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adding pockets to pants, skirts, anything? (both new and old clothing)

 
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I have a pair of pants I need to alter.  The "one size fits all" is more like "one size fits most".  So I'm taking apart the side seams to give it a bit more room.

Which got me thinking - hmm... there aren't any pockets!!!

There's got to be a way to remedy this situation!  

Let's talk about pockets!  Adding pockets to clothes that don't have them.  Adding pockets to sewing patterns that are insufficent.  

Pockets, pockets, who's got pockets?  
 
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Yes what is it with fashion that women's pants have no pockets? My wife is always giving me something to put in my pockets.  I've also had pants with shallow pockets that were not deep enough for a wallet or pocket knife. I would be frustrated without pockets.
 
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Exterior pockets, or "patch pockets" are easy to add to an existing garment. Inseam pockets are a lot harder.

There are good instructions here for how to sew both kinds.
 
r ranson
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These pants are pretty flowing, so I'm keen to keep the basic shape of the pants while I adjust them.
Since I'm opening up the side seams anyway, it seems a good time to add regular pockets.
 
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I agree with James, I'd be lost without pockets too! My favorite pants now have a pocket on the outside of the thigh for my smartphone.

I've also found poorly made pockets. Either too shallow or too deep.

Too shallow and things slip out when you sit, bend, or crouch.

Too deep and you actually have to contort yourself to get to the bottom, and in winter especially, your sleeves prevent your hands getting that far. (or if you wear a wristwatch)
One of these long-pocketed pants, the pocket was both long enough and not stitched into the side seam far enough, that I'd end up sitting on my pocket knife since it would slide beside and under my thigh as I sat down. I wear those infrequently, for that reason, and they are my "nice jeans" that are tan color and pass for kahkis...  (I prefer jeans) and I'd never keep them "nice" as daily wear.

Another thing I thought was a good idea while shopping, was the edge of the pocket had a binding, rather than just hemmed... super durable right? Not so fast... the main reason why MY pockets wear out on that hem is from hooking a tape measure, or a pocket knife clip there, for years. Well damn, the clips on the tape measures and knives can't fit over that binding! And if you force it, they slide off so easily that you lose your stuff at the worst moments. So, yes, the pocket is spared the wear by not working properly. (in my opinion)

 
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This is my basic in-seam pocket pattern. I swiped it from a commercial pattern, it's very comfortable, deep enough to be useful, flows nicely with pants or skirts. I can draw you a properly cleaned up, with numbers, instructions, and markings, version if you want. This is what I would use to do what you want, if you were handing me those pants.

:D
pocket_0885.JPG
[Thumbnail for pocket_0885.JPG]
 
r ranson
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Pearl Sutton wrote:This is my basic in-seam pocket pattern. I swiped it from a commercial pattern, it's very comfortable, deep enough to be useful, flows nicely with pants or skirts. I can draw you a properly cleaned up, with numbers, instructions, and markings, version if you want. This is what I would use to do what you want, if you were handing me those pants.

:D



That looks perfect!
 
Pearl Sutton
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r ranson wrote:

That looks perfect!


Want it cleaned up and labeled etc then? I can do it later tonight....
 
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James Sullivan wrote:Yes what is it with fashion that women's pants have no pockets? My wife is always giving me something to put in my pockets.  I've also had pants with shallow pockets that were not deep enough for a wallet or pocket knife. I would be frustrated without pockets.



Kenneth Elwell wrote:
I agree with James, I'd be lost without pockets too! My favorite pants now have a pocket on the outside of the thigh for my smartphone.

I've also found poorly made pockets. Either too shallow or too deep.

Too shallow and things slip out when you sit, bend, or crouch.

Too deep and you actually have to contort yourself to get to the bottom, and in winter especially, your sleeves prevent your hands getting that far. (or if you wear a wristwatch)
One of these long-pocketed pants, the pocket was both long enough and not stitched into the side seam far enough, that I'd end up sitting on my pocket knife since it would slide beside and under my thigh as I sat down. I wear those infrequently, for that reason, and they are my "nice jeans" that are tan color and pass for kahkis...  (I prefer jeans) and I'd never keep them "nice" as daily wear.

