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Add Pockets and Subtract the Zipper in Your Favorite Pants Pattern

Learn a quick pattern revision for more functional pants
Threads #213, Feb./March 2021
The pants’ opening is hidden within a handy slant pocket.
pants with pockets
Your favorite pants pattern can be faster to sew and more convenient to wear with the inclusion of pockets. Pattern: Simplicity 8166, modified. Fabric: stretch gabardine, EmmaOneSock.com.

Growing up I remember my mom and my grandma saying that you couldn’t have a pair of pants or a skirt without pockets. Where else would you stash your hanky? As a teenager, I thought a pocket’s only purpose was to make my tummy pooch out. So when did I turn into my mother?

Mom and Grandma were absolutely right: Pants need pockets. And not the little shallow kind. They need nice, deep, useful pockets. Now, when I encounter a pants pattern sans pockets, the first order of business is to add some. With many of my favorite patterns, this means that I need to work around a side-seam zipper. I could move the zipper to the center front or back, but my preferred method is to shift the side-seam opening into the left front pocket. I like this choice for several reasons: It means I don’t need to install a zipper, and if I need to adjust for  t I can easily make adjustments to both side seams. Plus, having the opening shifted toward the front makes for easy dressing and comfortable wear. Let me show you how I revise a pants pattern to add pockets, and how to construct the pants for a good-looking, sturdy result.

Modify the pants front pattern

Begin with a pattern that fits well. It can be intended to have a side, front, or back zipper. Remove any fly zipper extensions.


1. Trace the pants front pattern. Trace the top section, from the waistline to a few inches below the crotch point. Include the grainline and dart(s).…

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Previous: How to Create Tailored Trousers Next: How to Create A Slimming Look with the All-In-One Pocket


  1. user-2658237 | | #1

    Perfect timing! I needed to know how to do exactly this type of pocket addition to a pants pattern. I was going to buy a pattern to do this with, but now I don't need to spend the money.

  2. User avater
    dlvuyovich | | #2

    Hands down, the best and most influential tutorial from Threads, for me at least. I am now incorporating this into nearly EVERY pants project and will also refer to it for skirts as well.
    I used this for my last project and immediately incorporated this technique in my next one.
    Still working in an office, so handy now having pockets in my custom suits!

  3. KSquared | | #3

    Cannot wait to try this!

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Fit and Sew Pants

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