Month: November 2019

The Pocket Problem

Where Kitty tackles a long-standing fashion nuisance


Not enough women’s clothes have pockets. 

I used to have no idea why this was the case, and sometimes, I still don’t (what is the point of a fake pocket?  Also, why are women’s jeans pockets half the size of men’s?).  But now that I’m designing clothes, I sort of understand that you can’t just slap a pocket on everything and call it a day.

To make a long story short, pockets add bumps to the lines of a sleek fitted garment, and they spoil the drape of a soft, loose one.  When design lines permit, I sneak the odd pocket in there, hidden where they’re least likely to interfere with the serious business of looking fabulous.  But what I wanted next was a proper flowing skirt with proper deep pockets that could fit a proper busy woman’s basic kit (phone, wallet, keys, maybe a good-sized sandwich).

I’ve made one skirt with a hidden side seam pocket before.  The Maru Skirt does a decent job of holding a small purse’s worth of stuff in its pockets, mainly because it’s a genuine full circle.  The opulent swathes of fabric flares out and hide many sins. 

However, I’m more of a long skirt girl these days, what with the onset of winter and varicose veins and all.  And you really, really can’t stroll about my small town in a maxi-length full-circle skirt without looking like a lost Disney princess.  But a less extravagant amount of skirt inevitably means that pockets and their contents bump through, which is normally fine, but occasionally offends my designer sensibilities. 

Ergo, here’s a totally different approach.  Like marketing always says, if you can’t fix it, feature it.  After a few bashes, this is what I came up with:

Full View

The skirt is full enough to feel rich and not restrict even a wide walking pace, but restrained enough so I can go buy some milk without my horse and carriage.  The gathers are at just the right height to camouflage the contents of the (quite generously deep and wide) pockets and also, if you’re so inclined, any extra tummy or hip fluff.   But the pockets themselves are definitely the focal point.

Pocket Close-Up

The pocket opening is big enough for your hand to easily slip through (I’ve found this to be a problem in a lot of ready-to-wear clothes and commercial patterns.  Is this common, or do I just have giant gorilla paws?).  The pocket bag is deep enough securely to hold a water bottle or a smallish cat, if it’s not too wriggly. 

Non-Wriggly Cat in Pocket

Also, the pockets sit low enough so you don’t have to hike up your elbows to get your hands into them, and so they don’t fight with whatever you’re wearing on your upper body.  A lot of the many designs I studied for inspiration had the pockets situated too high on the hips, just where you DON’T want extra bulk.  And if you’re planning on wearing your corset with the skirt, you still want access to your pocket openings.  Imagine if these pockets were just an inch or two too high: 

Pockets Still Accessible

Finally, though I prefer the wide fabric selection of wovens (which are generally not stretchy), I still want the freedom to retain water and eat an entire turkey if I feel like it!  So there’s the waist yoke made from four-way stretch material, which makes for a smooth sleek fit around the waist but also loads of comfort.  It’s so comfy you could wear this to a ball in style, then come home and wear it as jammies. 

I love this skirt, and I’m actually planning on making one from polar fleece for the winter.  Now I just have to spend about sixty hours grading the pattern to all the sizes before making prototypes for people to test.  If anyone wonders what Kitties do during the long winter days, now you know….