JSM pants with Special Pocket

originally published 2/1/11


Today is February 1st.  In truth, I should be reviewing my goals and evaluating how I am progressing in the directions I wanted to go. OK not in truth, but ideally that’s what I should be doing.  In truth, this is the time of year when I do lots of sewing.  I get up in the morning, make my coffee and look out my kitchen window.  For several weeks now, my reaction has been “I’m so glad I don’t work.”.  Because while the rest of the world gets up, prepares themselves and braves the outdoors; I retrieve my coffee and toddle downstairs to my sewing room.  I am sewing faster than I am posting.   This will not usually be the case.  Normal for me is garment a week – post a week. Or there ’bouts.  I am behind right now. Or rather, I wish to blog about several sewing projects which are finished but somehow my pics have been er mis-saved. —

My Sandra Betzina coat (Vogue 1060)  had an interesting pocket construction which I’ve adapted for this pair of pants.  I’m detailing the process here and will point out the differences between SB’s process and my own.

First off SB’s pattern didn’t require any alterations. It came will all pieces. But for these pants,  I started with my TNT pants pattern (JSM). At some past point I’d altered the pocket pattern so that extended across the front to included a waist or tummy stay.  I therefore started by cutting the pants back, pants front and waistband as usual. Then I cut the altered pattern piece  and cut a 1.75″ by 14″ bias band:


Note that there is no pocket facing.  That’s deliberate.

I’ve often wondered at the standard pants pocket construction.  It consistis of the pants front, from which a piece is chopped off the side; a facing which is attached where the piece was chopped off;  and the pocket back which replaces the piece that was chopped off.  Between the three pieces you now, as the wearer, have a “pouch” in which to store and carry things.  For me this pounch has always been a mixed blessing.  For one thing, I carry a purse; a bag, a handbag; which holds a whole lot more than any little pouch.  Also my purse does not distort my pants front. Er, my tummy does that all by itself.   The pocket, while being an attractive design detail; Oh and a slimming design detail, is also a tremendous annoyance.  If it’s packed, say on days when my nose is running and I can’t find enough kleenexes, it bulges horribly.  If someone didn’t realize I was stuffing the pouch with kleenex, surely theyd’ think I was horribly deformed, diseased even.  Even on the best days, when no kleenex or other items are conveniently stored, the facing wants to creep up and out in full view.  Usually, especially if I’m wearing RTW, the facing is constructed from a thinner fabric.  Color or fiber is not a consideration during construction.   It’s only later when it creeps up into full view that I wish a matching facing had been chosen.  Of course if I’m wearing a winter-wool or corduroy, fabric matching is really not acceptable.  Those fabrics re so heavy that a thinner facing is desirable to create a smoother front — assuming of course that the facing is not creeping up and out.

With most of my pants, I do prefer the thinner facing fabric and have been working ways to keep it from creeping about as it wants to do.  I’ve found that nailing it down about 3/8″ from the edge is about the best I can do.  After laundry, I carefully smooth the pouch i.e. pocket into place with my hands and then heavily steam (thank you God for Rowenta Steam Generating Irons).  Typically the pocket which has been topstitched at least 3/8″ from the edge will remain -reluctantly- out of sight. But I’ve always wondered

  • Why this 3 piece construction?’
  • Are there not other possible, attractive constructions?

Now Vogue 1060, which is a coat, has you cut the coat back, the coat front and the pocket. No facing; no band such as I had done.  That’s difference #2 (#1 was that 1060 has all the pieces drafted exactly as needed).

The following paragraphs deviate from Vogue 1060 instruction:

After cutting the front, the pocket back and the bias band, I carefully trimmed the pocket back to, what I hoped, was an attractive shape.  Then I traced with chalk the perimeter lines of the pocket on the front and back of the pants front.  I know that may be confusing and I wish my picture had turned out.  I did 3 pictures, but they didn’t show what I wanted you to see which is a chalked outline of the pocket edge  marked on both fronts and on the public and private sides of the fronts. I then measured 3″ from the side across the waistline and made a mark.  On the side from the waistline down I made another tick mark 7″ down.  I chalked a vertical line from top to the side chalk-ticks, on the private side of the fronts.  I picked up both fronts and returned  to my ironing board.

At the ironing board I fused tricot interfacing.  You know those left-over pieces from the side of your intefacing that you normally throw away?  The ones without cross-stretch and usually like 1 or 1.5 inches wide?  I happened across a couple of almost 3″ wide pieces which I fused across along the diagonal line that I drew in the preceeding paragraph.


My objective is to minimize the gaping which can occur at pockets.  The piece which is chopped off to form the pocket is cut on a bias, maybe not a true bias, but nonetheless a bias which will stretch and in the case of pockets, it will gape. Oh and if you, like me, have pocket facings which like to creep up and out, the stretching at this line will help them.  Help them creep up and out that is. So the pieces I used are cut on what is called the “straight of grain’ and have little give.  I prefer to use 1/2″ to 1″ strips; but being this was a new technique for me; I pressed the  3” strips across the diagonal line and then returned to my cutting board.  At the cutting board, I chopped, yes I did, I chopped the pant front on the diagonal line.


Now for those bias strips I cut earlier.  I also fused interfacing to them and I serge finished one edge.  Now I placed them, right-sides-together, with the diagonal line of the pants front and stitched them into place.  I pressed the pant front and strips flat; then carefully wrapped the bias strip to the back side.  I topstitched the bias strip.  Because I was much wider than my topstitching, I put a little fusible web between the strip and the pant front and fused the strip on the private side.  I’m hoping, of course, that that keeps the strip fused into place during the wearable life of the pant.  If not, oh well, I’ll face that when I get there.



Vogue 1060 has you stay stitch along the side seamline and then turn and stitch.  Oh one of my most disliked techniques.  Especially since Vogue 1060 is a coat pattern.  I don’t know about you, but my coat pockets are used. Every wearing, they are used.  I keep my gloves/mittens in my pockets.  So each wearing, I retrieve a mitten from the pocket and place it on my hand.  At the end of the wearing, the mitten goes back in the pocket.  The pocket gets lots of wear and tear.  The very idea of turn and stitch for such a werll used area, well absolutely turns my stomach.

But now we are merge back with Vogue’s instructions.  Because the pocket back is serge finished on all edged and then carefully aligned with the pant front.  To be sure in stayed aligned, I used a little SAS and fused my pocket in place.  To my darling HV Ruby and the pocket is topstitched.



That’s it.  It takes longer to describe this pocket construction method than it does to actually complete it.  Virtually you have 2 pieces with a bias finish along one edge, serging (or zig zag) along the others. You have a nice flat pocket that won’t creep up and out. It can’t.  There is nothing to creep. I think that the bias band and interfacinging adequately support the pocket “opening”  for the life of the garment. But I don’t know for sure.  Sigh, I could be coming back in a year or so saying “whoops”.



Oh I get update my 6PAC progress yet AGAIN:


 Completed 1 pair dark brown corduroy pants.

 ***Completed 1 pair in winter weight fabrics


 Sewing needed: pants 1 pair winter weight

                                    winter-ready coat


Completed 1pair pants dark-blue corduroy TJ906

Completed 1 Pair pants Light-blue corduroy TJ906

Completed Coat Winter Weight

To complete my winter wardrobe, I need add the black coat and a pair of grey/black pants.  I still have winter all the month of Feburary and on into March.  I do have fabric for both items. Except that I think I want to use black/grey fleece to line my wool black coat.  It gets really cold here.