We created the toothpick pocket, because we were fed up with being out in the field, with a morsel of food between two teeth and no means of abatement.
Of course you could carry a toothpick case, but we wanted to wear our preparedness on our sleeve... literally.
Here are a bunch of ideas that we experimented with. You can see that we had way too much fun with this project.
Belt. Always have a toothpick on hand regardless of the clothes your wearing.
Hat. We used a holster here to avoid having to sew through a thick brim.. Some might opt to position the holster to the underside of the brim, but we say, express your inner geek.
Pocket Protector. Include some washable plastic in the shape of a pocket protector. We recycled a strip of tyvek from a used overnight envelope. Since tyvek is plastic-based, make sure you don't iron it (we learned this lesson the hard way).
Purse. Sure there is plenty of room within a purse to hold a toothpick, but why not show the rest of the world how very prepared you are.
Socks. Toothpicks should be kept pretty clean, so the socks were as far down as we were willing to go. If you ever affix a pocket onto your shoes, send us a pic!
Armband. For the skater that doesn't want to be caught unable to get that food out of his teeth.
Tank Top. The tank top allows for a handy and unique location for your toothpick pocket.
Hopeless Romantic. For those date nights where you don't want you, or your date, to go without a toothpick.
The Professional. There are two toothpick pockets in this picture: The pocket on the collar is a "patch pocket" like the others on this page; the pocket on the tie, however, is an "inset pocket."
We don't recommend wearing garments with toothpick pockets for interviews but these could be a lifesaver on those never-ending days filled with meetings.
Partier. Always be prepared for appetizer plates full of cubed cheese.
OCD. Include a cap over the exposed part of the toothpick so you don't have to put anything potentially dirty in your mouth.
We had difficulty sewing t-shirt fabric; using a stiffer fabric for the pocket itself helped tremendously. Sewing the leather items required a heavy duty sewing machine, but you might try to deal with thick items by resorting to hand sewing. Another approach for thick materials is to minimize sewing by experimenting with the holster-style shown in a couple of the examples above. We made the holsters with two short pieces of elastic.
Matching Fabric Hack
Since such a tiny amount of fabric is required for this project, we found that it was easy to harvest the little snippets of fabric right from the garments themselves. You can get plenty of fabric from shirts that have long tails, or you can even grab some fabric from behind a regular pocket — just remember to patch up the ensuing hole in case the wearer later actually uses that pocket. To get matching leather for the belt, we just purchased a really long belt, and trimmed off the excess; this yielded plenty of extra leather to work with.
On such a small item, like a toothpick pocket, it's a little more difficult to sew straight lines and keep close to the edge when you use the pedal. We recommend using the side wheel and progressing slowly. It takes a little extra time, but we found it to be worthwhile.
Ask a tailor to do it for you -- how much can it cost for such a tiny pocket?
Don't limit yourself to a traditional toothpick. You can get umbrella toothpicks, or colored toothpicks to match the garment, for example.
Toothpick Pocket Location
Don't limit yourself to positioning toothpick pockets in obvious locations. The seam of a t-shirt on top of the shoulder, for example, is a great, out-of-the-way but easy-to-access, location. Some spots, however, could be a little dangerous. You should probably avoid sewing a toothpick pocket in an area where you bend, especially if you plan on going dancing. (Trust us on this one).
Decide whether you want to show off your pocket or go a more sly route. If you want to highlight your toothpick pocket, try fabrics that contrast with garment itself, or use a contrasting thread color. Want a more reserved look? Use fabric from a hidden spot of the piece of clothing, or a piece of material that is similar in color and use matching thread.
If you are concerned about cleanliness, use a toothpick cap. We found that the little rubber stoppers used in jewelry making works perfectly. You can usually find these at your local fabric or jewelry making store.
Have any other clever ideas for toothpick pockets? Let us know in the comments section below!