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


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Day 8 – Finishing the Shorts! (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

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This is it!  The last day of the Jedediah-Shorts Sew-along!  Today we’ll be sewing the cuffs, or if you prefer, sewing your 3/4″ hem.  To accompany us as we finish our epic sewing process is some epic Gregorian Chant.  Is this not what you usually listen to while sewing?  Well you should!  Nothing like solemnly belting it out along with the rest of the choir while you victoriously finish the final step of a project 🙂

First things first, put your shorts/pants on the wearer and make sure that they will end up being the proper length.  I pre-folded the cuff and pinned it in place so I would see exactly where it would fall.

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We decided that Matt liked the ‘hipster’ length that I cut his previous pair of Jedediah Shorts to sew we took two inches off of this pair as well.  If you are going to hem the shorts using a 3/4″ hem instead of the cuff, you will need to take even more length than this off so that your shorts don’t end up looking like capris!

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Now that we’ve determined the proper length, we can go ahead and sew the 3/4″ hem.  First, fold the hem up 3/4″ and press:Edited-4

And fold up the hem 3/4″ again, press and then pin in place:Edited-5

Now, we are ready to finish the hem by stitching 1/8″ away from the top edge, all the way around the pant leg.  I like to start at the inseam so that the back stitching isn’t very visible when the shorts/pants are being worn.Edited-6

Okay, time for the cuff!  This is a quick and dirty version of a cuff that I designed to look like the shorts have been casually rolled up (and what better way to display the awesome binding fabric you chose?!).  All you have to do to form the cuff is fold up the hem, with right sides together 3/4″ and press:Edited-7

Then fold up the cuff again, this time 1 1/2″ and press again.  Put a few pins in the roll to keep the side seams lining up.Edited-8Edited-9

And now, stitch in the ditch along each side seam to keep the cuff in place!  It’s as simple as that!  If you are using a floppy material (such as linen), you could hand tack a few spots along the top of the cuff so that it doesn’t flop downwards in the middle, but if you are using a stiff denim or twill you won’t have to worry about that.Edited-10Edited-11

And we’re done!!!!!!! Yahoooo!!!!!Edited-12

Here is a photo gallery of my version of the Jedediah Shorts(below).  We’re so excited to see what you’ve sewn up!  Kollabora is so kindly hosting a Jedediah Shorts/Pants Sew-Along Photo contest (as you probably saw in the earlier blog post about it!) – so be sure to head on over there and submit your photos for a chance to win an awesome Kollabora gift package as well as a free Strathcona Henley pattern!  All you have to do is submit your project and the person with the most ‘hearts’ by September 17th will be declared the winner by the Kollabora team!

You can also send along your photos to our email (info@threadtheory.ca) or post them on your blog and other sewing network sites and leave a comment on this post telling us where they are and we will add them to our “Jedediah Pants Photo Gallery” as well as our Sew-Along parade post next Thursday.

Thank you so much for joining us on our first sew-along!  We had a lot of fun and hope that you did too!  Please feel free to refer back to our sew-along page whenever you sew up the Jedediah Shorts or Pants in the future, and if you ever have questions, you can still leave comments on any of the sew-along posts and we will help you out the best that we can!

Triptych

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Day 7 – The Waistband and Belt Loops (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

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After yesterday’s success with the fly, you’re ready for anything, right?  Well here’s what we have coming at us today: The belt loops, the waistband and then, the button/closure on the waistband.  A big day!  But it’s totally achievable (and couldn’t really be separated) because the belt loops are finished after the waistband has already been started…so before you know it all you will have left is hemming!

First off, iron your fusible interfacing onto the waistband piece if you haven’t already.  I like to use a medium weight interfacing for this but you might also like to try a heavier interfacing if you are using something thin such as a linen.  It’s nice to have a lot of structure in this area.

Next, I’ll show you my belt loop method that DOESN’T involve making a tube and turning it (painstakingly) the right way out…I really can’t stand doing that!  Instead, we’ll prepare the belt loops by folding in each long edge 3/8″ and ironing.

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We can now fold them in half and iron, just like making bias binding.
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To finish the edges, all we have to do is top-stitch 1/8″ from either edge (the folded edge and the open edge) and give them a press.
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To make enough belt loops for the shorts (or pants), just cut each belt loop in half.

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There will be one extra strip so toss (or save in your scrap bin?) the one that has the ugliest top-stitching.

