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GINGER SEWALONG PT 7: ASSEMBLING POCKETS


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Last week we cut out all of our pieces, and today we are going to start assembling the front pockets. If you haven’t basted your pieces together yet to test the fit, you can wait until after your front pockets are done – worst case scenario you have to take the hip or waist in a little and this way you can do it in one fell swoop.

When we left off on Friday, we had pressed the top edges of our three pockets down. Today we’re going to start by topstitching them to get this step out of the way. Following my suggestions for getting straight double rows of topstitching, sew along the tops of your coin and back pockets.

Ginger Skinny Jeans Pattern Sewalong - cutting denim-17

Once stitched, we are going to press all the raw sides in. We won’t be working with the back pockets for a while after this, but it’s nice to just get this step out of the way. Using a seam gauge or ruler, press the three unfinished sides of the back pocket in 1/2″ and press. One side of your pocket has a slight curve so make sure you are not pressing it flat! Also press the straight side of your coin pocket.

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You can see in the above photo that the raw edge of the folded seam peeks out a little. Snip those corners at 45 degrees.

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You can now put your back pockets off to the side, since today we will be focusing on the front pockets. Align your coin pocket on your right pocket facing, matching the little circle marking with the corner of the pocket and pin into place. After pinning, topstitch the straight edge to your facing, making sure you backstitch at the top to secure.

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Now finish the raw edges of both pocket facings, either using an overlock or zig zag stitch. If your pieces get a little wavy around the edges, pressing them with some steam will flatten them out.

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Once the edges are finished, pin your facings to the wrong side of your lining. The right side should be visible when you’re putting them on – no use in wasting a pretty print inside a pocket! You are going to sew all around the edge of the facing. On the outside edges sew inside your seam allowance at around 1/2″. Then sew close to the edge of the curved part of your facing. Since you are stitching a stretch fabric to a non-stretch fabric, your seams may pucker a little bit. If it bugs you, you can use a walking foot. I should have done that in this case. Please forgive my puckers.

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Your pocket linings should now look like this.

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It can be a little confusing to figure out which lining goes where. Hopefully this picture helps.

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Flip the lining over so that the curved edge of the pocket opening matches the pocket opening on the front leg. Pin into place and stitch. I am using the right leg as an example here but repeat this step for each side to reduce switching from regular to topstitching thread.

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Clip into the curve without snipping into your stitch line. I like to clip about every half inch or so I get a nice smooth curve. Flip the lining in and press the pocket nice and flat.

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Once the lining has been attached to each leg, it’s time to sew a double row of topstitching around the curved pocket edge. Sew carefully and as accurately as possible to get nice even lines. Be mindful of your lining as you are sewing. If it’s not laying flat while you are sewing it will peek out after you’ve completed your topstitching.

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Now it’s time to finish the raw edge of the pocket lining. Fold your pocket lining over and align the bottom edge.You can do a french seam here if you like, but I am going to show you a serging trick to prevent this seam from unravelling. Start at the folded edge of the pocket. Once you serge a few stitches, raise the presser foot, bring the thread chain over, and align with your stitch line. You should be able to serge over your thread chain, thus preventing it from unraveling over time. The other end of your serging will be caught in a sewn seam so you don’t have to worry about locking it in place.

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Now that the bottom of the pocket is sewn, baste the top and side edges of your lining to the leg inside your seam allowance. If your pocket is a little wavy, give it a nice press so it lays flat.

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If you are doing a pocket stay like we discussed last week, the process is a little different. You will follow the same steps to attach your facings to your linings, but I like to enclose the seams rather than leave them raw. Simple serge the lining pieces right sides together, flip right side out and press.

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Once the top and bottom linings have been attached, sew your lining to your front leg as outlined above for the regular pocket lining. Once they have been topstitched into place, baste the lining to your leg by sewing about 1/2″ around the sides, top and fly extension.

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That’s it for today! Now is a great time to baste everything together to check the fit. You should do this every time you make jeans, even if you’ve mastered the fit on a previous pair. Denim varies a lot and if you’re working with something particularly, stretchy, it’s better to find out before you start finishing your side seams. To test baste, use your longest stitch length and sew the yokes to the back legs, the back crotch seam, the inseams, the side seams, and attach your waistband (very important to prevent the waist from stretching out). You can catch a lot of possible issues at this stage and correct for many of them. Check the pants fitting guide if you need a little help working out issues.

For a more indepth and easy to read jeans-making course, try our Sewing Your Own Jeans ebook:

Learn how to Sew Jeans // Sewing Your Own Jeans ebook // Closet Case Files

  • You just blew my mind with that serger tail trick! Can’t wait to try it. I love that the pockets are one piece folded back on itself, so tidy.

  • I feel like this is probably a ridiculous question, but can you give a little more detail on the best way to baste the jeans together for fit? (I literally have never basted anything together for fit, as I usually just make multiple muslins to perfect fit, then sew in my fashion fabric once my pattern is altered to my liking.) Would I just follow all of the usual steps for the pants, except using a long basting stitch on my machine?

    I’m guessing the first step in fitting these is still to use some crappy denim to make a muslin, since that will pinpoint if we need to shorten/lengthen parts of the pattern, adjust the crotch, etc. (i.e. things we can’t just adjust easily after cutting)? Then once we’ve gotten that straightened out with crappier denim, we could move on to real stuff and from there we should more or less just be basting together to check that everything is the “right amount of snug”, and would let seams in or out depending on that?

    • Not a ridiculous question – I describe this process in the instructions, but duh, no one is reading those and doing the sewalong. Once your front legs are assembled, baste your yoke to your legs, baste the back crotch seam, then baste the inseam and side seams. Baste the waistband too, otherwise your waist seam will get stretched out. I like doing this because a) jeans take a lot of time and it’s better to catch stuff early and b) all denim is different.

  • Angela

    Do you find that when doing the topstitching (like on the pockets) that the materials stretches just a little as you are going? Is that just me? It isn’t bad, I just wasn’t sure if I was doing something wrong.

    By the way, thank you Heather for doing this sew-along. I have wanted to try jeans for so long, but had never been brave enough before. A long time ago I hemmed a pair of RTW stretch jeans using topstitching thread so it would look good (made sure to match colors and all!), and in the process the hem stretched the fabric and it looked a bit wonky ever after. After that, I’ve been afraid to touch denim with any stretch in it! But, I REALLY want to be able to do this, so with a deep breath I have plunged in!

    • Yep that’s normal. You just gotta press with some steam to get back into shape!

  • Jeanette Cruzalegui

    Hello from sunny Los Angeles!! I’ve been working on the pocket stay for version B and I just don’t get it at all. This is my first time making jeans so maybe that’s why, but I’m getting frustrated. I’ve been reading the instructions, reading the E- Book, and this sew along, over and over again. I’m still stuck in the same place and the pictures don’t help because the lining pieces don’t look similar enough to the pocket stay pieces, at least to me they don’t. Can you please help me?? I’d appreciate it. :)

    • Jeanette Cruzalegui

      Never mind!! After a couple of hours of turning it over in my head I finally figured it out. Turns out I was making it waaayyyy more difficult than it was. Lol… :)