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How-to

Attach a Patch Pocket Without Visible Stitches

A trick to sew it on without visible stitches
Threads #214, Summer 2021
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When you feature patch pockets on a garment that doesn’t lend itself to visible topstitching, the usual method is to line the pocket, then hand-sew it in place. A hand-sewn pocket is not as durable  for use, however, and may detach over time.

I’ve developed a method for applying a patch pocket that results in a strong attachment but has no visible machine stitching. In this technique, the lining is machine-sewn to the garment, then the fashion fabric layer is hand-sewn over it. The look is sleek and tailored, and the pocket can stand up to holding a phone, keys, or concert tickets—whatever you like to keep close at hand.

1. Cut the pocket pieces. Cut the fashion fabric pocket with a 1-inch-wide hem along the upper edge, plus a seam allowance. Cut the lining piece 1 inch shorter than the
finished pocket size, plus a seam allowance.

2. Join the pocket and lining. With right sides together, sew along the upper edge. Press the seam allowances down toward the lining.

 

3. Fold the lining down. With wrong sides together, align the pocket and its lining at the bottom and side edges, and press the upper edge. The pocket has a 1-inch-wide hem at the top. Clip a notch at each upper corner to mark the foldine.

 

 

4. Staystitch the pocket layer. Start at one foldline notch and stitch at 3⁄8 inch to 1⁄2 inch around the sides and lower edges, stopping at the opposite notch. If the corners are rounded, “push” the stitching at the corners to ease them slightly. Then  press the seam allowances under. If desired, use a pressing template to ensure a smooth curved corner.

5. Position the pocket. Fold the pocket lining to the wrong side. Place the pocket on the garment, matching alignment points. Fold the pocket up, and pin the lining to the garment.

6. Attach the lining. Stitch around the lining’s edge, with a 3⁄4-inch-wide seam allowance. Start at one notch and sew around the sides and bottom, ending at the opposite notch. Then press the lining seam allowances over the seam.

7. Hand-sew the pocket. Fold the pocket layer down over the lining, enclosing all seam allowances between the layers. With a slipstitch or fell stitch, hand-sew the sides and bottom.


Bonnie Wheaton of Wheaton, Illinois, has created everything from slipcovers to wedding dresses in more than 50 years of sewing.

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