I'm so excited to share the first of hopefully many Acanthus House tutorial-downloads! This free pattern is for the right and left embroidery designs as well as the patch pocket pattern piece. These pockets are intended for shirt fronts and can be added to any shirt pattern (or existing shirt in need of some sprucing up). The embroidery design would also be pretty worked and hung up in a 4-inch embroidery hoop as a decoration for your creative space!
I was inspired to create these pockets while I was harvesting tomatoes in August. My indigo plants were in full pollination and every bee for miles was attracted to our yard. While I was picking San Marzanos and Chocolate Cherries, the bees who were waiting their turn with the indigo were buzzing all over the marigolds planted around the perimeter of our vegetable patch. I stopped and watched a few fly from bloom to bloom until they were well dusted in yellow.
The simple beauty of that moment reminded me of the meaning behind "marigold," a tidbit I'd come across in the spring. Apparently, it signifies "Mary's Gold," and the flower heads were once strung together to crown statues of the Virgin Mary: circlets of botanical gold in the stead of mineral. The elevation of the everyday.
So this design is a little homage to the humble beauty of the marigold, a simple flower yet one fit to grace the head of the mother of Christ.
Click link above to download file
- Fabric piece measuring 11 inches wide by 6 1/2 inches high. *Grainline should run parallel to the side measuring 6 1/2 inches
- A shirt in need of some pockets!
- Embroidery needle
- Sharp embroidery scissors
- Needle threader, if necessary
- 4-inch embroidery hoop
- Wax-free transfer paper
- Small piece of cardboard
- Painter's tape
- Micron pen
- 2H pencil (optional)
- Ballpoint pen
- DMC embroidery floss in the following colors: 223, 320, 503, 742, 744, and 3364
- Sewing machine and related accouterments: thread for sewing and topstitching pocket, scissors, pins, iron, etc
- Seam gauge, yard stick, and 12-inch ruler
- Marigold Embroidered Patch Pocket Download, printed out
- Prepare your fabric piece:
- To make embroidering more manageable, you'll create one long piece of "pocket" with the top portion already finished (so that you won't have to sew over your embroidery later).
- Making use of your seam gauge (or ruler, if you don't have one), fold over 1/4 inch longwise and press for a rectangle now measuring 11 x 6 1/4 inches. Fold over again 1 inch longwise, press and pin in place.
- Using your sewing machine, topstitch as closely to your pinned edge as you feel comfortable, preferably 1/16 inch from edge. When possible, I like to do all of my topstitching in a 2mm length to give a dressier look (this is common on ready-to-wear fine men's shirts).
- Using small pieces of the painter's tape, gently attach the pocket piece to your cardboard at the corners and in the middle (i.e. out of the way of the pocket design). Measure in 1 1/4 inches from one short side and place your pocket pattern piece there, matching up the top edge of the pattern with the finished edge of the fabric. If the color of your fabric allows, trace around the pattern with the 2H pencil (there is less risk of this showing in the finished product). If you need a darker line, trace the pattern piece with the Micron pen. Repeat on the other side of the fabric piece for two pocket outlines.
- Line up the embroidery designs within the pocket outlines, being sure there is 1/4 inch negative space all around the design, except at the top, finished edge. The embroidery designs should match up with this edge just like the pattern pieces did. Tape down the top edges of the designs in two places each that don't interfere with the image. Only tape the top edge,
- Place a piece of wax-free transfer paper between the paper designs and the fabric. Choose a color that will show up well on top of your fabric. Using the ballpoint pen, fully trace the designs applying enough pressure to transfer your image clearly. For the dots and stems, I just filled in the circles and traced within the lines. *Personally, I did not trace the stamens of the flower heads. I decided that I would just fill that area in at random with long and short stitches.
- Remove the transfer paper as well as the designs. Your transfer, while easily visible now (if you were using enough pressure), will quickly rub off if you try to start working at this stage. So, you will need to trace over your transfer with the Micron pen. These are bleed proof, won't run when washed, and leave very fine lines that are easy to conceal under embroidered stitches.
- Embroider the designs:
- Using your 4-inch embroidery hoop, DMC floss, embroidery needle, needle threader (if necesssary), and embroidery scissors (which allow for close clipping of end threads), follow the schematic below and fill in the designs of both pockets (*for stylistic reasons, I decided to leave some negative space in my satin stitching of the larger petals to allow the pink of my fabric to show through). Just FYI, these embroideries are at a very fine scale and took me about two weeks to complete.
- For reference, here are some links to instructions for making the stitches used in this design, from Sublime Stitching and Craftsy:
- Cut out and attach the pockets:
- When you have finished embroidering, carefully press your fabric so that it will lay flat again! Use a towel as a press cloth over the embroidered sections so that you don't crush the more sculptural stitches.
- Following the pencil outlines you made earlier, cut out your pocket pattern pieces. Using your seam gauge, fold 1/4 inch all around the pocket perimeter to the underside (except the already finished top edge) and press. I like to start with the long sides and finish with the angled bottom sides.
- Spend some serious time positioning your pockets on your shirt. It may be that your shirt pattern already has marks for pockets that will help you align these, making adjustments for probable differences in shape and size. Or it may be, as in my case, that pockets were not originally part of the shirt pattern. Fortunately, I had a muslin to reference. I actually taped paper cut-outs of the pocket designs to the muslin and tried it on, adjusting until I liked the placement. Using my yardstick and ruler, I was able to transfer those positions to my intended shirt. If that is not an option for you, pin a pocket to your shirt, carefully try it on and keep adjusting it in this way until you feel it's right. Use your yardstick and ruler to position the second pocket as an exact counterpart to the first.
- No matter your method for positioning, pin your pockets in place. Go to your sewing machine and topstitch the pockets as closely to the edge as you feel comfortable, preferably 1/16 inch. Again, I used a 2mm stitch length.
- These pockets are small, fully embroidered, and obviously not very functional. However, you should still provide reinforcement for them at the top two corners for longevity's sake. I would normally stitch little triangles with my machine. However, since I wanted to interfere with the embroidery as little as possible, I chose to use my thread ends and a hand needle to hand stitch miniature reinforcements. A small bar tack would also work but would be more visible.
- Snip off some of the excess seam allowance at the top of the pockets to discourage frayed threads showing.
Give your shirt a final press and wear with pride!