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Sewalongs, Tutorials

GINGER SEWALONG PT 12: BACK POCKET PLACEMENT

I would like to apologize right off the bat for the butt-apooloza you just got a ticket to. If there was a way we could talk about this without using my butt as an example, I would spare you, but al-ass. Butt stand-ins are hard to come by.

I think the power of a great pair of jeans is 50% back pockets. They can look great from the front, but if the pockets aren’t right, you’ll feel it every time you put them on. There are two main considerations, just like in real estate: location and size. The only people who can pull off small pockets are 12 year olds. The rest of us need something that is proportionate to our bodies. The Ginger pockets are about 1/2″ wider than average, which I think works well for most butts, but the perfect location for them will be a little different for everybody.

Earlier in the sewalong I instructed you to baste them to your back legs before topstitching. Now that we’ve got our waistband attached, we can properly do a butt assessment. If you have a large mirror and a hand mirror you can take a look and see how you feel about where they are now. You can also take a butt selfie (sharing it on instagram is optional).

I am going to share some butt selfies I took when I was in the research stage of this pattern to show you how much pocket placement matters. All in the name of science, folks.

flattering back pockets on jeans

Okay, so on the left we have a perfect case of “Mom butt”. This is a pair of Not Your Daughters Jeans and they are totally living up to their name. Pockets placed high like this make your bum look about twice as long as it actually is. If you have a flatter behind and have jeans that do this you should burn them in a fire. The pair on the right is MUCH better. The pockets are set much lower and wider. This creates the illusion of a smaller, curvier behind, but since I have a bit of a booty I think they are a little too widely set.

flatteirng back jean pockets

On the left we have what I consider to be almost perfect placement. The pockets are correctly spaced and angled in slightly giving a nice curve, but are perhaps 1/4″ too low (it is crazy how much of a difference a quarter of an inch makes!) On the right, the pockets are too small, too high and too far apart, giving the illusion of a much bigger, flatter bottom.

Here are some general things to keep in mind when deciding on pocket placement:

  • As a rule, the pocket should be centered on the fullest part of the bum.
  • Pockets that angle in create curves.
  • For wider bums, set pockets closer together.
  • For small bums, pockets can be set wider apart to create fullness.
  • Lower pockets are generally preferrable. Some people (small butts) can get away with setting the pocket below the crease of the bum, but in general your pocket should end around where your bum meets your leg.

With all that in mind, once you’ve figured out the perfect placement of the pockets on your Ginger Jeans, it’s time to topstitch them in place.

Starting from the inside corner, sew a line of topstitching 1/8″ away from the edge of the pocket. Use a hump jumper when you start, and backstitch twice at the beginning to secure. You can sew your second line of topstitching 1/4″ away from the first, but I like to curve the second line at the corners for a softer look. Whichever you choose, marking the stitch line with chalk makes it a little easier to follow.

ginger skinny jeans pattern - back pocket placement-2

If you’re not using rivets on your back pocket, you can also sew a little angled line at the top edge to reinforce the seam. You can see that on the left side of the pocket below.

topstitching pockets


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  • This isn’t something I’d spent a ton of time on before, but the difference in flatter-factor is remarkable. I’ll definitely put more care into it in the future!

    • Your butt will thank you.

      • My butt will thank YOU. Not personally. That would be weird.

  • Not that I’m participating in the sewalong, or ever wear jeans for that matter, but this was a highly amusing post. You have a great butt and make excellent points in how-to-show-off-you-butt!

    • Thank you Stina. I’ve learned to love it, haha

  • Pocket placement makes such a difference and yet I think a lot of people fail to check their rear view before buying jeans. It’s put me off so many jeans in em past. Great butt BTW! 😉

  • Thanks for doing such thorough research, that was truly informative and interesting! Totally makes sense. Looking forward to experimenting when I get around to sewing my Gingers.

  • Louise

    Amazing how much pocket placement really does affect the overall look of the jeans!! Thanks for the tips!

  • Amy

    Haha, pockets as real estate! Love it. Glad I wasn’t the only one that was totally fanatical about this. It makes a huge difference! And thanks for this post and being willing to show it off. I don’t think I’ve seen a jeans-sewing article with examples–super helpful.

  • Sharon

    I learned the value of rear pocket placement last year at Peggy Sagers’ ETA Dallas. She did a pants/jeans class (lecture only) on fitting. Every person there (in pants) ended up being used as a model for one tip or another. Surprisingly, she chose my jeans (RTW) as an example of good pocket placement. Now, if only I could remember which pair I was wearing!

  • A question on patch pockets…. Because these pockets are going on a curve but the garment has negative ease and both the jeans and pocket will stretch do you not need to worry about pinning them over a curve like a tailors ham? Im curious as I recently made a skirt with massive patch pockets that curved over the hips and I had to redo them because I pinned and stitched them flat rather than on a curve…. I’m guessing it’s to do with stretch in the fabric and my skirt had none….. Thanks!

    • NOpe, don’t worry about curving it over a ham. It’s so subtle it’s not necessary.

  • Elena Knits

    I love this pocket placement analysis. I was always a bit obsessed about this and finally you’ve put it in words!

  • stevie

    Heather this was so helpful! I’ve just finished my first Gingers and they would have been done ages ago had I not been putting off the pockets! They aren’t perfect, but not bad for first try!