Introduction: How to Make a Cell Phone Pocket in Your Pants
The Cell Phone: Where do we put it? If we put it in a pocket with keys, pocket knives, or other stuff it leads to a full pocket. If we put it in a back pocket, this is uncomfortable to sit on (especially if you have a skinny rear end) and leads to possible screen breakage. I think the place to put it is in a special zippered pocket down below the regular pants pocket. Cargo pants have pockets that can be used for this, but for some occasions one might not want the “look” of cargo pants. Although I made the pocket in blue jeans here, the same kind of pocket can be put into any kind of pants. The “invisible zipper” makes a barely-noticeable appearance.
Here is how to add a special cell phone pocket to your pants. I am an amateur at sewing. I don’t make clothes, but have made a lot of equipment covers, seat cushions, storage bags, duffel bags and other useful things. This project is not very hard, even for someone not too experienced at sewing. I chose to make a left side pocket, as I am right handed, and I handle the phone with my left hand and operate it with my right hand.
All of the tools and materials can be obtained from your local sewing/craft store, or from amazon.com. You may have much of what you need already if you have a sewing machine.
1. Sewing machine, scissors, ruler, temporary marker, thread
2. Seam ripping tool
3. Overcasting foot for the sewing machine (not absolutely needed)
4. Standard zipper foot or invisible zipper foot
1. Cloth for the pocket (I used old bedsheet material)
2. A 7-inch “invisible Zipper”. It is 7 inches long for the zipping portion, and 9 inches overall including the extra material at the top and bottom of the zipper.
Step 1: Tools and Overview
The tools include (left to right): seam ripper, overcasting foot, regular zipper foot, ":invisible zipper" foot.
The "Pocket Layout" diagram shows a cross-section view of the pocket. Notice how at the back left that the portion of the zipper beyond the zipper teeth is angled up, so that it is not visible in the pants seam above and below where the zipper teeth are.
Step 2: Prepare the Pants and Pockets
Begin by ripping out the seam from below the normal pocket’s attachment point to about 9-10 inches below that, and also remove serger stitches where the two pieces of fabric have been serged together for this same distance. A seam ripping tool is perfect for this.
After this, the fabric edges of the pants (the seam allowance) need to be serged individually. This is a way of preventing the edges of fabric from fraying, without using a hem which would add too much to the thickness. The commercial way to do this is with a serger machine, but I used an overcasting foot for the sewing machine. This foot combined with an overcast stitch on the machine does the job nicely: it guides the edge of the fabric right to the needle. I used a stitch 7 mm wide and 2.6 mm long. Another method is to run a zig-zag stitch along the edge of the fabric, then run a straight stitch along the side of the zig-zag away from the edge.
Cut two pieces of cloth for the pockets, 9 inches wide and 10 inches long. For the bottom edge of these pieces, trim it shorter where the pocket meets the pants seam, so that the pocket will be a little deeper away from the seam and shallower where the pocket meets the seam. Then overcast the edges along the edge to be sewn to the zipper and also halfway across the top and the bottom. This area will be hard to get to later, and the remaining edges will be overcast together when the pocket is being finished.
Step 3: Attach the Inner Part of the Pocket to the Seam Allowance on the Front of the Pants
With the pants right-side-out, pin the outer part of the pocket to the front part of the pants seam allowance. The top of the pocket material should be about ¼ inch below where the top pocket is sewn to the seam.
Looking from the front of the pants at the outer surface of the pants, the pocket material is behind the pants seam allowance. The edge that has been overcast is stitched underneath and just short of where the pants seam used to be. You can see the pencil line on the pocket material to help line it up. Sew this in place, stitches halfway between the pants seam and the edge of the seam allowance. The pins are placed along the seam line in the picture.
As with other sewing, a forward-reverse-forward at the beginning and end of a line of stitches will lock down the ends and keep the ends from coming undone.
