How to sew a single welt pocket

Posted by Kathleen Fasanella on Dec 24, 2008 at 3:40 pm / Tutorial / Trackback

As I promised, a holiday gift tutorial for you. This one is about how to sew a single welt pocket. I realize the sample illustrated below isn’t gorgeous but I’ve used muslin and scrap so you can see the details easily. I also deliberately used mis-matched thread so you can see the stitch lines. Believe it or not, people have complained my thread and fabrics don’t match. Go figure. In my opinion, gussying it up is your job, I’ll stick to mechanics. Here is the finished sample so you know what I mean.

By the way, if you are interested in learning to do the more common double welt pocket, the links below are to the generally acknowledged best tutorial on the web (or in print). For flawless results that even the greenest of sewing operators can accomplish, see -in order- Welt and paper jig (pattern piece) and Welt pocket construction. To get an introduction to basic concepts, it wouldn’t hurt to read those before reading this one.

You’ll need the same pattern as for the double welt pocket, namely a piece measuring 8″ X 3″ for each pocket. You need two pieces of fusible backing per pocket. One piece goes on the back of the welt and the other piece goes on the wrong side of the welt inset area.

Unless you’re working on light colored fabrics, it wouldn’t hurt to make the following markings as shown. This (below) shows all of the dimensions.

Place the pocket welt onto the shell piece, lining up the center most line of the welt with the drill holes. Yes, the length of the line between drill holes is 1/4″ shorter but that’s a safeguard for the production environment when they actually drill holes through fabric to mark pocket placement.

You need to sew the two parallel horizontal lines. Be sure to stop at the vertical line (below). Of this whole affair, this is the most critical part. The lines must be exactly parallel and exactly the same length.

Below I’ve shown the stitching completed from the underside. Please note the box ends are not stitched. I didn’t make a mistake or forget.

For optimal effect, I like to do some pressing that wouldn’t normally be done in production. For what it’s worth, it’s not needed either because the pressure of the machine is so great it melds the stitches compactly. If you’re working with home machines, you might want to do this too. First I fold one side up to match the other and press that line. You’ll notice the pocket folded is half and half even.

Then I press the other side down (below).

At this juncture, you need to cut a center slit. This is shown below but a better view of the cutting process and in more detail, can be seen here too. It is critical to get right into those corners.

Now you want to turn the pocket (below), there’s no trick to it.

Once you’ve turned it, I like to do another extra pressing step, pressing the seam of the stitching open (two photos below).

Now comes the only tricky part. You need to fold up the longer side of the welt to match the opening (below). That previous pressing you did will come in handy now as a guide.

Be careful not to go overboard. People will make the welt fold too wide to force it to match the opening. The thing is, it’s going to sag there for now, there’s a big gash in the center of it so how can it not? It’ll be okay once it is stabilized with an underwelt (not shown for obviousness reasons but the dimensions are 2 1/2″ X 8″).

Anyway, once you’ve pressed that pleat into place, you’re ready to stitch the ends of the box (below). And don’t worry, get right up on that line and catch those triangle ends.

Below the final stitching is shown.

Now you flip it and it’s all done.

All that’s left is to stabilize it with an underwelt, again, that measures 2 1/2″ X 8″. You’d sew the pocket bag on to one horizontal end of the pocket itself and the other end of the underwelt, sew up the sides and you’re done.

One last mention. I see this in home sewing books and I want to cringe, don’t trim off that 1″ of each side of the pocket welt that’s left. Just leave it there. Having the extra length stabilizes the pocket slit. If manufacturers are cheap but cut a pocket to be 2″ longer than finished, you should too.

I hope your holidays are joyous ones!

23 Responses to “How to sew a single welt pocket”

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December 24th, 2008
4:56 PM

Thank you, Kathleen, for such a lovely gift! I haven’t sewn a single welt pocket in years and don’t remember offhand what technique I used. Having been successful with your double-welt pocket instructions, I know I’ll love this one as well. Now to find a project where I can use this….

May your holidays be joyous as well.

December 24th, 2008
7:43 PM

This tutorial was the first single welt pocket I’ve ever sewn. It’s the same concept as the double welt which takes a jig (which I really prefer) but thought it’d be too tricky to explain. I’ll figure out a jig method for it when I have more time.

