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Add Bonnie Cashin Pockets

Curved, stylish, and generously proportioned
Threads #225, Spring 2024

The chic leather coat shown on the back cover of Threads #225 (Spring 2024), designed circa 1975 by famed American designer Bonnie Cashin, has pockets that look perfectly modern and deceptively simple. Their curved openings are incorporated into princess-like seams that extend down from the shoulders, across the side seams, and to the back. Sizable pocket bags are secured with topstitching to the coat front, providing additional curved design lines.

In fabrics from the smooth leather of the original coat to the plush wool of the sample at right, this pocket feature is practical, stylish, and unusual.

While the patternmaking for these pockets is easy, it’s the marking and precision of sewing that give the pocket that clean and effortless look. I’ll show you how to adapt a basic dolman-sleeve coat pattern to incorporate these pockets and how to construct them for a flawless finish.

close up of model wearing jacket
Take a cue from 20th-century design star Bonnie Cashin: Signature curving style lines, a narrow strap-belt, turn-lock closures, and extra-large pockets build in style and functionality. Photo: Jack Deutsch. Pattern: Jackie Coat by KateSewingPatterns (Etsy.com), modified. Fabric: wool coating, author’s stash. Stylist: Jessica Saal. Hair and makeup: AgataHelena.com. Styling credits: earrings and dress—J. Crew stores, shoes—Vince Camuto (Nordstrom.com).

Adapt a Pattern and Cut the Fabric

Start with a simple, dolman-sleeve design
Start with a simple, dolman-sleeve design. Illustration: Melinda Vazquez.

Start with a fairly straight-cut, dolman-sleeve coat pattern. I chose the Jackie Coat by KateSewing Patterns (Etsy.com), which is easy to construct and presents an excellent canvas on which to display this modern pocket. All the patternwork is done without seam allowances; you’ll add those after the pattern pieces have been drafted.

1. Draft the front-to-back curved seamline. Align the coat front and back patterns at the side seamlines; the sleeves will overlap. Measure…

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