We had a couple of requests for a photo tutorial for the patch pockets on The Maria Apron. So here it is!
The same principles will apply to the pockets for our Wendy Smock Top too. Wendy just has a little gathering at the base of each pocket, do that first and then follow below!
KEY | RS(U): right side of pocket (up) | WS(U): wrong side of pocket (up) | S/A: seam allowance
You’ll need your Pocket Bag Former pattern piece. To work this really needs to be in card (a cereal box will do the job perfectly). If you need help here’s my tutorial
We are going to start at the ironing board: Everything above FOLD 2 is actually the facing of the pocket (a grown-on facing). The corner of the pocket bag will be ‘bagged out’ with the grown on facing so the raw edges will be concealed inside of it. Don’t freak out at the term ‘bag(ged) out’ it just means sewing your fabric with right sides together and then turning through so the RS is facing to the outside and all the stitching and seam allowances are enclosed on the inside.
Make fold 1 | Start with the RS of the pocket bag facing downwards and press the top edge 1cm to the WS – use the notches as a guide.
Make fold 2 | Still with RS facing down, at the next set of notches fold down again to the WS of the pocket and press in FOLD 2, creating the facing for the top of the pocket. Fold 2 is 2.3cm from FOLD 1. Why such a random number I hear thee ask? Because, a little later, we will topstitch 2cm down from the top edge of the pocket (this will stop the facing poking out during wear), which leaves a 3mm allowance to catch the stitching on. Clever stuff.
Turn facing to RS | Turn the pocket bag over so RSU is facing you.
At FOLD 2, flip the facing over from the back of the pocket to the front, and pin through the facing and S/A.
Stitch | At each pocket corner, take a 1cm S/A and stitch through the facing.
Trim each corner to reduce bulk and give a little press.
Turn corner | Turn those corners out to the right side now. Poke out the corners gently so they are nice and square (I use my small scissors, but be careful!) and press again. There you go, a bagged out corner!
Pressing the curve | Grab the pocket former and slide it underneath your pocket facing and then use it as a template to press a 1cm S/A around your pocket. Remove template.
Oh look, a delightfully smooth curve and 2 matching pockets. Hurrah! Now is a good time to check they are in fact the same size and shape. They are? Jolly good – on we go.
Topstitch and pocket placement | Topstitch across the top of the pockets 2cm down from the top edge to hold the facing in place.
Pin the pocket on your apron. Remember the pocket marker dots sit 5mm INSIDE the finished pocket edge (an industry trick so the marks don’t show on the finished garment).
TIP | You can use a fabric marker pen or chalk to mark a line 5mm above the dots which is where the top edge of your patch pocket sits and mark a line 5mm on the outside of the dots for the outside edge of the pockets. Check you are happy with the position of the pockets and then tack them in place.
Stitch into place | The pockets will be edgestitched onto your garment, but as this is a functional garment that will hopefully get a lot of wear, the pockets will benefit from a little reinforcement. This should help to give many years of joy and use from your apron.
Reinforce corners with a triangle | Start at point 1, stitch up to point 2, pivot your garment 90º and stitch across 3 stitches to point 3 (doesn’t matter how many stitches, but keep them the same number on all of your corners). Pivot again and stitch back to point 1 completing the reinforcement triangle. Then just continue to edgestitch the pocket bag all the way around and finish with a triangle again on the other side.
Voila! You’ve mastered the art of the patch pocket.
Get creative | Don’t forget you can have some fun with your patch pockets to make the most of your fabric’s design. Stripes can run in different directions – a good plan if you don’t want to match them to the apron body but don’t want to look like you didn’t think about it. That’s why ready-to-wear check shirts usually have pockets cut on the bias – it avoids stripe matching. Or you could pick a favourite part of a print and give it pride of place on your pocket. If you do get creative, remember that patterns or stripes on pockets are usually cut to pair each other!