Design Variation: Center-Front Opening and Military Bellows Pockets
Drafting bellows pockets may look tricky, but they really only require a few straight lines. You can draft bellows pockets of any size — perfect for pants, skirts, and even handbags. I used buttons as a closure on the pockets shown here, but you can simplify the process by using snaps or even Velcro, or having no closure at all.
Draft the Pattern
1). Trace your customized basic front and back skirt slopers onto drafting paper. Make sure the pattern doesn’t have any seam or hem allowances included yet. You’ll need to draft separate right (upper-layer) and left (under-layer) front skirt pieces.
2). Draft the right front by extending the center front as far as you would like. The center front of the skirt shown was extended 2″ to create a facing along the front edge.
3). Design the waistband. Determine how wide you want the waistband. Measure down and mark a line parallel to the top edge of the skirt this amount.
4). Draft the left front. With a center front opening, extend the underneath layer (left front) nearly to the opposite side seam for modesty coverage. To draft this piece, trace the original skirt front (without the extension), then flip it over and trace it again with the center fronts aligned. Trim off 1½” from the right side seam. This will all be cut as one piece. Repeat step 3 to mark the waistband.
5). Draft the front waistbands Cut off the right front and left front waistbands. Close the darts and smooth the edges to create contoured right and left front waistbands. Add ½” seam allowance all the way around and make sure to label each.
6). Draft the skirt back. Label the center back to be cut on the fold. Measure down from the top edge the same amount as in step 3. Cut off the waistband and close the darts as in step 5. Indicate that the waistband should be cut on the fold just like the skirt back. Add ½” seam allowance to all but the center-back edge.
7). Add ½” seam allowances and 2″ hem allowances to the skirt front and back patterns.
8). Draft the pocket. First, draw a rectangle as wide and long as you want your finished pocket to be. If you’re not sure, measure the pocket on a favorite garment. Add 1″ to the top and ¾” to both side and bottom edges. Do not add anything to the bottom corners, as shown. Then, add ¼” seam allowance to all the pocket edges, including the corners.
9). Draft the pocket flap. Draw the pocket flap pattern shaped as shown, with the center approximately ⅓ the finished height of your pocket. Draw the flap width equal to the width of the finished pocket plus ¼”. Add ¼” seam allowances to all the edges.
›› 2⅓ yards of 44/45″ fabric
›› ¾ yard of fusible interfacing
›› 3 buttons
›› Matching thread
1). Cut out the fabric. Use the newly drafted pattern pieces to cut the following:
• From fabric: one right and one left skirt front, two right front waistbands, two left front waistbands, two pockets and four pocket flaps. On the fabric fold, cut one back skirt and two back waistbands.
• From interfacing: one right front waistband, one left front waistband, two pocket flaps, and one back waistband on the fold. Transfer the marked foldlines on the pattern to the fabric with a temporary fabric marker.
2). Apply interfacing. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of corresponding fabric pieces.
3). Sew the pockets, as follows:
a) Cut two strips of interfacing 1″ the width of the top edge of the pocket. Fuse the interfacing on the wrong side of each pocket, ¼” below the top edge. Press under the top edge of the pockets ¼” and then 1″ to the wrong side. Topstitch close to the inside folded edge of both pockets (see step 7 illustration).
b) Press under the side and bottom edges 1″ to the wrong side along the marked foldlines.
c) With the right sides together, fold one bottom edge to the closest side edge, as shown. The marked foldlines should align. Stitch the corner with ¼” seam allowance. Repeat for the other side. Turn the pocket right side out and press the seam allowances along the bottom and sides ¼” to the wrong side.
CONSTRUCTION NOTE : Take your time assembling the bellows pockets. They aren’t difficult to sew, but can be a little tricky at the corners. You can omit the pocket flap if you prefer, depending on your design.
4). Assemble the flaps using ¼” seam allowance. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch one interfaced flap to one non-interfaced flap along the side and bottom edges. Trim the corners and turn the flaps right side out. Press, and then baste the top edges together. Topstitch around the sides and bottom edges. Press the top edges to one side along the basting stitches. If you are planning on buttons, stitch buttonholes in the flaps now, making sure the length fits your buttons.
5). Stitch any remaining darts in the skirt fronts and back. Press them toward the center of the skirt.
6). Sew the side seams. With the right sides together and raw edges aligned, stitch each skirt front to the skirt back along the side seams. Press the seam allowances open, and clean finish as desired.
7). Attach the pockets.
a) Position the pockets wherever you want them on the skirt, and pin them in place along the pressed edges. Edgestitch each pocket in place along the bottom fold of the side and bottom edges.
b) For extra security, you can secure and stitch down the top edges of each corner, through all the layers as shown.
DESIGN NOTE : For added dimension, you can edgestitch along the side and bottom foldlines with the wrong sides of the pocket together.
8). Attach the flaps. Center each flap ⅛” above each pocket as shown. Stitch the flaps in place ¼” from the edge. Then, press each flap down over the top of the pockets and edgestitch ¼” from the fold. This will cover the bottom raw edge of the pocket.
9). Finish the left skirt front edge by pressing under a 1″ doublefold hem. Topstitch close to the inner pressed edge. The right skirt front edge has a fold-back facing, so press under the raw edge ½” to the wrong side and then another 2″. Topstitch close to the inside folded edge to create the facing as shown in the photograph.
10). Assemble and attach the two-piece contoured waistband with separate facing as explained.
11). Finish the skirt. Stitch a horizontal buttonhole on the right front waistband. Then try on the skirt and mark the snap location to secure the left front edge. Take off the skirt and hand-sew a snap and the three buttons in place. Carefully press under the lower edge of the skirt ½” to the wrong side and then another 1½”. Topstitch close to the inner folded edge, or sew the hem as desired.
SKIRT-A-DAY SEWING Create 28 Skirts
For A Unique Look Every Day