Minoru Sew-Along: Side-Seam Pocket Tutorial
This winter I’m sewing along with Tasia at Sewaholic.net. A bunch of other talented seamsters and I are all making her Minoru jacket pattern, and here’s a reflection on my efforts to sew well.
Friends, today I have a special post for you: a tutorial for adding side-seam pockets to your Minoru jackets.
This morning in the Minoru Sew-Along Tasia discussed sewing the collar onto the gathered neckline and then sewing up the side seams. Instead of simply sewing up the side seams, I decided to take a bit of a detour and add pockets. I wanted a place to put my hands on chilly San Francisco days or to quickly store transit tickets or change. If you’re also interested in adding pockets, then do join me on my detour.
Step one is to cut four pocket pieces out of your lining fabric. I used a self-drafted pocket pattern and my Bemberg rayon lining. If you have a pattern in your stash with side-seam pockets that you really like, then use it. Any side-seam pocket pattern will do, really. If you don’t have one on hand, I scanned the pattern I drafted for my Minoru pockets and uploaded it here. I made my pocket pattern wide and deep so that the pockets would be cozy for my hands, but I’ve seen these patterns shorter and narrower as well, so feel free to make a pattern from scratch that meets your needs.
Step two is to pin one of the pocket pieces to the front side seam, right sides together. Loosely try on your jacket first to figure out the best pocket placement. I liked my pockets 2.5″ down from the thread tracing that marks the bottom of the waist elastic (the barely visible pink basting stitches around the 14″ line on my cutting mat). I didn’t want the pockets to get in the way of the waist gathering, but I also didn’t want them to hit the hem.
UPDATE: Now that I’m finished with the jacket, I realized that 2.5″ down from the waist elastic is probably a bit too low. I misjudged the width of the hem. I’ll likely put my pockets 1.5″ down from the waistband basting next time around.
Step three is to attach the pocket. The key here is to sew with a 3/8″ or 10 mm seam allowance, not the typical 5/8″ or 15 mm.
Step four is to press. Press flat, and then press each pocket piece to the outside.
Step five is to repeat step two, three, and four on the back side seam. Place your pocket piece exactly the same distance down from the thread tracing that marks the bottom of the waist elastic as you did on the front, and remember to sew with a 3/8″ or 10 mm seam allowance.
Step six is to pin the front and back side seam right sides together, matching the notches and underarm seam just as Tasia did. Pin around the pocket as well. You’re now ready to sew the side seam.
Step seven is to begin sewing the side seam. Start sewing from the bottom of the jacket, with the traditional 5/8″ or 15 mm seam allowance, but instead of continuing all the way up to the underarm seam, you’re going to stop 5/8″ or 15 mm above the bottom corner of the pocket.
Step eight is to pivot and sew around the pocket with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Stop once you get 5/8″ or 15 mm past the edge of the side seam. You’ll now be all the way around the pocket.
Step nine is to pivot again and continue sewing with a 5/8″ or 15 mm seam allowance through the underarm seam and down the sleeve, just as in Tasia’s post. When you press your side seam, press it forward after pressing it flat. You won’t be able to top stitch the side seam as Tasia did. You’d sew the pocket shut if you did!
Step ten is to marvel at your fancy side-seam pockets. You’re done! Hooray! And, because you sewed them with a smaller seam allowance, they’ll be nicely hidden in the side seam.
Thanks for joining me on my detour. Let me know if you have any questions or any expertise to offer. Happy sewing!