Introduction: Pit Pockets

About: Where there's a will, there's a way! Never give up, never give in...BE the good you want to see in the world. :)

Hurry! You're going to be late!

You have to get dressed and run out the door, but there's just one problem...NOTHING'S CLEAN!!

You fly into hyper-speed as you frantically sniff this shirt and that shirt...

Hey, here's one that's not absolutely will work!

Grab the Febreze (OR: insert here every kind of crazy thing out there mankind tries on clothes...disinfectant spray, dryer sheets, perfume, deodorant, cologne, or even the infamous automobile air freshener)...There! Good as new!

Sound familiar? Of course it does! We have ALL been there.

It's the one disgusting habit we all have that we hate when others do it, but we ourselves totally do it too.

Have no fear, Pit Pockets is here!


  • A sewing machine (or you can use hot glue if you don't have a sewing machine)
  • A t-shirt (or sweater, sweatshirt, tank top, jacket, or anything you typically let marinate a little too long)
  • Essential oil (such as lavender, peppermint, pine, or lemon...Only $5.94 each at Wally World)
  • Round Cotton make-up pads
  • A Fat Quarter of fabric -- found at WalMart (For dark colored shirts such as navy, black, dark purple, or even dark green or darker red, you can use black fabric. For lighter colored shirts such as white, tan, yellow, light pink, light red, light orange, etc, you should use white fabric. The fabric color doesn't matter very much as it will not be directly seen, however stick to this general rule of thumb: lights with light, darks with dark.)
  • Thread that matches your T-shirt (this is important to color match!)
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • OPTIONAL: washable or air-soluble / disappearing fabric marker
  • OPTIONAL: glass jar with lid for storing bulk amounts of Pit Pads
  • OPTIONAL: measuring tape or straight edge / ruler
  • OPTIONAL: gloves
  • OPTIONAL: a carrier oil (such as coconut, olive, even vegetable oil) to dilute the essential oils

Additionally, if you're a college student, you may need sustenance... ;)

Step 1: The Art of the Armpit

Did you know that sweat itself is virtually odorless to humans?

It is the rapid multiplications of bacteria in the presence of sweat, and their breaking down of the sweat into acids, that makes it stink. In fact, in the armpits (and other areas of the body) there are apocrine glands in the skin. These glands produce sweat that is high in protein. Bacteria can easily break down protein, thus the stench-bath begins.

Did you know that each person has their own unique body odor which is influenced by diet, gender, health, and even medications?

It's true. And ever more so evident when Uncle John throws on his after-chili cologne again!!


Did you know that the more hair in a person's armpits, the slower the evaporation time of the sweat, which gives the bacteria more time to break down the sweat into smelly substances?

Basically, if your armpits have their own beard, you better believe a bacteria party is going down...and you be stinkin'!

So why is any of this important? Well, at the very least, it helps us understand HOW to combat the stench (it's time to declare war on these bacteria vermin!)...and if we figure that out, then -- HOORAY! -- your bearded armpit can stay!

Step 2: Step 1: Turn the Shirt Inside-Out

Pick up your Go-To t-shirt.

Reach your hand in the bottom opening, grabbing the top of the shirt anywhere, and pulling it downward until it reveals the t-shirt's guts.

Did you really read through this step in its entirety?

Step 3: Locate the Armpit

Moving right along here. We will now locate the armpit of the shirt.

Step 4: Add a Pad

Set a cotton pad on the general area of your pit.

In this shirt that has only a sleeve seam and an attachment-of-the-body-to-the-sleeve seam, it is best to put the pad just above where the two seams intersect.

The thing is, you really can't go wrong as long as it's in the general vicinity of your armpit. When your arms are down at your sides, everywhere in that area is part of the "pit." So it doesn't have to be specifically touching your exact pit area to qualify.

Step 5: Mark the Lines

Mark a line from the top of the armhole opening to the base seam (where the sleeve connects to the shirt) giving some room around the pad on the way down. Repeat this on the second side. You should have a basic triangular shape, as shown in the pictures (or diamond shape if you have a full-seamed shirt...see the last step for alternative seam options).

You can mark the lines with pins, or with a fabric marker. For the sake of clarity in this Instructable, I will use a fabric marker.

Step 6: Add Fabric and Cut

Place the fat quarter fabric over the marked shape, and trace this shape onto your new fabric.

Then add 1/2" seam allowance around all edges, and cut this shape out of the fabric.

