One of my favorite things about sewing dresses is getting to add pockets! A few times I’ve made a skirt or dress pattern and there were no pockets included in the pattern…but it’s easy to add them in! In this tutorial I will go through how to sew inseam pockets (also called side seam pockets) on a skirt or dress, but this method will work on basically any pattern with side seams – dress, skirt, pants or even a jacket!
I added inseam pockets into a two tiered elastic waistband skirt using the same techniques from this article. I walk through the steps in my tutorial How to Sew a Skirt With An Elastic Waistband if you’re curious to check it out!
What you’ll need
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pocket pattern / template
I’m using the pocket piece from the Orchards Dress by Vivian Shao Chen (so I can’t share this specific pocket piece with you) which I use all the time as my pocket template. I even use it with other patterns even when pockets are included 🙂
I’ve found a free pocket pattern template from Soften Studio that has a similar shape to the one I’m using. You could also try drawing your own and even make it bigger or smaller depending on your preference.
Cut out your pocket pieces
You’ll need 4 pocket pieces total and if you’re using fabric with a distinct wrong and right side, then you’ll need a mirrored pair. Pockets don’t take up a lot of fabric, so you can either use contrasting scrap fabric, or use the same as your main fabric – it’s up to you!
Time to Sew!
Decide pocket placement
With right sides together, place the pockets at the top of the skirt panels at your preferred distance from the top. The height of your pockets also depends on where the skirt is going to be on your body.
You can hold up your skirt panel to your body and put it roughly where the gathered skirt will start and place your hand where a pocket would feel comfortable. Mark the distance from the top of the pocket to the top of the skirt, measure and make sure all the pockets are at the same spot. Don’t forget to account for seam allowance at the top of the skirt panel!
The pockets in my example are placed 4″ from the top and the gathered skirt is slightly above my natural waist.
Pin in place with the straight side of the pocket along the side of the skirt (the curved part of the pocket should be facing in towards the center of the skirt).
Sew pockets to side seam
Sew pockets (all four) to the side seam at 1/2″ seam allowance. Finish the edge with a serger or zig-zag stitch a couple of inches past the top and bottom of the pockets.
Understitch the pockets
Turn over the pockets out to the side (see pictures above) and press the seams towards the pockets.
Understitch close to the edge through all fabric layers, making sure to catch the seam allowance underneath that you just pressed.
Sew side seams
Take your skirt panels with all your pockets now attached and place them right sides together. Place pins at the top of the skirt, going all around the outside of the pocket, and down to the hem of the skirt. Make sure the top and bottom of the pockets are lined up and pinned at those intersections.
When you come to the top of the pocket make sure you sew past the understitch line and then pivot. At the bottom, do the same and sew just past the understitched line before pivoting and continuing to sew down to the hem (see photos above and below). This helps to get a nice invisible side seam pocket from the right side.
Start at the top of the skirt and sew all around the outside at 1/2″ seam allowance. Repeat on the other side of the skirt. Check that everything looks looks ok from the right side and test out your pockets!
Finish the side seams
If everything looks good then finish the side seams with a serger or zig-zag stitch. Press both side seams and pocket towards the same side which will then become the front of your skirt.
Your pockets are done!
If you’re attaching the skirt to a bodice then head over to my tutorial How to Sew a Gathered Skirt to a Bodice to follow the next steps.
Thanks for following along! Happy sewing and pocket making 🙂