making the aesthetic useful again
March 24, 2010 9:53 AM   Subscribe

Turning faux pockets into real pockets on a jacket. Can it be done?

I recently purchased a jacket that I absolutely love, but the one drawback is that it has faux pockets. I like pockets, I like putting my hands among other things in them, and would like to turn these closed seams into useful niches. But how do you do this?

I can use a needle and thread, but I don't own a sewing machine. I'm somewhat crafty, but not a lot. Can I do this on my own without ruining the jacket?

Here are some pictures of said fauxness (outside 1, outside 2, unlined inside)
posted by raztaj to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, you could make pocket bags, cutting in the bags behind the existing welt, and finishing them as working pockets. Most commercial versions would have a facing strip added to the top inside edge of the bag, so that slight gaps of the open pocket wouldn't show pocket bag material, but if you don't have any excess shell fabric to make facings, you might just improvise with fabric close to the shell fabric color. The basics of making a single welt pocket are shown here, and of course, you already have the welts, which you'll remove and re-use making the pockets.

The biggest issue for wear purposes is that the current welt is sewn directly into the chainstitched side seam of the jacket. To keep the jacket stable after the pocket is cut in, the pocket V-tabs need to be securely tacked, catching the ends of this side seam, so that the side seam doesn't ravel.

You could do this all with hand stitching, but a lock stitch sewing machine would make the job a lot easier. Alternatively, this probably a $30 - $40 alteration, at a tailor shop.
posted by paulsc at 10:20 AM on March 24, 2010

Are you sure they're faux pockets and not actual pockets sewn shut (which is common in new jackets)? It's hard to tell from your photos.
posted by neroli at 10:21 AM on March 24, 2010

Neroili, yep, I'm unfortunately positive they're just faux pockets (it said this in the description when I bought it, so at least it wasn't a surprise).

Paulsc, thanks for the info and link! Yes, I was worried about the chainstitched seam that would need to be broken to do this, without compromising the stability of the larger seam. Hmmm, I didn't think about removing the welt (or decorative flap thing) - but I think you're right, it does look like it needs to be removed in order to open the seam. Bummer! I'd still like to try this though, and maybe get it done for a couple of bucks at most spent on the shell fabric.
posted by raztaj at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2010

I would suggest you take this to a tailor, honestly. I'd rather spend $30-$40 than ruin a jacket I love for nothing.
posted by bettafish at 12:35 PM on March 24, 2010

They are sewed shut for a reason. Pockets tend to balloon out and detract from the appearance of the clothing. That said, you can do it, but be aware that its probably going to end up looking at least a little bit sloppier than before.
posted by candasartan at 1:29 PM on March 24, 2010

Since there's a flap over where the pocket opening will be, you *could* just cut a slit right next to the seam, and sew your new pouch of material to the cut edge (with a zig-zag stitch, no turned-in seam). This would look like crap underneath the flap, but would avoid cutting into the integrity of the seam. You could even use a binding tape (or a bias-cut piece of your liner fabric that you make the pouch out of) to cover those raw edges, and then it might not look half-bad.

I'm not sure I recommend it, but it's an option, and maybe even a good option depending on how well-covered the pocket area is, and how well-matched your liner color is, weights of the fabrics, etc.
posted by aimedwander at 2:26 PM on March 24, 2010

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