrobe as they often have those little side inserts.

  5. The gusset on the second dress looks more like a decorative rather than functional feature and could be made in the same way as you would add fabric if you ran out on a corner.
    Your mum’s dress is going to be lovely.

    • Yes, Kim, you’re right. I found a decorative ‘hem gusset’ on a men’s shirt and it’s exactly like you describe: a patch to cover a fabric gap! Nothing particularly difficult to making one that meets the eye.

  6. Thank you for posting this! I am making the Mara shirtdress and having fits with the pocket (I’ve made about six so far). I can’t wait to try your tutorial — I was about to give up on the pockets. 🙂

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