Jennifer S
December 24th, 2008
9:44 PM

Thank you, Kathleen, you are always very generous with your knowledge. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

December 25th, 2008
6:19 AM

Kathleen…great always. I was trained to make a single welt pocket in this method..way back when. If you use and endorse it, I am doubly confident it is indeed the best way.

I hope the sewing enthusiasts out there pay attention to what you said here (quoted below)…it’s SO important…

“…don’t trim off that 1″ of each side of the pocket welt that’s left. Just leave it there. Having the extra length stabilizes the pocket slit. If manufacturers are cheap but cut a pocket to be 2″ longer than finished, you should too.”

Linda L
December 25th, 2008
6:53 AM

This was most helpful. Thank you for this holiday gift.

nowaks nähkästchen
December 25th, 2008
8:06 AM

Thank you for that helpful gift! It looks a good deal easier than what I did last week. (Of course, it’s always what I’ve done last week…. not what I planned for next week… *g*) But next time I’ll try it that way!

December 25th, 2008
8:09 AM

Thanks Kathleen.

You a true angel to all!!
Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2008
10:38 AM

Oh thank you! I have some sewing time coming up and this will make a nice finish to a pair of pants that have been sitting & waiting for me for several weeks now.
And thank you for all the great information all year long!
OK, back to the Christmas mayhem downstairs….

Johanna Lu
December 26th, 2008
1:03 PM

Thank you for the heads up on *not* trimming away the sides. I’ve done this before, due to poor information.

Happy new year Kathleen!
And also a big thank you for this wonderful blog and all your amazing contributions!

December 30th, 2008
6:12 AM

Thank you so much for the tip I can do welt pocksts but a void them at all cost becasue they look so uneven the pressing looks like a great way to make them flat will be trying them again soon.

I am just learning about Fashion- Incubator looks like a great resource tool.

December 30th, 2008
6:34 AM

Thanks so much! Very clear.

Sarah Jane Jarvis
December 30th, 2008
8:05 AM

I am a ‘lurker’ but love the tutorials.
Thank you for sharing your expertise.

January 25th, 2009
9:22 PM

Thank you so much for the tutorial. The one for the double welt pocket was also really great!! I am confused about the underwelt though. How is that attached to the pocket and pouch?

June 14th, 2009
5:35 PM

Very helpful tutorial.

January 6th, 2011
2:33 PM

This is very understnadable. One question, what is the second underwelt? If this is part of the inner pocket, at what point does the welt edge connect with the outer “fashion fabric” welt?

January 7th, 2011
8:26 AM

See the previous pocket welt tutorials as I mentioned at the opening of the post in the second paragraph, specifically:

For flawless results that even the greenest of sewing operators can accomplish, see -in order- Welt and paper jig (pattern piece) and Welt pocket construction. To get an introduction to basic concepts, it wouldn’t hurt to read those before reading this one.

January 9th, 2011
11:19 PM

Kathleen- Awesome tutorial! I was wondering if you had any tips or hidden tutorial on the easiest application for a bag for this pocket?

December 3rd, 2012
4:18 AM

Thank you very mauch it helped me a lot:)

On Pants/Trousers » A Fashionable Stitch
January 22nd, 2013
7:01 AM

[…] take a good amount of prep work. These two tutorials from Fashion Incubator are excellent – single welt pockets & double welt pockets! I also found this tutorial for single welt pockets pretty great too […]

January 26th, 2013
4:53 PM

Thanks for the helped greatly

November 7th, 2013
6:30 AM

Thanks for the tutorial. Is a welt pocket stronger than a slit pocket or is just decorative? I’m ordering a sweater and deciding which one to get. Thank you.

June 1st, 2014
4:14 PM

Is it possible to make welt pocket with the opening vertical? All the tutorials show horizontally or slanted. I need to place pockets on a soft wool jacket that hangs loose from the shoulders, with side seams only, therefore too far at the side to insert pockets in the seams. What shape would the inner pocket have to be in order for it to hang properly, if the slit was made vertical? I am puzzled…..

August 5th, 2014
12:58 PM

Great tutorial, very clear. I just finished my very first welt pocket (after some practice on muslin) using your tut and it turned out great! Thanks a lot!

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