Sunday, October 22, 2023

Weekend Review: The Magic of Pockets

The Magic of Pockets / Jess Driscoll
Portland, OR: Microcosm, c2022.
128 p.

I found this little book from a little publisher thanks to my library. It's always fun to find something interesting that I've never heard of before. This book is a delight. Jess Driscoll lives in BC and is a writer and teacher, and this is her first published book. It's a short guide to the politics and past of pockets, quickly moving on to the practicalities. 

The subtitle is a clear summary of the book - why your clothes might lack pockets, and then a lot about how to add them, in a variety of styles and techniques.

It starts out with patch pockets, with a few options as to shape and placement. She also starts with hand sewing and then moves on the machine sewing tips. The book is aimed at DIY oriented people, who may or may not have sewing experience, and it does move slowly and clearly over the options presented. Patch pockets are suggested for pants, skirts, even tees, and each one is explained in terms of fabric choice and technique. 

There are illustrations, but in line with the DIY ethos of the book, and the publisher, they are hand drawn sketches, mainly. After the variety of patch pockets, she moves on to apron pockets -- really just multiple patch pockets in one. Then a chapter on how to insert side seam pockets to something without any; considerations of fabric, seam allowance, and bulkiness are discussed. Also, the pocket pattern is made by evaluating the size of the opening by hand size, then drawing around your hand or phone or whatever you want the pocket for, to create the pocket bag. Very hands on ;) She even adds a little bit at the end of this chapter about how to add a pocket bag to fake welt pockets, if you want to make them real. 

The short book concludes with a whimsical chapter on tie-on pockets. From historically influenced pouches to tie under your clothing, to pouches to wear around your belt, or even Jane Austen inspired 'pocket' bags (reticules), there are ideas here that are unusual and charming. 

The style here is relaxed; the author is sure that anyone can do this. She makes it seem easy to follow these instructions even if you've never sewn much before. And giving you all these tools, she makes you feel like adding pockets to all your current clothing is a political act -- you'll be giving yourself convenience and the ability to carry what you need. It's a delightful addition to the pocket conversation, and easy enough for beginners to follow along and feel empowered. 

You can check out examples of the interior pages to get a taste of the writing style and illustrations, at the publisher's website now.


  1. I almost always check my library for the books you feature. You've alerted me to lots of pleasurable reading!

    1. That's really nice of you to share, Carol. I'm glad these reviews are helpful!


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