Bellows Pocket Plus More

This is the sixth time I have made McCalls 4400. Here is the pocket pattern from McCalls 4884 that I use universally in all my bags. It is a simple bellows type pocket that I have modified a bit.

The first difference is to cut the pocket doubly on the fold. Then I interface with a light interfacing, usually a tricot, inside of the two layers. The interfacing is not in the seam allowances. When I do bags my interfacing is almost always fusible and I always cut off the seam allowances. When making a bag there is so much potential bulk and layers that you really have to eliminate them when you can, so no interfacing in the SAs. I then sew the mitered corners, trim with a pinker, and topstitch the upper edge.
A bellows pocket is three dimensional, the dimension being achieved by that miter. The pocket needs to be pressed in a crease from the top edge to the end of the miter seam on both sides. Pink and iron under a quarter inch the side and bottom seams of the pocket. Bring the crease to the edge of the of the side seam fold. Do this on both sides and press in that crease. You now have a pocket with all seams ironed under and a pleat on each side. Place this where you want on the lining and topstitch only the side seams. All threads will be brought to the back and tied off. Press well, pressing the pleat down on each side.

If you have placed the pocket properly you will be wondering why you have excess at the bottom. We will deal with that now. Line the bottom edge up so it makes a 45ยบ angle from the side seams. Tuck in a little pleat equidistant from each side seam and top stitch. Now you have depth as well as a rectangular shape to your pocket. I bet a few minutes ago you thought you would have a curve at the bottom!
I like a place in my pocket for a pen or pencil, so my next step is measuring 3/8 of an inch from the center of the pocket on each side of center. I then topstitch this down. Next is a good press.

Your pocket is now done and will accommodate your phone and lipsticks nicely, oh so much better than a flat little number!


I am going to do my Thursday Throwback today as I have company coming tomorrow. My munchkins will be heading home soon and their Mommie and Daddy will arrive tomorrow. It has been great fun.
When I needed professional clothing, I got in the habit of doing 4 piece suits, vest, pants, jacket, and skirt. This vest was made as part of a much simpler Geoffrey Beene Vogue suit that also used the two different wools. We are talking circa 95 here (blush). I know, I keep everything I sew. I'll show the suit one day.
I textured the fabric with randomly shaped uneven pleats. This was then embellished with free motion embroidery, cords, and ribbons. The buttons are two huge MOP antiques I inherited. This was really fun to do.

DH's comment when he saw me photo'ing it on the form yesterday, "This looks like what they wear on Big Love." Yeah right. I am sure it is the high neck!....Bunny


  1. One of these days, I will quit being such a chicken and try making a purse. When that time comes, your blog will be consulted frequently!

  2. I love that you keep what you make. Though if I had the stuff I made in the seventies I'd probably cringe at my sewing sloppiness!

  3. I love the embellishment on the vest!!

  4. I am loving your bunny tag on the pocket of the bag. Very clever.

  5. I am really enjoying your blog.You are so creative.I'm am inspired every time I visit.

  6. Great pocket - so much more useful than the flat ones! Thanks for showing how it is done.

  7. The pocket tutorial is very good. I have used a similar technique, but am always wondering if I did it right. Thanks for showing it.
    Also, I like the vest (but I have never watched Big Love, so cannot comment on that aspect!).

  8. I worked on Big Love, and that vest is something we would have bought for the compound folks - so true! Great pocket tutorial!

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