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Mainely Menswear’s Pattern-Free Method for Welt Pockets

Learn a tailoring aficionado's pattern-free method for the neatest results
Threads #220, Winter 2022
Choose any pants pattern you like and add professional custom pockets. Pattern: Jedediah Pants, ThreadTheory.ca. Fabric: cotton twill, Mood Fabrics, New York, New York.

Welt pockets are frequently seen on the back of men’s and women’s trousers. You’ll see them in casual and dressy designs. In menswear, there are usually two. In women’s wear, there may be only one on the right. Of course, none of this is set in stone. As sewists, we can have exactly what we want—our clothes, our rules.

If you think the pockets you see on ready-to-wear trousers are beyond your ability, you’d be wrong. Perhaps you’re working from a pattern that has welt pockets, but the instructions are confusing. Fear not. If you can measure and cut a few rectangles and sew a straight line, you can make a professional-looking welt pocket. Plus, it will be as nicely finished on the inside as on the outside.

author wearing an outfit he created himself
The author in a self-sewn outfit.

I’ll show you how to create a custom, single-welt pocket for any darted pants back. The approach I take works directly on the pants: You’ll determine the pocket opening size and location and mark it on the fabric. From there, you build the pocket to the depth you prefer. Thus, you can take into account your body contours, what you plan to carry in the pocket, and how you wear the trousers (high on the waist or low-slung).

This method calls for preparation and focus. We all have an optimal time for sewing. For me, it’s first thing in the morning. I encourage you to pick the time that’s right for you. If you’re tired, walk away and come back when you’re fresh. I assure you, the sewing isn’t hard.

Having a go-to welt pocket technique can be a boon to your sewing practice; it has been for mine. Maybe you want…

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