Tuesday, March 20, 2012

LTTSA: Making Bellows Pockets

Let me just say first off- If you are making the vest this month and still hee-hawing about whether to do the bellows or not, just do it! Yes, this took extra time, but to me it's totally what makes this vest explorer-ish. I love the way mine came out and they really aren't hard to do. I'm sure Hendrix will like wearing it when I convince him it's just like Diego's vest. "SAY BELLOWS! SAY IT LOUDER! EVERYBODY SCREAM!" Most stressful kid's show ever. 

So first, you press one long edge of the bellows to the wrong side by a 1/2 inch, then pin the other raw edge to the pocket, right sides together. Clip into the bellows piece on the curved parts and stretch it to fit, just like we did on the bucket hats so long ago.

Here's what the front of your pocket will look like after you sew that seam and press. I found it easiest to press the seam allowance towards the bellows.

Now turn the pocket back the the wrong side and hem the top as instructed. You'll notice the the first fold you made is still there, but the rest of the bellows piece is not folded into the hem. The diagrams in the book are actually really clear for all these steps, but real fabric pictures help a little too.

 Then you are going to topstitch the seam around the pocket and bellows. It's easiest to do it with the bellows on the top. Take it nice and slow around the curves so you can get the extra fabric out of the way without getting any puckers.

I didn't take a picture of this step, but then you are just going to pin and topstitch the other long side of the bellows (still folded under) to the vest where you transferred the marks from the pattern.

Lastly, add bar tacks (a tight zig zig stitch) on both sides of the hem so that the top lays flat and doesn't hang open. I haven't done it yet in this picture, just pointing out what the sides will look like. 

My front pockets are all bellowed up and just need flaps. I'm so happy to have learned a new type of pocket because I LOVE pockets. Who doesn't?

Link party for your explorer vests and other projects from Little Things will begin on the last day of the month and you will have a week from then to add yours. Remember, you could win the wonderful book, Growing Up Sew Liberated.

Also, I wanted to let you guys know I was interviewed this week over on Krista's awesome blog, Thar She Sews. It's all about the stuff you care about- fabric and sewing. Check it out right here.


  1. They look great! And, looks surprisingly easy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. What a cute vest that will be! I love your fabric choices! Too bad my granddaughter doesn't want one... I'd like to give those pockets a try. Thanks for showing how easy they are! Maybe I can find something else to put one on. ;)

  3. Oh man, I bet he'll love that vest! Seems like a little guy's dream. Loved your interview, too!! You rock.

  4. Cute! I really so love the bellowed pockets. And my little guy needed some convincing too, but then a week later he willingly wore it for several hours.

  5. Thanks for dropping by to see my Little Red Riding Hood Cape. Your explorer vest is looking fab! Especially those ever so neat pockets...

  6. great tute! he is going to looove this!

  7. Thanks for this post bc I was totally going to skip the bellows. They really do look cool though, don't they. And you make it look easy peasy...I'm never gonna make the deadline but I'm hoping for Easter, thanks for the inspiration. Ps can't wait to follow you on project rp.

  8. Super cute, Jessica! And great use of Echino. :-)

  9. Thanks for the great pictures, I referred to them last night, that's right--I'm sewing along this month :)


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