How to Make an Inset Pocket

comments (10) September 16th, 2008     

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CalPatch cal patch, contributor
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Once you learn to make these pockets, youll always have a place for your bits and bobs!
Your hand will help you determine the size and shape of your pocket.
Cut the pocket opening through the lining (pink) and body (red) pieces.
Once you learn to make these pockets, youll always have a place for your bits and bobs!

Once you learn to make these pockets, you'll always have a place for your bits and bobs!

Photo: Cal Patch

I love pockets. I wish everything I wore had them. So, since I am on a mission to convert my wardrobe to ONLY wearing clothes I've made myself, I am putting pockets into practically everything I sew! My favorite is the inset pocket because I love how it's integrated into the garment itself, as opposed to the patch pocket, which can sometimes seem like an afterthought.

An inset pocket can be placed anywhere along a seam, most often the side seam. It can also be placed so that it spans two intersecting seams, like a jeans pocket, which goes from the waist seam to the side seam. Adding inset pockets to any sewing pattern is a very easy process, and I'm going to walk you through it, so you'll never fumble for a place to put your hands, keys, or laundry quarters again!

This step (making the pocket) would be done just before the side seams are to be sewn, in whatever you are constructing.

1. Cut out the pieces. You'll need two extra pieces of the fabric you're using for the garment, each a little bigger than your desired pocket size. (Note: I will be describing how to make one pocket, but most likely you'll want to make two, so cut two of each piece.) Stack the two pieces on top of each other, and cut a straight edge along one side, which will be the side seam. Lay your hand down to use as a guide, and draw your pocket shape. Make it a little bigger than you think to allow for a 1/4-inch seam allowance, and also leave room for your garment's seam allowance at the side seam.


Your hand will help you determine the size and shape of your pocket.

2. Make the pocket opening. Now separate the two pocket pieces, and lay one on the side seam of the garment body, where you want the pocket to sit. Draw the opening for your pocket, where you'll put your hand in. This should be a tad smaller than you want it, as the 1/4-inch seam allowance will make it bigger. Cut through the garment and pocket piece on the opening line.


Cut the pocket opening through the lining (pink) and body (red) pieces.

You should now have three corresponding pieces: the garment with pocket opening (red), the pocket lining (pink), and the pocket facing (green). In my sample, I made them all different colors to clarify, but you'll probably make them all the same. Keep in mind that the facing will show when you're finished but the lining won't.


The three pattern pieces: garment body (red), pocket lining (pink), and pocket facing (green).

3. Sew the pocket lining to the garment. With right sides together, pin and stitch the lining piece to the garment, along the pocket opening line, with a 1/4-inch seam.


Seam the pocket lining to the garment.

Flip the pocket lining to the wrong side of the garment, and edgestitch the opening if you want to.


After flipping the lining to the inside, edgestitch the pocket opening from the right side.


The pocket lining after edgestitching, seen from the inside.

4. Sew the pocket facing to the lining. With right sides together, pin and stitch the facing to the lining along the outer edge. I used a straight stitch first and then a zigzag over the edge to finish the raw edges together as well as to reinforce the pocket.


Stitch the pocket facing to the lining, around the outer edge.


The near-complete pocket from the right side.

5. Sew the garment back to the garment front. Now you can seam your back and front garment pieces and finish the side seam.


Here's how the finished pocket looks after sewing the side seam.

And there it is! Now go find some stuff to put in your pocket, just because you can!

posted in: fabric, pocket

Comments (10)

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Posted: 8:45 pm on April 17th
Eternal_Clouds writes: thats so cool thanks for uploading it
Posted: 11:53 am on March 8th
twinb127 writes: Love pockets!! thanks for posting. I am so excited to go try this out!
Posted: 2:39 pm on November 21st
Wina writes: I love pockets, too. When dealing with a purchased garment, it is difficult to find matching material that will not show if the pockets gap when seated in a straight skirt. I use a fine cotton or muslin material for the pocket and take a little of the material from the bottom of the dress or skirt and sew to the side seam edges of the pocket before sewing it into the garment. Fortunately I am short so there is always plenty of material to cut from the hem of the garment for this. I think I will also try the posted method on some of the uniforms I make. Good idea!
Posted: 9:00 am on October 6th
ohsohappytogether writes: thanks for the tutorial! it's great.
Posted: 5:52 pm on September 28th
TonyaDoughty writes: I'm so using this to add pockets to my existing pocketless things. I think opening a side seam and using this technique would make it quick and, more importantly, convenient! Thanks!
Posted: 6:42 pm on September 27th
Tatsy writes: This is the easiest explanation of how to do inset pockets I've ever seen. The only thing I would add is to make sure that the pocket and lining are placed on the same straight of grain line as the side seam. If the side seam in a skirt or pants flares out and the pocket is not cut to match it will twist or hang funny and create a nasty bulge. I'd given up on these kinds of pockets until a friend showed me this tip.
Posted: 2:20 pm on September 27th
Lois54 writes: You can also add pockets to a finished garment with a similar technique. I have made pockets by adding a cigar shaped opening where I want a pocket and using a similar shape opening in the pocket lining. This is probably completely unclear. Think of the above pictures but with the opening being a complete circle.
Posted: 8:32 am on September 27th
GrammyKim writes: You can also make your pocket hidden in the seam. Make your pocket the size you want it and seam it to the sides of the garment first.At this point I press or topstitch the pocket opening to finish the right side. Then when you sew your side seam just sew around the pocket hidding it in the seam. I use this technique for almost all of my skirts because I to love pockets but like them hidden on many of my dress garments.
Posted: 7:11 am on September 27th
JoceyBee writes: This is fantastic. Thanks for sharing. I'm at the beginning of changing my whole wardrobe to handmade, its a little daunting. Thanks for the inspiration.
Posted: 2:18 pm on September 16th
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