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The Patch Pocket Tutorial

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!MAVEN PATTERNS_MARIA APRON MAVEN PATTERNS_PATCH POCKET TUTORIAL


 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!


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PATTERN HACK…How to make an Off the Shoulder Top!

Off The Shoulder Tops…



…they’re everywhere this summer, aren’t they? I’m not one to usually bother with fashion trends. I’m not a big fan of buying or especially making clothes unless it’s something I really love and will wear loads. I do, however, like to get the maximum mileage out of a pattern, fabric and mostly out of my time. I thought about this trend for a while and came to the conclusion the off the shoulder top, or The ‘Bardot’ Top (or as my eldest called it Bar-Dot, worth writing a tutorial just for that!), could actually become a holiday summer basic.

I started with The Wendy Artisan Smock pattern and thought this would be a great little pattern hack to share. It does make the most perfect beach cover-up, just lengthen your pattern to get the leg coverage you are after. It would also make a delightful holiday dress with a little tie belt at the waist too. I’ve made it in an embroidered spot voile. Beautiful fabric – but be warned, it is quite sheer in the white if you are going down the dress route!

And I thought I should probably share it now as in England we’ve had more than 3 days of glorious sunshine this summer, and it’s now 50/50 (yes, I know that’s being optimistic) for the rest of August wether we get any more sunshine.



Wendy Artisan Top Pattern, Tape measure, Scissors, 1 metre (approx) of 2.5cm wide Elastic, Safety Pin

I recommend, as always, making a toile: it’s a test run in calico or a cheap fabric – you don’t want to waste your favourite fabric on a less the perfect top!

  1. Cut out your pattern using VERSION B (with no centre front neck opening) and don’t cut the binding pattern.
  2. NECKBAND: cut one long rectangle 7.5cm wide  x  SMALL: 123cm long / MEDIUM: 128.5 cm long / LARGE: 134cm long. It can be cut along the selvedge or across the fabric width on the straight grain. 


Make up your top, following the instructions in the pattern: Attach pockets and sleeves, close side seams.

Cut neckline down by 4cm. Of course you could trim down your pattern pieces before cutting out your garment.


Press the neckband in half length wise


Join with a 1cm seam allowance to make the neck band into a loop, press the seam open


| Attach the band |

Pin neckband to RIGHT SIDE of the body. Depending on your fabric your neckline may ‘grow’ as it’s on the bias grain in places, just ease your garment onto the neckband.


Stitch your band to the body with a 1cm seam allowance. Leave a gap of about 5cm to thread your elastic through.

To get your elastic length: wrap elastic around shoulders where you want your top to sit, pulling slightly so it stretches, and mark. It needs to be tight enough to stay up but not so tight it cuts off the circulation and if it’s too tight it will ride up, too loose and it’ll drop down! Everyone’s measurement will vary as it depends on a lot of outside factors how stretchy is your elastic/ how tight are you comfortable with etc?


| Thread the elastic |

(This is the same process as the sleeve hem for the Smock) Attach a safety pin to your elastic to help thread it through the neckband channel. Once threaded lay the elastic with the ends flat on top of each other and stitch where you marked it earlier. Try your smock on and see how that elastic feels, now is the time to adjust if you need to. Once you are happy, make sure that elastic is stitched securely, and trim away excess elastic.


Then just stitch the gap closed, and neaten the raw seam allowance.



Now just enjoy the sun in your off the shoulder top, like the fashionista you are!



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How to make patch pockets perfectly – every time!

 | How to make patch pockets perfectly EVERY time! |

One of the tricks I learnt after first leaving college (when I was still just a lowly Design Room assistant) was how to make patch pockets perfectly EVERY time – even when they have curved bottoms! I worked with some great sample machinists, who showed me this little trick. Of course, they let me do it wrong a few times before revealing the easiest way in the world.

If you have downloaded The Maria Wrap Apron PDF pattern, or the as-yet-soon-to-be-released Wendy Artisan Smock Pattern (exciting…more to be revealed later!) you will already have seen the pattern piece labelled POCKET FORMER with the instruction to cut in card only – this is the same shape as your patch pocket pattern piece but WITHOUT THE SEAM ALLOWANCE and ladies that is the trick – just press your pocket AROUND a piece of card cut to the correct shape!

If you are using a pattern from another designer and don’t have a pocket former pattern piece – fear not! Just trace off your patch pocket pattern piece (or print an extra – oh, the joys of PDF patterns) and cut off ALL the seam allowances to follow along, but do remember to keep the original pocket pattern.

A MRS MAVEN TOP TIP: This is the same method that I used to ‘card’ my design patterns ready to send off to the factories for mass production. So feel free to card the whole pattern if it’s one you use a lot, it’ll last forever!! 


If you are looking for a little help to make and stitch your pockets on The Maria Apron or The Wendy Smock, we have another patch pocket tutorial here.

To make a pocket former template in card you will need:

  • One patch pocket FORMER pattern piece (or a pattern WITHOUT seam allowances)
  • A piece of card bigger than the pattern piece, a cereal box is good.
  • Stapler ( and a stapler extractor is useful)
  • Ruler, paper scissors and pencil

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven PatternsTake your POCKET FORMER PATTERN PIECE and fold in half. Take your piece of card and fold in half scoring the fold flat – I use the handle of my scissors.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Place together, make sure the folded edges of both are aligning or your card template will be the wrong size later! Staple to hold in place.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Use the ruler and trace around the outside edge, taking care that you make a right angle at that centre fold line or you’ll get an odd pointy shape in the centre when you cut out the template.Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven PatternsCut out carefully. Because you are cutting it out while folded you know both side are going to be symmetrical.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Un-staple and remember to write which pattern it belongs to!

So now what do you do with it?

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Lay your card pocket former template on your pocket and press the seam allowance all the way around. You’ll get a smooth matching curve on EVERY pocket you make.

Patch Pocket Tutorial - Maven Patterns

Oh Look they match…how delightful!! Now all you need to do is stitch them on!

Need a little help bagging out your pocket corner, or doing the reinforcement stitch? Check out our other PATCH POCKET TUTORIAL here.

Happy Sewing!

Mrs M x