Making Pockets or The Curvy Conundrum

Years ago, I use to watch a PBS sewing program called The Sewing Connection with Shirley Adams. I really enjoyed the program. One week, Shirley was making kid’s clothes and stated that kids love pockets. Since then I have tried to include pockets whenever possible on the kid’s clothes I make, even though it would make the sewing of the clothes much simpler if I left the pockets out of the project. While trying to decide what I wanted to sew after the slit plackets learning experience, I stumbled across a pattern that I purchased many years ago for a simple little girl’s jumper. After seeing it I decided to just sew it up, and of course, the jumper would have pockets.

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The process started with a trip to the stash. For years I have collected small yardage amounts of corduroy to make little girl’s jumpers with, so I knew I already had the fabric to make this pattern. I dug through the stash and found two pieces of corduroy. Since pockets were a must on the jumper and I wanted to embroider on the pockets, I started to dig through the stash again looking for some matching fabric to make the pockets from. After several hours of searching the stash, the husband decided to check on me and make sure that the boxes had not tumbled over on me and crushed me to death. I showed him the two pieces of corduroy that I had found, so he asked why I was still digging through the boxes. I told him that I was looking for fabric for the pockets. He said, “Why not just use the corduroy?” I responded, “Because I want to embroider on the pockets.” To which he responded,”So.” Silly boy, you can’t embroidery on corduroy. Everyone knows that. Its actually printed in books. But, as I stared at the corduroy, I thought why not. The corduroy I had picked was not a deep welled corduroy. In fact it had very light wells. So, I decided to go for it.

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I cut out the dresses first, but more on that later. Then I hooped the scraps and started to embroidery. I did use Solvy stabilizer on top because of the corduroy. The designs stitched out fabulously with no problems on the corduroy. I was very excited. But,  as I learned later, the pocket construction learning process was just beginning.

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The first thing I learned was that even though the scrap was big enough to hoop, it was not big enough to center the embroidery design on the pocket. Oops! The pockets would need to be smaller than the pattern called for. Luckily, I learned this lesson early on with the first two embroidery designs and so I used larger scraps for the second two designs. I thought I was going to have to embroidery the first two designs again but I decided to try and make them work instead.

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Because of the embroidery designs, I decided that I wanted to line the pockets, so I put a piece of fabric over the thread on the back of the design, so that it would not be rough on the child’s hands or the thread would not get caught on something put in the pocket. This should be simple, I thought to myself. I would place the pocket and the lining right sides together, sew around the curve and finish off the top of the pocket. This is were I learned that I can not sew curves worth a darn! I sewed down one side and around the first curve ok, but sewing the second curve and back up the other side was not as simple. I could not get the same curve the second time. It did not match the first curve at all. I unpicked my sewing and tried again. It was a little better, but still not exact and so I tried it again. The third try was ok, but still not great. I decided to try the next pocket and I had the same problem. Was this going to be like the slit plackets and just take tons and tons of practice to get it right I wondered? I finally had a brilliant idea on the third pocket. I sewed down the side and first half of the curve and stopped at the center bottom of the pocket. I then turned the pocket over and did the same thing on on the opposite side. The results were great. I kept the same curve both sides this time. Hurray! Success was mine!

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I then had to launder the pockets first before I could iron them to dissolve the Solvy. This would tell me how the embroidery design really faired being stitched on corduroy. The embroidery design went through the washer and dryer perfectly and it did not seem to make a difference that it had been stitched on corduroy.

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It was now time to attach the pockets to the front of the dress.

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