As mentioned in my last post, I couldn't get the idea of a pocket in a side seam with an invisible zip out of my head. Naturally I googled it, but didn't come up with anything - maybe I couldn't think of the right words to search for! So after some experimenting with scraps, I think I've worked out how to do it.
I will include my usual disclaimer that I am not an expert, and my how-to's are mainly to remind me of how I ever did something. If they are helpful to someone else, that's great! I'm not going to re-invent the wheel by explaining how to sew an invisible zip; instead here is a link to my favourite way to do it. Here we go...
YOU WILL NEED:
- Invisible/concealed zip – The bottom of the zip needs to finish below where the lower edge of the pocket will attach to the skirt.
Have a look at the photo in Point 5, and you will see that the end of my zip is about 2" below the bottom of the lower edge of the pocket.
- Two pocket pieces
- Dress to sew them into!
BEFORE YOU START
Attach the skirt to the bodice, and finish the edges of the sides. Also finish the edges of the pocket pieces. Press the zip teeth with a cool iron.
I appreciate it doesn't help that I used a fabric that doesn't have an obvious right side, so here’s how I have labelled the pieces in the photo below:
A - RIGHT SIDE
B - RIGHT SIDE
The right sides are the sides that your hand will touch when you put your hand in your pocket. If you have a fabric with an obvious right side, then this side faces up as in the photo above.
FRONT RIGHT HALF
BACK LEFT HALF
The zip is right side up (the side that has the zip pull attached), the FRONT RIGHT HALF will attach to the front of the dress, the BACK LEFT HALF will attach to the back.
HOW TO SEW
One of the pocket pieces needs to be attached to the zip, so that when the zip is undone; both pocket pieces will be at the front of the dress.
- Lay the zip down on top of the side seam of the dress, matching up where the top of the zip will attach to the top of the side seam (blue pin on the left in the photo below). There is normally a notch on the pattern to mark this.
On the wrong side of the zip, mark where the zip meets the waist seam. I have marked the back of my zip with white chalk. The waist seam is marked with the red pin on the right in the photo below.
- I like the top of my pockets to be 6cm below the waist seam. I imagine most people will like a longer length, but I'm quite small. We now need to mark this length on the zip.
down from the chalk waist seam mark. In the photo below I have marked this with
the orange pin which is at a right angle to the zip.
Take pocket piece A, and lay it right side up. Take the FRONT RIGHT HALF of the zip and lay it right side down on the pocket piece – right side of the zip and right side of the pocket are touching each other.
Line up the pin marking the position of the top of the pocket with the top of the pocket piece. Pin the zip to the pocket using your seam allowance.
You can see in the photo where the white chalk mark on the zip lines up with the red pin marking the waist seam.
Sew the zip onto the pocket piece using an invisible zip foot.
- THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL
I like to understitch the edges of my pockets to the side seams as I think it makes the seam sit more neatly. Feel free to skip this bit if you don’t do that.
Fold the right side of pocket piece A back on itself, so it and FRONT RIGHT HALF of the zip are both right sides up. Press, using a cool iron so the zip teeth don’t melt, and understitch about ¼” from the edge of the teeth. I used my wide zip foot for this, and sewed through the pocket, the pocket seam allowance and the zip tape. In this photo, the pins are roughly where I will stitch.
- Take pocket piece B and attach it to the FRONT of the dress as normal. If the fabric has an obvious right side, then both right sides will be facing up as in the photo below.
- Now we will attach the zip and pocket piece A to the front of the dress and pocket piece B in one step.
Pin the FRONT RIGHT HALF of the zip to the front of the dress, lining the two pocket pieces up, one on top of the other. Mark the seam allowance at the top and bottom of the pockets (I've done this with white chalk). Pin the two pocket pieces together as in the photo. Sew, pivoting at the seam allowance at the pocket top and bottom. I used my invisible zip foot for all of this, including sewing around the pocket, and it worked perfectly.
Here's what it looks like with the zip pulled closed. You can see the LEFT BACK HALF of the zip on the left.
6. Sew the BACK LEFT HALF of the zip to the back of the dress. Sew up the seam above and below the zip,and there you have it!
I hope it makes sense, the bit about the distance between the waist seam and the top of the pocket got typed about 15 times! If anybody has a question, please leave it in the comments and I'll get back to you.