Step-by-Step: Welt Pocket on Your Denim Jacket

This tutorial is meant to accompany the instructions of the Atenas Jacket. Similar to all other Itch to Stitch patterns, the instructions of the Atenas Jacket pattern are sufficient (and quite detailed actually) to walk you through every step of the way to construct the welt pocket, but I feel that a photo tutorial would give some extra hand-holding to those who need it.

The Atenas Jacket is a classic denim jacket; the welt pocket and the pattern pieces are representative denim jackets you see from the stores. Even if you are making a denim jacket from another pattern, I think you will get some insight out of this tutorial with tons of photos.

Let’s begin!

These are the basic pieces we have:

  • One piece of pocket bag in primary fabric
  • One piece of pocket bag in lining
  • One piece of welt
  • One piece of front where you will put the welt pocket on
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Also, the welt should already have been interfaced.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I also put little pieces of my trusty painter’s tape on the pocket bags to indicate which side is up and which side is down. You’d be surprised that after you remove the pattern pieces, it’s very easy to be confused. My kind of painter’s tape doesn’t leave any mark on my fabric. (I ended up repositioning the tape away from the cut edges so that they won’t interfere with my stitching later.)

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

On the front, where you will put the pocket is also interfaced (this is the welt pocket support piece). If your pattern doesn’t come with this pattern piece, you can just cut a rectangle of interfacing that is big enough to cover the entire pocket opening.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Some people ask, how do you mark this pocket opening? If you mark it on the front, then put the welt support interfacing on it, don’t you have to remark? Yes, I do. I don’t see a way around this. I mark the front first so that I can apply the interfacing. Then I mark again before I proceed.

Here I put tracing paper and tracing wheel to mark the opening.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I even darken the mark a little with my chalk wheel, so there isn’t going to be any confusion.

At this point, it’s wise to remeasure to ensure that the rectangle is exactly 1/2″ (1.25 cm). Precision is important when it comes to welt pockets.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I will be referring to the long line close to the side seam as Line A, and the long line close to the center front as Line B.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Then we will baste on those markings. The purpose of the basting is that you will be able to see the basting lines on both the right side and the wrong side. Make sure the basting lines extend beyond the rectangle; they will be easier to see that way in the later steps.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

This is how the basting lines look like from the wrong side.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now it’s time to press the welt. Fold the welt in half lengthwise with the right side inside.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

We put the welt on the RIGHT side of the front. You want the raw edges of the welt to be on Line A. Also note that the short ends of the welt hang over the short ends of the basted rectangle.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I pin the welt onto the front and flip over to the wrong side to baste on Line B through all layers.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Here’s how it looks on the right side.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Let’s switchgear to the pocket bags. I serge the top and one of the sides (not the straight one, but the “crocked” one). I do it at the time because it will be hard to serge later. You could use zigzag too to finish if you don’t have a serger. If you do use a serger, be sure not to trim too much fabric off.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

With right sides together, pin the pocket lining to the front. You want to align the cut edges at the bottom, and the unfinished straight edge of the pocket bag should be 3 1/2″ (9 cm) from the front edge of the front. The welt is sandwiched in between.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I pin the pocket bag to the front. (I do tend to pin a lot; I admit this many pins is a little excessive…)

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Then I flip to the wrong side and pin again around the welt support interfacing, and then remove the pins from the right side. This way, I know the pocket bag hasn’t flipped over or shifted.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now from the wrong side, I stitch on Line B, starting and ending EXACTLY at the edges of the rectangle. Use a shorter stitch length at the beginning and the end of the line (I use 1 mm).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

When you flip the whole thing over, you see one line on the pocket bag like this.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now peel the pocket bag out of the way, and trim the welt in half (precision is not required here; just approximately in half in fine).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Smooth the pocket bag back again and flip to the wrong side of the front. Put a few pins close to Line A through all layers and stitch on Line A. The same drill here—precision is important here—starting and ending EXACTLY at the edges of the rectangle. Use a shorter stitch length at the beginning and the end of the line (I use 1 mm).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now on the flip side, you can see two lines of stitching.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

This is the scary part for many people. We are cutting a hole in the fabric. First, cut the pocket bag. You cut a line in the middle, and toward the short end (approximately 1″ or 2.5 cm), you cut a “Y” so that the cuts are exactly at the stitch lines. Essentially, the ends look like a little triangle.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Then flip the whole thing over, and repeat the same cut on the front. This time we are only cutting the front (not the welt).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now we insert the pocket bag through the hole. It looks like an enormous mess, but it will be better, I promise.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

You also flip the welt inside the hole, and you have to pull the ends of the welt in between the pocket bag and the front (basically peek out between the triangles of the pocket bag and front).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Give it a good press. You will see that you are not heading to chaos. This is how the right side looks now.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

And this is the wrong side.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

On the right pin next to Line B through all layers (make sure pocket bag is smoothed out.)

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Topstitch next to Line B through all layers.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Flip to the wrong side again. Now wright right sides together, pin the pocket bag (primary fabric) to the pocking bag lining, matching all the edges.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Pin the edges of the pocket bags together (be sure not to pin the front though).

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

With the front out of the way, stitch the top edges of the pocket bags together. You will need to catch the very base of the triangle (as well as the welt) when you make this stitch line.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Then you are doing essentially the same thing on the bottom edge of the pocket; however, the bottom edge is not a straight line. So what you do is to stitch through the base of the triangle and pivot, and stitch to the bottom.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Now, this is how it looks like on the wrong side.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Flip to the right side again and put a few pins through all layers next to Line A. Make sure that the pocket bag underneath is smoothed out. I also push the opening a little so there’s no big ole’ gap at there.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

Topstitch next to Line A through all layers.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

At the short ends, I make a bartack.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

You see here that my bartack is the very edge of the short end, but actually it’s also OK to put it a just 1/8″ (3 mm) away like I did on my actual jacket.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

That’s how the right and wrong side looks like now with the bartacks at each short end. (I also removed all the visible basting stitches.)

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch
Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

You can remove the painter’s tape labels at this point (actually don’t forget or your label is stuck between the layers). All we left is to baste the open edges to the front.

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

When you have your front button placket and bottom band constructed, those edges will be sandwiched and enclosed.

You’ve done it!

Welt Pocket on Denim Jacket Atenas Jacket Itch to Stitch

I feel like I need a nap now…

The welt pocket takes work and focus, but the end result truly is satisfying. If this is your very first welt pocket, it’s worthwhile to do a practice run on some scrap before proceeding. In fact, I hadn’t done one for a while and I sure practiced before cutting a bit ole’ hole in my real jacket. Didn’t you hear the saying “measure twice, cut once” before? It’s very applicable here.

Good luck and keep stitching!

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