Sewing Crafts: Creating Ribbon Weaving Pockets

Ribbon weaving for pockets takes a little longer, but it's easy to do and adds a special designer's touch to any garment.

A distinctive touch for your home tailoring or sewing projects is adding ribbon weaving pockets. They're not hard to do, and make your outfit even more special, so here are some directions.

You'll need a sewing machine, iron and well-padded ironing board, and a paper pattern for the pocket itself. Other necessary supplies are: sharp sewing scissors, straight pins, material for the pocket (or pockets) base, ribbons and perhaps narrow lace, flat fold bias tape or woven hem tape and thread in matching or contrasting colors. For even easier assembly and finishing, get a half-yard of iron-on single-faced interfacing.

You can use either scrap pieces of plain muslin or cotton, or a piece of the garment material itself for the pocket base. Use the paper pattern and cut out however many pockets you want to have on the finished garment. Press these pieces, and cut out interfacing pieces to match. An extra bonus here is that by weaving and then stitching your ribbons to interfacing and a base, you'll have a lined pocket which should last the life of the garment.

Now for the first creative touch. While you're at the ribbon and trim counter, decide whether you want coordinating or contrasting ribbons, and in what style. If you've just made a lovely pastel blouse, for example, you probably want the same color shades of ribbon to create your pocket top. If the blouse is a sheer material, you might want a yard or two of narrow lace to thread in with the ribbons. For a child's garment, think how cute ribbons in primary colors would be: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet - making pocket-size rainbows! Slacks or jeans pockets might use flat fold bias tape or grosgrain ribbon for an accent; soutache braid would add an elegant touch to an expensive suit jacket's pockets.

If your pocket is going to be three inches wide when finished, figure on at least six inches of ribbon to go across and for weaving in and out. Add on extra for the length of it too: for a four inch long pocket, double the ribbon length to eight inches. (You can always use ribbon snippets in other projects; greeting cards or scrapbooks perhaps.) Measure the pocket size to decide how many strips of ribbons you're going to need: a three inch wide pocket will need seven strips of half-inch wide ribbon to cover it and for the seam allowance when it's stitched to the garment. A good rule of thumb is to always figure on an odd number of ribbon strips both horizontally and vertically, so you have enough coverage for the base material and for weaving.

Cut your ribbon strips, remembering to leave extra length to be tucked under the edge of the pocket later. Lower your ironing board so you can comfortably sit down at it, and begin your pocket "╦ťsandwich' by placing a pocket-size piece of interfacing (glue side up!) on the padded ironing board. Using only horizontal strips, cover the interfacing completely with ribbon. Try out different styles and colors until you get it just the way you like it. Now pin each end of the strips to the ironing board. Take the first vertical ribbon strip and begin weaving it through the horizontal ribbons: over the first horizontal ribbon, under the next, over the third and so on. Pin the ends of the first vertical strip to the ironing board and go on to the next vertical strip. This strip will go under the first horizontal ribbon, then over the next, and under the third. Keep repeating this simple weaving step until the interfacing is covered.

When you have the pocket top weaving completely done and pinned all around, follow directions for the interfacing and press the ribbons to the interfacing without removing the pins. Let the pocket top cool before unpinning it.

You can add another creative touch now by using decorative stitches or contrasting thread to machine-stitch the layer of woven ribbons and the interfacing to the base of your pocket. Follow the edges of each ribbon, or stitch through the middle of the ribbon instead if you wish. Fold over the end of each ribbon and tack it to the back of the pocket base. This prevents raveling. Once all the ribbon ends are tacked to the base, cut another pocket shape from the interfacing. Place it glue side down and iron it onto the base.

Repeat all the steps for each pocket. Finally, carefully machine-stitch the pocket(s) in place. Now you've got the perfect accent for your garment, with lined, ribbon weaving pockets showcasing your designer's touch!

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