a better pocket bag....

As I've been tweaking my jeans pattern (which is almost done btw) I've also been working on other seemingly unimportant jeans details.  One of those is the front pocket bag.  Really?  Yeah, really!  My first attempts quite some time ago were to simply make the bag smaller/larger/deeper/etc but not change the actual shape.  With those experiments I learned that nothing is more irritating than too deep a pocket because having to reach your entire arm down your pant leg to fish out some change or keys is ridiculous....  Too shallow a pocket means you can't put more than your fingers in and feels a bit like lady like.  I also hate having my finger tips jammed against the bottom of the bag.

I finally got really thinking about pocket bag design when I read David Page Coffin's pants book a while back which I do highly recommend.  He makes note of how some pants have poorly designed pocket bags in that when you sit down everything falls out of your pockets (for me that's usually in the car).

I had never thought about it before.....

Coffin comes up with a solution for slacks that I ended up expanding on and applying to jeans.

Ready for it?

Amazing isn't it!  No really, it is amazing....   to me this has turned out to be revolutionary.  Let me show you why.  The photo on the left is the actual pocket bag, on the right is the outline of it from the outside of the jeans.  These jeans have a 3/4 seam allowance which is not yet sewn there in the right side of the photos.

So far I have two requirements:

  • The bag must not be too deep nor shallow.  When the hand is inserted to the wrist point no part of the side or bottom seam shall touch the fingers.
  • Change must not fall from pockets when sitting.
Some additional notes:  I don't like to carry things in my pants pockets.  Because I wear fitted jeans any additional items in pockets change the fit and often press against my legs uncomfortably.  One exception to this is change and that I will put in my front pockets however.....    I do not like that when I have change in my pockets I tend to fiddle with it, fingers/change/lint, it's all right there in the same spot with most pockets. Money is rather filthy and I have a habit of chewing my fingernails (as evidence in the photos above).  You get the point.

The above design accomplishes everything in the most elegant way.  Items are funneled down to the bottom corner near the side seam and fall to the side of the leg instead of right in front.  When sitting items have no way of falling out since they would have to go up over the hump to get free.  They instead want to fall back away from the top of the thigh towards the rear.  When the hand is in the pocket items like change are out of the way since the hand goes forward and items go back.  Items are easily accessed by simply rotating hand back.  It's not comfortable to hang out with your hands rotated back so the fiddling with change issue is reduced or eliminated.

I'd like to say this was a very scientific process but like most things it was a lot of trial and error.  Here's to a better bag!

6 comments :: a better pocket bag....

  1. Hello excellent! Seriously a great idea. One of these days (it's a goal for this year) I am going to bite the bullet and make my own jeans. With these front pockets!

  2. Love this, I'm still in the planning stages for my jeans, and I will have to use this for the right pocket, I may have to draft a pattern for my left pocket for my cell phone. I would never have thought of this, thank you.

  3. Brian, you totally nailed the challenges of too-deep and too-shallow pockets. I made my first pair of jeans in May. Looking forward to my next pair I was thinking about some pocket modifications. I'm definitely going to use your approach. Thanks for doing the homework on this!

  4. This looks like a great solution! Now if I only knew a great new solution for cutting it out... (ahem.)

  5. Brian, after replacing most of my husbands pocket liners due to holes, I say what a refreshing idea you have. I did think to make them larger as he has big hands & is very tall. Now I will have to follow your design on the next pair, as this may be just the solution for the issues you'd addressed in your post. Thanks again for sharing your thoughtful insight with us.
    BTW, at first I was confused, but I think if your picture had the opposite hand shown over the pocket it may be more clear; unless I am mistaken, then apologies.

  6. Hey Brian! You truly brought a smile to my day with this post...so sorry not have known about your excellent blog until now! Thanks, I've always wondered if anybody else would ever find this little tweak as useful and intriguing as I do:) I hope we get to have a chat or two someday. Very best wishes...dpc

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