Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Jul 10, 2014

When Bad Things Happen to Good Pockets



Friends, I have good news and bad news.

First the good news: I zipped up to the Garment District today, selected some elegant horn buttons for my nearly completed suit, and had buttonholes made at Jonathan Embroidery.

Here are my buttons:



Here are my buttonholes:





Now the bad news:

Back home, I started attaching my buttons, starting with the single-welt back pockets on my pants.  Suddenly, I noticed something strange, and why I hadn't noticed it before, I really don't know: there was no facing behind the welt.

Even when the pocket is button closed, you're treated to a flash of this:





Needless to say, this realization had me ready to spit.  Normally when I make a single (or double) welt back pocket, a fashion-fabric facing is stitched onto the pocketing in the area that will end up directly behind the pocket opening.  How could I have missed that?

I looked at the pattern pieces: no back pocket facing.  I looked at the pattern instructions: no reference to attaching a back pocket facing.  I looked at the cutting diagram: sure enough, Willi Smith had you cut the pocket bag out of your fashion fabric so there'd be no need for a pocket facing (piece number 29 below):





OK, I'm sorry, but WHO CUTS THEIR POCKET BAG OUT OF THEIR FASHION FABRIC?  Nobody I know!

I did the only thing I could do, the only thing you would do: I stitched my pockets permanently closed.  If truth be told, I would never put anything in the back pocket of a pair of dress pants anyway.

Much better:





For what would end up being a pair of faux pockets, I certainly invested a lot of time and effort, but given the alternative, I believe I made the right call, don't you?

In other news, there's a lovely vintage Forties pattern on Etsy at the moment that's well-priced ($15 or less in my book) but I just don't think those (lantern?) sleeves would suit Cathy.  If you like it (and it's still available when you read this) please grab it and, hopefully, make it.  (I have no relationship with the seller, btw, I just like the pattern.)

When I see pattern deals that I can't take advantage of, I do try to alert anyone I can think of who might be interested (Only last week Laura Mae called me an enabler -- the nerve).  Perhaps I should make this a regular feature of my blog.

Readers, that's all for now.  I hope to get my suit photographed this weekend and posted early next week.  As for those pockets, live and learn.

Have a great day, everybody!

36 comments:

  1. Just this morning at Starbucks I was standing in line behind the cutest urban hipster with very stylish pants with an intentional contrasting fabric that could see. It created 2 perfect little horizontal lines that accented his butt perfectly! I think this is a new fashion trend. I think you should open them back up and own it! Anyone who runs as much as you must have a cute behind. :-).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure some designer somewhere is showing pants just like that.........they all try to break every traditional rule! Check it out.

      Delete
    2. i have to agree-- it looked like a design feature to me! (also, yes, cute booty.)

      Delete
  2. Great pants. Nice tuckus. Great idea to sew pockets closed. That pattern is wonderful. I think Mlle. Cathy would look splendid. It would be so Eleanor Parker. ( a true lovely).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sewing them shut seems like such a waste. I would have just sewn a strip of fabric facing into the pocket opening, folded over so that the seam line is invisible underneath the seam just above the opening. The fit looks great and so does the fabric. Excellent button choice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep, I woulda just appliqued a piece on the inside too

      Delete
    2. If I thought I could do this cleanly, I would. But I'm afraid the result would be lumpy.

      Delete
    3. I'm for stiching them down. A wallet, cell phone or a can of Copenhagan would ruin the line of the trouser and could mar the fabric.

      Delete
  4. Concur with michael on the tuckus. I made my son pants with a contrasting rear pocket, but they were a bit more casual. I many times make the one side of the pocket that will show out of the fashion fabric.

    I bet it will bother you that they're sewn closed....not that I know you that well, but I just have a feeling.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is the kind of detail I'd overlook too. That first photo of you in the pants, PRICELESS!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Burda instructions tell you to cut one pocket bag from fashion fabric. It's an easy shortcut that I have used from time to time. Like on my last shorts but in my defence the pants had no waistband at the front so it made perfect sence.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The first welt pocket I ever made had that instruction. It didn't actually have the welty bit in it--just pulling through the pocket piece and leaving a hole. So I made my own...

    ReplyDelete
  8. O dear, I feel well and truly put into my place: I have never known anything but cutting the back pocket from the fashion fabric. I didn't even know it cut be done differently...
    Well, now I know!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sewing up the back pockets - even (gasp) the side pockets - has been a recent revelation for me. As someone that is, well, practically-butt-less, I long ago gave up worrying how well I looked from behind, and went for, practically-countless-years with wallets and sundry objects in my back pockets, and keys and all kinds of scary stuff in my side pockets. The shame of it all. Only since my French better half suggested I give up the ghost and sew closed some gaping and unflattering pockets have I come to experience the liberation of empty pockets.

    Of course my need for pockets has greatly diminished. After more than 11 years in France, I have finally accepted that, like most American women of a certain age, and the majority of French men of every age, I will never go out of the house without a bag of some sort on my shoulder, back-pack or now generally some sort of smallish messenger bag.

