Sunday, 19 August 2018

A monogrammed pocket for Jack

I wrote about how my grandsons loved their machine embroidered pincushions/teddy pillows that they helped embroider. I suggested to Jack that I would embroider a pocket with his initials for his birthday and he was delighted with the idea.

Birthday boy. Jack says he likes big teeshirts

Note that my offer was for a pocket, not a teeshirt! However, after having huge difficulty finding a suitable non-motif tee shirt, I thought I was going to have to make one! I have Kerstin Martensson’s Kwik Sew Sewing for Children and there was a suitable pattern in it. Fortunately, I eventually found some very reasonably priced teeshirts and polo shirts. I had bought the tee in yellow but Jack preferred a teeshirt and in white. Jack is very tall for his age - he’ll be 9 on his birthday but I needed 10-11 size

The tee shirts were cheap enough that I was able to buy a smaller sized spare to cut up for the pockets so they would match. I had looked at some possible monograms on my embroidery software and gave Jack a choice. He chose the one I have done in the colours I showed it in.

My original design was only 40mm by 40mm approx. including the decorative border. This was very tiny and I felt it would be lost on the pocket. Also the letter T at the end was almost  illegible. I adjusted the software and enlarged my design to approx 60mm by 60mm. That was better. 

I have never sewn a motif on a tee, have never embroidered on stretch fabric at all so I went on a quick learning mission by watching a Craftsy class. The class was very useful. I learned that the hooping is probably the most important thing of all and how to do it properly. 

I wasn’t sure what size a pocket should be, so used the template in the Kwik Sew book. I prepared to have a practice. I mentioned I had previously washed and tumble dried the teeshirts. I used a heavy-ish interfacing on the back. This would be a cut-away type, slightly secured by spray on adhesive. I couldn’t find my adhesive anywhere though I certainly have some so made do with a fusible interfacing that had been discarded as it didn’t stick properly. On top of the embroidery, I had a layer of water soluble Solvy. I understand that this provides support to the letters and makes them more distinct. This was important because of the shape of the bar on the T. 

I ended up cutting a piece of fabric from the tee shirt rather than try to embroider whole, which of course I would have had to do if I was embroidering directly onto the tee rather than a pocket. The whole stitching process went without a hitch and I think the embroidery looks pretty good.

The first issue was that using the Kwik sew template added rather too much space at the bottom of  my design and I felt that it was going to be unbalanced. So when I cut the pocket out, I corrected this by adding above the design what the pointed shape added on below. I also decided to have a narrower top border so my stitching line would be over the original box I had stitched around the design in a running stitch, which I removed. I'm not sure I needed to do that but I wanted to make sure the fabric didn't move white it was being embroidered. 

I cut the pocket out, sewed the top border and turned in the hems. I struggled a bit with sewing the sides. I ended up with a line of stitching halfway across the seam allowance - not good. I decided to leave it and ask advice at sewing club. In the meantime I dissolved away the rest of the Solvy - it was easy and quick. At sewing club, I was advised to edge stitch the pocket to the tee, rather than use a wider topstitch. When I mentioned the difficulty I'd had in stitching in the first place, I was advised to use a stabiliser behind. They recommended a particular one which unfortunately they didn't have - and neither do I. However, I decided to use the same semi sticky stabiliser and tear away afterwards. 

I measured out where the pocket should go, placed the pocket using a stick of spot fabric glue designed for this purpose (but the glue had deteriorated and didn't work well), had the interfacing behind and stitched on without difficulty. However, the pocket was lopsided. It had moved. I was forced to unpick. I remeasured, tacked in place and edge stitched once more. That was better. 

I had a little difficulty removing the stabiliser. I should have done the reinforcing stitching in the corners before I removed it because I had problems with that. 

Overall I'm reasonably happy with the result. The teeshirt needed washed again  to remove the pencil mark and the yellow of the glue (it's supposed to dry clear but it didn't; I should have tried it out on a sample. You live and you learn.)  I assumed the tee would come out of the machine in satisfactory condition!!  Obviously, if not then it's not fit for purpose! Well, it came out of the machine fine and I hung it to dry (indoors as we’re having some rain at present). I then ironed it, packed it and posted it off, in good time.

I found this project more difficult than I expected but learned a lot. The pocket itself was straightforward but attaching it to the tee wasn't. Kerstin Martensson says the pocket should be attached before sewing up the tee - I can see why as it was a little tricky to manipulate. 


  1. Looks great,and he looks very pleased with it too :-)


Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog. Please leave a comment. I welcome each and every one. I value criticism (constructive of course! ), love hints and tips and would appreciate suggestions for future direction.

Flip and Fold Cushion

I’m really quite excited! I finished the Flip and Fold cushion from Lesson #4 of the Sweet Pea ITH Course, and I love it. This rather surp...