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adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question)
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Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question) on 06/08/2006 21:19:01 MDT Print View

I'd like to add a kangaroo pocket to a t-shirt, in order to hold a route description and snack while climbing in the mountains. The idea is to form the pocket by sewing a rectangle of mesh onto the torso of the t-shirt. The lightest t-shirts I've found are made of 100% filament silk and weigh 2.9 oz (long sleeve). In addition to being lightweight, silk also has the major advantage that it doesn't acquire polyester pong on extended trips. The lightest mesh I've found is 1.4 oz/yd coolmax mesh at Quest Outfitters. I'd prefer to use mesh rather than solid nylon because the mesh will breathe better. Before embarking on the project I'd like to solicit advice from experienced DIY'ers. Is the project obviously doomed to failure? One concern is whether lightweight silk is too fragile to support a pocket? To be useful, the pocket would need to hold about 4 oz's of supplies. Could the seams be strengthed by adding a strip of backing material along the thread lines? A related question is what kind of thread and stitch should be used?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question) on 06/09/2006 00:22:32 MDT Print View

They do such things with biking shirts, except on the back. A trip to the bike store might give you some ideas.

I would just go for a little fanny pack-- you can wear it in back, one side, or the front.

What are you doing for water?

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
Re: Re: adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question) on 06/09/2006 11:36:28 MDT Print View

Dale, thanks for the tip about the cycling jerseys. They do have pockets on the back, though the jersey material is heavier and more robust than a silk t-shirt.

A fanny pack would weigh more than a mesh pocket, and could be awkward when wearing a climbing harness.

For water, I like to drink hands-free when climbing, so I usually carry a platypus reservoir and drinking tube in a small climbing pack (no side pockets).

I like to keep the route description handy, so I'd rather not put it in the pack (in steep terrain it can be awkard to take the pack off).

Vick Hines
(vickrhines) - F

Locale: Central Texas
Re: adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question) on 06/09/2006 11:56:10 MDT Print View

Where on the shirt do you want to attach the pocket? That can be critical if, as you say, you plan to carry 1/4 pound in it. You alluded to a kangaroo pocket - which would not interfere with the shoulder straps and will swing less. It should be located fairly high on the shirt, much like a regular breast pocket on a man's shirt.

The silk is likely to sag out of shape with 4 ounces on it. Your idea of supporting the pocket sounds good. You might consider running a couple of light ribbon supports to the shoulder seams adjacent to the neck opening. These could be on the inside.

I think bug net would be strong enough and as you say, it would breath, although the items in the pocket, such as a map, may not. No-seeum netting weighs about 0.9 oz. Thruhiker has some that is even lighter. One consideration with net is that it may not stretch as much as the knitted silk. I would stitch it on with a zig-zag.

Thread? Regular polyester. Silk thread is not very strong and can be hard to handle on some machines.

Edited by vickrhines on 06/09/2006 11:57:22 MDT.

Chris Jackson
(chris_jackson) - F
Re: Re: adding a pocket to a t-shirt (neophyte sewing question) on 06/09/2006 19:13:31 MDT Print View

Vick, thanks for your excellent suggestions. I'll use polyester thread, reinforce the seams with ribbon, and give bug net a try. The lack of stretch in the net may cause the pocket to sag, but I'll have to live with that because the only stretch-mesh I can find is too heavy (around 5.5 oz/yd). Your timely reminder that pockets placed higher on the jacket will swing less has got me thinking about whether to use a kangaroo pocket or two regular pockets. The shirt is a zip-t, and the zip prevents a kangaroo pocket from being placed up high. So it might be better to go with two regular pockets, with one sized to hold a map. Also, two pockets each containing 2 oz might hold up better than one pocket containing 4 oz.