How to Remove Factory Stitched Pockets in Suit Jackets

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Work carefully when removing stitches.
Work carefully when removing stitches. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Sometimes pockets disrupt the silhouette of a jacket, creating lumps and bumps where you least want them. The garment may have looked great on the mannequin, but not quite right on you. One way to make the line of a jacket fall smoothly may be to remove a pocket or its lining. Different pocket types require different techniques. The steps below are for patch pockets and welted pockets using tools you may already have on hand.

Things You'll Need

  • Seam ripper
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Fray check
  • Steam iron
  • Damp steam cloth
  • Ironing board

Patch Pockets and Welted Pockets

Remove the stitches around the edge of a patch pocket carefully with a seam ripper. Steam the area with an iron and a damp cloth to help hide stitch holes and seam lines.

Stitch a welt pocket permanently closed on the right side of the jacket with a needle and matching color thread. Use small stitches, hiding them inside the lip of the pocket. Keep the line of the pocket opening smooth as you stitch. Take care not to catch the pocket lining or jacket lining with your stitches.

Stitch welted pockets closed with matching colored thread.
Stitch welted pockets closed with matching colored thread. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Make an entry point in the jacket lining. Often you will find a hand-stitched or top-stitched area on the hem of the jacket that is ideal for the purpose. You can also go through an underarm lining seam. Use the seam ripper to pick out the stitches along a 6-inch to 10-inch length. The fabric weight will determine the size of the access opening. Heavier fabrics need a larger opening.

Turn the jacket inside out, pulling it through the opening until it is completely turned out. The jacket's seams and pocket linings will now be visible. Remove the stitches along the seams attaching the pocket lining to the jacket body. Snip stray threads with scissors. Work carefully so you do not cut or tear the jacket's fabric.

Reinforce stitching from Step 2 along the wrong side of the pocket opening if necessary. Apply fray-check to the raw edge of jacket where the pocket lining was removed. Turn the jacket right-side out again when the fray-check is dry. Press the pockets flat using the iron and steam cloth. Stitch up the opening in the lining and press.

Steam visible lines and stitch holes.
Steam visible lines and stitch holes. (Image: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • If the garment is valuable, check with a professional seamstress or tailor before removing pockets.
  • Older fabrics may show color differences and seam lines when you remove patch pockets.
  • Check the garment-care instructions first to be sure it can be steam pressed.
  • Use care when steam pressing the jacket to avoid burns.

References

  • “Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring”; Patty Palmer and Susan Pletsch; 1983
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