The Schiaparelli Pocket

……. which I’ve dubbed “eccentric princess of patch pockets”.  Claire Shaeffer says in her book that this pocket “suggests spilled liquid”, and I’m filing that factoid under “Awesome Design Inspiration”.

pattern fabric
Switching the pocket shape on this pattern

Here’s how I went about trying to copy it. As you can see, the final destination of the Schiapparelli pocket is the plaid tunic, Vogue Pattern 1598.  Its looks like a jacket and I’m not sure why the description calls it a blouse.

pocket shape

Create the pattern:  Draw the shape many times on paper, until you’re as close to the original as possible, using a French curve for the lower section for a smooth line.  It is actually easy to draw freehand, so go for it.  Regarding my pattern, I made a drawing as close as I could possibly get to the original, remembering that included there will be a 1/8 inch seam allowance all around. The allowance has to be that small because of the tight curves in the top of the pocket. Most important consideration is, does your hand fit into it? Or, do you want to just adorn your garment and not use the pocket? Its perfectly okay to do that, as Elsa Schiaparelli obviously wanted in her red jacket even though she’s known for creating functional details. I mean, look at that red pocket – it’s small.

Claire's book cover

According to Claire Shaeffer, this pocket is lined but not interfaced.  But I wanted to give it some “beef, so interfacing was added in my version.  I used black wool crepe for the pocket front, black silk organza as interfacing (you can use fusible instead) for the front piece, and red china silk as lining; do not cut out anything just yet, but work with appropriate sized pieces of your fabrics.  Trace the pocket outline on the wrong side of  the lining piece.  Put together the lining and black wool (interfacing attached) scraps right sides together and pin.

lining pinned

You can baste the pieces together randomly, making sure to smooth out the layers as much as possible. I tend to be overconfident, and therefore used pins only – it worked out okay, so we’re good.

lining sewn
Don’t forget the opening at the bottom!

With tailor’s chalk, mark a 2 – 3 inch opening at the bottom of the pocket outline on the lining side to keep an opening where you can turn the pocket inside out. With a 2.5mm machine stitch start sewing the layers together at one of the chalk marks. Follow the traced shape of the pocket, making the stitches smaller in the tight curves. Finish at the other chalk mark.  Remove pins or basting.  Cut around the pocket shape leaving 1/8 inch all around, leaving a slightly larger allowance at the opening.  Clip seam allowance inside the narrowest curves right up to the stitching line but not through.  Press.


Turn inside out, using a point turner or another blunt awl to turn out the “splash” pieces all the way.  Press well.  Turn the opening seams to the inside and hand stitch it closed.  Now for a reality check when I sew it on to the jacket: will the upright “spills” collapse on me? Or will they stand up straight?  The pocket seems crisp enough to stay upright, but we shall see.  How did the House of Schiaparelli deal with it?

Very, Very Important Note: when making the second pocket, make sure it is a mirror  of the first one!!!

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “The Schiaparelli Pocket

  1. This has bedeviled me: if the opening is at the ‘fingertips’, they would flop over and get distorted. If the ‘tips’ get turned to the bottom, they will just live a live of ease and flatness. But I love that you’ve used this, just love it.


    1. My thoughts exactly. But we’ll see what happens when I actually stitch it on the jacket. The issue i see with the flaps at the bottom is that 1) I want to replicate the original. 2) If I do turn it upside down, where is the bottom of the pocket — since I’m also trying to make it somewhat functional and my small stuff would go directly into a narrow tip. I’m having fun doing this! Whenever the jacket gets done, you can be sure I will post it here 🙂


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