Apronalong – Sewing and Attaching The Pocket

Right! Ready for some of the sweetest sewing of your career? Today we are going to make and attach our pocket. Cue lots of fun with cotton and lace.

Remember, I am working with View C of Butterick 4087. If you’re working with another view, you’ll need to check back with the pattern instructions.

First, the pattern asks us to stay stitch the inside edges of piece 10. For placement of stay stitching, I tend to line the raw edge of the fabric up with the side of the presser foot:

Try to avoid sewing over your tailor’s tacks – that will only make them more difficult to remove at a later stage. I use the tip of my seam ripper to move them out of the way.

Once this is done, I pink the edge. I keep my pinking scissors very close to the raw edge. I’m not trying to adjust the size of the pocket, just finish the seams. Why? I want my apron to go through the washing machine without seams inside the pocket fuzzing up.

Once this edge is pinked, I also clip the curved edge as suggested by the pattern. Then we press these seams under, turning at the stay stitching. TOP TIP Turn the steam off at your iron for intricate pressing such as this. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of your time gasping, ‘Ow! Ow! Ow!’

Put these pieces to one side and take out piece 11. Centre ric rac or lace over the outer edges. Pin and then baste in place, as below. I’m using vintage lace. If you’re also using lace I have two tips:

  • Check if your lace has a wrong side and a right side. Mine did, though it was easy to miss. Make sure you place both right sides up.
  • If your lace has a repeating pattern (it’s likely to) you might want to ensure that the pattern lines up on either side of your pocket piece.

Then take your two piece 10s and overlap them at the sides of piece 11. Your tailor’s tacks will come in useful here, to ensure accurate placement.

At this stage, I removed the tailor’s tacks where these three pieces meet.

Now take your pocket to the sewing machine and topstitch these pieces in place. After this step, add a line of stay stitching across the top of pocket, then go and give everything a good press. All the way through this make, I want you to press, press, press! You’ll thank me for it.

The pattern suggests adding ric rac or lace to the top of this pocket. I’m not going to do that, but you go ahead if you want to. Instead, I pinked all four edges, then clipped and turned over twice the top edge, sewing down with a line of stitching. Then I pressed over each of the three other seams, starting with the side seams, and ending with the bottom seam.

The pattern advises easing in these seams. This is because there’s often excess fabric in a turned over seam. You don’t have to worry too much about this here, the easing in happened of its own volition:

Those wrinkles are the easing in. They won’t show on the top of the finished pocket. The below is what the rear of my pocket looked like after pinking and turning in seams:

Now, we’re going to pin our pocket to our apron – specifically, to piece 12. This is where your tailor’s tacks prove their worth. You’re going to line each top corner of your pocket up with each of the tailor’s tacks you made on piece 12.

Without these placement guides, the natural temptation would be to lay your pocket flat on piece 12 and pin into place. When you follow the guidance of your tacks, look what happens:

See how the top of the pocket billows? That’s so that you can easily slide your hand into your pocket. One clever little detail! Pin the rest of your pocket in place.

Normally, I’d keep the placement of pins consistent (head following tip, head following tip etc) for ease of sewing. But in this case, I was most concerned with just getting the pocket pinned as accurately as possible, shoving a pin where felt right. That’s okay – I can suck up a few seconds’ extra patience at the machine.

Now, we’re going to top stitch our pocket in place. The pattern doesn’t suggest adding triangles to the top corners of the pocket, but I’m going to ask you to do this. It will make a big difference to the life span of your pocket. Think of all the times you’re going to roughly shove a fist into this pocket, scrambling for a tissue or cooking implement!

How do I do this, Karen? It really is easy and I’ve taken step-by-step photos below. (Click on the collage and it will go much bigger.)

  • Start your line of sewing a few millimetres down from the top corner, with your presser foot facing at a diagonal towards the top of the pocket. If you want to keep an eye on accuracy, count your stitches. I sewed 7 stitches to the top of the pocket.
  • Leave your needle down in the fabric and raise your presser foot. Turn the fabric so that your presser foot now faces the outer edge of the pocket. Lower the presser foot and sew a few stitches to the very edge. I sewed 3 stitches. Try to repeat these number of stitches on the second triangle you’ll make at the other top corner.
  • Leave your needle down in the fabric, and raise your presser foot. Turn the fabirc so that your presser foot now faces down the outer edge of the pocket.
  • Sew along all three seam edges of the pocket. Repeat the above steps in reverse. To help myself match one triange to the other, I placed a pin to show where I should be aiming towards with the final line of the triangle.

Whenever you lift your presser foot, please ensure that your needle is puncturing the fabric.

Remove the work from the sewing machine. Remove tacks and clip thread ends. Give everything one last press and you’re done! You are now the proud owner of the prettiest pocket in the world.

I’m going to leave you with one last task – to do three rows of basting across the top of piece 12, leaving long tails. You won’t need this quite yet, but it will be a relief to have this done and ready for when you start gathering.

If you have any questions, let me know. Otherwise, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’re creating something wondrous!

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7 Responses to Apronalong – Sewing and Attaching The Pocket

  1. MrsC says:

    What a pretty pocket detail, I will file that one for sure! Top tip – run a line of stay stitching along the fold line of the pocket sides and bottom – it gives a nice crisp place to fold the raw edges under, like scoring a card does. And I am interested that you usually pin along the sewing line, not at right angles to it. I find it distorts the fabric too much and as you have to remove the pin well in advance, doesn’t give as good a hold as the right angle pinning does. But these things are very individual.
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you are encouraging the use of tailors tacks!!! They are such wonderful sewing aids and so quick to do and I am with you on the whole satisfying process aspect of it too 🙂

    • Good question! 99.9 per cent of the time I pin as you describe. I think it’s because this piece was a bit small and fiddly that I just wanted to pin along the seams to ensure accurate placement. I don’t really know why!

  2. Law says:

    Triangles at the top of the pocket! Genius!

    I am waaaay behind with this sewalong, I still haven’t finished picking fabric. Never mind hopefully I can catch up at the weekend.

  3. Veryimpressive. Your work is quality. I’ve had to give the apron along a miss due to stress in my life ATM. I bought my pattern so I will do it sometime in the future.

  4. Thank you for this very helpful tutorial! Do you have any tips on successful top stitching? Mine is usually a bit wonky!

  5. macstabby says:

    I LOVE this pocket. After I finish my own apron, I may have to do another one using this pattern! If only I weren’t such a sucker for aprons of all kinds. 🙂

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