I started sewing on my own at 11, and only officially discovered feminism in my early 20s. This might give you a hint about some of the things I found most fascinating about it - why were clothes for women so uncomfortable compared with those for men, why were they such lower quality in general, so much more fragile and binding at the same time? But while other people were talking about serious things like the influence of miniskirts on rape statistics, I obsessed about things like clothes without pockets. Why be forced to carry a purse, leaving yourself open to easy muggings, restricting your movements, potentially causing serious conditions like scoliosis? Decades later I'm still the designated carrier of things when I go on a trip with my little sister, she who can't find pants long enough anyway and certainely can't get them with pockets, or pockets large enough to carry a wallet. I think that while feminism has made some headway in improving the condition of women on a general plane, we've flunked miserably in the demand for good pockets for everyone.
My pocket philosophy tends to stop at shirts - I want them in coats (including inside ones for things like passports), and I always want them in pants, but I don't see much point in putting them in shirts. Part of this is I think because I rarely leave the house without pants on :-). Partly it's because shirts, often being made of lighter fabrics, tend not to offer much in term of carrying capacity. And then there's the breast problem - without falling into essentialist feminism, this is one area where it's harder to stash your stuff without having some interference. Even flatter women can only hope to get unobtrusive results there. So my pants just have to do the bulk of the carrying.
Burda patterns in general tend to have more pockets and better ones than most. Yet they're also far from perfect, as you can see below I can still find a lot of room for improvements. So you might want to keep a sample around for reference and ignore lesser brands' instructions entirely.
I've found that it pays to look to well-tailored men's pants for ideas in good pocket design. They are used to pockets that carry all their necessities, to pockets that last, to pockets that don't distort their clothes so that you can see the outline of the wallet from down the block. And indeed, when you look at most women's pants patterns, you see that the puny little things offered hardly begin to resemble what the guys take for granted. If you don't have easy access to some guy's pants, go down to the nearest posh store and take a peek inside to see what you've been misssing.
One of the things very wrong with women's pants is that it's generally assumed that the whole pocket will be almost entirely supported by the side seam. How silly is that? You know that even if your butt is keeping the seams somewhat taunt, you'll have some degree of distortion if you attempt to keep more than your bus pass in there. This is really elementary engineering. The fix for this is to widen, a lot, the part of the pocket that's attached into the waistband, ie the top. Then you get the whole waistband supporting the weight of what you need to carry, and even an elastic waistband is going to do a much better job than the side seam alone. In some patterns, it may even be necessary to add height to the top of the pocket, so that you can include it into a supportive seam.
Another sore point is the fact that women's pockets are very shallow. If you attempt to sit down or even bend over, all the small things like your change and tampons fall right out. Have you ever seen a guy sit down and have stuff cascade out like that? The most obvious thing to do about this is to reduce the height of the piece included into the side seam, thereby deepening the effective pocket depth. I should confess that I even usually add an inch or two to the bottom of the pocket, to get even more depth. I like a minimum of 10cm/4" to be able to carry common things. You should use some common sense here - while cargo pockets are fashionable, you'll rarely see anyone carrying much in there, because putting weight way low on the thighs is neither very practical nor very comfortable.
Most women's pant patterns also have the pocket opening set rather low, so that it's opening at hip joint level almost. This isn't a good idea because it forces the pocket to be shallow. It's also not necessarily the best idea in terms of esthetics. If you're an anorexic model, your thighs may be perfectly flat there. Most women I know have some sort of lumpy stuff going on, and don't necessarily enjoy having pockets gaping over it, emphasizing it. I take off the excess below the spot wanted by cutting out at least the width of the seam allowance, so the lower pocket will hang free. You also don't want a pocket opening so small that you have trouble stuffing your hand in there, much less get it back out with some object. So I start my pocket openings practically below the waistband, only about 2cm/1" below it, and I have them stop before reaching my thigh lump, which makes for a generous enough opening.
Whatever alterations you do to your pattern, make sure that you proof the final result by laying your hand over it before you cut. Does it look like your whole hand can fit in there flat? Does the opening look like it'll go in and out easily? If this were a shoe could you go hiking, or would this feel like a French high heel?
One thing you might consider is not making your pockets out of the fashion fabric. If you're using a stretch fabric, you don't want your change dangling down toward your knees. If you're using a light drapey fabric, it might not be tough enough to withstand the wear it'll get once you have pockets that can take real use. And if you're using a thick fabric you might not like to have 3 layers of it on your hips, taking up space, delaying drying etc. You may also have very little fabric, and not have a piece leftover big enough for a decent pocket.
Tailoring houses sell 'pocketing', which is densely woven cotton. Unfortunately it's fairly expensive, and it usually only comes in white, so I often use a similar fabric in black, which tends to go better with winter pants. You could also use a beige/brown, something close to your skin coloring, if you didn't want any see-through or any print layering in thin fabrics (and it always looks much better in white pants than white pockets for instance).
Usually you don't want this other fabric showing on the outside of the pocket, even if you're sitting down or rooting around looking for something. You can definitely always replace the outside/front of the pocket with something else, it'll be very difficult for anyone else to see that at all. This may be entirely sufficient. If you want both sides of the pocket out of some other material, you should probably consider a 2" inset of fashion fabric along the back side seam. It's easiest to cut a whole pocket out of pocketing, then lay a wideish rectangle of fashion fabric on it, right sides together, and seam the edge a reasonable 4cm/2" away from the side seam, in a straight line (noting that side seams are usually curved). Press the seam open, flip the piece of fashion fabric, trim it to fit the pocket pattern, then trim the extra pocketing under it. The only difficult bit here is to make sure you're altering a pocket piece that'll truly be attached to the back, and will end up lying next to your body :-).
You might also be really short of fabric, or want some design interest with a Japanese flavor: make your pockets (without fashion fabric inset) out of wildly contrasting fabric. You might then also line the waistband and hem with the same fabric. This would also help to keep bulkiness down for a really thick fabric. Quilting cottons have all the qualities for this use: crisp, closely-woven, tough.
I usually start my pockets by attaching each piece to the side seam. It's a desirable feature to have seams hidden inside the pocket, so that they don't roll out, look sloppy and get worn out first. One solution would be to double that seam allowance. But I'm lazy, and usually forget to do it. So I manage just fine after the fact by attaching my pockets with a 5mm/¼" seam allowance, which I would be likely to trim to anyway. I can then press my seam another 5mm/¼" away (a smidgen more if I'm using 5/8" seams) and have a perfect fold at the pocket, overlapping the back seam enough to improve the appearance a lot.
An important point is that I always include twill tape into the front pocket seam, laid on the pant side (not the pocket). The tape is thin enough that it lays very neatly into the extra little fold that I just described. Without being seamed right into the fold, its edge is right there to add body to it. The effect is particularly good when you tape the whole length from the waistband seam to the lowest edge, it adds suppport to the whole pocket. Nothing screams cheap like a distended pocket edge. If you look at some you've been unhappy with, you'll see that it's almost always the front edge of the pocket that stretches, and that's even more likely when you're using a nicely curved side seam and thus having a bit of bias there. In addition, twill tape nicely smooths out any underlying lumpiness.
I think that an important sewing maturity trait is that you shouldn't put more work into something than the fabric is worth, which means I usually wouldn't be throwing too much twill tape around. But this trick of taping the front pocket is one that works so well that I use it in absolutely every pair of pants I make. It keeps even my grubby scrub-the-floor pants looking good enough that I'm not embarrassed if I end up wearing them to dinner. I highly recommend you at least do it for any better pair you're working on...
A small point of construction is reinforcing side seams where it meets the lower part of the pocket. I usually just sew back and forth in place before I turn for the actual pocket. Use your judgement there though - it's not healthy to reinforce so much that the fabric will rip if there's a lot of sudden stress. And finally, when I turn the seam corner into the pocket, I add a small stitch stay - sew horizontally into the pocket for 1 cm/½" or so. This simple trick keeps things, especially change, from sliding out of your pocket, catches objects just enough to prevent a cascade.
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