While I’ve been really happy with the dottie angel dresses I’ve sewn up over the Summer, I’ve gone back to the drawing board and re-tweeked the pattern again this time to add a couple of side sloping pockets.
The original pattern has front pockets but I prefer a more hidden pocket to the side.
I’d already re-drafted the small size pattern to fit me better across the shoulders and neckline, but this time I used the pattern block I’d made for my medium dress as I was intending to add some tucks at the front and darts at the back.*
Without any seam allowances, my bodice waistline measures about 15 inches down from the top of my shoulders…or about 10 and 5/8ths of an inch down from the centre front neckline of the bodice…(I’ve raised the neckline from the original pattern but hope this gives a general idea)
Square across (draw a line 90 degrees from the centre front line) along the bodice waist line….this is where your pockets will hang down from.
The next stage involved me standing in front of a mirror with the pattern pinned to what I was wearing while I placed my hand in a series of positions before drawing around it to get a nice pocketty shape. It’s surprising how big a hand sized pocket needs to be (and in fact I could have made mine a bit deeper).
Once I was happy with the pocket position I re-drafted the “skirt” front section of the dress, allowing an inch seam allowance at the top (actually I only needed 1/2 an inch but I was intending to sew French seams but they were a bit bulky and I ended up using a binding after pressing the seam open)
Rather than buy fancy pattern cutting weights to hold down my pattern pieces, I just bought a whole load of square washers from my local iron-mongers…they’re about 2 inches square and are surprisingly weighty. Because they’re quite thin they don’t get in the way when you’re drawing round patterns and french curves, and best of all they were dead cheap, about 20 pence each.
Along with the cut away skirt front, your pocket is made up of two other pieces, a piece to fit in where you’ve cut away and then a pocket lining.
You need to draw the fabric grain direction on both of these pattern pieces so they’ll be positioned properly on your fabric, then the pocket will hang nicely (this runs parallel to the grain on the skirt pattern piece.)
My pockets measure 13 inches on the grain line from top to bottom (this includes a half inch seam allowance all round with an extra half inch at the top (which I didn’t actually need as I didn’t go with the French seams.)
They’re about 9 inches across at the widest point. They sound quite roomy but next time I’d make them a bit bigger.
You’ll notice on the top pattern piece in the above picture, at the bottom of the curve where your hand will fit, there is a short straight line across to the side seam allowance. This helps the pocket fit in a bit neater when you sew the side seams rather than if you’d just kept drawing the cuved line. (I hope that makes sense.)
Once all the fabric pieces have been cut, sew any tucks in the skirt front before sewing the pocket together (if not the pocket will only get in the way later on.)
With right sides together, pin then sew the pocket lining to the skirt front.
Once you’ve sewn them together, cut out little notches around the seam allowance of the pocket, these will help the edge of your pocket look neater when you turn it over. (I’ve got a pair of Merchant and Mills button hole scissors and they are brilliant for cutting notches as they have short and chubby little blades which helps prevent you cutting too deep a notch and going right through your row of stitches.)
Once the notches are cut, turn over the pocket lining and pin it nice and flat against the skirt front.
Sewing just a 1/16 th of an inch (or a couple of mm) away from the edge, sew a line of top stitching (you may find this looks neater if you increase your stitch size up a little but if you do, don’t forget to lower it back again)…..this stops the pocket seam rolling out and looks nice and professional.
Then pin the pocket back to the wrong side of the skirt front, make sure all the pieces are in position correctly and matching up before sewing it in place.
As this part of the pocket can be seen when you turn your dress inside out you may like to sew a pice of bias binding around the edges for a fancy finsh, or you can use pinking shears to trim the edge of the fabric, or if you have an overlocker you could use that. This is all done not just to neaten the pocket edge but will stop the fabric fraying.
Once the pocket is all sewn in, the rest of the dress is ready to sew….the bodice front fits on top (you’ll want to sew that on first and then the binding over the waistline seam)….the sides of the dress are sewn exactly like in the dottie angel dress pattern, the sides of the pocket are sewn in along with the side edges of the dress so will be tucked into the French seams, and when finished will hang perfect and almost be invisible..
And yes, another blue and orange fabric…purchased at my local John Lewis in their sale section. It’s quite a wide fabric and I was able to make this using just 1 1/2 meters.
There’ll be pictures of the dress all finished coming soon.
*I did add some tucks and then I unpicked them as I’d sewn them up a bit high and they made me look a bit too bosomy…so next time I’ll make the bodice waistline an inch lower and that should solve that problem.