Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top

18 Jan

stretch yourself header
This post is part of the Stretch Yourself Series hosted by Miriam of Mad Mim and Miranda of One Little Minute. This two week series is ALL ABOUT the love of knits, so go check it out!
I’ll be showing y’all some embellishment twist on a classic, along with Jessica of A Little Gray

Here she is – the Paulie Pocket Top!
Paulie Pocket Top
I KNOW. The name of this top is totally ridiculous & tacky – but what part about my life isn’t? 🙂

Paulie Pocket Top
You will need 3 different kinds of fabric to make this – something for the majority of the shirt (in whatever yardage you need to make your top), something to line the back of the pocket with (half a yard or so should be enough), and scraps for the pocket binding. For the binding, you don’t want to use anything that is too thin/floppy, or it’s not going to sit right – try something with a bit more body, like ribbing or a cotton knit.

Don’t forget your pattern! You can download it here. The edges of the paper are part of the band pieces; the lines just didn’t transfer over during the scan.
Be sure the test square prints out to 4″x4″ (or 10cmx10cm, if you fancy). The stretch guide is there for the binding fabric – you just want to make sure the 4″ piece stretches up to the length provided (or else your binding will not fit in the cut-outs). If it stretches more or less, that is fine, but you will need to adjust your pattern pieces accordingly.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut all your pattern pieces from the main fabric as normal. For this tutorial, I am using the Renfrew pattern. Sew the shoulder seams as instructed (you don’t *have* to sew the shoulder seams first, but I like to because it helps with pocket placement – you can pull the shirt over your head and double-check in the mirror).

Now push the back of the shirt out of your way. We won’t be touching it for the rest of this tutorial.

Paulie Pocket Top
On the shirt front, measure on both sides the distance from where you want the bottom of your pockets to hit, keeping seam allowance in mind. I usually go with 1 3/4″. Mark this with a pin.

Paulie Pocket Top
Align the bottom of the pocket template with the pin and cut from the front of the shirt only.
(pst! I know my template has different wording – while putting together this tutorial, I hadn’t decided on a ~name~ for my pattern embellishment yet ;))

Paulie Pocket Top
Give the pocket piece to your cat to play with, idk.

Paulie Pocket Top
Cut 2 pieces of pocket ribbing, using the pocket band pattern piece.

Paulie Pocket Top
Fold in half lengthwise, wrong sides together, and press.

Paulie Pocket Top
Pin the pocket band to the pocket opening on the outside of the shirt, matching raw edges, notches, and ends. The pocket band will be smaller than the pocket opening – this is good, we are going to stretch that band to fit and give our pockets a nice curve. Do not overpin this – 3 pins is plenty.

Paulie Pocket Top
Start by anchoring one end of the pocket band to the pocket edge, and stop with the needle in the down position.

Paulie Pocket Top
Sew the band to the edge, stretching the band to fit as you go (don’t stretch the raw edge of the pocket- just the band! It’s much easier if you position it so the band is on top). Sew slowly and take your time. We ain’t in a hurry here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Once the band is sewn down, you can topstitch it on your sewing machine – using a twin needle or a regular ol’ zigzag stitch.

Paulie Pocket Top
You should end up with something like this. Ain’t that fancy! Let’s put a back to those pockets so our sides aren’t hanging out in the glory of the sun – unless you’re into that kinda stuff, eh, no judgement here.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure from the bottom of the shirt front to about an inch above the pocket band. Mine is 9.5″, which is approximately how tall I need my pocket lining piece to be.

Paulie Pocket Top
Measure that same measurement from the bottom of your shirt front pattern piece and cut that from your pocket back fabric.

Paulie Pocket Top
Finish the top edge of your pocket back fabric – this is optional as we all know jersey doesn’t exactly unravel, but it’ll make the next step a little easier 🙂

Paulie Pocket Top
Lay the shirt front over the pocket lining piece you just cut, matching all raw edges. Pin along the pocket openings and shirt bottom to keep everything in place.

