I've heard through the grapevine that a lot of people are having trouble getting their pockets straight on their reversible hoodies. It can be tricky to get them to match up perfectly when you're sewing a zipper in blind, but I thought I'd do a post of all the advice I've been passing on! Obviously, this is most relevant to the people who actually have my reversible hoodie pattern, but it's good general advice for matching up prints and seam lines whenever you're sewing blind, be that inserting zips into bags or just lining a coat! Bear with the 'well, duh' points as I'm sure you're already doing most of them :)
Important factors for getting balanced pockets:
- Make sure that once you've sewn your shell pockets to your lining pockets, flipped them right sides out, and pressed, that they are the exact same height. If they are, great. If they're not, either stitch rip and redo or adjust how it is pinned to the hoodie front so that they match. This means that if you have one pocket slightly taller than the other, pin the shorter one to the hoodie first and use the top edge of that one as the basis for pinning the other one. They'll be a slight overhang along the bottom edge, which you can trim off after basting. But once trimmed, they will have an identical / balanced top edge. Lay it down and match up to be sure.
- It might help to put a contrasting thread in the bobbin when you sew the pockets on. You can't see it from the right side, but it'll be easier to match the top edges if you can see the stitch lines from the wrong side.
- When you're sewing the ribbing along the bottom edge, make sure that you are using a uniform seam allowance for both shell and lining, paying particular attention to the four centre front bottom corners. If one of those corners has even a 1/4" difference in the amount of fabric or ribbing caught in the stitch, that could be enough to throw your pocket alignment off.
- When you lay it down to insert the zipper, have the side with the pockets facing up so you can see the stitch lines. you will see that the stitch lines for the pockets should be even, the stitch lines for the ribbing should be even, and the amount of ribbing extending down should be even. Readjust your layers until they are. Before I pin in the zipper, I pin the layers together about an inch from centre front so no more shifting is possible.
- After you've pinned the zipper in, hand baste it in position very close to the teeth. Nobody likes doing it but honestly it's the best thing you can do to keep your pockets straight! Basting means that you can remove the pins so it's a nice flat surface to sew, and close to the teeth means that there will be less shifting of layers.
- Sew the left side of the zipper in with the pocket side facing up. You can see my basting stitch in black.
- Now to the other side of the zipper. If you're anything like me, you'll desperately want to flip the hoodie over and sew it from the other side just to stay out from under the arm of the machine. But don't, please. When you flip it over and sew with the other fabric facing up, it will be fed through the machine a bit differently (at least my machine is notorious for this) and can shift the pockets out of alignment. And you can't tell if the pocket layer is shifting because you can't see it. You really should roll it up and sew with the pocket side facing up. I find this hard to do, so I go really slowly. If it starts to tug, shift or bunch, stop with the needle down and smooth it out with your fingers before starting again.
- Now that both sides of your zipper are sewn in, make a final check that the pocket stitch lines still match up and that the ribbing is still even.
- Turn it right side out and it should be perfect!