Lemon Drop Sew Along Day 3 – Placket, French Seams, and In-Seam Pockets

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Today we will begin assembling our skirts and pockets for the Lemon Drop Dress Pattern for Girls, but let’s take a moment to focus on the back placket first.  This is step 5, “Create the Placket” on page 8 of the pattern.  Since take some practice, take is slowly if it’s new to you and consider practicing on a scrap. Even for those who have done a few plackets, it can be tricky to sew them without wrinkles, but once you get the technique down of smoothing them out right before you get to them, you’ll have perfectly smooth plackets.

Now that we have our placket in place, we can move onto assembling our skirt pieces.

French Seams

When deciding how to assemble the skirt pieces (think side seams), you’ll need to choose which pockets you’ll want first.  If you are going to use the pattern’s gathered pockets (or no pockets at all), you can finish the skirt’s side seams using this tutorial for French seams.  It is definitely doable to finish in-seam pockets with a French seam, but we will not be covering that in this sew-along.

Using French seams is a great choice for the hi-low Lemon Drop as the inside of the skirt is visible when looking at it from the front.  This cherries hi-low tunic has a modest height difference, but we can still see inside it.  If you are using a more dramatic hi-low difference, you definitely want to make sure your inside seams are finished.

If you’re not finishing your skirt with French seams or adding in-seam pockets, go ahead and follow the pattern’s instructions, step 6  on the bottom of page 9, to assemble your skirt pieces.

In-Seam Pockets

I love adding these pockets to the maxi’s sew-along version.  They provide hidden, or as my girl calls them “secret” pockets that don’t disturb the lines of the dress.  They’re also very easy to sew, so let’s get started drafting those pattern pieces.

First, you will want to mark your front skirt pattern piece and your front and back fabric pieces with the measurement below for your length size.

You will measure down from the side seam.  This is going to be where we place the top of our in-seam pocket.  I am adding in-seam pockets to my littlest one’s ruffle maxi dress, so I’m using the size 3 length skirt piece, and measuring down 3.25″ and placing a little notch (keep your notch within the seam allowance).

The way I draft in-seam pockets is simply by tracing my girl’s hand directly onto the pattern.  I like to mark my side seam allowance too so I know where that will fall with her hand placement.  I usually just give myself enough pocket and seam allowance room by drawing a 1/2″ seam allowance while tracing around her open hand, beginning at my pocket placement mark.  Also keep in mind how wide the opening of your pocket is to make sure it’s wide enough for them to get their hands in and out easily.  As you can see in my example below, I go over my initial drafting lines until I get it just the way I like it.

Cut out or trace your pocket pattern piece, and now you will cut 4 of these from your fabric (2 of them in reverse/mirrored).  Finish the rounded edges of your pockets with a serged or zigzag stitch.

Now taking your skirt front piece, place one of your pocket pieces right sides together with the skirt, matching the top of the pocket with the marking for the pocket placement.  Sew your pocket’s straight edge seam to your skirt’s side seam using a 3/8″ seam allowance.  Repeat this for your other pockets and skirt back piece.

Since we aren’t using French seams for our skirt’s side seams, lets go ahead and finish them with a serged or zig zag stitch.

Then press your pocket away from your skirt.  I like to stitch 1/8″ away from this seam, on the pocket side.  This helps the pocket lay away from the skirt fabric.

After you have repeated this for each of your pockets, place your skirt front and back pieces right sides together, matching up pockets, and sew down your side seam and around your pocket using a 1/2″ seam allowance.  It can be helpful to draw the sewing/pivot points at the corner top and bottom of where your pocket meets your skirt.  Always test before drawing on your fabric though to make sure the markings can be removed!

Press pockets towards front, turn right side out and enjoy your perfectly secret, in-seam pockets!