HSM #9: The 1868 Safety Pocket for Traveling is Zipping Along

Finished safety pocket front with bound edge

Finished safety pocket front with bound edge

I’ve finished piecing the front of the Safety Pocket and I’m pleased with how it’s looking. Somehow, even my less favorite fabrics look right when they’re pieced. That probably comes from my love of antique quilts and the fabrics of which they’re made. In any case, I’m glad I decided to go this route.

(image by Ageless Patterns)

(image by Ageless Patterns)

The instructions call for a binding for the upper edge of the front piece, through which an elastic band is run. There is also binding around the edges for extra protection against wear and tear.

The contemporary solution would be to cut the binding on the bias so it can sweep around the curves smoothly and stay flat. Bias binding also results in more threads protecting the edge, so the binding lasts longer. But that’s not historically correct. The use of bias binding did not appear until much later, since it requires more fabric than straight strips cut selvage-to-selvage. So I’m going to use the historical method. It will leave the edges less than perfectly smooth, but so it goes. This time I want to use an accurate technique and if the women from 1868 managed with this method, so can I.

I used an on-grain strip for the pocket’s upper edge and, sure enough, it does not lie flat. Turns out it’s a good thing, though, since it’s easier to slip my hand inside without having to dig around for the opening. And it will less wobbly looking once a bit of elastic sits inside the center front edge.

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Both pieces for the pocket back are ready to go – I’m using two pieces and sandwiching them for extra sturdiness. Once again, I’m using one of the fabrics I don’t like much. By piecing it down the center I was able to use all of it up, so this is the last I’ll have to see of it.

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So, when I layer them, which side goes up: the one I don’t like or the one I do?

I honestly haven’t decided yet. On one hand, it will be easier to find things against the lighter background. On the other hand, I really do not like it. But on the other hand again, if you happen to have an excess of hands, the pocket is hidden when worn so does it really matter? I think I’m starting to lean toward the lighter fabric even though it’s not my favorite.

The next step is to add the elastic bands across the lower part of the front and back pieces. I also still need to run elastic through the bound upper edge of the front piece. Then I can sew the front and back pieces together and bind the edge. The final step is to add the waistband, and I’m thinking of deviating from the pattern here to make my traveler’s pocket even easier to use. Stay tuned!

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