The next time you buy a new suit, take a look at the jacket pockets and you'll probably discover that they are sewn shut. Conventional wisdom should tell you that you can't use these pockets if they are sewn shut. Pockets are an invaluable element of a high-quality suit jacket. They allow you to store small items, such as your car keys and cash, while also providing a warm and comfortable area to place your hands. This begs the question: Why are suit pockets sewn shut?
Only Jacket Pockets Are Sewn Shut
First, it's important to note that only suit jackets are sold with the pockets sewn shut. The pockets in suit trousers are typically sold open. Granted, some manufacturers sew their trouser pockets shut as well, but most only do this with the jacket pockets. You can check to see which garments of a suit have open pockets and which ones have closed pockets by inspecting the pockets. If you're unable to place your fingers into the pockets, they are likely sewn shut and will require opening.
There are a few reasons that manufacturers sew the pockets of their suit jackets shut, the most common of which is to retain the jacket's shape. By sewing the pockets shut, manufacturers can preserve the original shape of their jacket, thereby eliminating the need for customers to modify or tailor the jacket after buying it. When jacket pockets are left open, the fabric may expand and stretch, resulting in an altered shape. To prevent this from happening, many suit manufacturers sew the pockets of their jackets shut.
Easier to Sell
Another reason that suit jackets have their pockets sewn shut is because it makes them easier to sell. The faster a manufacturer sells its jackets, the more money it makes. As a result, manufacturers design their suit jackets so that they are highly appealing to prospective buyers. And while there are many ways to make a suit jacket more appealing, one of the easiest ways is to leave the pockets sewn shut. This offers a cleaner, slimmer and more attractive appearance than suit jackets with open pockets. All of these effects mean that manufacturers can sell and turn their suit jackets more quickly.
It takes time and work to open the pockets of a suit jacket. By leaving the pockets of their jackets sewn shut, manufacturers can produce them more quickly. This is just one more reason that suit jackets have their pockets sewn shut. While opening the pockets of a single jacket is relatively easy and quick, you have to remember that major manufacturers produce thousands of suits each year. If a manufacturer decides to sell jackets with open pockets, it must invest the time and labor to opening the pockets of each jacket that it sells, which may be thousands or more per year.
Requires Less Space
Although this is a small benefit, it's still worth noting that suit jackets with their pockets sewn shut require less space to store and display than jackets with open pockets. Manufacturers can squeeze more of their jackets into shipping containers, and vendors can display more of the jackets on their store's shelves. It's not a substantial difference, but the fact remains that suit jackets require less space to store and display when their pockets are sewn shut.
Can I Leave the Pockets Sewn Shut?
Now that you know why manufacturers sew the pockets of their suit jackets shut, you might be wondering if it's okay to leave your jacket's pockets sewn shut. Well, it's absolutely fine to leave your jacket's pockets sewn shut. In fact, many men actually prefer to leave their pockets sewn shut, simply because it helps retain the jacket's shape. When you open the pockets, the excess fabric may cause your jacket's shape to change. It's usually a minor change that's typically resolved through dry cleaning or washing -- but it's still something that many men want to avoid with their jacket. Therefore, they choose to leave their pockets sewn shut.
It's also easier to leave the pockets of a suit jacket sewn shut. You don't have to risk damaging your jacket, and you wear your jacket immediately after purchasing it. From the moment you bring home your suit jacket, you can begin wearing it. This alone is reason enough to at least consider leaving the pockets sewn shut.
How to Open Your Jacket's Pockets
To take advantage of your suit jacket's pocket space, you'll want to open them. Leaving the pockets sewn shut means that you won't be able to use them to store small items or warm your hands, the latter of which is particularly beneficial during winter.
Don't just pull the stitching out of your pockets, however, as this may damage your jacket. Instead, you'll want to carefully cut the stitching so that it safely opens up the pockets without damaging your jacket. The easiest way to open a suit jacket's pockets is to use a seam ripper. Available at most fabric stores, a seam ripper a small handheld tool with a razor edge at the tip that's used to cut seams. You place the seam ripper down into the stitching of your pocket, at which point you can cut it using the ripper's blade. Run the seam ripper across the stitching to cut it open while using caution not to accidentally cut any of the surrounding fabric. If you aren't comfortable doing this, you can always take your suit jacket to a professional tailor and ask them to remove the pocket stitching.
The pockets are just one element of an attractive, high-quality suit jacket. You should also pay attention to the fabric which it's made as well as its overall style. By taking these things into consideration, you'll have an easier time choosing the perfect suit jacket for your needs.