Monday, December 2, 2013

Tutorial - Exposed Zipper Near-Seam Pockets

The Ziggi jacket from Style Arc features two exposed zipper pockets. These pockets are not positioned exactly in the center of the princess seams, but are right up against the princess seams. (This is why I call these "Near-Seam" Pockets, rather than "In-Seam" Pockets.)

The instructions that come with the pattern don't exactly tell you how to create these pockets. Or maybe they do, but I am a visual person and the written steps are difficult for me to parse. I tried, but could not understand them.

Luckily, I know how to sew. ;)

So, I decided to make a little tutorial, thinking that others might find it useful. These are great pockets and could be easily added to any jacket. They could be vertical, or angled. While my photo-tutorial outlines how to make these pockets for the Ziggi, these steps could easily apply to other patterns.

(Note: sorry, in advance, about the dark-ish pictures. When sewing on a dark fabric, with dark zippers, often in the dark, or on a dark day... Well, you know.)

The pattern calls for 6" (14cm) pocket zippers but, when I measured the notches on the pattern, they were a bit over 4". I purchased four 5" metal YKK zippers from Britex - the other two are for the sleeves. You can use a different length zipper, just adjust the window opening and the Pocket Bag/Pocket Facing pieces accordingly.

The pocket window is actually created on the Side Front (pattern piece #4). You need to create a three-sided window opening. (The fourth side happens when the Side Front is sewn to the Middle Front, #3.)

To create the window, you need a facing. There is no pattern piece included for the facing, but it is very easy to create. You could create the window directly onto a piece of lining fabric, but I am showing how to create it first on a piece of paper.

Lay the translucent paper over the Side Front, where the zipper will go. Trace off the side seam, which has very slight shaping in the Ziggi, with the 3/8" seam allowance. (Obviously, in the Big 4 patterns, you'd use a 5/8" seam allowance.)

Decide how wide and long you want the "window" to be. My zipper is 5" long, so I want the window to be 5" long. I want some of the zipper tape to show, so I want the "window" to be 1/2" wide. Add 1/2" to the 3/8" seam allowance. Draw the stitching line 7/8" from the fabric edge.

Replicate the stitching lines of the window on scraps of lining fabric. Use whatever marking method you prefer. I prefer the Clover Chaco Liner.

Pin the facing to the right side of the Side Front(s), #4. Stitch along the stitching line with a short stitch.

Trim the fabric away from the inside of the window, leaving about 1/4". Clip to the two corners, right to the corner.

Turn the facing to the wrong side. Baste in place. This pic shows the wrong side of the Side Front.

The Side Front, #4 (shown on the bottom), is now ready to be sewn to the Middle Front, #3 (shown on top).

Side Front (4) and Middle Front (3) pinned together and ready to sew.

The completed window.

The completed window, from the back side. The excess facing will be cut away.

Pin the zipper in place, making sure that it is centered in the window.

Topstitch, using your zipper foot. First topstitch the seam, then go back and topstitch the remaining three sides around the zipper, securing it in place.

The back side, before the excess facing is cut off.

Because I used a longer zipper than was marked on the pattern, I cut the Pocket Bag (#23), and Pocket Facing (#11), pieces to be a bit wider. You can always cut off the excess, so don't stress about this measurement too much, so long as it's wide enough.

Sew the Pocket Bags (23) to the Pocket Facings (11). Note that this step is easier in a garment with 5/8" seam allowances, but it is possible with a 3/8" seam allowance.

I don't have pics for the next couple of steps, but you sew the pockets to the seam allowances of the jacket, so that they are positioned properly. Make sure that the pocket is pointing towards center front. Then stitch around the pocket bags. The pocket bags don't line up completely. Again, don't stress over this. After stitching around the pocket bag, just trim off the extra width.

Voilà! Your beautiful pockets are done!

(And thanks, everyone, for your lovely comments on my Burda coat!)


  1. Thank you for posting this. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project!

  2. Thank you thank you thank you! I just received this pattern in the mail today, so this tutorial will be of great use to me! It's funny how there are a thousand tutorials out there on how to do a single welt pocket, but almost nothing on variations like this. Much appreciated.

  3. This is so clever, thank you. I am making a self drafted jacket very similar to this one at college so all your tips are invaluable.Being self drafted there are of course no instructions. Don't suppose you have a tutorial for putting exposed open zips into sleeves do you? :-)

  4. So looking forward to your jacket. It's a wonderful pattern with beautiful lines. I might copy the pocket detail, depending on the pattern I will be using for my jacket (reconsidering at the moment)

  5. Thanks for posting this. You make it very clear. Looking forward to seeing the final product. :)

  6. "is there anything you can't do, my dear?" ........ That's right - I'm starting to think of you as the Maria of sewing! Your jacket is going to be great - thanks for the post!

  7. Can't wait to see the whole jacket.

  8. Very helpful and clear tutorial. And I didn't get to comment on your Burda coat, but I love it!!

  9. those zippers look great. you are the queen of zippers! looking forward to seeing this on you. that fabric looks tricky to sew.

  10. Most awesome! Thank you so much for doing the legwork for us on this one and creating such a great tutorial. I have this pattern in my hot little hands and currently am debating fabric choices. Hope to get to it soon! This will come in very useful when I get there.

  11. Thanks for the clarity. I want pockets in everything, so I might try this on a warm vest I have that I seldom wear because it has no pockets. I only found your blog a few days ago, and I just finished your "don't call it a tablecloth skirt" skirt. I love it!

  12. Thanks for the tutorial, I like pockets, too. I look forward to your finished jacket. Your generosity is very much appreciated.

  13. Those are incredible pockets, thanks for posting this tutorial. You are amazing.

  14. Watching all of your beautiful coats makes me a bit envious. I hate cold weather... which is why I moved to South Florida... and really don't miss it. I do, however miss making my own coats. Oh well. Can't have everything. I've decided to satisfy my desire for making coats by living vicariously through our blog. Keep on making those great coats. I'm just picturing myself in each one. :-) Happy Stitching.

  15. Thanks for a really useful tutorial.

  16. I followed this tutorial last night and it was so helpful. I can't wait to finish my jacket now. Thank you!

  17. I have to thank you for such a wonderful tutorial - the only one I've found online for this sort of zipper. It saved me with the StyleArcPaige top that I recently completed. I'd never done an exposed zipper before but this one came out perfectly first time! So wonderful to have a community of sewists. Many thanks!

  18. Thank you for this tute! I'm really disappointed with Ziggi Patterns as they are really expensive and should have better intructions for the price.

  19. Thanks for an excellent, well photographed tutorial. I will DEFINITELY use this on an upcoming jacket with princess seams!!