    There is still the occasional moment of panic when you reach back for your wallet … old habits die hard. And I will admit, that I am reluctant to sew up every single pocket. I still hold onto the fantasy that someone will slip me a scrap of paper other than the grocery list that I’ve dropped in the isle. You (theoretically) can’t just dump those in your “purse”.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My husband has the habit of putting his wallet in his back pocket, with the sad result of it wearing away at the pocket fabric and making a hole! Not so annoying when its a RTW pair of pants, but very annoying if you've spent time and love making said pants! You are so lucky to have somewhere like Jonathan Embroidery for buttonholes, not to mention the Garment District for everything else... Here we have limited resources and very limited sewing interest to say the least. Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa! Thanks for one of the best blogs in the sewing blogosphere! Natalie

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love the first look ~ like little peeking eyes looking at what's happening behind you! Impractical yes, entertaining to those walking behind you though ... J

    ReplyDelete
  12. Just last weekend, I made my first ever welt pocket (on a pair of Bermuda's from a 1964 Vintage McCalls pattern), and it didn't turn out as beautiful as I would have liked, nor half as beautiful as yours. I always have pocket envy when I see your work. You made the best of a sad situation with your pockets, but it will never happen again I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I've done the exact thing! And I chose to sew them closed as well. I don't really like my bum winking at people behind me;)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I work with a guy (he's actually in rehab now!) who had contrast fabric peaking out of the welts on his back pockets. It's a thing now. I liked how it added a bit of difference to a pair of ordinary dress pants. Here is at least one company that does it: http://www.bonobos.com/

    ReplyDelete
  15. So strange!

    Also, is it just me, or are those welt pockets really far to your sides? Or maybe it's just the picture? Or it's another style feature?

    Clearly you know lots more about pants than I, so I'd never criticize, but the placing looks odd to me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think so too -- I narrowed from the sides which moved them over a bit, alas.

      Delete
    2. Ahh, that makes sense. I'm about to make some pants, so that's a good thing to keep in mind if I need to make them smaller. :)

      Delete
  16. Good call on sewing the welt pockets closed. If they're open, all you see is the contrasting fabric, not the fit or the quality (or the tuckus.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a shame since the pockets are otherwise perfect! Shame on Willi - pockets from bottom weight fabric would be too bulky! I wonder if that is because when the pattern was produced, good pocketing wasn't available to the home sewist?

    ReplyDelete
  18. What are you even talking about?? Cathy would SO rock those lantern sleeves, with a cute little pair of gloves. Never doubt Cathy's style, Peter. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Bishop sleeves???

    As for Laura Mae 's comment, and all things Laura Mae for that matter, don't get me started!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Two words: sharpie pen. Color the exposed lining with a sharpie pen that matches your fashion fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well hey there cutie patootie! Those pants look fantastic! I agree with your decision to sew them closed. It may be a fashion trend to have a contrasting pocket bag but it's distracting.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am blaming you the for the vintage pattern splurge I just went on...very affordable and lots in larger sizes - practically unheard of! I do think Cathy could wear those sleeves with excellent grace, though.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hello,
    I post a tutorial here for this kind of pocket:
    http://labobine.over-blog.com/article-pantalon-chino-homme-tutoriel-poche-passepoilee-a-bouton-123607550.html
    thank for your blog I really like it

    ReplyDelete
  24. That pocket treatment made you go down quite a few notches on my appreciation scale. We all make mistakes, what's important is how we correct them. Stitching the pocket closed is nothing but an amateurish, lazy cop-out. What kind of attitude is that for a FIT student?
    The pocket looks to be of standard construction, so it would only take removing the stitching along the top and the two short runs at the side of the opening, as well as over a short distance along the sides of the pocket itself to be able to insert and edge-stitch a facing onto the pocket fabric. The little triangles should remain safely in place thanks to their separate attachment to the welt.
    Then close the pocket sides, replace the stitching around the opening, and Bob's your uncle. Fake pockets, boo hiss!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Good save, Peter. I would likely have gone in and applied a different facing if using the pockets were important to me, but if just/mostly for show, that is the perfect solution.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hmm, I sometimes cut the back pocket bags (the sides which will show through the opening) out of fashion fabric. If said fabric is not too bulky and I have enough of it. There's nothing wrong with that. In some fabrics, it's a good thing not to add even more seam and/or layers.
    I also know contrast fabrics are sometimes used in pockets but I'm not really a fan, especially not in a case like this, for back pockets on trousers which go with a suit which doesn't have any bit of contrast like that.

    P.S. It doesn't seem to have bothered anyone else but to me the placement of the pockets looks a bit off. Too far to the sides. In your detail pictures, I can see that the darts end near the middle of the pockets, which would be normal but when worn they are quite far apart.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I'm not a fan of the contrast on a more formal garment. When it's more casual, then ok.

    Many, many moons ago, I participated in garment judging and construction. We were taught to select the lining material to complement or match the shell of the garment. So in this case, instead of using the standard white/off-white for the pockets, I would find a similar fabric in a color that matched the pants. There's always dye. :)

    ReplyDelete
  28. I am bit late to the party, but you might want to check the position of your back pockets. They are bit too far to the sides, don't you think? You can't fix it anymore, but maybe as a future reference...?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails