Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Cargo Pockets

*This tutorial originally appeared as a guest post at The Train to Crazy.


Cargo Pocket Tutorial

Step 1: Make the pattern piece and cut out the fabric, adding seam allowances to each edge.
If you want to convert a patch pocket (in other words, a square) into a cargo pocket, just add extensions. My extensions are equal to my seam allowance of 5/8". In the photo you can see that I have added a seam allowance in addition to my pocket extensions.
It's easy to do a shaped or rounded pocket, too. Just cut a long strip (plus seam allowance on both long edges) for an extension and sew it around the edge of the pocket.


Step 2: Finish the edges.
This is optional. I suppose it's highly unlikely the pocket edges will fray to pieces sooner than the knees wear out. But you never know!


Step 3: Press under and stitch the pocket hem at the top.


Step 4: Press all the fold lines.
One set of pressed lines are outlines of the main pocket piece. The other lines will be at the seam allowance edges.


Step 5: Stitch the corners.
Pinch the corner, turn pocket inside out and stitch on the pre-pressed corner line, which is perpendicular to the edge. Before trimming, flip the pocket right side out to check. Repeat for the other corner.


Step 6: Press the accordion folds of all 3 edges.
Push the pocket extensions in and press. The fold will be centered.


Step 7: Topstitch.
This is optional, depending on how you want your pocket to look. Do three separate lines of stitching, rather than one long one around the pocket. Otherwise, when you turn the corner, you'll catch the folds of fabric.


Step 8: Pin the pocket on the garment and stitch.
The stitching you're doing here is just like topstitching; I usually start at the top edge of one extension, and go around the pocket, slowing down to neaten the corners.
Probably the trickiest part of the cargo pocket is positioning the pocket extensions so that they are stitched directly under the pocket piece. It's easy for them to slide outward.


Step 9: Optional - Add a flap and velcro, snap, or button.


Here's a small sampling of cargo pockets. There are so many options!


24 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Joy! I pinned it so I can find it easily for the next pair of pants I make P.

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    1. Thanks Cindy. Now that patch pockets are demystified for me, I actually enjoy making them.

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  2. Oh wow, I wish I had seen this a couple of years ago! I needed to make a cargo pocket, and I just could not figure out Burda mag's instructions. In the end, I threw my hands up, and just did a patch pocket with a baffle. I will definite refer back to your post should I ever need to try again. Yours looks perfect, very professional.

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    1. If I tried to follow Burda's instructions for a cargo pocket, I'm sure I'd end up with something unusual! Here's to success on your next attmept!

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  3. Great tutorial, thank you for making it. I'll definitely refer back to these!

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  4. Great tips and tutorial about the cargo pockets - this will definitely be used in the future!

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  5. Now that's a clean cargo pocket. Thank you for your tips.

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  6. Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Thanks for this. It's been a while ago since I made these, but yours are very inspirational. At the time, I followed the instructions of Ottobre and it worked out reasonably well. The hint they had was to stitch a guideline to prevent the lining outward. If I would do it once again, I would just draw the shape with my tailorspencil. (Hope you know what I mean).
    And I would use this tutorial. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Ria. Drawing the pocket edge placement with tailor's chalk is a great idea.

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  8. Thanks joy for this Brilliant photo story tutorial. I think I have got my head around how to make cargo pockets when I didn't have a clue before! Thank you :-)

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  9. You definitely have the cargo pocket down! Great tutorial.

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    1. Very clear, easy to understand tutorial. Thank you!

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  10. OK, so I don't know what I was doing in January that I missed this post, but it is AWESOME.

    er... because I needed a nice photo-tutorial on cargo pockets, dontcha know. Now I just have to make it print out ok so I don't forget what you said. (You know me, detail sewing is NOT my strong suit.)

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  11. This was so helpful - thank you!

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  12. Great tutorial! We linked you up here http://onceuponasewingmachine.com/5-things-we-love-friday-pocket-tutorials/ If you want to check it out!

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  13. How does the flap top of the pocket get sewn on? Do you just sew it to the top of the pocket with the top edge folded under a little? I would really like to try this for my son, but the flap top has me confused.

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    1. Hi Shirley-I actually had to look at the photo to remember how I did it! I don't always do the flap the same way.

      For this tutorial, I turned the raw edges to the inside of the top of the flap, and topstitched the flap onto the pants. In other words:
      1. stitch the flap right sides together except for the top
      2. turn right side out, trim seam allowances and press
      3. turn the seam allowances of the top raw edge to the inside of the flap and press
      4. topstitch around the flap except for the top
      5. topstitch the top of the flap onto the pants

      Sometimes I serge the raw edges instead, but turning them in looks nicer from the underside.

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    2. Thank you so much! There is a pair of cargo pants I want to make for my son, which is an Ottobre pattern. I have read the instructions, but the only thing that wasn't clear to me is the flap of the cargo pocket. That sounds easy enough. I'm just waiting on my fabric now.

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  14. Thank you! I've been looking for a tutorial for this type of pocket, and your's is the most clear. Very helpful!!!

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  16. Can you sew the completed pocket onto pant legs "on a machine" ? Or do they have to be hand stiched on ? I don't see how to get my pant leg that far onto the machine (thigh pockets) without busting the leg seam so as to get at the one side of the leg?

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    1. Machine stitch them on! Unless you really love hand-stitching (:

      Pants with cargo pockets on the thighs are usually sewn in a different order than regular pants. Stitch the outseams before the inseams in this case, to make it easy to sew the pockets on.

      This does make it more difficult to fit the pants at the hips and waist, but you can still leave the seam unfinished until further on in the process.

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