18 October 2017

How to Add In-Seam Pockets to a Garment

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Hands up if you love clothes with pockets? Show me a DIY dressmaker who doesn’t!

What if the pattern you’re making doesn’t include pockets? No problemo – as well as topstitching patch pockets to the outside of a skirt, it’s easy to add in-seam (hidden) pockets to dresses, trousers, skirts and more. Today I’m going to show you how to do so - give this a whirl on the Bettine dress or Dominique skirt. Oh and you can download our pocket pattern piece for free!


Open the pattern in Adobe Reader (you can download it for free) and print the pattern piece actual size / 100% scale on A4 or Letter size paper.

Insert these pockets into your homemade garment before you start sewing the pieces together. Decide where you want the pockets to sit – hold up the front fabric piece to your body, imagine putting your hands in the pockets, and mark with pins where the top of the pocket openings will fall on the side seams. Mark the same position on the back fabric piece – let’s say it’s a skirt for the rest of this tutorial, but it could be a dress, the skirt part of a dress, trouser legs…

The sides of our pocket pattern are straight – if you’re making something that has a curved side seam, simply curve the side seam on the pocket pattern to fit your garment.

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Cut four pocket pieces, or two symmetrical pairs. Cut four strips of iron-on interfacing 2cm (3/4in) wide by 19cm (7½in) long.

Lay the interfacing strips over the wrong side of the side seams on the front and back skirts, the top of the strip 10mm (3/8in) above the pin marking the top of the pocket opening. Remove the pins and press the interfacing strips in place with a hot, dry iron.

If you’re using woven fabric, finish the skirt side seams and the edges of the pocket pieces using zigzag stitch or an overlocker (serger).

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Place a pocket piece over the front skirt, right sides together, so the pocket side seam lines up with the skirt side seam, and the curve of the pocket is pointing towards the skirt hem. Position the top of the pocket side seam 10mm (3/8in) below the top of the interfacing strip (which is on the wrong side of the fabric), and pin in place. Stitch with a 10mm (3/8in) seam allowance. Repeat on the other side seam of the front skirt, and then on the back skirt, ensuring the pockets on the back skirt line up with those on the front.

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Fold the pockets away from the skirts and press. Place the front skirt over the back skirt, right sides together. Pin them together down the side seams and around the pocket curves, matching up the pockets and notches, and leaving the side seam where it joins the pockets unpinned. Mark pivot points on the wrong side of the skirt 15mm (5/8in) in from the raw edge of the side seams and pockets - marked in yellow on the pic above.

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Using a 15mm (5/8in) seam allowance, stitch down one side seam until you reach the first pivot point. With the needle down, raise the presser foot and pivot the fabric until the pocket curve is pointing towards the needle, then lower the presser foot and continue sewing around the pocket curve. When you reach the second pivot point, pivot the fabric again and sew down the rest of the skirt side seam. Repeat on the other side seam.

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

Press the pockets and seam allowances towards the front skirt. And continue sewing your project!

How to add in-seam pockets to a dress, skirt or trousers - Tilly and the Buttons

And there you have it - easy-peasy pockets to stash your cash, keys and candy :)



PS. Like this post? You may also like How to make bias binding and How to line a dress.

6 comments:

  1. How do you think you would add in seam pockets to the waistband? I've seen them on ready to wear, and was wondering if I could adapt this pattern for them, but I'd worried that the waistband might sag...

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  2. Thanks I love hidden pockets so I will have a go adding a couple to a skirt pattern I have wanted to try.

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  3. Lovely tutorial! I tried adding side seam pockets to my Cleo dress and unfortunately they look terrible! The opening doesn't lay flat when I wear it -- it sort of gapes open. I pressed it when I was done, of course. I used a corduroy for my main fabric and a quilting cotton for the pockets... Are some patterns simply not suited for pockets? I'm thinking that maybe they gape open because they're sitting right at my hips/slightly below my hips... Any idea where I went wrong?

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    1. Hi Erika, thanks so much for your comment! Yes, there are some patterns that don't take to in seam pockets, often the more slim the silhouette the less it suits pockets in the seam as they can gape and spoil the line of the dress. These kind of pockets look better if the garment is fuller where you place the pocket, for example in a gathered skirt. I hope that helps!

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  4. I've just received my Coco pattern and am so excited! I was in the US and got fab jersey for it. I've never made clothes before but you seem to make it easy (I've also ordered your book). Must wash fabric now. My question is - WOULD I BE ABLE TO PUT THESE POCKETS INTO A COCO TOP/TUNIC?

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    1. Hi Allison! It's great you hear that you're so excited about Coco! I'm sure your version will be beautiful. In seam pockets are probably not the best for Coco as they could interfere will the line of the skirt, they could gape open which wouldn't give the best finished look. Coco does come with pattern pieces to make patch pockets, so those may work better. Good luck!

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