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Tips & Techniques > Zipper in the Pocket

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Posted by: Lisa Laree
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About Lisa Laree starstarstarstar
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Member since: 8/24/02
Reviews written: 245
Sewing skills:Advanced
Favored by: 88 people
tips added: 16
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Posted on: 11/27/02 1:55 AM
Last Updated: 6/14/13 10:49 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 15 people   
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Update 6/14/13 - My apologies to everyone who asked for photos 2 years ago! I didn't get any comment notifications for some reason. Photoworks shut down and I had to move all my photos to Shutterfly; it's just taking forever to get all the links fixed. It should be ok now...for now...


I first saw the zipper in a pocket on a pair of Liz Claiborne pants about 20 years ago and thought it was really cool, but could not find a pattern to describe how to do it. I found a skirt pattern and a pants pattern that had the opening in the pocket, but the inner part of the pocket seam was just left open. It worked -- no more 'must get the zipper perfect' stress, but it was a bit drafty. It was just this past winter that it hit me that the zipper is in the pocket -- who cares if it looks really elegant or not? The next time I made the pants pattern (Simplicity 9589, long OOP but reviewed just the same), I stitched a zipper-length rectangle, about 3/8" wide 3/4" from the inside edge of the left pocket yoke piece (that's the piece that forms the side of the pocket closest to the body; the one you see when you look at the pants). I slashed to about 1" from the bottom, then cut into each corner (making a little triangle). I pressed the raw edges to the wrong side, zig-zagged them down, positioned the zipper in the opening with double-sided basting tape and topstitched it in place. From that point on, the pocket is made in the normal fashion. The waistband's edges are at the top of the zipper; sometimes I have to add a bit to the waistband to get it to work, but then I've learned to cut my waistbands at least 2" bigger than the pattern, just in case I have to adjust the fitting at the waist (ever so much easier to cut off excess than add more! )

Any pattern with yoke-style pockets can be adapted to put the zipper in the pocket like this. It's a really easy zipper application, and if you bobble on it, well, it's in the pocket. Shoot, the first time I did it the zipper didn't even match the fabric! It just doesn't matter.

One note: if you are moving the opening from the center front or back to the pocket, you'll have to rotate the waistband (i.e., the CF mark on the waistband will not be at CF for this application). There may be more overlap involved w/this process, too...just make sure you have a long enough waistband.

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17 Comments
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ADSBarber said...
Are there any photos available. I am a very visual person...
5/14/12 9:00 AM
oolacher said...
I'm glad to read someone has worked this application. There are directions for this type of application in Claire Schaeffer's book "Couture Sewing Techniques" as this is a "couture designer" technique.
2/14/12 4:01 AM
Stitcher75 said...
The photos don't come up anymore. The idea is really good, though. I've always liked pants and skirts that open on the side. Maybe I'll get the courage to try it on my own.
1/17/12 2:34 PM
CSM--Carla said...
THANK YOU, Lisa Laree--SO helpful to see the pictures!! You are terrific!!! Carla
5/22/08 6:57 PM
Lisa Laree said...
I think that's fixed it (again). Looks like PW changed their addresses slightly; wonder if all my other PW links are bad now, too? Groan... Anyway, I redid the link at the icon, so it should be ok!
5/22/08 11:32 AM
CSM--Carla said...
repeat.
5/21/08 3:00 PM
CSM--Carla said...
Lisa Laree, I am so glad I found this tip again after much searching!! I want to try this with an old Stretch and Sew Pattern. Do you still have the pictures of this technique? If so, Would you mind adding them again if you have a chance. Thank you SO MUCH!!! I have learned so much form your reviews. I just read one about putting a pocket into no side seam pants that you drafted--thanks for that one too!! Carla
5/21/08 2:58 PM
Bryden said...
Fabulous to have pictures - thanks for the trouble...
3/28/07 5:05 PM
Peggym said...
First time I have seen instryuctions for this. Many thanks.
3/28/07 5:54 AM
TexasPat said...
Great instructions and photos. I've been wanting to do this for years. Thank you.
2/23/07 11:13 PM
Lee Ann Hawkins said...
Snazzy skirt, and enjoyed re-reading both your tips. You may as well give up, Lisa, and just subscribe like the rest of us! It's fun to get the magazines and look, and know you have a library of patterns avail. should you want one.
6/22/05 6:56 PM
Lisa Laree said...
Just thought I'd note that the current issue of Threads (#112) has an article by Karen Howland in which she describes (with diagrams) a virtually identical method for putting a zipper in the pocket...the only difference I can see is that she only shows stay-stitching the bottom of the zipper slot, while I stitch the whole thing.
3/7/04 10:56 PM
comocosews said...
Lisa, thanks for the idea. That would be simpler.
11/27/02 11:05 PM
Lisa Laree said...
Cheryl, Sandra Betzina describes something very similar in Power Sewing Step-by-Step, page 67, but she starts with two rectangles of fabric, seams them together with the zipper in the seam, then puts the pocket pattern over the result with the zipper carefully positioned and cuts out the pocket. The result looks almost the same as what I do. Just depends on what 'seams' easier to you (sorry -couldn't resist! :p)
11/27/02 12:26 PM
comocosews said...
Would it work to draw a line on the pattern piece where you want the zipper,cut frome top to bottom and add a seam allowance on each side and then sew in the zipper?
11/27/02 11:36 AM
annsew65 said...
Lisa, I can't get the picture to come up, but I have made pants with the zipper in a pocket several times, though not too often lately! I had bought a RTW pair of Koret pants made this way and after wearing them out, I cut them apart and made a pattern from them. I bet I made 20 pairs during the ensuing years. It's a great technique - and one many will love. As I've gotten older (and wider I might add), I find that I opt for pants with elastic in the back, but if I was still the same shape as I was back then, I'd probably still be using the technique!
11/27/02 6:40 AM
Dale C said...
Hmmm... I like this idea. Thanks for the tip Lisa. I've done a zipper/inseam pocket combo. This looks similar. Neat tip!
11/27/02 3:18 AM
 
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