Pocket Ts...all the rage...

This is the tutorial I had 1/2 written and then POOF...it disappeared. I bet paper never disappeared out of a typewriter.  But in the world of digital, disappearing blog posts are equivilant to "the dog ate it."

Anywho... I am a mom first and foremost.  Which means I participate in whatever it is my kids are doing.  (HINT, don't expect your children to be a part of YOUR life...you have to be a part of THEIRS!) When the boys were in athletics, I was the mom who sat through practices and every game, sold apparel, organized banquets and handed out water after practices and scrimmages. I didn't cheer too loudly at baseball games (the boys could hear me!) but I was a little hoarse after football games!

Now I am a choir and debate mom.  I have figured out that they don't appreciate cow bells or foam fingers at choir concerts. Seriously, I never even liked them at football games...but my point is, the "etiquette" is much different.  There is no "cheering" and I have never heard a choir parent scream during a concernt. Heck, I'm not even allowed to attend "debates."  

So I am feeling a bit left out and unneeded by my teenage daughter's extracurricular activities.  

Until last week when she called and said there was something I could do for the debate team.  Wouldn't you know, it was one of my LEAST favorite things to do.


It is no secret...I seriously dislike sewing.  But I can do it and normally I can do it fairly well.

But it was just a little pocket on a t-shirt.  Nine of them to be exact!

Sooooo...since colorful, funky pockets on t-shirts are all the rage, here is a little tutorial on how to sew them on stretchy, uncooperative t-shirt material.  Trust me...your kid will think you are the coolest mom on the block if you can pull this off! 

One suggestion I will make...wash and dry the t-shirt BEFORE you apply the pocket.  Even if it says "pre-shrunk."  Just trust me!

Now, make a pocket.  This is a great use for scraps of material or you can let your kid pick out a funky fabric.  You only need a smidge.  My pockets were about 4" x 4" with a little "point" on them (see picture).  I cut them 1/2" wider than my desired width and 1 1/2" longer than the finished height. This allows for a 1/4"  "hem" on the sides and bottom and a 1" (with 1/4" turned down) hem at the top.

If you are going to make multiple pocket ts, you can make a pattern out of paper.  

If it is a shirt that will get a lot of wear and tear, you may want to run a zig-zag stitch around the entire cutout to prevent raveling. 

First, iron a 1/4" hem all the way around.  Then turn down the top 1" and iron that. Then sew the top hem down.

This is what your pocket should look like....

Next you will want to figure out where the pocket should go on the shirt. Trust me...huge difference between boys and girls...the shirts just fit differently. I had Katie try hers on, then carefully pinned it where she wanted it.

Then I folded the shirt in half and measured from the center and made sure the pocket was "square."  I also measured from the shoulder/collar seam to the top of the pocket. These measurements are important if you are going to do more than one t-shirt.

(Ignore the fact that this pocket is already sewn on the shirt...I kinda forgot to take a picture of how to measure before I sewed it on)

I placed Katie's pockets 1 1/2" from the center and 7" from the shoulder/collar seam.

Then I pinned the pocket in place.  Here is a little HINT on how to pin the pocket to the front of the shirt.  Put a piece of cardboard or a cookie sheet or magazine between the back and front of the t-shirt.  Then place your pocket and pin.  This allows you to pin the pocket to the shirt without pinning the back of the shirt to the front.

Now, here is the most important part...if you don't do this, you will end up with a stretchy mess.

Hand baste the pocket onto the shirt BEFORE you sew it on with the machine.

For "non-sewers," basting is just a long stitch used to temporarily secure the pocket in place so it doesn't move and the t-shirt won't stretch while sewing it with the machine. I baste by hand...just a long stitch that is easy to remove after the pocket is permanently sewn onto the shirt. Once it is basted in place, remove the pins before sewing.

Now is the time to try on the shirt and make sure the pocket will lay properly.  At this point, it would be very easy to remove the baste stitching and reposition the pocket. Once it is sewn it place, it is very tricky to remove stitching from t-shirt material!

If all is well, take it to your machine and run a simple straight stitch approximately 1/8" from the edge starting at the top of one side, along the bottom and up the other side. Naturally, you don't want to stitch across the top.

Make sure you lay the shirt as flat as possible and don't tug or stretch while sewing.  T-shirt material is very easy to stretch and if you do, it will pucker! After you have sewn the pocket on the shirt, pull the basting stitch out.

And there you have it...an easy way to be a "cool" mom. 

These shirts were for the debate team but again, you are only limited by your imagination.  And if you google "t-shirt pockets" you can find all kinds of nifty ideas! 

And just for the record, my daughter pulled 3 "excellent" awards at Student Congress this weekend! It was probably the shirt!