Another thing I thought was a good idea while shopping, was the edge of the pocket had a binding, rather than just hemmed... super durable right? Not so fast... the main reason why MY pockets wear out on that hem is from hooking a tape measure, or a pocket knife clip there, for years. Well damn, the clips on the tape measures and knives can't fit over that binding! And if you force it, they slide off so easily that you lose your stuff at the worst moments. So, yes, the pocket is spared the wear by not working properly. (in my opinion)



There is a ton of history in that question! Here ya go:
http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/history-of-pockets/

https://medium.com/verve-up/the-bewildering-and-sexist-history-of-womens-pockets-1edf3a98117
 
Pearl Sutton
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Ok, let's see if I got this right! The images will download if you right click and save image as (at least on my computer) each will print out on 8.5 x 11 paper.
This is non-copyrighted, public domain work, offered for free to permies :)














 
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Thanks for this, Pearl! Since my phone and a small additional electronic piece form a part of my pancreas, it's super important that I have pockets. I've been adding patch pockets to some clothing, but it's not always a good match for all clothing styles. This will help immensely, and now I don't have to figure it out for myself!
 
r ranson
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Thank you so much for the tutorial.
I'm hoping to give this a try this weekend.

The delay is that I'm adding a gusset to each side seam.  I get to decide if I want the pockets in front of the gusset, behind the gusset, or if I make the gusset in two bits, and put the pocket at the very centre of the side?
 
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r ranson wrote:
The delay is that I'm adding a gusset to each side seam.  I get to decide if I want the pockets in front of the gusset, behind the gusset, or if I make the gusset in two bits, and put the pocket at the very centre of the side?


In general, pockets are most comfortable and usable slightly forward of the side seam. Stand up, put your hands where thy are comfortable on your hips, it's not the side seams. So move your pockets forward off the side seam if you can. Look at where your hands sit easy, and can reach forward into your pocket, then look at your gusset and decide.

On the purple pants I was putting pockets in, those pockets are about 2 to 2.5 inches forward of the side seam. I have wide hips, that may be too much for you. But it's a guess where to try putting your hands to think on it.

Glad you find it useful!! :D
 
r ranson
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placing this here because I've been wanting to try this style of pocket for a while but my brain won't understand.  



 
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What a cool pocket! I can't wait to see what you do with it, and it was neat to see her using her sewing bird. We're getting some (desperately needed) rain, so I'm thinking about taking a couple of my things upstairs, to add hidden pockets, and possibly a hidden, internal molle system to my overall skirt. But adding internal pockets seems like a mysterious process, sometimes.
 
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I am a bit confused about that. I am not sure it is the type of pockets used a lot on vintage skirts and pants but not contemporary patterns.

It is a pocket that serves as the side opening too. I took a picture of a Pendleton wool skirt I found in the free store to show the details. Anyone know what it is called?
P1150804.JPG
Side pocket opening
Side pocket opening
 
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May Lotito wrote:I am a bit confused about that. I am not sure it is the type of pockets used a lot on vintage skirts and pants but not contemporary patterns.



The pear-shaped pocket seems to be common in Victorian woman's clothing.  Think of it like a handbag inside the skirt rather than a pocket - it seems to be much larger than what we call pockets today.  

I think it's an adaptation of the tie-on pockets we see in earlier times in England and Europe.  
 
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Having just accidentally bought two pairs of trousers without pockets I think I may have to have a go at this! Glad to see there is already a thread for it.
 
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r ranson wrote:

I think it's an adaptation of the tie-on pockets we see in earlier times in England and Europe.  



The Megan Nelson Flint pants have the tie-on pocket. Clever design for adjustable waistband without using elastics. Maybe they get the inspiration from historical/vintage clothing.
https://megannielsen.com/collections/all-products/products/flint-pants-shorts-sewing-pattern
 
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May Lotito wrote:It is a pocket that serves as the side opening too. I took a picture of a Pendleton wool skirt I found in the free store to show the details. Anyone know what it is called?

I have no idea what it's called, but I sewed a wool suit back in the 1980's that had that sort of a pocket/side opening combo. Do people want me to go hunting to see if I still happen to have the pattern?
 
May Lotito
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Jay Angler wrote: I have no idea what it's called, but I sewed a wool suit back in the 1980's that had that sort of a pocket/side opening combo. Do people want me to go hunting to see if I still happen to have the pattern?

i'd appreciate if you can find the pattern number when you got time. No hurry. Maybe other vintage patterns have the same pockets but I can't tell just from their cover photos or line drawings. Thanks.
 
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May Lotito wrote:

I'd appreciate if you can find the pattern number when you got time. No hurry. Maybe other vintage patterns have the same pockets but I can't tell just from their cover photos or line drawings.

The pattern was the Simplicity Connoisseur Collection 7685. The cover has 1986 in small print, but it isn't clear to me if that's the year this pattern was released, but it should be in that ball park. I would have thought I'd sewn it at least a year earlier, but quite possibly that's just time dilation of 30+ years passing!

