Before assembling the full coat, do all of the pockets. This is for a multitude of reasons that all come down to it is just so much simpler. You don’t have to fight the entire coat at the sewing machine or (theoretically) stitch through another layer of your coat (never have had that happen… hah!).
I decided to get the pocket I was most nervous about done first… the chest pocket. This is a pocket you get to slash through the coat in order to make… and you can’t back out once committed. After countless hours on the structuring of the chest there’s never any pressure. I watched so many videos on the process to see what tips and tricks were out there… make sure you are not tired, remember you will be stitching along the edge of the flap so don’t cut past the flap edge (been there, done that, redid the whole front panel before). Here we go…
Re-mark the placement in the event the chalk lines faded. Decide the width of the opening you will be making. I chose 5/8″ to give me a little extra fabric to be caught up in the seams (fear of unraveling), this will give me 5/16″ to work with on each side. Now I have the flap placement marked as well as the opening placement marked. Instead of walking through all of the steps with countless photos, check out this video that explains it way better than I ever could.
It is probably of note that I mention some (not all) of my fears came to be during this pocket creation. First, I placed my flap backwards and didn’t realize it until AFTER I slashed through the fabric and clipped one of the seams while cutting the triangles. And yes, there was a little unraveling, but I had to cut out both seams, move the flap and lining pieces and resew them into the right places. I am pleased that I was able to get the pocket reassembled without having to re-cut a new front panel.