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 add pockets to the side seams - give this a whirl on the Alexa jumpsuitDominique skirt and more!

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 this 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 legs or 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 or leg 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 or leg, right sides together, so the pocket side seam lines up with the skirt or leg side seam, and the curve of the pocket is pointing towards the skirt or leg 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 or leg, and then on the back skirt or leg, ensuring the pockets on the back skirt or leg 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 or legs and press. It's a good idea to understitch the pocket to the side seam now, close to the join, to stop the pocket from peeping out.

Place the front skirt or leg over the back skirt or leg, 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 or leg 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 or leg. 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 sweeties :)



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