The House of Tatterdemalion

Unfashionable, unskilled, inexpensive--but still sewing.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Welt pockets and my first pictures (hope they work!)

When Ann Steeves wrote in her recent Threads article "Is it any wonder that we sewers avoid welt pockets like they're plutonium?", I knew I was going to have to try out welt pockets--and soon! With a description like that, how could they not be fun? Of course, since her article was all about how to make welt-pocket construction fool-proof, making welt pockets was actually pretty easy and straight forward, though at least it was still more fun then hemming pants. (Which was another thing I had to do--and soon.) So here are my welt pockets, my first two welt pockets I've ever done.

Unfortunately for the vest, I couldn't do any fittings, as it was a birthday present, and little boys want birthday presents to be a surprise. All while I was making it, I kept thinking that it looked too wide, and I repeatedly measured it and found it to be all right. Of course, my instincts were right--sort of. It wasn't too wide, but it looked funny because it was much too short! Oh, well. My brother seems to be quite happy with it anyway, judging from how often I see him wearing it. Sometimes he wears it with his newly acquired cowboy hat, and sometimes with his matching, equally gaudy, cape I gave him last year. What can I say? Yellow is his favorite color, and of course, anything that glitters is gold in the eyes of kids.


Anonymous Jesse said...

Hey, is that a life jacket???

Just kidding. I like the buttons; are those bells?? I like that.

By the way - not to be too nit pickey - those are double piping pockets.

With that said, call them what you like. . .

5:39 PM  
Blogger Tatterdemalion said...


It occurs to me from your "life-jacket" comment that the picture does give the impression it's a "plastic-y" sort of fabric. It's not. The shine comes from a multitude of metallic threads. It's actually a rather coarse weave, and it alternates one yellow (I think it's cotton, but perhaps it's a cotton/poly blend) and one metallic strand. The overall effect is a metallic yellow, but the metallic strands are actually more the color of aluminum foil. So the buttons are actually matching the color of the metallic strands.

Speaking of buttons, no, they are not bells. They are half-round buttons (round on one half, flat on the other, with a shank) that I inherited from my Great-Grandmother. So, hypothetically, they could be up to 98 years old. However, since they appear to be a metallic colored plastic, that's highly unlikely. Much more likely is that my thrifty grandmother cut them off a garment before she discarded it.

As for the pockets, I'm always one to learn proper terminology (even if I don't always manage to use it). However, I think in this case I am using the correct terminology. To my understanding, double piping pockets are made just like welt pockets, except that they use piping. And, to my understanding, piping is when a cord is covered with fabric (or the fabric tube is filled with cord, or how ever you want to describe it). These pockets are utterly flat. The green stripes have not been filled with anything; in fact, they are a piece of cheap, double-fold, pre-packaged bias binding (also inherited from my Great Grandmother). I ironed them out flat, and turned them into single fold bias strips, and then used them as my "lips" for my pockets.

Actually, to the best of my knowledge, there's no piping any where on this garment. The edges are not piped; they are bound with the same inherited bias tape. The inside seams have been over-cast with my sewing machine. Since the fabric is rather loose, I wasn't sure it could support the tugging and pulling of the buttons, so I used a small square of silk organza behind each button, reinforcing the fabric.

Hopefully that gives you a bit more of the details that weren't apparent from the photos

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Jesse said...

I am refering to them as piping pockets because in Roberto Cabrerra's book, that's what he calls them. And, he gives instructions on how to make them just like you did. No cord.

Since I don't want to have any more knowledge on the etymology of words like "piping" and "welt," I agree to disagree with you, realizing that you probably have a much deeper knowledge about such things than I do. As far as I'm concerned, you can have it, too.

And, you have to admit, the thing does look like a lot of fun to wear, even if in the picture it does resemble a life jacket.

Actually, that comment came about like this. I was at my desk at work, after work, looking at your blog when a coworker (we'll call him Justin) walked up to chat. I was pointing out the picture on your blog and the conversation went something like this: [Me]"Hey Justin, look at this picture. The lady who has this blog made this." [Justin] "It looks kind of like a life jacket. . ." And, thus orignated said comment. And, thinking that this was one pretty funny of a comment, I typed that in my posting. I was actually admiring it, and was giving a little "affectionate ribbing" or "love tap" to you. So, I apologize for any confusion.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Tatterdemalion said...

I'm sorry, did I sound offended? I wasn't, not at all. The comment did strike me as a little odd, and when I looked at the vest again to see how it resembled a life jacket, I realized that the photo didn't show the true charactaristics of the fabric. But I certainly didn't take it as an insult.

As the "double-piped" or "welt", quite possibly they are simply two different names for the same thing. That does happen rather frequently.

4:44 PM  
Blogger abigail said...

I love this life jacket with double-piped welt pockets! :)

So cool. It's no wonder he loved it completely despite his stature. Plus, its coolness factore doubles when combined with the cape. I always give my brothers such dull gifts, when I even give them gifts...

2:19 PM  
Blogger abigail said...

Um. That's coolness factor, not factorE. (Although a coolness factorY would be pretty cool, too.)

2:21 PM  
Blogger Tatterdemalion said...


Think this looks cool? Wait'll you see the Fancy Dress I'm working on--I know you'll love it! (Actually, that was a given, regardless of what you thought of the vest, 'cause I happen to already know your opinion on dresses, particularly fancy ones.)

She's starting to hint that she'd like a cape just like the boys' (I already know I'd use pink as the bright side and a dark purple for the dark side), but I want to wait until she gets a bit bigger. That way it'll last her longer--she won't outgrow it so quick.

7:43 PM  

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