How To Add A Side Seam Pocket To A Dress: Drafting A Pattern For An On-Seam Pocket And How To Sew It Into The Seam Of A Dress.
One of the best ways to make a dress more comfortable is by the addition of side seam pockets. Of course, fabric and style matter enormously when it comes to comfort, but there is nothing more appealing than comfort and functionality working together to create the perfect garment.
On-seam pocket sewn into the side seam of a dress.
While all pockets are a desirable addition to any garment, there is something about the discreetness and convenience of on-seam pockets (or in-seam pockets) that truly elevate the quality of a clothing item. Due to their very functional nature, on-seam pockets, especially those that are sewn into the side seams, work well with almost all styles of dresses. Unfortunately, in a world where apparel manufacturing costs are very high, adding pockets to dresses means raising the prices on both wholesale and consequently, retail levels.
If you love pockets, especially those comfy side seam ones, and have some favorite dresses that could benefit a great deal from their addition, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to sew a pair of functional pockets to an already made dress yourself. It's actually quite simple to do and you get to choose the size, color and shape of the actual pocket- there is nothing more fun than playing fashion designer with the clothing items in your own closet. Learning how to make this useful alteration will become your go-to for adding function and comfort to all your favorite clothing items from dresses to bottoms that need a little upgrade.
In the extensive tutorial to follow, we'll show you how to draft a classic on-seam pocket pattern from scratch, how to cut the pocket pieces out of fabric, and finally, how to sew a functional on-seam pocket into the side seam of an already-made dress. This is a dream alteration for women that love the convenience of pockets, and applicable to almost all garment types.
1. Choose the area on the side seam where you want the pockets to be located. The easiest way to do this is by trying the dress on and then placing your hand in the area where the pocket opening should be. This opening should not be too high or too uncomfortably low on the seam. The best pocket placement is at about 3-4 inches down from the waistline.
In this case, our dress has an elastic waistband which provides a clear mark for where the waist is located on the dress. Measure from this elastic waistband (or the waistline on your dress) about 3-4 inches down along the side seam and follow the next step to mark the actual pocket opening starting at this point.
Everything You Need To Know About Darts In Sewing: 4 Ways to Transfer Darts From Pattern To Fabric And How To Correctly Sew Darts.
Darts are triangle-like shapes that constitute the most basic, structural element in sewing. You can think of darts as triangular intakes of excess fabric that get shaped according to the contour of the body. It is thanks to darts that we can turn a 2-dimensional element like fabric into a 3-dimensional shape that is able to accommodate the curves and contour of the human form comfortably.
A Single Pointed Bust Dart
Darts are normally added to the most curved areas of the body, most commonly along the bust, waist, hips and back shoulder. The amount of excess taken into a dart depends on how much shaping and contouring is necessary or the design at the hand. This excess variation also depends on where the dart is located on the garment. For example, darts at the front waist are often thinner and shorter than those at the back waist. This difference has to do with the body's shape and more specificity, the fact that the natural curve of a women's back is more pronounced and has more depth, thus requiring more excess to be take into the dart.
Before getting into the dart structure itself, it is important to note that there are two main type of darts: Single pointed Darts and Double Pointed Darts also knows as Contour Darts.
Single Pointed Darts
Single pointed darts are the most common darts used in dressmaking, and perhaps the first type of drat you will learn as a sewing beginner. A single pointed dart has the triangular shape of an angle featuring two dart lines and a single dart point. These simple darts are most commonly found at the bust area of woven dresses and tops, as well as the waistline of woven separates such as non-stretch pants, skirts and form-fitting not stretch tops.
To understand the structure of a single pointed dart it is important to take a look at it's basic constructive elements:
A single pointed dart has 2 dart legs, 1 fold line, a 1 vanishing point or dart point.
As you'll see in the tutorial steps below, the dart gets folded along the fold line such that both dart legs overlap after which both layers of fabric or sewn together into an triangular shape. The stitch line is applied following the dart leg mark, starting from the wider area of the dart and ending at the dart vanishing point. You will actually get to learn how to do this following the sewing steps provided in this tutorial.
A two-piece stand collar, also knows as a mandarin collar, is a common collar style used for most woven garments. As opposed to a one-piece rectangular stand collar which gets folded onto itself to clean finish, a two-piece stand collar consists of two layers of fabric- The layer visible on the right side of the garment is the self piece while the identical piece that backs it on the inside of the garment is the facing.
A two-piece stand collar is slightly curved to align within the curve of the neckline. This allows it to lay properly on the shoulders maintaining the correct structure throughout. As opposed to a rectangular one-piece collar, a two-piece stand collar cannot be cut on fold because of its curved shape. Two identical pieces must be cut (the self and the facing) and then sewn together to complete the shape of the collar.
So why is it necessary that you learn how to sew a two-piece stand collar if you can sew a one-piece rectangular one? Well, a one-piece rectangular collar is a bit limited in its construction. Due to the fact that it lacks a seam along its edge, a one-piece collar cannot support the addition of inserts or other collar combinations. Vise versa, a two-piece stand collar features a seam along its outer edge (as you'll see in the tutorial below) which allows other inserts to be sewn into this edge.
The best example illustrating this concept is in the case of a classic shirt collar- if you take a closer look at its construction, you will notice that the top portion is a rolled collar that is sewn into the outer edge seam of a stand collar. This would not be possible with a one-piece rectangular stand collar which has a fold along its outer edge as opposed to a seam. Thus, a two-piece stand collar allows for more versatility and different applications making it an important technique to learn, especially as a sewing beginner.
