Alder Sew Along Part 06: Darts and Pockets

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

The darts and the pockets on the Alder go hand in hand, since the pocket is placed directly on top of the dart, so today we’ll be covering both. Starting with the dart, fold the fabric over with right sides facing so that both dart leg notches match and the apex of the dart is on the fold of the fabric.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Pin the dart in place. You can draw a line with a marking tool from the apex to the legs so that you have a line to stitch on if you like.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

One trick to sew darts without marking a line to follow is to make sure the dart legs and the apex are in a straight line with your needle, then stitch from one point to the other which essentially what I do only without the ruler.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

I like to back tack at both ends of my dart, I know a lot of people tie a knot at the apex, it’s mostly what you prefer. I don’t like fiddling around with a knot so I like to do it this way, less hand work for achey hands. No matter which way you like to treat the ends of your darts you’re going to want to make sure that your dart stitching goes off the end of the fabric. If you stop before you’re likely to get that dart dimple and while it’s not such a big deal because we’ll be placing a pocket on top of the apex, it’s still good practice to avoid this.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

It was pretty hard to show because of extreme thread matching so I traced over the stitching with this dotted line, but I like to sew a small curve into my dart to echo the curve of the bust. This just shapes the dart around the bust ever so slightly better than a straight line.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Once you’ve sewn the dart you’re going to want to place it on a tailor’s ham and press the dart excess towards the bottom of the garment. Make sure to handle the apex gently, pressing flat and just going at it willy nilly are two additional ways to get that dimple in your fabric. You know what I’m talking about.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

This is what your pressed dart should look like from the right side of the garment. No dimple!

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Now we’ll assemble the pockets. Start by pressing down the 1/4″ seam allowances at the top of the pocket. This is the end that is notched.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Then fold the top of the pocket to the underside along the notches. If you happen to be working with a fabric that doesn’t want to press, you can use a weight (or clapper if you have one) to give the fabric a nice quick press while it’s still hot.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Stitch the flap down as close to the edge of the fold as you can. this is the back side of the pocket.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Fold the remaining seam allowances to the underside of the pocket.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

First lay the front so that the button band is straight. Measure over from the seam line to the pocket marking and pin the pocket in place making sure that the top of the pocket and the bottom are both the same distance away from the front.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Now because we’re attaching the pocket over a dart it isn’t going to want to lay properly if you just plop it down and pin the rest. You can see the dart situation going on in the photo above. You can maneuver the pocket down properly but there’s an easier way to make sure the pocket goes on smoothly.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Place your tailors ham under the dart and pocket, you’ll find that the dart and pocket lay smoothly and pinning it is very easy.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

This is how it looks all pinned and ready to sew. So smooth!

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Sew along the outer edge of the pocket as close to the edge of the pocket as you feel comfortable. I did my standard 1/16″ but this part is totally up to you as far as how comfortable you feel and what style you’re going for.

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Here she is all stitched on! One last step…

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

Grainline Studio | Alder Sew Along Part 06 | Darts and Pockets

On the inside of the pocket there’s a bit of overhang depending on how close you stitched to the edge of the pocket. I like to snip this off to reduce bulk as well as eliminate any stray threads that want to poke above the pocket line.

That’s that! Next up is the yoke, I’ve got two methods for you up next so stay tuned…

19 replies on “Alder Sew Along Part 06: Darts and Pockets

  • Grace

    Oops, I totally made my pockets inside out. Not that it really matters with my stripe…. I could just repress them, I kinda like the look of the fold over on the outside so I think I’ll just leave them.

    Reply
    • Grace

      Also, I always stitch my darts by stitching off the point 2 stitches, then lifting the presser foot and replacing the dart under the foot so the needle will be just inside the point allowance and then stitch off again. I clip my threads and go. It works kind of like a back tack but without reversing. I’ve never had a dart come undone.

      Reply
      • Katie Emma

        The method I learned was from Christine Haynes’ Craftsy class, and she has you turn your stitch length to 1 about a 1/4″ from the end of the dart, then sew off the edge of the fabric. The tiny stitches don’t come apart easily so you can just clip your threads.
        But I might try your method next time! Seems like there’s no one right way.