Paulie Pocket Top
Now, using your fingers to feel the edge of the top of the pocket lining underneath, carefully pin across the front of the shirt so both pieces are pinned together.

Paulie Pocket Top
Flip back periodically to make sure you catch both layers.

Paulie Pocket Top
Topstitch (again – you can use a twin needle or a zigzag) along the line you just pinned. Baste the side and bottom edges together.

And that’s it! You can go ahead and sew your shirt together as instructed by your pattern – treat the pocket-ed front as one piece.

Yay for embellished shirts!

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Paulie Pocket Top

Special shout-out to this awkward picture:
Paulie Pocket Top
No idea why I look so emo here haha

Paulie Pocket Top
There! That’s better 😀


49 Responses to “Tutorial: The Paulie Pocket Top”

  1. cathy January 18, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    ah cute! can’t wait to try this one day

  2. Tamsin W-P January 18, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    this is fantastic, what a fab idea. And you make it look so simple!

  3. evilincarKnit January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am #

    I love this, especially how it gives a nice subtle empire waistline to your shirt. You are so amazingly productive this month! Really, holy crap, there’s something new like every day! Very inspiring.

  4. Kim January 18, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    This is a really cute idea. I am thinking of using it on a fleece top. After all it is winter in Minnesota!

  5. Lori January 18, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Great idea, thanks for sharing.

  6. Maggie January 18, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Love this shirt! I do love pockets! I think they should be on everything 🙂

  7. punkmik January 18, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    this is so cute! and thanks for the links to the series! had no idea it was going on! 😀

  8. Seattlerain January 18, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Your fabric is so deliciously cute!

  9. Johanna January 18, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    I LOVE pockets! What a great idea. Thanks for the tutorial.
    Have nice weekend!

  10. CarolinasCallin January 18, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    Oh, I really like this one! The fabric is way too much fun – love the pink on you! Very cute, fresh and fun!

  11. Seraphinalina January 18, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Renfrew is such a great base pattern. I love the modification of the pocket. I don’t know that the style is me exactly, but it’s an idea to tuck away. I wouldn’t have thought of making that change.

  12. Shar January 18, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    Great tutorial! I like the empire waist detail as much as the pockets. And the fabric is adorable.

  13. emdash January 18, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    SO CUTE. Question: how would you make this a maternity top??

    • LLADYBIRD January 18, 2013 at 10:28 am #

      Ohhh, I’m not sure if I can help you there – I don’t have any experience with maternity clothing, like, at all haha 🙂 I imagine you could take this tutorial from ‘So Zo to alter your pattern, and then merge in the pocket tutorial after you have gathered the side seams. I would also suggest using the altered pattern to make the pocket lining as well – I think the gathers would look cute coming out of the pocket 🙂

      If you end up making this into a maternity top, I’d love to see!

      • emdash January 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

        Thanks for the link–I’ll give it a whirl and let you know IF it turns out 🙂 I’m a super novice sewer when it comes to clothing but I think I’ve caught the bug from all you bloggers!

  14. Sabs January 18, 2013 at 11:33 am #


    • mimtribe January 18, 2013 at 11:56 am #

      I love this!! the tutorial is fantastic, the shirt is super cute, and the color is pitch perfect on you. I always sew my shoulders first to check pocket placement as well:) Thank you so much for doing this, I’m such a fan of yours!

  15. Kelly Tuttle January 18, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    I love that shirt!

  16. lisa g January 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

    oooohhhh i love this! it would be especially adorable in kid-size… they really love pockets. super cute!

  17. Meg the Grand January 18, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    LOVE it! I need some awesome knit tops with pockets asap 🙂 Love the fabrics you used!

  18. lbrundage January 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Too cute! Great tutorial!

  19. joelle January 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    so adorably 70s! it looks so profesionnal, too!

  20. Lisette January 18, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    So cute! I used to have a similar top. Maybe this is how I’ll use up the weird mix of rather-coordinating knits I bought in NYC

  21. Kay January 18, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Very nice. I will definetly try this.

  22. Shannon January 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Well isn’t that just sweet!! I’m going to have to give this a try since I finally just bought the renfrew pattern.

