Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cargo pockets, and a lovely surprise

When I went to my letterbox yesterday inside was a most delightful surprise, this wonderful pattern from Gail of My Fabrication.  Pure class and elegance, no?  Thank you so much Gail!!  I already know exactly what I am going to make out of this one, and am pretty excited to give it a try.  But first...
Thank you so much everybody who commented yesterday, with such kind words expressing touching faith in my ability to not make a complete and utter hash of my Japanese fabric; I will endeavour to sew up to those expectations.  Not that there is any more or less pressure or anything, hehe.  The lighter caramel side has a landslide of admirers, and it is therefore fortuitous that my own preferences have been swaying more and more in that direction too.  But before hacking merrily away into that wool and silk gorgeousness that I carted for thousands of kilometres over land, rail and sea all the way home from the land of the rising sun (see, no pressure...) I am going to take a short sartorial breather...
A few quick and satisfying projects are now just what the doctor ordered, after a week of couture stuff.  I have an immediate need for a pair of hiking pants.  The cargoes I was wearing last year have gone into my refashioning-possibly-charity-bin pile. The few photos I have of myself in those things were pretty eye-openingly awful, and incidentally I am now horrified that I actually put some photos on the blog here, yikes!  Now I look back on some of those earlier photos and shudder, toy with vague ideas of deleting some of the more unflattering shots.  But the blog is a journey, and the progression has been an honest one.  Keeping a sometime personal style diary has done wonders for my natural tendency towards dag-dom.  I am a lot more careful how I look now before I sally forth on my daily adventures.  We all heartily agree that appearances aren't everything, right?, only because we don't want to appear shallow, but secretly we all want to put our best foot forward nonetheless... because we are human after all.
Anyhoo, I am making my new, hopefully cute, hiking pants using a pattern that doesn't have enough pockets, so I am adding some cargo pockets and took a few progress shots to illustrate...
Cargo pockets are not just squares/rectangles, but must form a little "bag", so start with a piece that has box sides to three of its edges like so (don't worry that those sides of those sticky-outy box edges are wider than the bottom box edge... minor detail)
Hem the top edge of the pocket like normal...
Sew up the two short edges of the boxy sides at the bottom of the pocket piece (yes, my side pieces are still longer and do stick out a bit, don't worry about this for now)
Right sides together, and upside down on the finished outside leg seam of your pants, sew the bottom edge of the pocket in place.  Because I want these pockets to be extra sturdy, strong enough to hold things like guide books, cameras, hats and sunnies, etc, anything that will be needed regularly, I sewed this seam in triplicate, for triple the strength.  Strength is more important than beauty here, remember these are hiking pants...
Now flip the pocket piece up and turn in those side edge seam allowances.   Now I folded in that extra width of the side edges at the bottom to be part of the seam allowance and tapered this down at the top so the box sides of the bag are wider at the top than they are at the bottom...  If this doesn't make a lot of sense don't worry too much about this bit.  Dimensions are not really drastically important.  These are hiking pants, remember...   Topstitch down close to the fold.  Again with the triple lot of stitching. The width at the top edge of the pocket between the two side seams you've just sewn should be the same width as the bottom seam.
Now, flatten the pocket down at the top and sew the top down vertically through all layers directly over the side seams you have just sewn, but just for a few cm.  Do this at least in triplicate again.  I just did a mad burst of forward and reverse stitching and lost count of the number of seams here, this just needs to be real sturdy.  This will just hold the top edge down securely and stop it from flapping about and letting your treasures spill out while you are walking...
Flaps; just sewn as normal, two pieces, right sides together, sewn around three edges, turned out and topstitched, finished width about 1.5cm wider than the top edge of your pocket...  Note the violation of couture tailoring here, no tamed seam allowances but the corners have been trimmed, (horrified gasp!)  Meh... hiking pants...!
And sewn to the pants just above the top of the pocket.... right sides together, again as normal...
Aaaand folded down and topstitched in place... I don't know why I took so many photos actually.  This is hardly rocket science.  Probably would have been more exciting if I had tamed those seam allowances, hmmm?
And there it is, a useful and cute little bag stuck on the side of the hiking pants.  If you want you could put a snap or a button on for extra safe-keeping, but in my experience these don't ever get closed up anyway and the flap is enough to keep things safely inside.  I'm sure I will be really grateful for these extra pockets out on the trail.

8 comments:

  1. Nice pockets. Thanks for the tutorial. Plenty of room for a trail pack and a swiss army knife.

    I think we do generally want to put our best foot forward. I watched The Last Emperor yesterday which follows a year in the life of Valentino. When asked if he knew what women want, he responded most confidently. 'I know what women want. Women want to be beautiful'. His comment did make me laugh! I realise however, that what is considered beautiful remains very much subjective though,

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  2. Those look like very useful pockets, I can't wait to see the rest of the pants!

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  3. Great tute! I'll def. use those pockets on my next pair of cargoes! They look like they pooch on purpose vs. the straight pockets on my existing pair which pooch in an ugly way when you put anything in them.

    Isn't ripstop cotton a dream to sew? I try to use it as often as possible for "rugged wear" items like hiking/biking pants and laundry basket liners (so far!) Considering making a parka out of it too. What a great fabric!

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  4. hmmm, lovely tutorial. I bet they will be quite nice! Hopefully you will get your couture mojo back.

    Yes, my students watched the events of the day on the telly. Not that maybe I wanted to, but there was no teaching or learning going to go on for a bit at any rate. But my students were secondary school too, older than a couple of yours would have been 10 years ago... And things did change ... I think in the south what I noticed most was the burst of patriotism, flags flying everywhere; my senior boys enlisting.. the tenor in the north might have been different, as things usually are between north and south ...

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  5. My old cargos aren't very flattering either. I love to wear them...but somehow the photo never makes it to the blog.

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  6. Yay! Cargo pockets are right up my alley. I have another pair of cargo pants on my list.

    You've made a nice circuit: from couture to cargo.

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  7. Oh yes cargo pockets are essetial for hiking. These look great.

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  8. hmmm, lovely tutorial. I bet they will be quite nice! Hopefully you will get your couture mojo back. Yes, my students watched the events of the day on the telly. Not that maybe I wanted to, but there was no teaching or learning going to go on for a bit at any rate. But my students were secondary school too, older than a couple of yours would have been 10 years ago... And things did change ... I think in the south what I noticed most was the burst of patriotism, flags flying everywhere; my senior boys enlisting.. the tenor in the north might have been different, as things usually are between north and south ...

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