Next up on our Blanca Flight Suit sewalong, we’ll show you how to sew the breast patch pockets. If you are sewing View A, adding zippers to the patch pockets can be a cool, more industrial/workwear detail. If you are sewing View B, or if your fabric is lighter weight, you might opt for a plain patch pocket without the zipper. If you’re sewing the regular patch pockets, skip down a few sections.
ASSEMBLING ZIPPERED PATCH POCKETS (VIEW A)
The Blanca Flight Suit breast pockets are graded for size. You will need two matching zippers for your zippered breast patch pockets. While our instructions recommend zippers that are about 5″ long, the actual length of the zippers will depend on the size you are making. To determine the exact length of zipper you’ll need, measure between the set of notches along the edge of the lower breast pocket pattern piece (N). Remember the length of a zipper is measured from the top stop to the bottom stop, excluding the zipper tape at either end. Our denim sample for this sewalong is a size 10, and I was able to use these 4″ zippers without shortening them. If you do need to shorten your zippers, it’s super easy. We’ll show you how to customize the length of your zippers in our post on sewing the center front zipper.
Finish the raw edges of the upper and lower breast pocket pieces (M & N) where the zipper will be installed with a serged or zig zag stitch. I have served all raw edges of these pocket pieces, but this is optional. If you are using a lightweight fabric, we recommend stabilizing the sides of the pocket where the zipper will be located with some fusible interfacing as well. Right sides together, match the upper and lower pocket along the notched zipper edges.
Using a basting stitch, sew the upper and lower pocket together at 5/8″ (16mm) and press the seam open.
Press all outer raw edges of the pocket under by 1/2″ (13mm).
Unfold the pressed outer edges of the pocket. Secure the upper and lower pocket together by stitching along the pressed fold line where the pieces join with a short stitch length – later on, we’ll be ripping out the basting stitch, and this will help keep your pocket together before you stitch it to the bodice. With the pocket wrong side up, position the zipper face down over the basted seam. The top and bottom zipper stops should be positioned between the notches. in the photo below, the yellow pins indicate the placement of the notches.
Secure the zipper in place with hand basting or scotch tape. We strongly recommend hand basting for the most control and accuracy – we can’t stress enough how much easier hand basting is and it just takes a minute. Ensure the zipper teeth are centered over the seam.
The zipper will be sewn in place by topstitching from the right side of the pocket 1/4″ (6mm) on either side of the basted seam. To ensure evenly spaced rows of topstitching, trace your stitch lines with a ruler and removable marking tool.
From the right side of the pocket, topstitch 1/4″ (6mm) away from the basted seam along the entire length of the pocket. Use a zipper foot and position your needle so you can follow the line you traced in the previous step. If you taped your zipper in place instead of basting it by hand or pinning, you can sew right over the tape and remove the tape when you’re done.
When you reach the end of the zipper you may find the zipper pull is in the way, preventing you from sewing a straight line of topstitching. If this happens, unpick some of the pocket seam’s basting stitches so you can slide the zipper pull out of the way and keep sewing.
Sew a second row of topstitching on the other side of the basted seam. Once the zipper has been secured on both sides, remove all basting stitches and give the pocket another press. When you sew the opposite pocket, ensure the zipper is mirrored so you have a pair of symmetrical zippered pockets.
ATTACHING ZIPPERED POCKETS (VIEW A)
If you’re sewing the Blanca Flight Suit in our extended size range, you will need to sew the bust darts before attaching the pockets. We cover everything you’ll ever need to know about how to do this in our in-depth post on how to sew darts.
Pin the finished pockets to the left and right front bodices. We suggest positioning the pockets so the zipper pull is closest to center front when it’s closed. If you’re attaching zippered pockets, the zipper seam will align with the circle markings on the pattern piece. Use a ruler to double-check that the pockets are parallel to center front on both sides. This is especially important if you’ve sewn a bodice with bust darts. It can be tricky sewing a flat pocket to a shaped bodice, so ensure the sides of the pockets are parallel to center front.
Once your pockets are pinned in place, secure the pocket in place by topstitching 1/8″ (3mm) around the pocket edge, starting at the top inner corner. Keep your needle down when you turn each corner.
The Blanca Flight Suit involves a lot of topstitching! You can backstitch at beginning and end, or pull your thread tails to the wrong side of the garment and know them off for a cleaner finish.
Deleted: To help with topstitching around the corners, trace a diagonal chalk line at each point so you know when it’s time to turn.
Sew a second row of topstitching 1/4″ (6mm) from inside the first row, and your front bodice is ready!
ASSEMBLING BREAST PATCH POCKETS (VIEW B)
If you are sewing the plain breast patch pockets without zippers for View B, the assembly is the same as the back leg patch pockets. Finishing the raw edges of the pocket with a serged or zig zag stitch is optional. Press the top edge of the back pocket down at the notches. Fold the raw edge under by 1/2″ (13mm). Topstitch across the folded top edge of the pocket at about 1″ (25mm).
Press the remaining sides of the pocket under by 1/2″ (13mm). Pin the breast patch pocket to the front bodice (you can also use a glue stick). The top corners of the pocket will align with the circle markings on the bodice pattern piece, as opposed to the zippered pockets where they are aligned at the zipper seam.
Topstitch the pocket in place by sewing 1/8″ (3mm) around the outer pocket edge. Sew a second row of topstitching 1/4″ (6mm) inside the first row.
ATTACHING FRONT LEG & BODICE (ALL VIEWS)
Before we move on to sewing the hip pockets, we need to assemble the fronts at the waist seam. If you are sewing with a lighter weight or loosely woven fabric, we suggest stabilizing the center front seam where the zipper will later be installed with a strip of interfacing 3/4″ (19mm) wide. This helps prevent puckering when you go to assemble the zipper, but it’s not necessary for thicker fabrics like denim or twill. Apply the interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric. The interfacing should run the entire length of center front on the front bodice pieces, and can stop at the notch on the front legs.
Okay, let’s sew this seam! Right sides together, match the front bodice to the front leg at the waist seam, matching notches.
Sew together at 5/8″ (16mm). Finish the seam and press down towards the front leg.
Next up: sewing the hip pockets!