Designing Stitch Patterns for Jeans Pockets

In the Spring/Summer Jeans Sew Along at Pattern Review, there has been some discussion about creative treatments for the rear patch pockets. Some of the participants confessed to spending a lot of time checking out other people’s backsides–much more time than they would ordinarily. And yes, I’ve been guilty of that too, LOL.

What are (other) good sources of inspiration for stitching on jeans patch pockets? One place I like to look is in my pattern collection. Even though I’m using one pattern for the jeans themselves, that doesn’t mean I can’t rip off ideas from other patterns. I’ve found a lot of cool details in Ottobre’s Women’s magazines. Generally, Ottobre pants don’t flatter my figure and I would have to do a ton of fitting work just to make them presentable, so I don’t bother making entire garments from the magazine. I still enjoy the publication because I’ve yet to see another that includes fun embellishments like the stitching I did on the back of my first pair of jeans.

Google Images is an invaluable resource for finding design ideas too. I have found ideas by searching for “jeans pocket design” and other variations on that. You’ll end up with a gazillion search results, and the only thing to do is to scroll through them until you find something that sparks your imagination.

Other things to consider:

  • Continuous line quilting designs
  • Dingbat fonts
  • Jewelry

It’s pretty easy to hand draw your own design as well–don’t worry if you’re not “artistic.” It’s more of an exercise in connecting points in a grid than freehanding something. Here’s how I do it:

1. I first make a pocket template on a piece of paper, using the pocket pattern piece.


2. I then draw in the seam allowances.


3. Next, I mark the vertical and horizontal centers.


4. Depending on the type of design I want to do, I add other grid lines as necessary.


5. I draw my design, using the grid to keep things symmetrical. You might want to ink in the grid lines in case you need to do a lot of erasing…I should have done that! A French curve would be handy for drawing curvy designs.


6. It’s important to stitch a sample on a scrap piece of fabric. You’ll want to make sure you can actually stitch your design neatly enough to satisfy yourself. Tight curves can be tricky! It’s also good to work out the appropriate settings on your machine so the stitches are balanced. I transfered my design using a tracing wheel and white tracing paper.



7. When I had the kinks in my stitching worked out, I cut out the pocket template so I could line it up with the edges of my actual pockets, transferred the design using the tracing wheel and paper and stitched the pocket. I flipped the template over for the second pocket so they would be mirror images of one another.


8. Voila!


Designing and stitching an interesting pattern onto your patch pockets isn’t really that hard. It’s important to take your time and to try to keep things neat, but don’t fret too much if something isn’t perfect. If you really want something as precise as a laser beam, you’d be better off buying manufactured jeans. If, on the other hand, you want a special pair that flatters your figure as only a customized pattern can–and that has unique design elements–well, stitch your own and embrace the irregularities!