How to Sew Pockets Into Any Garment: Pants, Skirt, or a Dress
You know that feeling you get when you try on a beautiful dress and—bonus!—discover it has pockets? Many of us would agree that's a great feeling, and if you fall into that camp, too, we're about to make your day: Did you know that if you have a garment with no pockets, you can easily add them into the side seams? That's right, you can add pockets to a piece of clothing you already have. You probably already knew that when you're in the beginning stages of sewing a custom-tailored garment, it's easy to incorporate a pocket into the pattern's construction, but we're here to spread the word that you can also add pockets into the side seam of a garment that you've purchased off the rack.
How do you do it? All you need is a sewing machine and a few simple supplies, including one handy tool: your seam ripper. Besides ripping seams, this tool removes all types of stitches. And they come in a range of sizes—one with a fine tip will make quick work of even the smallest of stitches. When choosing fabric for your pockets, try out contrasting colors and prints in a cotton material. It blends well with most materials, and it's durable enough to stash and carry hidden items on-the-go. You may also want to consider body measurements, as these will determine your pattern size when sewing, tailoring, and embellishing your own clothes including the addition of pockets.
Dust off your sewing machine and thread that needle—even if you don't consider yourself to be a skilled sewist, no worries, this project is great for beginners.
Tools and Materials
To make a pair of pockets, you need just a few supplies: 1⁄2 yard of cotton fabric, a seam ripper (such as Merchant & Mills' Seam Ripper), tailor's chalk or a pencil, and a single sheet of paper. For this project, you will use a sewing machine and supplemental supplies including all-purpose thread, scissors, measuring tape, and straight pins.
To draft a pattern for your pocket, place your hand diagonally on a sheet of paper. Starting at the bottom corner, generously trace around your hand, creating a half-heart shape. Trace at least 2 inches from the tips of your fingers to the pattern's edge.
Cut out the pattern and pin it to your fabric. You'll need a 1⁄2 yard of fabric, folded in half, in order to create two pockets (a 1⁄4 yard will work as well, you just need to be a bit more strategic when laying your pattern on the fabric.)
With your fabric folded in half, cut out your pattern so that you have two identical pieces. Repeat this step for the second pocket.
Turn your garment inside out, place the cut fabric where you want the top of your pocket opening to start, and mark the top and bottom of the opening. Wherever you decide to start the pocket, be sure that you've left enough room for the presser foot to easily run the stitch.
Using a seam ripper, open up the side seam between the marks. Then, turn your garment right side out.
Open up the seams and place the pocket pieces (right side facing down), along the edges. Pin the pockets along the seams.
On your sewing machine, make a straight stitch along the opened seam, using the back stitch. Press the seams with an iron.
Turn the garment inside out and pin the pocket pieces together.
Sew around the pocket, making sure to close up the seams where you start and finish.
Turn the garment right side out, tuck the pocket inside, and press along the seams with an iron.