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CONSTRUCTING A TWO PIECE SLIT/SLASHED POCKET
For this tutorial I have used two different colors of cotton, and a high contrast thread to be able to show the construction steps clearly. When working with your garment, match the fabric and thread to the garment.
I have serged the edges of my fabric. If you do not have a serger, there are other ways to finish the raw edges.
You can use any fabric for the pocket. In lighter weight garments, you will want to use something of equal or lighter weight. For woolen or tailored garments, Bemberg (a light weight rayon) or “Pocketing Fabric” (similar to Bemberg) is used to reduce the bulk of so many layers.
In vintage garments – the slashed pocket is most often seen in garments dating from 1918 – 1925. These pockets tend to be very shallow, used mostly for tucking away a handkerchief or keeping cab fare handy – or for purely decorative purposes. They virtually disappear from fashion by 1927 and are rarely seen in 1930’s and newer garments.
Whether you make the pockets before sewing the garment or after is a matter of choice. I prefer to sew them before I construct the garment.
Most patterns will supply the pattern pieces for the pockets, and the width of the slash. If not, you can determine the size for yourself, using the guidelines in this tutorial.
Mark the slash line on the wrong side of the fabric (or garment). Draw a box around the slash that is 1/8 of an inch away from all sides.
On the right side mark a line that is 1 inch above the slash line.
My slash line is 4-1/2 inches long.
If drafting your own pattern, calculate as follows:
Calculating the pocket width:
Slash opening = 4-1/2 inches. 4-1/2 + 5/8 + 5/8 = 5-3/4. My pocket will be 5-3/4 wide.
Calculating the pocket length:
Length can be variable. I decided I wanted the finished size to be about 5 inches.
5 inches + 5/8 + 1 inch = 6-5/8 inches.
I cut my pocket fabric 5-3/4 inches wide by 6-5/8 inches long.
Place the right side of the pocket, against the right side of your garment. Have the pocket extend equally beyond the marking on both sides, and the top edge against the marked line. Pin or baste to hold in place.
On the wrong side of the garment, stitch on the 1/8 inch marked box, as shown above.
Here is what it should look like with the right side of the garment up. (Forgive my wonky stitching – I eyeballed the 1/8 inch instead of marking it. Don’t be like me! Always measure and mark!)
Slash through the pocket AND the garment on the marked line, and clip into the corners, being careful not to snip into the stitching. Your slash should look like this:
Pull the pocket through the slash to the wrong side. You may need to nudge it a bit, and finger press to get it to lay more or less flat.
On the wrong side push/fold down the top edge of the pocket so that the folded edge lies at the center of the slash. Pin or baste in place.
Do the same for the lower part of the pocket, so that the folds “kiss” each other at the center of the slash.
When all the pinning and folding is done, it should look like this on the right side.
On the right side, baste the opening closed. We will leave this basting in until the garment is finished. Basting helps prevent the opening sagging or becoming stretched during the construction of the garment.
After everything is folded, basted and pressed, on the wrong side -- measure the pocket. Cut a second piece of fabric to those measurements. (Or use patterns pieces provided by the pattern you are using).
With right sides together, pin or baste the two pockets together, keeping pins/basting well away from the edges. (For slippery, sheer or heavy fabrics, I always baste!)
Be sure to pin/baste ONLY through the pocket pieces, and not through the garment.
We will be sewing on the wrong side. Flip the garment fabric back out of the way, away from the edge of the pocket.
Stitch around the pocket, being sure not to catch the garment fabric in the seam.
When it is all done – you should be able to flip the pocket up like this.
Press everything nice and flat.
I’ve taken the basting out here – but leave the basting in, until the garment is completed.
In vintage garments – especially from 1915 – 1918 the ends of the pockets are covered with arrow head or crow’s feet embroidery. In modern tailored garments a small bar tack is added at each end.
This reinforces the edges of the pocket to help take some of the strain, as well as provides a tidy finish.
Here’s a peek inside the finished pocket!