        Reply
        • Jen

          I think the key is to make sure that you’re going off the end of the dart and not stopping a few threads short, that’s really what causes the pucker. Knotting, backtacking, or changing the stitch length really all do the same thing and it’s just up to you what’s easiest. For me backtacking is easier than changing the stitch length on my machine so that’s why I do it. If you’re just starting out changing the stitch length or tying a knot may be easier because it’s harder to sew straight backwards than forwards. It’s all what you’re used to and what works best!

          Reply
      • Jen

        I used to do that when I was on an industrial because using the super handy knee lever to raise the presser foot was easier than backtacking, now backtacking requires less movement on this machine so I do this instead!

        Reply
    • Jen

      I actually do them inside out half the time, especially on fabrics where the right & wrong side is the same. In those instances I prefer the fold over to the outside too

      Reply
  • Robyn

    I have a cotton linen blend that I am planning to use and was going to serge all my raw edges…but maybe that will add too much bulk in the pocket. I will shoot for a 1/16 SA but might end up with an eighth. LOL. I just know my linen will fray after washing!

    Reply
  • Ninon

    Jen, I am getting ready to cut fabric but want to make sure I have enough fabric for the sleeve and mandarin collar version- does the collar just use the undercollar portion or will you be supplying additional pattern pieces for those versions? I am going for version A modified in black thermal weave cotton guaze and jet buttons from a lovely button and trim store in downtown Portland -looking forward to everyone’s completed projects!!

    Reply
    • Jen

      The mandarin is just the collar stand so nothing else to cut there. The sleeves are from the Archer, I don’t have the pattern with me now to measure but if you have the pattern you can check that they fit with the dress. Hope that helps, the thermal weave sounds amazing!

      Reply
  • Bevan

    I am LOVING this sew-along! Thank you! Your sew-alongs and modifications are huge perks to buying your patterns (over and above how lovely and versatile they are). Thank you. 🙂

    Question: if I were to shop online for pattern weights like the ones you show in your photos, what search terms might I use? I’ve never seen anything like them in sewing stores where I live and often use things like rolls of coins but would love to invest in something more sturdy and specific.

    Reply
    • Jen

      Try googling “cloth weights” as that is their technical name 😉 they’re really only available in industrial pattern & sewing supply stores so if you have one of those near you give that a try. I get mine in town here at Leonard Adler

      Reply
  • Deidra Michalak

    I just bought the Alder pattern and I’m really excited to get started. I have a slight problem that I hope you can solve. I had a bilateral (double) mastectomy a few years ago and I don’t know what to do about the dart. Can I just keep the pattern flat and redraw the side seams in that area of the pattern? I love your sew-alongs. I’ve made two Archers so far with more on the way. Such great results!

    Deidra

    Reply
    • Jen

      I would try doing a small bust adjustment, which is worked just the opposite as a full bust (FBA’s are covered in the Alder Sew Along). If you keep the pattern flat and draw across the dart the front side seam will be longer than the back side seam. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Cheryl

    Hi there. I have a question about the position of the dart point… Is it supposed to be in line with your nipple (cringe!) or sit an inch or so below? I tried looking at the photos but couldn’t get in close enough to see the details plus the pocket covers it too. If it is supposed to be in line with the nipple, do i just need to raise the dart point but keep the dart edges in the original position or should I move the entire dart up? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Jen

      It should be in line, but fall about a half inch outside. You could do either as far as raising it, I’d recommend doing a muslin, but if you want the dart line to be straight raise the entire dart, or if you don’t mind a slanted dart (it can be a nice design feature) than you can just raise the point. If you just raise the point though you’ll need to be sure that both dart legs are the same length which may require folding the dart and re-shaping the side seam. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  • Mary

    This sew along has been great and is bringing me back to garment sewing!. One thought I had was to face the pocket with a printed lightweight fabric. What are your thoughts on that?

    Reply

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