Sunday, January 04, 2009

Adding a Pocket to a Purchased Shirt

Pearle found 3 shirts he liked that match some pants he bought, and so we got them, even though (horror of horrors!) they had NO pockets. I was really pretty amazed that they even make men's shirts without pockets, and apparently he hadn't noticed it until he was going to wear one, and there was no place to put stuff. Now that I've finished the coat, and again, thank you all for your very nice comments, I thought adding pockets would be a quick project to get me on track again. I think I was right.

Since I didn't make these shirts, I didn't have any extra fabric. He was willing to have me cut off some from the tail to make patch pockets, but I kind of hated to do that, and kept putting it off. Finally, he suggested that there might be a way to do an inside pocket, and I immediately got started. I was lucky enough to have scrap fabric that was a match to the background of the shirts. For two I used a light tan linen, and the other a white broadcloth. The shirts are one stripe, one seersucker stripe, and one floral.

What I did was very fast. It's basically a welt pocket with no welts. With pinking shear, cut a strip of interfacing longer and wider than the box, and stitch one pocket bag piece to each long edge, with the fusible side away from them. I used a triple zigzag so it would be very flat, and stitched twice on each piece, once at the top of the bag, and once at the bottom of the interfacing.

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Place the piece in position on the right side of your shirt, fusible side up. Stitch the box, as per a welt pocket. Clip open and turn to wrong side. Fuse.

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Edgestitch around the box, then topstitch a little further away for stability.

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Press the top bag piece down where it's free from the fusible. Pin it to the lower edge of the lower bag piece. Stitch. This seam will fall a little way up into the pocket bag. Stitch your side seams up as far as the fusible. If you want your seam at the bottom, you must either figure and measure carefully when you cut, or make the top bag longer and trim to match the bottom bag before you stitch. There used to be some method that had you do this anyway, but I don't remember the logic behind it. I just did it this way because it worked out this way.

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From the right side, stitch again over the line of topstitching above and at the sides of the box. This will close your side seams enough for normal use. Finish with a little handstitching if needed.

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kbenco said...

This looks like a really good save. I have been pouring over David Page Coffin's shirtmaking book, and he says that dress shirts do not have pockets, so maybe these are really flash shirts your husband has bought1 (On the other hand, perhaps no pocket means the manufacturer saves 5c somewhere.....)

patsijean said...

Brilliant, Liana. This is a technique that can be used in other garments also. I will have to bookmark this post.

Liana said...

kbenco, These are definitely not flash shirts. I think the 5c savings was the impetus. Do you think when Coffin says 'dress shirts' he means 'evening shirts'? Those don't have pockets, but even at custom shirt places, they seem to show pockets on their business-type shirts.

Thanks patsijean! I've been thinking this could be handy on lots of things too.

Mardel said...

I think Coffin must have meant "dress" shirts as in evening shirts. Business shirts do, or should, but we are seeing larger and larger numbers of shirts in the stores without them. Good save.

Your pocket solution is a brilliant idea and I will save it, but I don't think I will show it to my DH, he already gets a disproportionate share of my sewing time.

Summerset said...

Very clever solution! As I was reading I was trying to think of what sort of pocket you could do without original fabric. You've really made this work brilliantly.

Nancy K said...

What great idea! I'll have to remember this one.

casserole said...

Brilliant! I would never have thought it possible to add a pocket in and still make it look "right," but you did exactly that.

I've linked to this tutorial from the Craft Gossip sewing blog:

Patty said...

Very clever and resourceful. Good for DH for the suggestion and your implementation!

Kathleen C. said...

Great idea! Like Summerset I thought "What can you possibly do without the original fabric?"... Wow... Clever with a capitol C.

KellyT said...

This is a great idea! Thanks for the tip!

kiskagirl said...

Wonderful idea! My husband won't buy a shirt without a pocket and so many don't have pockets; now I can take care of that problem. Your instructions sound so complete, hope I can make my pocket to look as good as yours.

Lisa H. said...

Wow! It looks like it was there fromm the beginning.Your instruction are great.I'll have to try this.