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  • Writer's pictureLonda

Perfect Patch Pocket…Tailor Approved

While in San Fransisco at the BERNINA University, my hubby and I had a chance to walk around SF and discovered the WINGTIP store.  There, I met Erik Gavrilov – a designer/tailor with ‘solutions for the modern gentleman’.  In the bank vault, safety deposit area – merchandise was displayed in such a unique manner… displays, everything!  Here are a few photos…

Cuff and collar choices

Cuff and collar choices for men’s custom shirts

Collar styles

Collar styles available for men’s custom shirts.   

Tailoring of lapels and ties displayed from deposit boxes.

Tailoring of lapels and ties displayed from deposit boxes.

Soon, I introduced myself and shared with Erik why I was in San Fransisco – and that I, too, had tailoring experience.  Then we really started sharing…and when I didn’t see a patch pocket like I used to teach, I asked for some paper and then made him a sample of this technique. His eyes lit up – as he had never seen this technique!  Made my day……to teach this bona fide designer/tailor something……..

Sew……here it is for you, as well.  I really don’t know where I learned this, but I know I used it many times, in making little blazers for my boy – now 34!  Little boys ram their hands down into those pockets, so I was challenged to come up with a way to stitch them on securely.  Top stitching?  Yes – that was always a choice, but sometimes, I didn’t want to top stitch a patch pocket. Also – this technique allows for extremely perfect matching of plaids with the final stitching – assuming the pocket has been cut to match in the first place.  For even plaids, consider cutting the pocket on the bias.

HERE is the solution!  Basically, you machine stitch the LINING to the jacket front, then flop the shaped Upper Pocket down into place, and then hand stitch.  Even if you DO want to top stitch – even close the the shaped edge, doing it this way keeps the edge of the pocket a clean, pressed edge, rather than a seam (of the upper pocket to the lining).  ALSO – I found that making 2 shaped (curved lower corners) match exactly on BOTH pockets – was pretty challenging.

This first photo pretty much shows the entire technique.

Patch Pocket Magic

Patch Pocket Magic

Patch Pocket Magic

My Construction Steps then are as follows.

1. Create a cardboard template of the FINISHED pocket.  Do this by laying the pattern on top of the cardboard, and tracing the SEAM LINE with a tracing wheel.

2. Before cutting the Upper Pocket, make sure that the pattern has a t least a 1″ self top facing and a 5/8″ seam allowance to join it to the Pocket Lining.

3. Cut a large piece of Pocket Lining and seam it to the Upper Pocket self facing, right sides together and press open.

4. On the jacket Front, mark both top corners of the pocket location.

5. Lay pocket unit onto jacket front with the right side of the pocket Lining against the jacket front, matching the top corners.  Lay the cardboard template on top of the wrong side of the Pocket, aligning the top edges.  Trace around the template, on the wrong side of the pocket lining. See photo below.  Pin down securely.

6. Stitch the pocket Lining to the jacket front with smaller than normal stitches.  Begin right at one upper pocket corner, then angle inwards a scant 1/8″, and stitch around the pocket lining, attaching the Lining to the jacket Front.  See where pen is pointing in the photo below the next step…this is one of the top pocket corners.

7. Trim excess lining to within 1/4″ of the stitching on the outer edge of the stitches.  Press in towards the center.

8.  Lay the pocket Template onto the wrong side of the Upper Pocket, and press the seam allowance around the template in a sharp, clean pressed line. Let the Upper Pocket then flip down, into place – over top of the securely stitched pocket Lining.

9.  To secure the Upper Pocket into place, it is possible to either invisibly hand stitch with a slip stitch, or to machine stitch close to the edge.  Regardless, the pocket is actually VERY securely stitched to the jacket front.

Here is a photo of my little ones – for Easter, 1983.  Note the patch pockets on my little Jeff’s plaid suit.  (My matching skills have improved since then to precision.)   I remember making everything they had on except his shirt and tie.  I was smart enough even way back then to know that a tailored shirt was more work than it was worth!  Even when Erik the tailor said a custom shirt cost around $150 – in my book, that is a bargain!!! Oh – and if they look like a hand full – they HAVE been!

That sweet little boy grew up to be a VERY smart man, without whom life would have been boring (oh yea!), and I certainly would not be doing everything on the computer that I am today!  My Jeff is the one to thank for my Talking Patterns™.  Sew, Jeff – in honor of your ‘Got Ya Day’ – 34 years ago July 9 ….. I LOVE YOU!

My children – Easter 1983 – note patch pockets on Jeff’s suit…

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