Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tutorial: Adding a pocket.

[Originally posted here on May 22, 2014.]

My husband and I share one absolute "must" when it comes to pajamas pants: they MUST have POCKETS. We spend a lot of time around the house in pajamas, because we're lazy like that (all right, that's mostly me), and we need pockets for cell phones and chapsticks and such. Pants without pockets are pointless, and ANNOYING.

My husband grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and the 49ers and Giants will always be "his" sports teams. So when his parents gave him a pair of 49ers pajamas pants, he loved them--at first glance. Then he noticed they don't have pockets.

"You can add pockets, right?" he asked me, already confident he knew the answer.

"Um, sure." Yeah, I've never added pockets to anything.

He really just needed one, he said, so some time later, I sat down to figure out how to add a pocket. After all, most of my sewing is more about problem-solving and winging it than reading patterns anyway....

Turns out, it's not that hard!

Tutorial: How to add pockets.

First, I grabbed a pair of my pocketed pajamas pants and used one of those pockets for a rough template, just to give me an idea of what size and shape I should aim for. Then I cut my pocket out from a fabric scrap I had lying around.

Cut your pocket and mark pocket hole.

Cut your pocket from folded fabric (not along the fold, though), so you have two layers. Mark how far down you want the pocket hole to go.


Stitch both layers together all the way around, leaving the pocket hole open.

Cut pocket hole in pants.

Lay out your pocket-less pants, inside-out. Determine which side you want the pocket on, and lay it flat on the pants on that side. If your pants have seams on the outside, cut the seam open; if not (like these ones), lay the pants down flat and smooth them down to find the outside edge, and cut the fabric.

Use the pocket hole on the pocket as your guide, and cut only that far on your pants.

Flip pocket inside-out.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I'll establish this now: "inside-out" shall mean that the seams of the pocket shall be hidden; "outside-out" shall mean the seams shall be showing. ("Inside-out" shall not mean "right sides together" like it would with any other sewing project, as pockets are weird; "inside-out" shall mean that the inside of the pocket shall be showing. And the number of the counting shall be three. Five is right out.)

Ahem. I just want to be clear, since pockets are sewn right-sides-together but then stay that way, unlike practically everything else. I will always be speaking in terms of the inside and outside of the finished pocket.

Place pocket in pants.

With pocket inside out and pants inside out, place the pocket inside the pants, pocket holes lined up. (So, the insides of the pocket will be against the outsides of the pants.)

Line up pocket holes.

Line up the edges of the pocket holes on the pocket and pants.


Pin one side of the pocket...

Pin some more.

...and the other.


Sew the pocket in place, one side at a time.

Sew one side at a time.

Like so.

Sewn in place.

Once the pocket is sewn in place, you're halfway done! Just one more step...

Flip pocket outside-out.

Keeping the pants inside-out, push the pocket outside-out through the pocket hole.

Lay pocket flat and pin to front waistband.

Smooth the pocket out and lay it flat on the inside of the front of the pants. Pin the top of the pocket just below the front waistband.


Sew the top of the pocket in place along the waistband.


You're done! Turn the pants right-side-out to admire your new pocket.

Finished product.

My husband insisted that I get at least one good shot of the SF logo. (He loves his 'Niners.)

Here he is, testing out my work.

What's it got in its pocketses? is fully functioning, but I did make the mistake of using my pockets as a template....and his hands are bigger than mine. It'll work, but, in hindsight, I probably should have gotten some input from him about the pocket size in the beginning. It's a little tight! But not bad for my first try!

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