Hello, all! The following is a full step-by-step photo tutorial for adding french-seamed welt pockets to any pair of pants or skirt. The pattern pieces shown here are included in the Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Pack No. 1 and No. 2, but you could also use this if you want to draft your own pieces for another pattern.
You may add the welt pockets to any pattern within the Chi-Town Chinos collection. If you’re following the sewalong posts, you’ll want to use these directions instead of adding patch pockets in this post. If you’re following the instruction manual, use this in place of using the top of page 32 of the original instructions.
Disclaimer: this is the weirdest mix of fabric, I know…but I wanted it to be very clear when determining right/wrong sides and differentiating all of the pieces from one another. So, it’s not all that pretty, but I hope it’s clear.
Note: remember to account for any change you made to the rise. Update the pocket pattern pieces as well as the placement of the pocket and piece T.
Before starting, you will sew the darts on the back pant/skirt piece and press toward the center back seam.
Begin by transferring rectangle markings on pattern pieces to pants interfacing (V), welt pocket rectangle interfacing (U), and wrong side of pocket bag (S). Make sure the corners of these markings are very precise and clear.
Apply fusible interfacings (both U and V); for the pants interfacing (V), align the bottom of the rectangle marking with the pocket placement line on the pattern. The pocket placement line will be skewed after sewing the dart, so use it only as a general guide for vertical placement. Ultimately, you want the rectangle marking placed at a 90 degree angle to and centered on the dart.
I highly recommend placing this interfacing for each pant leg at the same time. That’s the easiest way to make sure that they line up with one another, as asymmetrical welt pockets will be fairly noticeable.
Finish the bottom of your interfaced welt pocket rectangle (U), either with a zigzag stitch or a serger (you will only have one of these per pocket, though two are shown above to illustrate one interfaced side and one not).
Next, turn under each long edge of the pocket facing (T) by 1/2” and edgestitch to wrong side of pocket bag, aligning notches.
Stack pocket bag (right side up), pant back (right side up), and interfaced welt pocket rectangle (wrong side/interfaced side up), aligning all rectangle markings.
Be mindful of which edge is the top, as marked on the pattern, when placing the welt pocket rectangle (U). I recommend sticking a pin through all of the layers to ensure each corner matches up exactly.
Stitch along the long edges of the rectangle markings, stopping and starting exactly at the corners. (This is very important!) Backstitch at the beginning and end of each line to secure. You will not be stitching across the short edges of the box—leave those open.
Press the top and bottom sections of the welt pocket rectangle toward each line you have just stitched, as if you are pressing a seam open.
With sharp fabric scissors, clip along the center of the rectangle (through all layers), stopping 1/2” from each short end. From this line, clip diagonally toward each corner, clipping to, but not through, the stitching line. The closer you get to this stitching line, the crisper the corners will be.
Now turn the welt pocket rectangle to the inside of the pants, straightening everything to a perfect open rectangle; press well.
Turn the pants over (wrong side up). Fold the bottom section of the welt rectangle up and press the seam allowance underneath open.
Fold the bottom of this section back down, creating a fold that aligns with the top of the opening. Don’t get too aggressive here; you want the top of this fold to sit just inside of the opening. Press well and make these folds sharp.
Turn the pants over (right side up); with the welt laying flat, fold the sides of the pant and pocket bag toward the center, pulling them taut. This will reveal small triangles. Stitch across the triangles, securing them to the welt pocket rectangle underneath. Make sure that you have maintained the pressed folds of the welt rectangle from the previous step. Stitch as close as you can to the pant and pocket bag fabric without catching it. Repeat for triangles on opposite end.
Pull the pant fabric back open and lay flat. Add a buttonhole underneath the welt, starting 3/8” underneath the center of the welt and sewing straight down. The buttonhole will be going through the pants, one layer of your pocket bag lining, and the bottom of your welt rectangle.
Pull the entire pocket bag through the opening to the right side of the pants. Make sure you’ve grabbed the entire lining, including the top. Fold the pocket bag in half, right sides together, aligning the raw edges of the sides and tops. The welt pocket facing (T) should be visible. Pin sides and stitch together using a 1/4” seam allowance. It’s easiest to sew with the pockets face down on your machine. Trim seam allowance to 1/8”.
Pull the pocket bag back through to the wrong side of the pants and press. Sew sides again at 1/4” seam allowance, enclosing the original seam. Backstitch at the beginning and end.
Flip the pants over (right side up). Pulling the top of the pant back down, expose the pocket bag underneath. Stitch across the entire width of the pocket bag only, just above the welt pocket.
Align the tops of the pocket bag and pant back and baste together 1/4-1/2” from top. Trim any pocket bag fabric sticking out above the pant back to keep the curve intact.
To finish, sew a bar tack along the full length of each short end of the welt.
Sew on a button inside of the pocket, aligning it with the buttonhole opening.
Your pocket is now finished with a french seam and all raw edges are completely enclosed within the pocket—a beautiful and long-lasting finish.
You’ve created a welt pocket! Repeat for the other side. When you’re finished, return to the bottom of page 32 of the original instruction manual or back to this post to sew the center back seam.
Below you will find the list of links to each blog post in the sewalong. If you have any questions, absolutely feel free to e-mail me.
- Introducing the Chi-Town Chinos Sewing Pattern
- Introducing the Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Packs
- Chi-Town Chinos Tester Round-Up
- Chi-Town Chinos Expansion Pack Tester Round-Up
- Part 1 : Inspiration
- Part 2 : Supplies
- Part 3 : Customizing the Pattern
- Part 4 : Fitting + Finishing
- Part 5 : Prepwork
- Part 6 : Front Pockets
- Part 7 : Fly Front
- Part 8 : Back Assembly + Final Fitting
- Part 8.5 : Welt Pockets
- Part 9 : Waistband, Center Back Seam, Inseam, Side Seams
- Part 10 : Belt Loops, Bar Tacks, Hemming, Front Closure