That said, the instructions clearly show that the left pocket is sewn differently from the right pocket, so that the side opening gains its range by the pocket not being sewn all the way shut at the inner seam. The waist band was held closed by a hook where the pocket would normally have been sewn shut and a button at the end of the waist band. Hopefully you can find something on-line. If not, speak up and I'll see what I can do to help out further.
 
May Lotito
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I made my Jean's pocket deeper. Who would design pockets only 2 inches deep?!
P1150984.JPG
Add fabric to deepen pocket bag
Add fabric to deepen pocket bag
 
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May Lotito wrote: Who would design pockets only 2 inches deep?!

I could say something, but it would be rather rude!
Did you happen to take pictures of exactly how you joined the bits together? Did you do it by hand or machine?

I ask because I bought a pair of pants sewn *exactly* as your picture shows, dirt cheap at the thrift shop and it's on my list to do more or less what you've done, so I'm curious as to how you decided to get it done.

Nice job by the way!
 
May Lotito
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I did the other pocket and took some pictures.
1. Decide the size of pocket you want and remove the old pocket seams. Most jeans are sewn with chaining stitches so it's easy to remove. I leave some room on the end for easier access with the presser foot.
2.sew individual pocket fabric to the open edge of old pocket. Zigzag to finish
3. Align front and back pocket bags and sew . Zigzag to finish edge
4. If necessary, handstitch to secure the corners.

For the previous pocket I finished pocket bags first with french seams then attached to the jeans. There are different ways to do it so find whichever you like. I also did adding pocket bags to RTW welt pockets in the "add pockets to pants" BB
P1160167.JPG
Open seams
Open seams
P1160170.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1160170.JPG]
P1160171.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1160171.JPG]
P1160172.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1160172.JPG]
P1160174.JPG
[Thumbnail for P1160174.JPG]
 
r ranson
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I've been trying to discover how to add watch pockets to my skirts.  Do I need to add a buttonhole for the chain to attach?  

Of course, it would help if I had a working fobwatch, but I figure if I make the pockets, the watch will come.  
 
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Traditionally, it can go through a buttonhole or beltloop, any one in a comfortable, convenient location will work.
 
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I am the self appointed President of the group Pockets for Women [ PFW]
The PFW was formed following years of frustration by the founding members who were tired of women losing keys, having nowhere for handkerchiefs, nut & bolts or even seeds and worms.

The obvious solution is pockets.
However thus for its been fruitless, we have approached every fashion house in the world, expressing our opinions for nought.
Pockets ruin the ;
- lay of the cloth
- shape of the woman
-makes the hips look wider
etc, etc,etc.
We have explained that men are never judged for wide hips, lay of the cloth etc and therefore it seems like a solvable problem.
BUT, after 40 years we are still out there trying to save the pocket.
Any progressive ideas are welcome.
 
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James Sullivan wrote:Yes what is it with fashion that women's pants have no pockets? My wife is always giving me something to put in my pockets.  I've also had pants with shallow pockets that were not deep enough for a wallet or pocket knife. I would be frustrated without pockets.



And so are we, women past the "fashion" stage sick and tired of having to buy garments that are always more expensive than men's, more flimsy and a lot less practical! Pink tax anyone? While men less chivalrous than James may grind that their wives is making them carry all the stuff they can't put in non existent pockets, women have those gripes too, and more!
I have long bought men's shirts [they are stitched better, and they HAVE POCKETS are less expensive and have a longer back tail so I can keep my behind warmer] and men's shoes: they are made sturdier, with stronger stitching and thicker material. They tend to be a bit wider as well. And all that extra comfort for less money and longer lasting garments.
What's not to like! so yes to adding pockets on everything you want pockets on!
The fit for pants is harder, of course [AAaargh!]
I have aprons and tool belts but sometimes, it is just nice to have the pockets incorporated to clothing. Maybe some day, we might even say no to 98% of the clothing : Only 2% of our clothes are made in the US and we don't even like them!
Let that sink in for a moment. I'm probably singing to the choir on this one, but I just had to get it off my chest!
 
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I had a pair of loose harem pants that needed a pocket for a cell phone, some cash and a debit card. I cut out two rectangles big enough to fit my cell phone, one a little taller than the other. I lined up the three sides, leaving a tab at the top and sewed the three sides. The excess fabric on the longer rectangle was used to sew to the inside of the waistband where the waistband met the body of the pants. Boom, pocket. Since the pants were loose, it didn't affect the look of them.
I serged all my edges but you could finish the raw edges by turning them down and stitching before you put the two rectangles together.
It sort of looks like you're putting your hand down your pants when you reach to get the stuff out, but it was a quick solution and it worked for me.
 
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That is what aprons are for! I wear one all the time while at home. Then if out I have a purse. But I do like pockets, but not enough to 'sew' them.
 
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