Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Play with Your Clothes: Pocket Change


Jean is away, so Valerie, left to her own devices, writes:

I bought myself a Muji raincoat (above) for under $20 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Let me explain.

I had this really cool slicker (purchased for about 1/10th the retail price still attached to it) that I loved because it reminded me of the '60s, was REALLY waterproof (not just water resistant - who came up with that?), and had this wonderful funnel neck that I could hide out in. That's it in the photo below. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a bad choice because even though it was a size large I couldn't fit a coat under it. So it was cold in the cold weather as well as sweaty in the hot weather. You can imagine what happened in the rain with the funnel neck. (Please don't say 'umbrella'. I like to keep both hands free.) And because it just barely passed my knees, any rain that rolled off the raincoat ran smack into my pants, so by the time I got to work, my pants appeared to be ombred, to use the current lingo. (Lighter on top, darker where the rain had hit them.) And to add insult to injury, the pockets were cut on the diagonal and had no flaps, so anything I put in those pockets (like my glasses) got wet.

So I went out hunting for a big, lightweight, full length, waterproof raincoat with bat wing sleeves that I could fit a coat under, and came up with the Muji raincoat. It comes with a wonderful flat square bag that you can fold it up into, plus a detachable hood.

Only problem was, as you can see, there was no pocket on the right side.

And no pocket on the left side.

So I made a pocket.

Here's the "after" coat, with pocket in place.

Here's a full view of the new improved coat. You can see the lines where it was folded in its pouch of the same material.

Above is what you need to make a pocket. From left to right: a smooth flat plastic or glass surface (the larger the better - I had to make do with two rulers), a very thin plastic sheet from which to cut the lining of the pocket (a recycled plastic bag will work nicely), red masking tape for the outside of the pocket (any color will do, but isn't red best?), regular tape to help hold down the lining while you attach the pocket to it, a box cutter for precision cutting and a scissor for basic cutting. Make the plastic bag lining 1/4 - 1/2 inch smaller than the pocket on the left, right and bottom edges so the pocket can adhere to the coat. I made the pocket about 2.5 widths of masking tape, so I had to overlap them just a bit. Be careful not to lay the pocket completely flush with the coat surface, or the only thing that will fit in there will be a credit card. Make small gathers at the base of the pocket to give it some ease. (My mother would have gathered the pocket with perfect symmetry all across the bottom, but it would have taken her an hour to do everything. I did this whole project - except for the photographs - in fifteen minutes. My mother would be shocked to see the haphazard pocket her daughter made.) I put the pocket on my left, since I'm right handed, inside to keep the contents dry, and at waist height because I plan to put my glasses in it. I figured if I put it at chest height, or hip height, and then get in a crowded elevator, I might smash my glasses. They have a better chance of surviving impact at my waist!

Oh, to complete the look, you need a pair of edgy Sou Sou tabi boots from Kyoto (by way of San Francisco and then a New York resale shop). (See the sliding metal tab/buttons at the back?)

And of course you need a hat. (In this case, a vintage red mouton hat labeled Granite State Toy Co. Be sure to put your hood up.)

(Earrings from Jean's mom; top from H&M; gloves from Century 21; pants by Betsey Johnson.)


  1. I love this! We are freezing to death here in northern Minnesota, so I really do empathize with wanting to stay warm and dry! Fabulous job~

  2. So creative, colorful and fun!! Way to think outside of the box! Have a wonderful day!

  3. You are so crafty! Could have definitely used that coat here for the first part of the week. Now it's freezing so back to the down-filled. I love the last photo of you, looking very sculptural.

  4. You are such an inspiration! These stylings are so colorful yet so creative and unique!
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  5. Love all the Anthro picks, but especially the bell sleeve pullover! Every morning I WISH I could slip into something comfy for school. Crawling on the floor with kindergartners does not motivate me to dress up!

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  6. Brilliant in every way. Including the poses!

  7. Love it, but as its 37C and steamy here on Magnetic Island, Far North Queensland, Australia, I fear this type of garment I will be unable to wear! But love it nonetheless... my blog is ; Love yr work!