Step 7: Mark the Top Half

Basically, each little pocket will essentially resemble an envelope pillowcase, just in triangular form.

Therefore, there will be three different cut outs of fabric to make one Pit Pocket. The cut outs will be 1 base (in which is already cut out). Then 1 top half that is overlapped with 1 bottom half.

So, this top half needs to go down half way PLUS about 1/4" inch. Mark this on the base piece with a dotted line (or row of pins, or even a pencil).

Step 8: Cut Out the Top Half

Lay the base piece on top of the fat quarter fabric (try to use the least amount of the fabric as possible for each cut).

Trace around the TOP HALF of the piece, down to where you marked in the previous step, PLUS 1/2" seam allowance.

Use a straight edge to mark the bottom for this top half piece.

Cut it out, and label it with a single vertical pin (to remember which pieces are which--you'll see why later).

Step 9: Mark the Bottom Half

On the same base piece, now mark the bottom half.

From the bottom working upwards, go about halfway up, plus 1/4".

Mark it (or pin it).

Step 10: Cut Out the Bottom Half

Lay the base piece on top of the fat quarter fabric (try to use the least amount of the fabric as possible for each cut).

Trace around the BOTTOM HALF of the piece, up to where you marked in the previous step, PLUS 1/2" seam allowance. Use a straight edge to mark the top for this bottom half piece. Cut it out, and label it with two vertical pins.

Now, you should have have the Base Piece, Piece 1 (marked with a single vertical pin), and Piece 2 (marked with two vertical pins).

Step 11: Repeat

Use these cut out pieces (Base, Piece 1, and Piece 2) to trace out the second set of pieces from the fat quarter fabric.

When you're done, you will have two Pit Pocket sets ready to sew (or glue) together.

Step 12: Hem "Piece 1" for Both Sets

First, turn Piece 1 over so the WRONG SIDE is facing up.

Pin up the bottom edge of Piece 1 for Pit Pocket #1.

Trim each side to make the edges flush.

Then repeat this process for the second "Piece 1" of Pit Pocket #2.

It's easiest to work on both pockets at once -- Get 'er done!

Step 13: Setting Up the Machine

If you are gluing your Pit Pockets together, skip this step.

Thread your bobbin, thread your machine, and set your machine to a basic straight stitch with a 2.5 stitch length.


Step 14: Sew (or Glue)

Sew the hem down on both Piece 1's (from Pocket #1 and Pocket #2).

Make sure to back stitch at the beginning and at the end of sewing.

If you are using hot glue, then glue this hem down instead.

NOTE: I did not feel it necessary to hem the bottom piece (since it will not be seen). However, if you want to do so for any reason (or if your fabric tends to fray), then feel free. :)

Step 15: The Pit Pocket Sandwich

To assemble your Pit Pocket sandwich (and ready it for sewing), do the following:

  1. Lay down the Base Piece with the right side facing UP.
  2. Lay down Piece 1 on top of the Base Piece with the right side facing DOWN. (So both right sides are facing each other and the wrong sides are facing out.)
  3. Lay down Piece 2 on top of Piece 1 and the Base Piece, also with the right side facing DOWN.
  4. Pin these pieces together, as shown.

If you are hot gluing this together, do the following:

  1. Lay down the Base Piece with the right side facing UP.
  2. Lay down Piece 1 on top of the Base Piece with the right side facing DOWN, and glue this to the Base Piece along the outside edges ONLY. DO NOT GLUE THE MIDDLES DOWN--these will be your opening to turn the pockets right-side out.
  3. Lay down Piece 2 on top of Piece 1 and the Base Piece with the right side facing DOWN, and glue this along the outside edges ONLY. Again, don't glue the middles down.
  4. REPEAT for the second Pit Pocket.
  5. Turn the pockets right-side out, pushing the corners out.

Step 16: Sew & Snip

Sew around all the edges with a 1/2" seam. DO NOT SEW THE MIDDLES, LEAVE THEM OPEN.

Snip the corners.

Step 17: Turn Right-Side Out

Turn the Pit Pocket right-side out through the middle opening.

It should look like the last picture of this step when complete.

Step 18: Repeat

Repeat the sewing, snipping, and turning for Pit Pocket #2.

Step 19: Sew on Pit Pocket #1

Put Pit Pocket #1 in place, with the opening facing OUT.

Pin it in place (WITHOUT pinning through the second half of the sleeve).

Sew around the edge of the Pit Pocket with 1/4" - 1/2" seams (BE CAREFUL to keep the back half of the sleeve out of the way when sewing).

