Your Fake Pockets May Not Be Fake

I still remember the time I was in the parking lot after work, absentmindedly slipping my hand into a fake jacket pocket when I realized there was a hole in the seam. Great, I thought, the phone still has nowhere to put, and now I have a hole in my jacket. I fumbled with the loose thread and realized that was not the case: there was a full lining of the pocket behind the line. I selected the remaining thread and ended up with a whole pocket. Actually two: on the opposite side there was another.

I felt stupid because I knew pockets and folds were often sewn up to keep them in order while they were hung in the store, and yet I was so used to finding fake pockets on my clothes (women’s pockets are so often bullshit ) that I I forgot that this could happen to me. So consider this as your reminder to double-check your stitching every time you try on clothes with fake pockets.

Where will you find these mysterious pockets

Pockets are usually sewn on to formal or business attire, especially suits. Watch out for:

  • breast pockets on men’s blazers
  • front pockets on lined blazers
  • back pockets on classic trousers

While you are doing this, also notice the large cross of thread on the vents on the side of the jacket, or the pleat in the back of the skirt or dress. This thread must be cut so that the slot or fold can be opened. Suits may also have a fabric label on the sleeve next to the cuff, which can also be removed.

How to identify a real pocket or a fake one

First, if the garment has no lining, your job is simple. Just look at the opposite side of the fabric to see if there is a large square piece of pocket lining or if you are just looking at the back of a fake pocket opening.

If the garment is lined, you may have to grope for the lining of the pocket. Can you spot an extra layer of fabric?

You can also check for plausibility: is there enough space in this space for a pocket? If the jacket is short and the fake pocket is close to the bottom, it could very well be fake.

But most importantly: what is the line inside the pocket? When a pocket is sewn up, it is usually not sewn up. It often dangles so it can be easily pulled out. Poke around the corners of the pocket opening and see if anything slips.

How to empty your fake pockets

If you think about it while you’re still in the store, ask the cashier or salesperson if they can open your pockets. Costume stores are familiar with the “no fake pockets” phenomenon and will be able to open them up for you.

If you’re alone, the easiest way to get started is to take your clothes to a place with good lighting and look inside. Gently pull the sides of the pocket out to the sides, near the corners, and you may notice that something has begun to budge.

Often, you can use your fingers or some other handy tool (like a pin or pencil) to detach the first few threads, and the rest should follow easily. But if the pocket seems to be stitched securely, you need to cut the thread.

The best tool for this job is a sewing machine, which you can buy at any store that sells sewing or craft supplies. It has a tiny thorn that you can insert under the stitch and a U-shaped blade that cuts the thread. Cut one or two stitches in this way, and the rest should come out immediately.

If you don’t have a seam cutter, sharp-edged scissors will do the trick. Just be careful, you only cut off the thread that covers the pocket, not the adjacent fabric.


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