Thread Theory

Welcome to the new era of menswear sewing. Go ahead and create something exceptional!

Day 3 – Sewing the Back Pockets and Yoke (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

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Edited-19 Today’s a big day (we’re sewing both the back patch pockets on and the yoke) so we’ve got some blueberry and lavender water and a snack to keep us going as well as Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” to sing along to as we work.  Don’t worry, none of this process is too difficult – we’ll take it step by step!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMq-8ObJhZg

Katie of The Creative Counselor, the skilled sewist who created this version of the Jedediah Pants, has kindly shared with us an alternative way of sewing the back patch pockets which results in absolutely no raw edges and a very strong pocket – both things that I want in a pocket, that’s for sure!  To see her guest post explaining how to use the Jedediah Pants patch pocket to do this, click here.

To create the version I’ve included in the Jedediah Pants instructions, simply follow along here!  With our stitching templates handy, we will first transfer the pocket stitching design.

Edited-17 We’ll do this by placing layering both pockets together (wrong sides together) and putting the template on top.   Choose one of the mountain-shaped stitch lines (I picked the highest) and place pins at the highest and lowest points of the line. Edited-18 Now flip over the three layers and place pins in through the other direction exactly where the first three pins extend from.  Pull off the stitch template and replace the three pins you pulled off with it. Edited-20 Pull apart the two pocket pieces, leaving a set of pins in each piece.  On the right side of each pocket, I’ve transferred the top highest stitching line using chalk and a ruler to ‘connect the dots’ between each pin.Edited-21 Edited-22

With only the top stitching line transferred, I like to sew along this line and then use the markings on my sewing machine bed to measure the distance to the next line.  You could simply mark the next two lines with chalk as well but I find it is trickier to make really straight topstitching when I am trying to follow a line instead of watching the measurement on my sewing machine and it’s relation to the presser foot.  You choose!  Either way, each stitching line is about 3/8″ apart.

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After creating the decorative top-stitching, we are ready to start sewing the pocket.  To begin this process, I’ve used two scraps of binding to finish the top edge of the pocket.  I’ve placed the wider side of the binding on the bottom and the narrower side on the top and then sandwiched the pocket piece in-between the two.  I’ve stitched, catching all three layers.

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To create the top corners of the pocket, we must fold along the notched fold line so that right sides are together and then stitch, using a 5/8″ seam allowance from the folded edge down to the edge of the binding.  Next, I’ve trimmed along this stitched line so that the seam allowance is 1/4″ wide:

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Once both pocket corners are trimmed, turn out the corners using something pointy (a knitting needle is good for this!)  and press under the rest of the pocket edges at 5/8″ seam allowance to match the edge created by the sewn corners.  Once done, you will have something that resembles a pocket front!

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All that we have to do to finish the back patch pockets is stitch along the top edge of the pockets, 1/2″ from the top and then place them on the pant Back pieces.  Here is how I ensure that the pockets are level and in the correct place (nothing worse than lopsided back pockets!):  First I pin them on using the markings that we made when we cut out the fabric to line things up.

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Here is a closer look:

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Then I lay the the pant Backs with right sides together and fold back the fabric to see if the pockets are sitting directly on top of each other.  If they aren’t, I adjust the pins and check again.

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Once accurately pinned, we can top-stitch the pocket in place.  I like to create a triangle of stitching at the top corner of each pocket for added strength.  I do this by beginning stitching 1/2″ from the top of the pocket, stitching on an angle to the top of the pocket, over to the edge of the pocket (1/4″ away) and then down the side, continuing to the other top corner and reversing the triangle process.  Here is a close up so you can better understand what I’m talking about (ignore the yoke above the pocket, we’re doing that next!):

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Phew!  We’re done the patch pockets!  Take a breather and then we’re on to the flat-felled back yoke (I told you it was a bit of a long day!).

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I’ve started the back yoke by pinning the Yoke piece to the top edge of the pants Back with WRONG sides together.  The widest part of the yoke is towards the center of the pants (where the sharply curved seat seam is).

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Now, lets stitch this seam at 5/8″ and then grade the pant seam to 1/4″.  Be quite precise in this grading as it makes the next steps easier…and be sure to leave the yoke seam at a full 5/8″!

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Next, we press the seam open – this will help to create a crisp and straight flat fell seam.

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Now, we press the seam towards the yoke:

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And then we fold the 5/8″ seam down so that the raw edge meets the raw edge of the 1/4″ seam in the centre.  This is a bit fiddly – careful not to burn your fingers!

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Next, we flip the whole package over so the seam allowance is sitting on top of the pants Back (not on the yoke) and the raw edges are hidden.  I’ve pinned it carefully in place so my ironing doesn’t get uncreased as I move the pants to the sewing machine.

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Lastly, we edge stitch along the folded edge to create the flat fell seam – doesn’t it look nice?  And it’s super strong!

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The back pockets are done, the yoke is done and our snacks are done…and tomorrow is an easier day during which we sew the side seams!

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