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Now that the belt loops have been made, it is time to position them on the pants in preparation to sew the waistband.  We’ll do this by pinning them with the right side facing the right side of the pants (choose whichever side of the belt loop you had facing up on the sewing machine bed when you were top-stitching as your stitches will look nicer on this side).  Pin them with one raw edge of the belt loop lining up with the raw edge at the waist of the pants and the rest of the belt loop extending downwards.

Choose your placement based on the line diagram in the instruction booklet (or based on these photos here), or you could place the belt loops as per the wearer’s favorite pair of RTW pants.  You could even use the extra belt loop to form an ‘X’ shaped double belt loop at centre back if this is your preference.

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To keep the belt loops in place while stitching the waistband, we can simply baste along the top of each loop.

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And now it is time to begin the waistband!  Place the waistband and pants with right sides together and match up any notches while pinning in place.

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Make sure that the seam allowance extends out on either side of the fly, as pictured below:

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Now, we can stitch the waistband to the pants.  There are a few things to watch out for while you do this:

  • Be very careful when you sew over the zipper – it is safest to use the hand crank on your sewing machine instead of the electric foot at this point so that you have time to shift the zipper teeth out of the way when you feel the needle hit them.  Either that or you can wear goggles as is done over at Cation Designs!
  • Ease as you sew and try to sew over your pins rather than taking them out so that nothing shifts around
  • Check your belt loops are lying straight and flat before sewing over them

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Once that is done, we must do quite a bit of grading – this area can get pretty bulky so trim the pants seam allowance and the belt loop seam allowance short and keep the waistband seam allowance long to eliminate this issue.Edited-35

Good!  Now, let’s apply the binding to the long raw edge of the waistband.  When test sewing, Meg of Made by Meg mentioned to me that she prefers to apply the binding to one of the waistband edges before she sews it on to the pants so she doesn’t have to deal with the bulk of the pants while completing this step.  Feel free to do this!  The only reason I sew it on afterwards is because I don’t find the bulk bothers me at all (maybe it’s because everything feels small and un-bulky compared to sewing massive duvet covers for my work with The Heather Company!).  Note that the raw edge of the binding is lined up with either end of the waistband – there is no need to tuck it under to create a finished edge as this will be tucked inside of the waistband later on.

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Wow, don’t those insides look nice?!

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Okay, so now comes the tricky part which we’ve THOROUGHLY documented with photos – I hope this helps anyone who has ever been a bit confused when finishing the corners of a waistband!  This is what our waistband looks like at the moment:

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To begin sewing the corner, we have to fold the waistband in half with right sides together with the raw edges of the waistband (well, one raw edge and the other bound edge) lined up.

When you go to do this, you will notice that the entire bulk of the shorts/pants gets in the way.  Pull this bulk away from the short edge of the waistband so it is still sandwiched by the waistband but is out of the way when you go to stitch the short edge.  Here is a photo representation of how to do this:

In the photo below, my left hand is holding the bound edge of the waistband and my right hand (the lower hand) is holding the raw edge of the waistband to which the rest of the pants are sewn.  The zipper/rest of the pants are visible in the middle.  I am beginning to fold the waistband in half with right sides together.

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Here is what it will look like when it is properly folded in half:

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And here is the bulk of the zipper and pants being sandwiched in between (and pushed away from the short edge of the waistband so it is out of the way).

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Keep a firm grip on what you’ve done so it doesn’t become unfolded and place a few pins in if it will help you to keep things in place.  (The photo below is a good example of how far the rest of the pants have been pushed inside of the waistband, and then to the left, out of the way).

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Now we are ready to stitch from the top, folded edge of the waistband to the stitching line where the shorts/pants are attached to one edge of the waistband…

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…and then pivot and stitch (with the shorts/pants tucked out of the way inside the waistband) approximately 2″ along the already stitched line, this time catching both layers of the waistband.

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This is what it will look like when you are done this stitching:

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Now you can turn the waistband corner right sides out for a moment to check that everything looks square and properly stitched.  Turn it wrong sides out once again so we can grade this area closely – clip both corners and grade both seam allowances.  I like to start grading about 1/2″ from the end of my stitching so that when things are turned right side out there is a bit of extra binding on the waistband that will tuck into the sewn corner – you can see the extra binding in the photo below:

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Once the waistband is turned right sides out, we must carefully poke out the corners (a knitting needle works well for this – try to avoid using the tips of your scissors…they’re handy but wouldn’t it be disastrous if you snipped a hole in your fabric after all this work?) and press everything flat.

