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Wet/Drysuit Pockets

Click here for the old pocket projects

Having recently picked up a Whites Tropical Explorer Drysuit I knew another pocket project was in store as I simply must have pockets if at all possible! (can you tell I love pockets? lol) I looked at pockets others had made, and considered all the things I wish my pockets had, then set about designing them. Once designed I enlisted my Mothers help in the stitching department (I actually can sew if my life depended upon it, but she does such a nice job and it gave me an excuse to visit my folks too :D )

A few features I wanted to incorporate:

1) Having seen pockets peel off too early in their life I decided to incorporate a stress panel - this is a panel that is larger than the pocket, which the pocket itself is stitched to, and the stress panel is then glued to the wet/drysuit which means the corners of the pocket do not attempt to pull away from the suit.

2) Gussets that would stay flat while diving when there was nothing in the pockets - so I used 1.5" velcro (it was 2" but I cut a half inch off)

3) It bugs me when the bungee loop holding all my kit inside the pocket falls out and catches on the reef, so I wanted to keep the bungee inside the pocket. I made two changes to the pocket that I hope will facilitate this. First the top sides of the pocket are stitched to the top panel for about a half inch, second is two holes on each edge so the bungee can be tied in a way that it will not "flop" out. Instead of simply burning a hole in the edges (which has worked without problem on all my other designs) I reinforced the hole by stitching a buttonhole over the area where I would burn the hole later. Hopefully these changes fix the issue.

4) Various cosmetic issues that I think give the pocket a more "finished" appearance ... gotta fulfill rule #6!

I ordered the parts from http://www.rochfordsupply.com
The material was a 1000 denier pac cloth

ON WITH THE PICTURES ALREADY!

Pattern - it does not show the button hole style bungee loop retaining holes.

You can see the how the top of pocket is stitched near the "flap"
keeping contents inside better... I hope.

I rounded the corners of the "stress panel" to prevent them from
peeling away as easily - time will tell if this strategy works.

Notice how the larger velcro keeps the gussets closed tightly
when the pocket is empty.

The "button holes" waiting to be burned with a soldering iron.

Bungee loop tied on the inside to prevent falling out unexpectedly.

I chose McNett clear "Seal Cement" for this project - last time I used Dap cement
(the same kind used in construction) and it worked well also. 3 coats of the
cement were applied to the outer 2 inches of the stress panel
allowing 5 minutes drying time between coats.

Masking tape outlined teh area where the pocket would go.
While it looks quite messy, the middle was where I tested two
different glues and determined that McNett "Seal Cement"
was the better choice of the ones I had available.
The other one was a "Goop" craft cement.

An ironing board simplified the gluing process greatly.
After applying the third coat of cement I allowed it to dry
for 10 minutes (instead of the 5 between coats)
and then attached the pocket to the suit.

Remember that McNett Seal Cement is a contact cement,
so once the parts touch it is permanent.
To aid in correct placement I put a piece of waxed paper
between the suit and the pocket. Once lined up I slowly began
sliding the waxed paper out a half inch at a time while my Mom,
who was helping with this project, pressed the surfaces together to
form the initial seal.

Once the pocket was properly positioned I used a wooden roller to apply
pressure to the seal and assure proper adhesion.

Finished project - note there is about half an inch strip around the stress panel where I overglued.
The glue is supossed to be clear ... so in a day or so when it is completely dry I will see how clear it really is. Still the design looks to fulfill all my goals as far as I can tell without going diving ... which is the next step!

Pocket opened - still have to rinse the talc off from neutralizing the excess cement.
Note the reflective piping on the suit - going to be hard to miss me now.

Final comments: If I were to do this project again there are very few things I would change at this point, however one thing that I would consider is making the top flap longer with a second row of 2" velcro on it and the pocket, thereby allowing a more secure closure when the pocket is completely full of supplies (or debris picked up during the dive. However this may also make it more difficult in general usage, so it is only a thought. The other would be using black thread ... I was in a hurry to get started and the best thread available (a heavy polyester) was dark blue.

NOTE: the glue does not adhere well to the coated side of the pocket material, so be sure to attach the pocket to the stress panel with the coated surface facing away from the suit (The pictures show it the wrong way and they began peeling off within hours - turning the material around resolves this)

I trust this will help others in the process of attaching pockets to their wet/drysuits.