Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In The Pocket

The pockets on your shirts can be as wild and crazy or subtle as you please. You are the designer here, so you get to choose. Do you want a pocket that blends in?
You can't even see the pocket here on DBIL's shirt that I made 2 years ago - and that was my plan. The pattern on the shirt was busy enough. But maybe you want your pocket to stand out? Check out this cool pocket here. I love what they did with the stripes.
You don't have to use the pocket pattern that comes with your pattern either. I save pocket patterns (just trace one or make a template out of a file folder or template plastic) and also steal cool pockets from other patterns and RTW shirts. RTW pockets are easy to copy with a little tissue and a pencil. Just place the tissue over the pocket and rub gently along the edges - just like making a rubbing in kindergarten, remember? Pockets don't take much fabric, so you can test the effects of the different options and see what you like better. On the shirt I am making now, I planned the layout so that the state of New Mexico would be featured on the left side pocket (my brother in -law went to college in New Mexico.) I could also have fussy cut this as well, if I wanted it to stand out as a design element.
I cut out the right front of the shirt first, then the left. Wait - don't take off that pattern piece! I mark the pocket placement with tailor's tacks and any other vital markings with either snips or tailor's chalk on the wrong side.
For pocket placement, I make a tissue copy of my pocket pattern, and place it where the pocket would be on the left front.
I trace the pattern on the shirt fabric on to my tissue pocket so that I can find a match on the fabric for the pocket if I want it to match the front, then I find a spot that matches on the fabric and cut. You can see where I just made an outline of the motif that I want to find so I can match up the pocket.

Here you can see that I have found a match - this will be my pocket. It will blend right in.

If your shirt recipient is rough on pockets, consider lining or interfacing your pocket as well. You can test your options to see what you like best. It only takes a few minutes to test and after a few shirts you will know what you like.

When I used to hang out at the Hawaiian shirt designer's office, I would look at all of her shirts. She used to make all kinds of crazy shirt designs. Some would have each part of the shirt in a different tropical print. That would be fun to do. Others would have the collars and pockets and yokes in contrasting fabric. There is a lot you can do with a simple shirt to make it fun. When I lived in Hawaii I saw all kinds of beautiful shirts in all sorts of fabrics- cotton, silks, rayons and more - and the fanciest ones cost hundreds of dollars. Just go to Nordstrom and look at the Tommy Bahama shirts.(Try not to faint when you look at the tag. Because men's shirts are so EASY to make!) When you make a custom shirt as a gift you are giving something that no one can buy - love in every stitch, plus the cachet of knowing no one else will have one like yours.
Happy sewing!


Toby Wollin said... you like the shirt I made for my husband with Ann's blue shirting with the silver stripe? I am honored. Here's what I did: I copied the shirt pattern on waxed paper (I never have pattern tracing paper around but I always have a roll of wax paper in the kitchen drawer)and split it in half. I put one half pattern piece on the fabric on the bias and marked the location of the silver stripes. Then, I flipped it over and cut the other half pocket, again on the bias, matching the strips using the marks I'd put on the paper. A very easy, clever thing and I also cut the outside cuffs on the bias as well to carry the theme through.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Good tip to trace the design element you want to match!

-E said...

I nominated you for a Kreativ Blogger :)