The Pocket Project

Here’s what inspired all my thinking on pockets. I am getting into plein air painting, which means lugging my painting gear from the car over possibly rough terrain to get to a spot with a view I’d like to work with. I do have the cutest little pochade box in the world (pochade = pocket in French) that holds all my paints, solvents, and canvas or paper supports. It is attached to a photographer’s tripod so it’s all handy and adjustable.

HOWEVER, you need more than paint and canvas to get you through hours of standing out in the elements. Last time I went out, I packed all my gear in bags and set out for a location that required lots of climbing over rocks. This did not work out well. Photographer Spouse had an excellent suggestion: “What you need is a field vest”, says he. The prospect of having all kinds of specially-sized pockets to hold all the things I need fired up the Container Store junkie in me. I wanted to share the feeling by posting a video of Phil Hartman’s anal retentive fisherman schtick here, but could not find it alas. The point of the skit was that this fisherman got more joy out of storing things precisely in his tackle box than actually fishing….so with that in mind…..

Here’s what I’m thinking of. What follows is a description of the function of each feature…

  1. Pill case
  2. little digi camera (buttoned flap for security)
  3. D-ring for clip-on water bottle
  4. sketchpad. the dotted lines represent sleeves inside the pocket to hold pen & pencil. outside is a loop that will have a rag threaded through it when painting.
  5. phone, again with a buttoned flap for security
  6. the big pocket is for clean-up materials: plastic bags and paper towels. It has a buttoned tab to keep it from gaping open, but I can still reach in with my fingers and pull out whatever I need. The pocket on the outside will contain sleeves for credit cards & ID, and a zippered compartment for some cash.
  7. brushes. there will probably also be a removable brush quiver. this will probably be a bellows/gusset pocket.
  8. this pocket is subdivided to have a compartment that will hold glasses or sunglasses (whichever ones I’m not wearing!) firmly. it will probably need a buttoned flap as well.

In addition to all the pockets, I am going to pad the shoulders so that I can carry the tripod/pochade assembly over my shoulder with a little less discomfort.

I still haven’t identified the pattern I’ll use, but am confident there’s something in inventory. But if you have any suggestions as to the fabric to use, I’d love to hear them! Fabric needs to be strong, lightweight, cool, and easy to work with.

There have been lots of other seamstresses who have made specialized garments for their sports, and I’ve admired the take-charge attitude they’ve shown. When I get this done, maybe they’ll teach me the secret handshake and let me into their club.


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