Besom pockets are pockets that are cut into a garment, rather than being sewn on. They generally have reinforced edging or piping along the slit of pocket. This edging can take the form of an extra strip of fabric or stitching. Besom pockets are commonly found on garments such as tuxedo jackets and men's slacks, but can be tailored into almost any piece of clothing.
Pockets on casual wear, such as the back pockets on denim jeans, are known as set-out. This is because they are attached to the outside of the garment and stitched around their entire edge. Besom pockets, on the other hand, are known as set-in, since they are attached to a point inside the clothing and only stitched at their top edge.
The reinforced stitching or edging along the opening of a besom pocket can take several forms. It can be a functional stitching; a decorative strip of fabric, such as satin; or a more elaborate pattern for decorative clothing. A satin strip is most often used in tuxedo jackets, or men's suit jackets, for a more formal appearance. Besom pockets can have a flap or button closure at the opening, or can simply be plain.
It is also possible to have a double besom pocket, which has two strips of reinforced edging. The first strip is along the edge of the pocket that opens, and the second is just above that. When the pocket it closed, the double besom will appear as two lines running parallel to each other.
Besom pockets are alternatively called bound, welt, piped, or Reece pockets. This is named for a sewing machine, developed in 1958 by John Reece, that was able attach the pocket, cut the opening for it, and stitch the top edge all in one cycle. Reece was a French Canadian who founded the Reece Corporation, a sewing company. In 1991, his company merged with AMF Sewn Products to supply industrial sewing machines to the fashion industry.
One drawback to the besom pocket is that it is not as functional as a set-out pocket. In part, this is due to the lack of stitching along the bottom edge of the pocket. In addition, the inner pocket liner is usually made of thin material, to preserve the smooth look of a garment. This limits its ability to hold items or endure repeated washings. For this reason, Besom pockets are most often sewn in for appearance rather than function.