Pockets add so much functionality to a garment. Have you ever thought your favorite party dress would just be so much better if it had pockets to stash your lip gloss and cell phone?
When you’re in the midst of sewing garments, it’s easy to incorporate a pocket into your construction. But the really good news is that it’s also super simple to add pockets in the side seam of any garment — even garments you’ve purchased off the rack — just get out your seam ripper!
Here’s how to sew a pocket:
Fold your fabric in half and cut two pocket bag pieces.
Note: If you’re not using a pattern, you can easily draft a pattern yourself. The shape you are going for is slightly teardrop, but with one straight side. I did a Google search for a teardrop shape and then printed it out, but you can also freehand it. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit your hand and add a ½” seam allowance on all sides.
Although you can certainly make your pocket out of the same fabric as your garment (unless it’s super bulky), this is also a great time to use up scraps of fabric or play around with color and add something unexpected. If done correctly, the inside of the pocket design shouldn’t show when you’re wearing the garment.
Mark the pocket placement on the front and back pieces of your garment with a notch or chalk mark. This is where the top of the pocket will sit. If you’re adding the pocket to an existing garment, it’s a good idea to try the garment on and use a mirror to determine where the pockets should be.
Take one of the pocket bag pieces and place it, right sides together, on your garment. Match the straight side of the pocket to the garment and the top of the pocket to the notch and pin in place. Repeat with the other pocket piece.
Stitch the pocket into place with a ⅜” seam allowance. Using a slightly smaller seam allowance ensures that the pocket won’t show when the garment is being worn.
Turn the pocket pieces out and press.
Place the right sides of your garment together, with the pocket pieces turned away from the garment. Pin the side seams together and around the pocket pieces.
Sew the side seam as usual, following along the curve of the pocket.
Press the side seams of your garment toward the front and turn the garment right side out. Your pocket should lay neatly inside. Finish the seams of the garment and pocket.
Want to learn more?
Learn to sew classic, custom pockets that are as fashionable as they are functional in the online class Designing Details: Pockets. Sign up today to achieve no-fail results with instruction and personalized advice from Couturier Kenneth D. King, in the convenience of your home.
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