What is with women’s clothing? Why are all of the pockets sized somewhere between tiny and non-existent?
There seems to be some misguided belief that women inherently carry lots of stuff, therefore must carry bags, therefore do not need pockets. This is false. Women carry bags because we have inadequate pockets, and we figure we may as well carry extra stuff–because why not? We have to carry the !&^%$ bag anyway. It’s a terrible cycle.
Another belief seems to be women don’t want pockets because they will bulk up the sleek lines of our fashions, making us look chunky through the hips. And it is true that form-fitting clothing does not leave room for bulky pockets. There are indeed occasions and outfits that call for a handbag. For instance, I am happy to carry a clutch when I shimmy into my black latex sheath for a special night in the dungeon, believe you me.
But what about jeans with fake back pockets and front pockets only as deep as your first knuckles? Or what about business trousers with pockets too shallow to hold a phone? Or suit jackets sans any pockets at all. True confession: I have inner breast pocket envy. The inner breast pocket is the one of the most secure, useful pockets ever created, and yet they are scarce as hens teeth in women’s clothing. Whence this tyranny??
Or case in point: what about a casual jacket with motorcycle/military styling which promises a plenitude of pockets, only to disappoint?
I found this jacket at a thrift store recently. I’d been wanting a light summer jacket, and was so excited to find one that fit that I bought it without checking the pockets for size and…genuineness. Is that a word? (FYI gentlemen readers: fake pockets run rife in women’s clothing.) I was lucky that all the pockets on this jacket are at least real.
But I was disappointed to discover that the lower pockets, with their promising, practical zipper closures, were only 3″ deep, rendering them impractical for carrying anything bigger than a tube of lip balm or maybe a little cash wrapped around a drivers license.
I want to wear this jacket, so I decided to expand the pockets into usefulness.
Now, I’m no sewing maven. I hesitated even to post this because I am absolutely unqualified to teach anyone to sew. Rather than admitting I’m pretty much incompetent, I prefer to think of myself as a primitive or naive sewer. Sort of paleo. It’s all about the bone awls for me. Basically I can hem and mend things. I sew by hand because I can’t remember how to thread our old sewing machine.
I suspect the proper way to enlarge pockets is just to replace them entirely, but the stitchery and zipper closures on this particular pair of pockets intimidated me, so I decided to enbiggen them by simply adding fabric to the bottom of the existing pockets.
I should add here that any alterations shop (like the sort attached to dry cleaners) would replace pockets for you, and probably wouldn’t charge you all that much. But here it the Casa de Tightwad, any money is too much money. This is what I decided to do. Imitate at your own peril.
First I traced the shape of the piece I wanted to create. The pockets were actually of different lengths–go figure–so I did one for each side.
My idea here was to simply slice open the bottom of the existing pockets and add extensions to them. Like hair extensions. No, nothing could go wrong with this scheme!
These sketches I traced onto a piece of paper folded in half, then cut them out, preserving the fold, to make a pattern for my pockets, like this:
As usual, the felines rushed to offer my all their help and support, to sit on my jacket, move my patterns and run off with my thread. Lil’ angels.
At this point the photo documentation vanishes, because darkness fell. While I watched Blackstar Warrior with Erik, I pinned the pattern pieces onto a sacrificial pink bandana and cut around them, leaving a rough seam margin of about 1/3″ all the way around. All this was freehand and loose, since, thankfully, this is all invisible.
In retrospect I probably should have used a sturdier fabric. I will not be able to carry rocks in my pockets, but I think they’ll stand up to a slim wallet. For a while.
Below, you can see the characteristic combination of horror and pity and resignation in Phoebe’s expression as she watches me attempt a sewing project.
I folded the cut out pocket pieces in half, back into pocket form, and ironed them so they’d stay nice and aligned. (The dusty iron appreciated it’s annual deployment, I’m sure.) Then I sewed up the sides, the short sides, by hand, leaving the long side, the top side, open. Thus I created my pocket extensions.
Then it was only a matter of attaching the extensions to the bottom of the old pockets by sewing all the way around, which I did in my trademarked sloppy-yet- heavily-reinforced style of hand stitching.
When I finished attaching the pocket extensions, I tacked the corners of the pockets down, to prevent slipping and sagging.
The final product. Et voilà! Function!