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Here is what the inside of my waistband looks like at this point (I’ve only sewn one waistband corner). You can see how the bound edge of the waistband tucks into the finished corner.

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With that done, we can now secure the rest of the inner waistband to the pants.  First, pin from the inside so that the waistband is positioned as it will be when it is finished:Edited-49

Flip to the right side of the shorts/pants and edge stitch 1/8″ away from the bottom of the waistband, catching the inner waistband and sewing over your pins as you go.Edited-50

This is what it will look like from the inside:

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Now it’s just a matter of finishing our belt loops!  While the belt loops are still pointed downwards, stitch across them, 3/8″ from the bottom edge of the waistband (this simply allows more room for a wide belt).  Fold the belt loop up from this point and fold the raw edge under as pictured below.  Fold them fairly loosely so there is still lots of room for a belt to be threaded through.  I’ve cut off a bit of excess from the end of the belt loop – how much you cut off will depend how loose you would like the belt loops to be.Edited-54

Stitch across the folded top of the belt loop several times (to make sure it’s extra strong) and, if you would like, trim the raw belt loop edge even shorter.Edited-55Edited-56

And that’s that!  All that you have to do now is add a button hole and button.  Start your button hole 1/2″ away from the edge of the waistband and sew it horizontally along the waistband.  Sew your button directly above the zipper on the other side of the waistband.  If you don’t really like sewing button holes (welcome to the club!) and the wearer always wears belts anyways, you could consider hand sewing a large hook and eye (not the tiny little versions meant for dresses, but the big, heavy duty flat ones that are more like clips) to the inside of the waistband.  I’ve seen this quite a bit on RTW shorts so I tried it out on Matt’s first version of the Jedediah Shorts and it worked really well!

Tomorrow will be the home-run stretch during which we sew the hems and optional cuffs!  If you are sewing the pants variation rather than the shorts, you don’t need to wait for us…you’re probably too excited to finish them off to wait a whole day just to sew a simple 3/4″ hem!  For those of you doing cuffs – these are super easy cuffs that allow us to display all the hard work we put into seam finishes!  See you tomorrow!

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Contest Alert!

Triptych

We’re thrilled to announce that Kollabora, the awesome social site for makers of all types, have collaborated with us to host a Jedediah Shorts and Pants sew-along photo contest!

They are graciously giving away a prize pack worth $25 to add to the Strathcona Henley pattern that we will be giving to the winner.  That’s right…you could win the Strathcona Henley pattern AND a bunch of amazing things from the Kollabora shop!

All you have to do to enter is upload a photo of your pants or shorts and accumulate the most ‘hearts’ by September 16th.  You can post some project shots now and update them as you get further along in the sewing process…that way you don’t have to wait until you are done the shorts or pants to start accumulating hearts.

Find out all the info over on the Kollabora blog!


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Day 6 – Sewing the Fly (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

Eeek!  Today is the big day!  We have been working away in secret for a couple weeks now in order to prepare for today’s post…and here it is: A You-Tube video on how to sew the fly!

We hope that you like it and find it more helpful than photos would be.  This is our first time (ever!) making a video so it is far from being professional quality (we have already learned so much that we want to do differently on the next one).  And, since I’m really shy, I just have to say – please excuse my nervous awkwardness in front of the camera…it was terrifying!

If anyone would prefer a photo tutorial to the video, let us know in the comments and we will take stills from the video and turn them into a traditional photo post on how to sew the fly.

Good luck with your sewing today!  Just pause the video whenever you reach a tricky point and re-watch.  It goes a little fast compared to the real life sewing process as we cut out anything repetitive but we were careful to include a video for every sewing step so you can follow along using the written instructions.


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Day 5 – Sewing the Inseams (Jedediah Shorts Sew-along)

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Has everyone had a chance to catch up since Sunday?  I hope so, because today, with our cup of milky Lady Earl Grey and a little Otis Redding, we’ll be sewing our flat fell inseams.  It’ll be a nice, easy, and short day since we’ve already perfected our flat fell seams on the back yoke!

First, I’ve started by pinning the inseams together with the WRONG sides together.

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I sewed this seam at 5/8″ (you may need to ease a little bit as you sew so that the hem ends up even) and then carefully trimmed the seam on the Pants Back to 1/4″.  Don’t catch the other half of the seam (the one belonging to the Pants Front) when you are trimming!

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I’ve pressed the seam open (this will ensure your flat fell seam is crisp and even when it is done).

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Next, I’ve pressed the seam entirely to one side (with the narrow seam allowance laying on top).

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And here comes the fiddly bit: I’ve folded the wide seam allowance in towards the narrow seam allowance so that the two raw edges meet in the middle.  To do this I press as I go…keeping my fingers folding the seam allowances with one hand and following along with the iron with the other hand.

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I’ve then flipped this pressed seam allowance package over to the other side of the seam so that all the raw edges are enclosed and then I’ve pinned in place  (use lots of pins so your careful pressing doesn’t become a bit wonky!)

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Now I’ve sewn 1/8″ away from the loose edge, permanently enclosing the raw edges and creating a lovely (and strong!) flat fell seam.  Sewing along the pant legs is a bit tricky because they form a narrow tube (though it’s easier with shorts than pants!) but believe me, it’s possible…and you can do it if you take it slow and steady!

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And just like that, we’ve sewn our RTW worthy flat fell inseams and our shorts are beginning to look like shorts!  Now that you’re in the groove of things this week, we are ready to tackle the fly tomorrow!  Stay tuned because we have worked SUPER hard on this next post and think it will fully demystify the previously oft-dreaded fly sewing process.  I can’t wait to show you what we’ve done!

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Day 4 – Sewing the Side Seams (Jedediah Shorts Sew-Along)

Edited-2 This Sunday evening a glass of wine and some good ol’ Bill Cosby will accompany us while we sew our side seams.  This is my favorite of Cosby’s records and I just found  the entire thing, well recorded, as a play list on YouTube for you to listen to!  Woot woot! (My record is getting pretty scratchy so the YouTube version actually sounds much better).

Have your shorts or pants been coming along well so far?  Have you been able to keep up with the sewing or are you reading along so you’re ready to sew after the sew along is finished? I hope you are finding the photos and instructions clear!  If you are confused with any of the steps so far, just leave a comment and I will do my best to elaborate on them :).

Now, lets get ready to sew our side seams – a pretty easy and satisfying set of steps!  First of all, we’ll pin our Pant Fronts to our Pant Backs with right sides together along the side seam (the edge with the gradual curve). Edited-1 Then we can sew and press open the entire seam. Edited-3 Do you have your binding ready?  If not, here is my post on making binding from a vintage handkerchief to help you out, or you can simply use the store bought variation.  You’d be surprised how little fabric it takes to make a good sized piece of binding so you could always root through your scraps and use any 10″X10″ piece of thin woven material (make it easy on yourself and choose something that maintains a crease well!).  If you make extra wide binding like I did, then you will need four 10″X10″ squares worth of binding for the side seams (leaving you with a few extra small pieces that you could use later on for the zipper shield). Edited-4 Now we will pin the binding to one of the side seams (you can start with either the front or the back).  Place the narrower edge of the binding on the side you will sew so that the wider edge extends under, sandwiching the seam allowance and reaching farther towards the stitching than the narrower top piece.  This will give you a bit of lee-way when you sew to ensure that you catch the bottom layer of the binding. Edited-5 Edited-6 We can now sew the first edge of the selvage and repeat this process for the second edge (and also for the second leg.  Ta-da, beautifully bound seams!  Won’t these look impressive and colourful when the wearer is putting on his shorts? Edited-8 Edited-9 After admiring our bound seams for a while (and giving them a final press to flatten out the binding), we can take a few steps to strengthen the front pocket area. You can sort of see the finished side seam and the strengthening stitches below but we will zoom in for a closer look in a second. Edited-10 The strengthening stitches include a bar tack near the top and at the bottom of each front pocket as well as edge stitching down the side seam until 1″ below the pocket: Edited-11 Edited-12 To make the bar tacks, you can either use a very tight zig-zag (like a button hole stitch), or do what I did here and stitch for 3/8″ using a straight stitch and then reverse and stitch again…and again…and again.   I’ve placed my bar tacks 5/8″ from the waist at the top of the pocket and just below where the bottom of the pocket meets the side seam.  That way the pocket won’t split open or bag out when it is constantly under pressure from being filled with hands and change and keys. Edited-14Edited-13 I have edge-stitched, catching the back seam allowance, 1/8″ from the side seam along the back of the pants until 1″ below the pocket.  I then back-tacked for a long ways and reversed and sewed several times to echo the look of the pocket bar tacks. Edited-15 There!  That wasn’t so bad!  Now, I wonder if you will be tempted to bind EVERYTHING the way I am?  It’s so simple and yet so effective (and a great way to use up scraps!).  Do you like to make your own binding or do you tend to use store bought?  Have you ever used one of those neat little binding tools that fold the fabric for you as you iron?  I’ve never had a chance to try one but, since my binding never seems to turn out completely uniform, I certainly am intrigued.  See you next Thursday when we sew the inseams! Edited-17