  23. MIranda January 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

    I seriously love this. Love pockets, love purple, love it. Thank you for being super awesome!

  24. Vanessa January 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Ooooooh! That is FANCY. Thanks for the tutorial. Where did you get that amazing fabric? Is it a Mood purchase?

    • LLADYBIRD January 18, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

      It’s actually a piece I bought at the thrift store last summer! I wish I had a more reliable source, bc it’s such an awesome print haha.

  25. Carlee January 18, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

    Awesome tutorial, thanks Lauren! It makes me think that I can start doing crazy things with clothes….we’ll see.

    In other news, that emo photo totally says, “I’m so sad about this chair. :(“

  26. jessica January 18, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    This is so great, I love the shape of those pockets. I’m definitely going to try this for my daughter!

  27. Jacinta January 18, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    This is fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial.

  28. velosewer January 19, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    You’ve made ‘pattern making’ look as easy as it really should be:)

  29. gingermakes January 19, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    This is so cute! Love the pocket detail.

  30. Andrea Pannell January 20, 2013 at 11:19 pm #

    LOVE this! I love pockets like that. thanks for the tutorial.

  31. Angela January 21, 2013 at 3:17 pm #

    Love the top and tutorial – nicely done!

    So, how are you liking the Bernina now that you have had it a little bit? Does it do well on knits, even without the adjustable presser foot?

    I’m looking/researching getting a new machine, so I’m very interested in yours! I did read everything you wrote just after you got it (comments and all) but after you’ve used a machine for a couple weeks or more more likes or dislikes tend to come out. KWIM? Such a big decision! Not like I buy a new machine every year. I was looking a bit at Pfaffs, but you got rid of yours and chose Bernina. I’ve read tons of good about Berninas, but then also some complaints of course, nothing ever gets 100% reviews.

    • LLADYBIRD January 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I am LOVING my Bernina! I’m still going through a learning curve with the knits. The walking foot (it’s not built-in, but my model came with one so I do have it) solves most, if not all, of the problems, although I will admit that sometimes I’m feeling lazy and I don’t want to put it on 🙂 Without the walking foot, I do have some issues with bunching, but I think most could be sorted out with adjusting the tension or using a different needle. Since I have the walking foot and I prefer to use my serger most of the time anyway, I haven’t really explored that realm as much as I should. One thing I really love about it that I did not see coming was the size of the bobbins – they are HUGE. Like I only need one bobbin for each project. So that is pretty awesome. I also have not had a single tension issue (apart from the knits), and the stitches are beautiful no matter what fabric I push through the machine.

      As you probably guessed, the pictures in this post are actually a couple of months old – which is why I’m sewing on the Pfaff. I hadn’t bought the Bernina yet 🙂

      Also, older Pfaffs are great machines! As long as you stick with the ones made in Germany (which are 20+ years old), those machines are AWESOME. The newer ones are fine, if that’s what you have your heart set on – but they’re not made in Germany (also, I don’t care for the drop-in bobbin but that’s a personal preference), so keep that in mind if that matters to you. They are now owned by Singer/Viking. My main reason for going with Bernina is that they weren’t bought out by a lesser company, if that makes sense.

      • Angela January 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        Nope, wasn’t set on Pfaff at all, just wondering about why you changed. Thank you for the great answer!

  32. Suzanne January 22, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    I love how the color-blocked pockets give an hour-glass-shape effect…and also, your cat is the cutest model.

  33. aprescod January 23, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    That is so cool and cute i just love it. thanks..

  34. sewingshop March 18, 2015 at 6:15 am #

    What a great tutorial! I really like the look of this top, it’s really original.
    I linked to your tutorial from my blog, you can see it here: http://www.sewingshop.net/blog/make-a-unique-pocket-top/

  35. Tere November 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    It is great idea, i like pockets….. and fantastic colours! I love it! Thank you. I must sew it…


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