Step 4: Pin the Zipper to the Front Half of the Pants
Lay the pants right-side out with the front of the pants facing up, and the pocket material going out to the right like a flag. With the zipper zipped and facing down, pin the right side of the zipper to the seam allowance of the front part of the pants. The fabric edge of the zipper should be near the fabric edge of the pants seam allowance, and the zipper teeth should be lined up just to the left of the pants seam (about 1/16 inch). The top of the zipper material that goes beyond the zipper stops should be even with the top of the pocket material.
Step 5: Sew the Zipper to the Front of the Pants
I used a regular zipper foot to sew the zipper. There is a special “invisible zipper foot” for the sewing machine that allows you to sew very close to the teeth of the zipper. Since I was sewing the heavy material of blue jeans, the invisible zipper foot’s close spacing to the zipper teeth and the heaviness of the material made it so that the zipper would not close. With a regular zipper foot the “invisible zipper” is not quite as invisible, and it becomes the “barely noticeable zipper”. But it works! If you are sewing finer material, you can likely get away with the invisible zipper foot. There are some good YouTube videos for placing invisible zippers on ladies’ clothing, and it really seems invisible. With heavy pants material a change of method is needed.
Unzip the zipper, and sew it from the top zipper stop to halfway down. Then zip the zipper and sew it the other halfway down to the bottom zipper stop. The seam follows the line of pins. The flag of material above and below the zipper stops is not sewn until later, when it is folded in a little bit to hide it in the pants seam. Be sure to overlap the sewing of the top and bottom halves of the zipper to lock the stitches down.
Step 6: Sew the Inner Half of the Pocket Material to the Back Half of the Pants
This is very similar to the outer half of the pocket. Lay the pants face down, place the pocket material even with the other pocket, and sew the overcasted edge underneath the seam allowance of the pants material.
The pants are still right-side out, and the pocket material sewn to the front half of the pants is tucked inside the pants to be out of the way for now.
Step 7: Sew the Other Half of the Zipper
With the pants still right-side-out, tuck the two halves of the pocket inside the opening of the pants, and zip up the zipper about 2 inches from the top. There are two important things that need to be done here.
One, the zipper halves need to be lined up vertically to keep the seam straight down the pants.
Two, when you sew it the zipper will seem twisted around, and getting a few pins in will get it oriented correctly.
Once you have a few pins in, unzip the zipper, pull the pocket material out like a flag, and sew the upper half of the zipper. Then put the pocket material inside the hole, turn the pants inside out, zip the zipper, and then sew the bottom half of the zipper down to the stop on the zipper. Again, don't sew the parts of the zipper that extend beyond the teeth.
Step 8: Sew the Pocket Together
With the pants inside-out and zipper zipped, lay out the two pieces of pocket material together. The inner part of the pocket coming from the back half of the pants is laid over the seam allowance so that the pocket does not pull the back half of the zipper toward the front. The cross-section drawing in step 1 also shows this. Pin the seam for the pocket and sew it, but at the bottom don’t trim the edges or overcast the edges yet.
Step 9: Finish the Pants Seam
Now the pants can be sewn together above and below the pocket, with the parts of the zipper above and below the zipper stops tucked below the seam. The end of the zipper tucked in is also shown in the Pocket Layout illustration at the first step. Then the edges are overcasted together.
Pin the bottom pocket to the upper pocket to support the front of the lower pocket. Then try on the pants, put your cell phone in the lower pocket, and some other stuff in the upper pocket. When you see how much space is between the top of the phone and the bottom of the stuff in the pocket, you can shorten the bottom of the cell phone pocket to bring the phone a little higher. Then trim the bottom of the pocket and overcast the edges.
I took the picture before shortening the pocket, and discovered that I wanted the phone to be up higher. The height you use will depend on the size of the phone.
Step 10: Finishing Touches
A few tacks or a short seam hand-sewn between the top of the cell phone pocket and the inside surface of the upper pocket will keep you from putting your foot between the pockets when you put your pants on. I put a few hand stitches at the top and bottom of the zipper to close the seam more neatly. If your sewing skills are better than mine, you may not need to do this.
And there you have it: a convenient pocket for your cell phone, easily accessible but protected from the world and your other pocket stuff!
Check out my website at www.chaneyproductions.com for other crazy things I have made.
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