Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Want Smooth Corners?

Pockets can be tricky sometimes. You can take the time to cut perfectly but when trying to fold the excess seam allowance for rounded or curved corners, an angular edge can sometimes result no matter how detailed or careful you press.

A long time ago I learned a trick for stitching rounded pockets which helps to eliminate the angular-ness of the edges. Recreating the Pocket step from the recent Ice Cream Dress pattern (by Oliver + S) that I made for SweetPea, I have made a simple tutorial to share the trick with you, too!

Starting with Step 2 of the Ice Cream Dress pattern, you will baste as instructed, creating your fold line for the pocket edge.


The extra step is to baste again inside the seam allowance about 1/8 inch from the original basting line. Begin just outside the curve on the straight edge. In this case I basted a second line for each curvature, starting just before and stopping just beyond the curved corners. Next, trim your seam allowance to within 1/8 inch from your newly basted lines (1/4 inch from your basted fold line). If you are making a rounded pocket, you will start your extra basting step at the beginning of the curve continuing around.

Using your long threads from the second basting lines around the curvatures, gently and very slightly pull a soft gather. Doing this will automatically bring the pocket corner into a smooth edge.

The basting stitches you see along the outside edge in the photo above were created in Step 2 as a folding guide for the pocket edge - use this basting line to fold the seam allowance in as you press. Once you stitch the pocket in place, you can easily remove the basting stitches.


Pin the pocket in place and slowly, carefully edgestitch it to the garment as instructed. I like to sew slowly around the corners, one stitch at a time, lifting the presser foot and turning the corners in between each stitch. This helps to keep the top-stitching line equidistant to the pocket edge.

This same trick can apply to quilt applique, too!

16 comments:

sahmcolorado said...

Thank you for sharing. This is a fantastic tip! I will definitely use this technique from now on.

Sarvi said...

Love these tutorials, so helpful for visualizing each step. Thank you!

norasroom said...

Aren't you the clever one! This is great, and so timely.

madebymum said...

I love your tutorial so helpful.

McGibbon said...

thank you so much for the tutorial! your pocket looks so great. quick question - i'm having a hard time making my v come to a sharp point and am unsure as to what the hint in the instructions mean exactly. what does it mean to stitch across the bottom of the v before pivoting? when i'm stitching down, do i continue another stitch past the bottom dot or do i pivot slightly take a stitch and then go up? sorry if i'm being unclear, but i really wish i could just see a picture!! i LOVE this pattern but am so disappointed with my sewing with the v's! thanks for any help in advance!

April said...

Hi, McGibbon - thank you for your note. What you do is stitch down to the little dot (that you transferred), but more to the side of the dot - like a teensy,tinsey bit to the side of the dot. Pivot your machine, stitch one little stitch horizontally at the point (I sometimes adjust my stitch length so it's shorter) and then proceed up the V to the 2nd top point and proceed. Trim your seam allowances to 1/8 inch and then clip to the point - to your little horizontal stitch, being very careful to not cut too far. Hope this helps! Good question!

guurrrl said...

Thank you for sharing this tutorial. You always provide such clear details :)

McGibbon said...

wow! thank you SO SO much for your help. i'm planning on making my daughters each one in linen for the summer. can't wait to try out your hints to improve my pockets and v's :) !

MaryC in VA said...

Thanks so much! This is great!

Stephanie said...

wow congrats on becoming a guest Oliver and S blogger. That's cool.

April said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I'm all blushes over here. ;)

Rebecca said...

FABULOUS tutorial!! Thank you so much for doing this! I am participating in the Ice Cream social and just used your tutorial to make my first pockets ever and I think that it was way less frustrating than it could have been- thanks to you!!

Kimber said...

This is genius - thank you!

becca said...

Wow! Thank you so much for this tip. What a great technique. :)

Chris said...

This was incredibly helpful! I pulled the second gathering stitch a teeny bit, and it rounded beautifully.

Andrea Wedewer said...

This worked so well! This was my first attempt at curved pockets and they turned out so wonderfully. Thanks for the great tip.