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Guest Posts: Katie’s Back Pockets

Today we have another guest post treat – this time from Katie, the author of the blog, The Creative Counselor.  She is the test sewer who made this version of the Jedediah Pants.  She used a gorgeous recycled hemp and organic cotton blend and widened the legs to create a totally different style of pants than our slim fit originals – I love how well these pants display the versatility of a well fitting pants pattern – all you have to do is adjust the width or length of the legs to create endless varieties and styles!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor's recycled hemp and organic cotton pants.  She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Kathryn of The Creative Counselor’s recycled hemp and organic cotton pants. She has altered the leg width to create boot-cut pants!

Here is what Katie has prepared for us – super strong pockets with absolutely no raw edges – I love it!:

Hello Thread Theory readers!  I’m Katie and I blog about my sewing and crafty creations over at the Creative Counselor.

I was one of the lucky three ladies who got to be pattern testers for the Jedediah Pants, and got my greedy little hands on the pattern before the rest of the world.  I know you will all soon come to love this pattern as much as I do, if you don’t already!

One of my favorite things about the Jedediah pattern is the beautiful seam finishes that Morgan has included throughout the pattern.  When starting my pants, I told my husband that this would likely be the only pair of pants that he owned with actual flat-felled and bound seams on every single seam.  And I was right!

While constructing my Jedediah Pants, I decided that I wanted the back pockets to have a similarly beautiful finish that enclosed all of the raw edges.  With that in mind, I examined some of our nicer RTW jeans and puzzled out how to finish the back patch pockets so that all of the raw edges were enclosed and the whole pocket looked neat and tidy.

If you’d like to include a similar finish on your back pockets, here’s how you can do it:

1.  Attach bias binding to the top edge of your back pocket piece, following the instructions included in the pattern.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to bind the top edge of the back pocket piece, you can serge or sew a zig zag on this edge, or turn the top edge down ¼” (wrong sides together) and press.  Personally, I like the bound edge here — those small hidden details make a pair of handmade pants special and truly unique.

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2.  Fold the top pocket edge along the marked fold line right sides together.  Do not press this edge at this point.  Pin it down and stitch the fold down vertically ⅝” in from each side (also per the pattern instructions).

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3.  Here, the pattern instructions will tell you to trim your seam allowance to ¼”, meaning that you will trim off about ⅜”.  Do trim your seam allowance to ¼” but rather than stopping where your stitching stopped, trim off that ⅜” all the way around your pocket piece.

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4.  Flip your top edge over so that the wrong sides are now together, and use a point turner  or a chopstick to push out the corners, making them nice and pointy.  Press the top edge of your pocket.

5.  Carefully fold in the other edges of your pocket piece (remember, your allowance has now been reduced to ¼”) and press them.  Be very deliberate here so that all edges are crisp and the point at the bottom is nice and clean-looking.

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6.  Stitch down the folded top edge of your pocket.

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7.  Position the pocket on the back pants/shorts piece and pin in place.

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8.  Topstitch the pocket down using a ⅜” allowance.

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9.  Once the pocket is attached to the shorts, you’re going to sew a second parallel line of stitching by edgestitching around the very edge of the pocket piece.  This ensures that the raw edges of your fabric are neatly enclosed between these two seams.

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You could, of course, do this edgestitching first, but I find that it is far easier to control the stitching and get a really nice-looking edge stitch if the pocket is already secured with the inner row of stitching.

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10.  Strengthen the top edge of the pocket either by stitching triangles in each top corner, or by placing a bar tack in each corner.

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You’re done, and ready to continue on with your shorts!  Take a moment to sit back and admire the prettily-finished back pockets.

Thanks so much for having me Morgan!  I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished shorts!