Saturday, January 25, 2014

Denim Slacks & Mini pocket tutorial

This is my first official entry into the SWAP 2014.

It is a pair of charcoal denim slacks. The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics and described as "Premium Designer Stretch Denim, Dark Wash." Hmmm... maybe my charcoal denim slacks aren't really charcoal. Oh, well. They are what they are and definitely are underway so they will be part of the SWAP. Guess I need to spend the big bucks and get the Pantone swatch card. NOT! I'd never spend that kind of money.

Disclaimer... I am not perfect and do a generally good job that passes for good looking pants, but there are ALWAYS little things that aren't perfect. If you see them, good. If not, know they are there.  In general, I am a self-taught sewer and many things I do may not be standard, and certainly aren't couture, but they do get the job done, and I've been making 99% of my own clothing for at least the last 15 years, and most people don't realize my clothing is self-made.

Anyway, these are my slacks. I have posted before that I love to use a quilting cotton for the pockets with a matching Hong Kong finish on my waistband. Since I have been using a self drafted pattern for a very long time, I don't have any sewing instructions so have made them up as I went along, finding tips here and there, and experimenting. I'm going to share the way I install pockets. I'm definitely not an expert, but these work really well for me.

Once you have your darts sewn and pressed, you will sew your pockets. I use a piece of pocketing that is folded along the inner edge as it's just easier for me. These are left over batik fabric from my Hot Patterns Plain and Simple Princess shirt made in August of 2012. I have the pants drafted with what I've been told is called quarter pockets, where the openings are about 2-2 1/2" along the waistband measuring from the side seam, (measurement depends on your size~ roughly one quarter of your front measurement hence the term quarter pockets.) The pocket opening goes down at a diagonal until they reach the side seam. A good way to check the opening size is to measure the width of your hand, laid flat and add a little extra for ease. Then mark that spot on your side seam remembering to measure down from the waistline and not the seam allowance. From your waist mark to the point you determine will be your pocket opening. You should have a couple of inches of pocketing below the place where the pocket connects to the side seam so your stuff won't fall out of your pockets, and I generally curve the seam down so the stuff stays in the bottom. Here's a picture of my pockets cut out.

I cut my pockets initially with a fold on the inside seam, and the outside seam the same as the pants would be if they didn't have pockets. I have a facing for the opening area that extends about an inch past the pocket opening so if they're open, no one can see your fancy pockets. Once the pockets are cut, you'll attach the facing to the wrong side of the pockets along the outside seam line, and again on the inside seam line. I have serged the interior seam before, but have found after a hundred or so washings, it will ravel anyway, so now I stitch at 1/4", then turn under before sewing to the pocketing. And yes, I do generally wear my pants until they wear out or my size changes, whichever comes first. :P}}

Facings pinned to pockets
Once you have your facings attached to the pocketing, trim the upper piece of the folded pocketing and mark one inch plus the width of your seam allowance towards the side seam from the interior facing edge, then trim that off. Attach your cut edge to the front pocket right side of front to wrong side of pocket. Stitch, press, press open first, then trim and turn.

Pocket Attached

Pocket ready to be trimmed and folded to the interior

Press pocket edge flat, using a clapper if you have one. Let sit until it has cooled. Topstitch along the edge.
Topstitching ~ Sorry looks invisible in the picture.

Now you'll fold the pocket along the fold line, matching the cut edge at the top and the side seam, with the facing showing at the pocket edge. Pin in place and baste along the topstitching line.

Pockets basted into place

Once you have the pockets basted in place, you will pin the inside of the pocket bags and stitch them together. Usually I use a small 1.5 mm stitch and the serge the edges below the stitching for extra strength. If you're usually hard on pockets, you could use a 3 thread back and forth stitch if your machine has one or one of the alternate stitches like the mock overlock stitch.
Once your pockets are complete, finish the pants and you're good to go!
I hope this is informative, and if you have questions, please let me know. Have a great sewing day!



  1. Very interesting. Thanks for the instructions. Love the pockets. Your pants look lovely.

  2. Thanks for the tutorial, very clear and informative. Great pants!

  3. thanks for your excelent tutorial. it's great
    inspiring !! keep sharing mom

  4. Always fun to have contrasting pockets! Thanks for the great photos!