There seems to be some confusion when it comes to welt pockets in the sewing community and while I would love to state that a welt pocket is not the double lipped variety that people seem to think it is, the confusion is partly down to geography.
A traditional welt pocket (in the UK at least!) is an inset pocket type with its opening pointing upwards, and has a single welt. It is a fiddly pocket to make, requiring lots of basting in place to get it perfect, but is very much worth the effort involved.
What in the US passes as a welt or double welt pocket is considered a ‘jetted pocket’ in the UK and other countries.
In today’s tutorial, I’m going to show you the step by step process of creating a single welt pocket of your own.
What You’ll Need To Make A Welt Pocket
As well as your usual sewing tools, you’ll also need the following to make your welt pocket:
- Main fabric
- Lining fabric
- Welt pocket pattern
I do recommend using scraps of the above to practice with first so that when it comes to sewing the full welt on a garment, you fully understand the process and can sew them perfectly.
Making A Welt Pocket Pattern
The pattern for a welt pocket is quite simple, and my drafting a welt pocket tutorial will help you with the process.
Essentially you need to create the welt 2cm or 1″ wider than the pocket opening. But seriously, follow the welt pocket pattern tutorial!
9 Steps For Sewing A Single Welt Pocket
I’m only going to walk you through the process of sewing the single welt pocket in this tutorial, and that it because the double welt / jetted pocket really does deserve its own tutorial.
Make sure to cut all the fabric and interfacing pieces needed before continuing.
Overview Of Sewing A Welt Pocket
Here’s an overview of the steps involved in sewing a single welt pocket:
- Prepare welt pocket location
- Prepare and sew the welt piece
- Prepare the welt pocket bag pieces
- Attaching the welt piece
- Attaching the back pocket piece
- Turning the pocket piece through
- Placing the front pocket piece
- Creating the welt pocket bag
- Securing the welt pocket opening
Let’s now work through each of those steps in turn!
1. Preparing The Location For Your Welt Pocket Opening
Start by marking on the right side of the fabric (or garment) where the welt pocket opening will be. I prefer to use tailors chalk for this first step.
Apply interfacing to this area on the wrong side of the fabric.
Now you’re ready to thread mark the location of the welt pocket.
2. Sewing The Welt
Take the welt and interfacing, and apply using heat before folding in half lengthways, right sides together.
Sew the two shorter ends together with your chosen seam allowance amount. Mine is 1cm.
Turn through and press the welt pocket piece so that the folds and corners are nice and crisp.
You can choose whether to sew a line of topstitching along the top folded edge or not – it really depends on the garment type and the fabric you’re using.
3. Preparing Your Welt Pocket Bag Pieces
Ideally your pocket bag pieces will be cut from a fabric that is lighter in weight than your fashion fabric, so that it doesn’t ‘pull’.
It is also recommended that you overlock / serge or zigzag stitch the raw edges of the fabric, unless you will be finishing the pocket bag edges with a binding.
You’ll also want to sew a line of stay stitching along one of the shorter edges on both pocket pieces.
4. Attaching The Welt
Take the welt that you prepared earlier, and place on the right side of your garment in line with the thread marking.
Sew with your chosen seam allowance along the length to the welt to secure it to the upper pocket section.
5. Attach The Back Pocket Bag Piece
Now we get to attach the back pocket piece to the main fabric. Put your upper pocket bag section on top of the right side of your fabric.
The welt should be facing down, the pocket bag facing up. Make sure that the stay stitched edge of the pocket piece is lined up with the edge of the marked opening.
Sew carefully along the raw edge using the same seam allowance amount that you used for attaching the welt piece. When turned over, the two stitch lines should look like mine below.
It is optional at this point, but you may wish to take your seam ripper and remove the basting stitches used to thread mark the welt pocket position.
6. Turning The Pocket Pieces Through
The next step is the part which worries many people when it comes to sewing a welt pocket – cutting into the fabric. This is a necessary step in creating an inset pocket, so worry not.
If you’re nervous about this step, you can (and should!) make a practice sample first so that you have more confidence before cutting into your garment.
Start by placing marks on the wrong side, within the welt stitch lines. Mine are 1.5cm in from the outer edges.
Cut through the main fabric of your garment in a straight line between the two marked dots.
Then cut the diagonals. Make sure to cut to but not through so that you have nice corners for your welt pocket!
Now, turn the fabric so that the right side is facing you and push the back pocket piece through the new hole you have created.
Neaten up the seam allowances on the reverse of the welt pocket.
And then push the welt pocket piece upwards towards the top of the garment and baste in place temporarily. Make sure the seam allowance is pointing down, as can be seen in the above image.
7. Placing The Front Pocket Piece
The next step is to secure the front pocket piece into position. With the stay stitched edge aligned with the raw edge of the welt’s seam allowance, pin into place as shown in the photo below.
You now need to sew to secure. This is very fiddly due to the small seam allowance available, but sew slow and steady and you’ll do it.
You can also watch the welt pocket video tutorial at the bottom of this tutorial to see more closely how this step is done.
The photo below shows how it should look when the step is complete.
8. Creating The Pocket Bag
We can now sew the pocket back and pocket front together to create the welt pocket bag. Turn back the main fabric so that the edge of the welt pocket can be seen.
Sew along the triangle edge first of all to secure the welt and pocket bag pieces in position. Repeat on the opposite side of the welt pocket piece.
Then, line up the two pocket bag pieces and pin to secure as shown below.
Sew around the three remaining edges of the welt pocket bag pieces.
Finish the raw edges if you haven’t already by overlocking to binding.
9. Securing The Welt Pocket Opening
The final step is to secure the welt itself into place. You can either stitch along the two shorter edges to secure or sew them by hand so that the stitches are invisible.
Below is the one side of my welt – I edge stitched it with my sewing machine.
The photo below is the opposite edge of my welt, hand sewn for an invisible finish.
The Finished Welt Pocket
A welt pocket is a great type of pocket that is used predominantly in menswear but also in women’s tailoring too.
It really isn’t as hard to sew as you’ve probably been thinking, just take your time and follow the tutorial carefully and you’ll have amazing welt pockets too!
Here’s my finished pocket sample for you to admire!
I have always preferred the cleaner finish seen on the left of the photo over the slightly messier look of the edge stitched side on the right.
Here’s a peek inside the finished welt pocket. Can you spot the stay stitching on the front pocket piece that I forgot to remove?
You can of course remove any visible stay stitching as I did for the back pocket piece.
I’ve added in the welt pocket video tutorial below in case you’d like to watch the process through before sewing your own.
Sewing A Welt Pocket Video Tutorial
And now for some commonly asked questions about welt pockets!
What Is A Welt Pocket?
Where Are Welt Pockets Used?
Single Welt Vs Double Welt Pocket
What Do Welt Pockets Look Like?
Welt Pocket On Men’s Waistcoat / Vest
Welt Pocket On Tailored Tweed Jacket
A Welt Pocket As A Back Pant’s Pocket
A Welt Pocket As A Casual Jacket Pocket
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and guide on sewing welt pockets of your own! Do check out my jet pocket tutorial too – it’s the one often referred to as the ‘double welt’ pocket and is constructed a bit differently!
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.