Red Shirt with Extra Pockets

Heavy stretch denim and side-seam cargo pockets

My red pocket shirt is comfy.

January 2006

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Sometimes, a normal shirt just doesn't have enough pockets. Often, I can wear a jacket or something with more pockets, but sometimes that would be uncomfortable or inconvenient. I have a pair of pants with a pocket just over the knee, along the side seam, and this pocket comes in very handy for holding my cellphone in some situations, but I can't wear those pants al the time. I've been having such good luck with Kwik-Sew's pattern for Men's Shirts, that I decided to make another shirt, and try adding some extra pockets along the side seams, sort of in the "shoulder holster" position.

Folded shirt

Here you can see the shirt as it might appear on a store shelf. It's long sleeve, and made of a red/black denim fabric. I found some nice dark gray plastic buttons.

I'd be pretty happy with this shirt, even if it didn't have the extra pockets. I like heavier shirts, especially in the winter. Most of my heavier twill or denim shirts have somebody's logo on them though, and it's always unpleasant to wear a shirt to work that has to logo of your previous employer on it.

It also fits so well that having the heavier fabric keeps each part of the shirt where it is supposed to be, rather than just having the whole shirt hang from my shoulders.

Stuff in the side seam pockets

I wanted the pockets to be able to hold my cell phone and PDA, which they do. For some reason, I can't sense things in the left pocket as much, so it's better for me to keep the phone over there, since it's thicker. Things don't actually stick out this much, this photo shows them only half way into the pocket. The PDA completely disappears, and the phone sticks out a little bit.

Closer-up of left side of shirt, showing pockets

The top of the left seam pocket is about an inch below the bottom corner of the breast pocket. This is actually a little low for me, and the bottom of the seam pockets interfere with the waist of my pants. In future shirts I would position them higher, perhaps even with the bottom of the breast pocket.

I thought about putting the side pockets inside the side seams, like pants pockets, but I wasn't sure how this would afect the structure of the shirt, so I went for these patch pockets. Maybe on the next one I'll do inseam pockets. They'll be less visible.

Close-up of the right seam pocket

The left edge of this pocket is sewn shut by the right side seam of the shirt. I also topstitched the side seams so that they'd be even more secure, and also to match the look of the rest of the shirt.

Other places I considered putting pockets were in the small of the back, on the front shirt tails below the waistline, and on the bicep area of the sleeve. Doing all of those at once would probably be excessive. A pocket just below the collarbone on the right fron would be handy, though.


Red/Black stretch denim

This is basically a denim fabric, only red and black instead of blue and white. It's mostly cotton, with some polyester to fight wrinkles. and a touch of Spandex for stretchiness.

I don't know why this scan of the fabric came out so much redder than the photos above, though. I guess it depends on the lighting. When I bought the fabric I thought it was much too red and that I might use the other sie which is more black, but I changed my mind. I might use the darker side to make a pair of pants, though.

The Process

Mostly I followed the pattern, with the following exceptions:

To make the side seam pockets, I cut extra pocket blanks the same size as the breast pocket. The top edge is just folded over twice and sewn twice. After attaching the breast pocket, I folded under the bottom edges and one side of each pocket, and sewed them down just against the edges of the front pieces. I didn't bother to sew the side of the pocket along the edge, trusting that the side seam would hold it there. Later, after sewing the side seams, I also topstitched them to further reinforce and support the pockets.

Another change I'd make is to lengthen the collar band by about a half inch also, since this part enever seems to be quite long enough.

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