Before we get started with the sewing steps below, here are a few stand collar resources you might find helpful:
How To Draft a Pattern For a One-Piece Rectangular Stand Collar.
How To Draft a Pattern For a Two-Piece Stand Collar (Mandarin Collar).
How To Sew a One-Piece Rectangular Stand Collar.
1. Fold the fabric in two and pin the pattern according to the grainline. As mentioned above, a two-piece stand collar consists of two identical pieces that are the mirror image of each other. One is the self piece, which is the layer we see on the right side of the garment, the other is the facing, which is the identical piece that backs the self to line the inside of the garment.
Folding the fabric and cutting the pattern through both layers simultaneously allows for the creation of these two identical pieces.
Pin the pattern along its edges at the seam allowance in order to keep the pattern flat during cutting.
Now that you know how to pattern a simple one piece rectangular collar and a two piece stand collar, it is only natural that you should also learn how to sew these two common types of standing collars. They are actually not too difficult to sew if you follow all the proper construction steps from the beginning.
Use the detailed steps in the tutorial below, to sew a simple one-piece rectangular collar on a high curved neckline.
Before we get sewing, here is some information on basic standing collars:
Standing or stand collars are sewn to the neckline edge. They are usually positioned on a higher neckline.
There are two basic stand collar styles: the plain stand collar or mandarin, and a rolled or turned-down stand collar. As you might have guessed, the difference is in the width of the collar itself. The turned-down collar is folded down like a turtleneck and it has to be wider (or taller) in order to allow enough length for this fold.
Stand collars, as opposed to regular knit turtlenecks, usually have a slit opening corresponding to the opening of the garment. This is an important construction feature for most woven collars that lack stretch.
If the stand collar is shorter in width, it does not necessarily require a closure at the slit opening. On the other hand, if the stand collar is taller or turned down, it will require some form of closure at the opening in order to maintain its structure. This can be in the form of hook and eyes, snaps, or button loops.
Now that you know how to pattern the most simple of standing collars- a one piece rectangular collar, it's only natural to learn how to pattern a standing collar that is perhaps a bit more difficult. A two-piece stand collar is a little more challenging in the fact that as opposed to it folding over itself to clean finish, it requires the use of a second, identical piece to serve as its facing. In addition, in order to match the curve of the neckline and for the collar to lay properly on the organic area of the shoulders, a two-piece stand collar should be slightly curved at the bottom.
So why would you waste your time learning how to pattern and sew a two-piece stand collar when you know a simple rectangular one? Well, the style of a two-piece stand collar is also used in other collar applications thus providing an important collar construction technique to learn as a beginner. A two-piece stand collar like the one you'll find described below, is an important addition to a basic shirt collar- the rolled collar (which we'll learn a bit later) is actually sewn into the top edge of a two-piece stand collar to provide the tailored look and structure of that classic collar style present in button down womens and mens shirts.
A two-piece stand collar can have straight, angular edges, or have curved edges. It is also commonly known as a mandarin collar due to the fact that it originates from traditional oriental apparel.
As opposed to a one-piece rectangular collar which has interfacing applied to half of its inner surface before being folded onto itself, a two-piece stand collar is constructed of two separate pieces- one serves as the self, which we see on the face side of the garment, and the other piece serves at the facing, which is basically a mirror image of the self.
Normally, interfacing is applied to the wrong side of the self piece. However, this rule isn't set in stone- some fabrics work better visually and functionally if the interfacing is applied on the facing piece as opposed to the self. There are instances, when both self and facing have to be backed with interfacing due to the flimsy nature of the fabric - remember, a stand collar has to have some structure.
Anyways, you'll learn more about the actual construction of these two collar styles in the tutorials to come, but for now, lets focus on drafting a pattern for a two-piece stand collar.
In this tutorial, the stand collar opening will be located on the front, corresponding to the center front of the garment. This is a common application both for classic shirt collars and traditional mandarin collars. The center front edges have already been clean finished as shown above.
Standing or stand collars will never go out of style. A standing collar's simplicity and clean lines can be applied to just about any style and any garment whether it is a woven or a knit. As a sewing beginner (if you are one), you'll certainly strive to learn how to sew a few basic collar applications- A stand collar is one of them. It is simple to pattern, sew and understand construction-wise, and can be used in combination with other styles of collars such as rolled and classic shirt collars.
As a beginner, a simple standing collar is a great way to learn the basic techniques applied to sewing all sorts of collars from simple to more complex. Before getting to the sewing steps, it is actually quite helpful to learn how to make a pattern for a basic stand collar. Drafting a stand collar pattern is quite simple and it helps you understand the neckline area better also allowing you the ability to control the design, size and shape of the standing collar.
The best way to get started is with the most basic of standing collars- a rectangular one piece collar that gets folded onto itself to create the collars backing. As you'll see from the steps to follow, making the pattern from scratch is actually quite simple if you have the neckline measurements at hand.
In this case, there is a center back seam at the garment's back. In order to sew a stand collar with a slit, a seam (whether at the center back or center front) is required.
1. Starting on one edge of the center back seam, measure along the curve of the neckline carefully using measuring tape as shown. Measure around the neckline until you reach the other edge of the center back seam as shown. Note this measurement.
In this tutorial the total neckline measurement is 17". Keep in mind that this also includes the center back seam allowance which is 1/2" on both center back edge. What this means is that the actual length of the finished collar (when all the seam allowance is clean finished) is actually 16". If this sounds a bit confusing, don't worry! Everything will become much clearer as you move down the steps below.
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