The purpose of this post is not to tell you that you should or shouldn’t have a particular bootie shape, or that you should strive for any particular shape at all. It is to help you understand why some garments make your rear view appear to have one particular shape, while you might seem to have a completely different shape in a different garment, or why you might prefer one garment’s look back there, over another garment.
I will be referring mainly to how pockets affect your shape. Other things such as fit, how tight or loose the garment is, the shape of a skirt or pant leg, it’s length, and the type of rear yoke it may or may not have, as well as a multitude of other things, also play into it.
The principles for the pockets are the same regardless of your gender. All back ends are beautiful because they are ours. There is no perfect shape or size. But we do all have a preference for what we think looks good. What one of us thinks looks great, another person may think is too big, small, round, flat, droopy, high, etc. Ultimately, you are the one to decide what look you are going for, and luckily, through sewing your own garments and carefully choosing your pocket shapes and placement, you can go a long way towards achieving that desired look.
If you desire a more rounded look, try pockets that have flaps, particularly triangular flaps as they place emphasis on the top half of your rear end, making it appear more rounded. The same thing can be achieved by using buttons, contrast stitching, beading, embroidery, appliques, jewels, and bling of any sort on the top half of the pocket. Anything to draw attention to that area helps the illusion. Placing pockets slightly closer together and slightly higher up will also help the derriere appear more round. Tipping the pockets slightly inward at the top and outwards at the bottom making sure the outer corner is situated wherever you want the most fullness will give the illusion of more shape as well.
If you prefer a flatter, less curvy silhouette, the opposite will need to be done. Keep the pockets simple and plain at the top. Use top stitching in a colour that blends with the background fabric. Using ornamentation of any sort, buttons, flaps etc at the top will draw attention to the area that sticks out the most. Larger plain pockets in proportion to the size of your rear balances it out, taking the focus off it. Placing pockets slightly wider apart and lower down (but keeping the bottom of the pocket no lower than where your bottom meets the top of your thighs) will flatten the look of your bootie. Unless of course you prefer a bottom that looks almost triangular with the fullness at the top and flat at the bottom. In which case, very low pockets are for you.
This brings us to adding fullness to the bottom of your cheeks but not the top, if you prefer more balance and less top fullness. Add your embroidery, bling, appliques, or other ornamentation to the bottom half of your pockets to draw attention to that area, giving the illusion of fullness and shape to the lower area and pulling attention away from the top. Rounded bottom pockets or triangular bottom pockets will also help to round out the lower part of your butt cheeks. Keep the bottom of the pocket above where your butt cheeks meet the top of your thighs though, or even a couple of inches above that, so you don’t inadvertantly flatten the area instead.
If you would like your derriere to look narrower, position pockets more closely together. Mid-sized pockets, that sit in the centre of your butt cheeks at their widest part will give a balanced look because it draws attention to the centre of the butt between the pockets giving the illusion of a narrowed bottom. Wearing higher waisted jeans and avoiding hip-huggers will also help this effect. Avoid detailing and embroidery in this case though as it draws attention to the pockets instead and makes the bottom appear wider.
To make your bottom appear wider or larger, place the pockets wider apart and closer to the outside of the butt cheeks. Add ornamentation and embroidery to draw the eye outward. Hip huggers cut the bum midway so could make a vertical line across the widest part also making it appear wider.
If you are shorter in the legs, placing pockets in line with your legs will give the illusion of height, a straighter shape, and longer legs. This in turn will make the bottom appear balanced.
Welt pockets do not add bulk, so don’t actually affect the shape of your derriere one way or another. An absence of pockets on skirts and trousers doesn’t change the look, but this is not the case for jeans. Having no pockets on jeans shows your natural shape more clearly, which you may or may not find desirable.
Ultimately, the best way to know what shape and placement of pocket looks best to you is to make a toile with moveable pockets in different shapes and sizes, with and without ornamentation, and place them on different areas, and at different angles on your bottom. Take pictures if possible so you can compare, but if that isn’t possible, at least try to look in the mirror to get some idea how they look on you. When you are satisfied with the look, sew the same shape, placement, and style of pockets on your trousers, jeans, or skirt.
My name is Linda @sew__so__beautiful on Instagram. I’ve been sewing since I was about 3 years old and am 60 now – quite a while! I come from a family where all the women (and one of the men) on both sides of the family sewed. I first learned to sew on my grandmother’s treddle Singer sewing machine, which I still have. I was too small to reach the trestle and the machine at the same time so she wired a wooden spool to the wheel and I sewed that way.