Power to the Pockets!

Yesterday, I started sewing myself a pair of cargo pants, following a McCall’s pattern I’d had laying around. This evening, I have continued my work.

What you see here is an actual college photo. That's me, in Japanese class, rocking the cargo pants, sitting next to my friend, Ryan, with an amusing look on my face.  Honestly, I don't remember what we were talking about before the camera went off.

What you see here is an actual college photo. That’s me, in Japanese class, rocking the cargo pants, sitting next to my friend, Ryan, with an amusing look on my face.
Honestly, I don’t remember what we were talking about before the camera went off.

Cargo pants are a wonderful thing. They have a great many pockets in which one can carry items. When I was in college, I used to rock men’s cargo jeans almost exclusively. Something about women’s pants just doesn’t allow for ease of storage. Probably because designers assume all women carry purses. Pfft. The purses came to me as a result of needing to carry yarn. The basics – wallet, phone, and keys – ought to fit easily into one’s pants.

That said, I was shocked when I started reading further along in the pattern instructions and saw this:

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“…through all thicknesses.” Basically, the pattern instructions would have you go through the hassle of creating these pockets and pocket flaps so that they can, ultimately, serve no other purpose than decoration. F**K THAT!! That’s defeating the entire *point* of having all those pockets! Fortunately for me (and for you), I know what the hell I’m doing and was able to alter the original pattern so that all the pockets are fully functional. Here’s how:

First, prep your pockets the same way you would in the pattern. That is, fold each of the edges inside about half an inch and top-stitch around. Then, sew the pocket onto the pants as directed, but do not yet attach any of the flaps.

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Here is one of the back pockets I did yesterday, now affixed to the butt of the pants.

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For the big cargo pockets that go on the sides, you want to create a pleat in the middle. The pleat should be about 2 to 2 1/2 inches. Stitch the top and bottom to hold the pleat in place.
What you are looking at here is the front view.

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And now the rear view.

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The prep on this cargo pocket (front view) is complete. If you notice, I’ve folded in the edges and created a decorative fold at the top.

Prep the flaps as well.

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Prepping the flaps: Inside out at the bottom and right side out at top.

Flap prep complete.

Flap prep complete.

Now, this is where it starts to differ from the original pattern.  I made a mark on either side of the pant pieces, 1/2 inch directly above the corners of the pockets.

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Do this for each corner, on all pockets.

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Before stitching the flap on, I noticed that the dots lined up with the stitch lines on the flap. So, I basted each corner of the flap – right in the crosshair of the horizontal and vertical stitches – to each dot..

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I then sewed the flap down. Once along the original top-stitch line, and then once 1/4 inch below that.

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As you can see, the flap opens and the pocket is functional. Huzzah. Rinse and repeat for each pocket.

The beauty of making your own clothes is that you have the power to do with the design what you want. Don’t ever feel that you have to follow every step of a set of instructions to the letter. Play around. Experiment. Learn by doing. One of the easiest ways to start designing your own clothes is to start making little changes here and there to existing patterns and seeing how what you’ve done affects the end result.

Check back this weekend to see how these cargo capris turned out!

 

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Sewing Up Some Capris

Nothing elaborate going on right now, just decided I’d like a couple pair of cargo capris. I had a couple of large sections of black and red cotton bedsheets left over from the rag rug that I thought might work well for fabric. I also had this McCall’s pattern lying around. I had the day off and nothing else going on, so, why not get my sew on?

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Any time I use a pattern for the first time, I use some cheap-o interfacing – I think I picked this stuff up at a yard sale some years back – and trace the pieces in the sizes I need. I like to keep the original pattern intact so that other sizes can be made later if needed. I also label each piece in detail so I know what it is later.

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Tracing, labeling and cutting is always the bigger pain and more time consuming that the sewing (at least, it seems that way).

GESo far, I’ve sewn the front,  pocket, and side front  pieces together, and I’ve gotten the 2 back pockets basted and ready to be attached to the butt of the back pieces.

Front view on right, Inside view on the left.

Front view on left, Inside view on the right.

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Front view on the left, Inside view on the right.

Check for part 2 tomorrow to see my progress.