Easy peasy! The last two pictures of this step show what it looks like sewn in from the right-side of the T-shirt.

If you are using hot glue, glue this Pit Pocket down to the t-shirt along the edges only.

Step 20: Repeat

Repeat sewing (or gluing) Pit Pocket #2 on the other armpit of your T-shirt.

Step 21: Essential Oils

Essential oils are the only thing standing between you and a good smelling shirt! They can even act as a natural deodorant for you, too (but please don't stop showering!)

Lavender, peppermint, lemon, and pine are great options for adding to your Pit Pads (the pads that go inside of your Pit Pockets).


Lavender is antimicrobial, so it can stop the bacteria from breaking down substances in your sweat and keep you (and your shirt) smelling good! It is also generally relaxing.

Peppermint is also highly antiseptic, and even helps to balance your skin's pH levels.

Lemon is stimulating, calming, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant and anti-fungal.

Pine smells of evergreen (the more manly scent of the bunch!), is detoxifying, and fights bacteria and other microbes.

Step 22: Add a Scent

I chose lavender oil for my first batch of Pit Pockets because I love the scent of lavender.

First of all, it is important to test a SMALL amount of essential oil on your skin before applying to your Pit Pockets (to determine if you are allergic to it or if it irritates your skin in any way). BE SURE TO USE A CARRIER OIL (aka: an oil you apply to your skin FIRST, BEFORE applying the essential oil over top of it), as some oils can be quite harsh on the skin even if you're not otherwise allergic to it.

When you've determined a scent that works for you (and one that you aren't allergic to), here are the options for applying it to your Pit Pads (find what works for you!):

  1. You can apply the essential oil directly to the pad either as 1 drop (for a less aggressive scent, for the only slightly-stinky shirt), to 3 or 4 drops (for the strongest solution).
  2. OR, you can mix the essential oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, or even vegetable oil) so that it is more diluted, and then apply this mixture to the pad in as many drops as you want (between 1-4 or more, depending on your needs). To dilute essential oil, you can do 1:1 part carrier oil to essential oil, OR 2:1 parts, OR 3:1 parts (depending on your needs).

Optionally, you can store bulk amounts of Pit Pads in glass jars with lids, labeling each jar with the scent of the Pads it contains.

Step 23: Add the Pit Pad

Once the Pit Pad is oiled up, add it to the Pit Pocket making sure to flatten it out so it doesn't scrunch up.

If the oil bothers your skin, or you don't want the smell of it on your skin for a prolonged amount of time, you can optionally choose to wear gloves when adding the Pit Pads. However, I found that simply washing my hands right afterwards took the lavender scent off of them just fine.

Step 24: You're Done!

It's time to "pit" up and dance! (Sorry, that's a terrible pun...oof!)

You're done!

There may be a slight learning curve in adjusting to these in your pits. For example, on the first wear, the fabric of the Pit Pockets might feel a little stiff. Simply run your hand up and down the Pit Pockets (as if warming them up) to help relax the fabric a bit. You can, additionally, move your arm up and down to help this shape the Pockets into your pit shape. Also, as you wear your Pit Pocketed T-shirt, the feeling of these in your pits will become unnoticeable.

Now, what will you do with your new-found sense of "pitacular" confidence? (OK, I'm exiting...stage right...)

Step 25: Test Er' Out!

Well, first, you have to test them out!

Come one, come all...smell my pits!

OK...not that close!

Step 26: Show 'Em Off!

Then you have to show them off!

"Hey! How are ya?" I'm just gonna yawn now in an armpit-centric way.

"What's up, man? How you doing?" Dwell in the wafting of my oh-so-good-smelling pits!

Too much? Too soon? Yeah, OK.

Seriously though, in the wake of your newfound delectability, please don't forget to eventually wash your clothes and shower more than once every few weeks. I know it will be hard because now you won't have a reason to...but it's still necessary. Take it from everyone here. It's necessary. :)

Step 27: Alternative Seams

As promised, here is how to apply Pit Pockets to other seam types.

In the pictures we have three other common seam types: Full Seams, Half Seams, and No Seams. The shapes represent the options for adhering/sewing the Pit Pockets to these types of shirts, and the potential shapes used to make the Pit Pockets. Most are still the triangles made here, but the Full Seam shirts have the option to add more coverage and make a diamond shaped Pit Pocket (you can even sew/glue multiple pads together to fill it in more).

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