Pick a Pretty Pocket: Machine Embroidery

Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Embroidery | Comments


I grew up hearing the saying “that is as handy as a side pocket”—and who wouldn’t agree? Pockets are one of life’s essentials. When buying clothes, the rule is that if it doesn’t have a pocket, it doesn’t go in my closet. With machine embroidery I have found that adding a pocket is as easy as turning on my embroidery machine. And these are not just plain pockets or a one size fits all pocket. Machine embroidery pockets come in all kinds and sizes and can be added to almost anything. For children (and some of us adults) there are pockets with fun things peeking over the top. For holidays and those who like to celebrate favorite things, there are pocket toppers for every theme. And for very dressy occasions, there are even lace pockets.

Let me show you some pocket examples and then I’ll go through the steps of adding a pocket with your embroidery machine.

I purchased a whole set of pockets for children’s clothes from Designs by JuJu and made the two children’s projects shown below.

 

shirt

The frog design is added to a toddler t-shirt front and the princess pocket is for the front of a child’s purse. These are adorable and just perfect for children who always want to pick up little things and put them in their pockets. Think how fun it would be to add pockets to a child’s shorts or jumpsuit or a beach towel or favorite blanket.

And if it’s a t-shirt that you want to make, there’s a wonderful Craftsy class by Eileen Roche, The Machine Embroidered T-shirt which will teach you everything you need to know about adding embroidery to t-shirts.

 

embroidery

Another pocket that is a lot of fun is a pocket with a design at the top of the pocket itself (pocket topper). I made the pocket shown below to be used on a vest. It’s just the right size for a smartphone. You can find quite a lot of pocket topper designs at Embroidery Library. Just type in pocket in the search box on the Home page and you will find a variety of designs. You can also take some of your favorite small designs such as the ones shown here to add to pockets.

 

pocket

And shown below is a very elegant free-standing lace pocket that would be perfect for dressing up a simple shirt – white or in colors. Here’s a picture of one of the Embroidery Library lace pockets.

 

lace pocket

 

Pocket how-to in three easy steps:

Before you begin: If you want to add embroidery to the pocket itself, stitch that embroidery motif now before you begin the actual pocket construction.

1. Stitch the placement line.

The first step is to hoop your background fabric and stitch the placement line. We talked in previous posts about alignment. So go back to those principles and feel comfortable stitching a pocket on any garment or other item.

 

line

2. Add the pocket fabric, stitch the tackdown stitches, and trim close to the stitching.

You will fold the pocket fabric in half and press it so that there is a sharp crease at the top of the pocket. Carefully place it so that the top of the pocket matches the top of the placement stitches. With the embroidery machine, secure the pocket fabric with the tackdown stitches. After the tackdown stitches are complete, remove the hoop (do not unhoop the fabric) and trim the fabric carefully around the tackdown stitches.

 

stitch

3. Stitch the final pocket stitches and enjoy!

 

pocket

I have added the embroidery files for this simple pocket as a download in my Craftsy pattern shop for practice and fun. The pattern includes the three pockets and the flower topper.

After making pockets with the embroidery machine, I’m not sure I’ll ever stitch a pocket with my regular sewing machine again. The stitches are so nice from the embroidery machine and the pocket construction is so secure. Adding embellishments and utility to the pockets such as snaps and/or buttons and buttonholes as well as your favorite embroidery motif or monogram is so easy. Just think of the things you can make with these pockets. Have you stitched pockets with the embroidery machine? What creative suggestions do you have for making machine embroidery pockets?

Come back to the Craftsy blog on Wednesday for another great machine embroidery tutorial.

Comments

  1. Valerie Brown says:

    Yes, I have stitched out an in-the-hoop pocket, and the only thing that I can think of to add as a creative suggestion is to embellish the pocket fabric BEFORE you stitch it to the garment.

    I’ve been trying to think of a creative saying for adding a pocket to a burp cloth or a bib, but nothing comes to mind. Anyone have an idea there?

    1. Marjorie says:

      Hi Valerie, you are so right that embellishing the fabric first means that you can add any design that fits.

      I hope someone comes up with an idea for your burp cloths and bibs. I googled burp cloths and clicked “images” and found a lot of images–and a few with some ideas for you. Try that and let us know what you find.

  2. Edie says:

    I just LOVE the idea of a pocket – there are so many great things you can do!
    Monograms, showcase that perfect piece of fabric, faux pocket, real pocket,
    the versatility is endless!

    You can use the same pocket design, and use a different fabric, and viola, a ‘new’ pocket, :)

    Thank you for sharing!
    Edie
    Edies Designs @ Etsy

  3. Belinda says:

    I think I am going to stitch one on the lower side of a sweat suit top so I will have my phone handy when I go walking. I have lost 55 pounds (yea for me!!) and want to lose 5 more. So it is important to keep on walking!! I may stitch an appropriate walking design of some sort on my pocket! PS: I can wear a size 12 now!! I am one happy camper!