Free Hands: How to Sew a Simple Side Seam Pocket

Posted by on Sep 2, 2013 in Sewing | Comments


Pockets add so much functionality to a garment. Have you ever thought your favorite party dress would just be so much better if it had pockets to stash your lip gloss and cell phone?

Hand Showing Pocket in Garment on Measuring Table

When you’re in the midst of sewing garments, it’s easy to incorporate a pocket into your construction. But the really good news is that it’s also super simple to add pockets in the side seam of any garment — even garments you’ve purchased off the rack — just get out your seam ripper!

Here’s how to sew a pocket:

Fabric Cut into a Pocket, Pinned

Step 1:

Fold your fabric in half and cut two pocket bag pieces.

Note: If you’re not using a pattern, you can easily draft a pattern yourself. The shape you are going for is slightly teardrop, but with one straight side. I did a Google search for a teardrop shape and then printed it out, but you can also freehand it. Just make sure it’s big enough to fit your hand and add a ½” seam allowance on all sides.

Although you can certainly make your pocket out of the same fabric as your garment (unless it’s super bulky), this is also a great time to use up scraps of fabric or play around with color and add something unexpected. If done correctly, the inside of the pocket design shouldn’t show when you’re wearing the garment.

Hand Demonstrating Finding Pocket Placement in Garment

Step 2:

Mark the pocket placement on the front and back pieces of your garment with a notch or chalk mark. This is where the top of the pocket will sit. If you’re adding the pocket to an existing garment, it’s a good idea to try the garment on and use a mirror to determine where the pockets should be.

Pocket Fabric Pinned to Garment

Step 3:

Take one of the pocket bag pieces and place it, right sides together, on your garment. Match the straight side of the pocket to the garment and the top of the pocket to the notch and pin in place. Repeat with the other pocket piece.

Pocket Fabric Sewn on Garment

Step 4:

Stitch the pocket into place with a ⅜” seam allowance. Using a slightly smaller seam allowance ensures that the pocket won’t show when the garment is being worn.

Pocket Sewn onto Garment, View of Inside of Pocket

Step 5:

Turn the pocket pieces out and press.

Step 6:

Place the right sides of your garment together, with the pocket pieces turned away from the garment. Pin the side seams together and around the pocket pieces.

Pocket Sewn into Garment, Seams Showing

Step 7:

Sew the side seam as usual, following along the curve of the pocket.

Finished Pocket in Garment

Step 8:

Press the side seams of your garment toward the front and turn the garment right side out. Your pocket should lay neatly inside. Finish the seams of the garment and pocket.

Want to learn more?

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Comments

  1. Marian says:

    I thought you were going to show us putting a pocket into ready made pants, not easily accessible cut pieces of fabric. It is a different story trying to actually put pocket into pants with seams and waistbands.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered if I could do this. Even going through it all in my mind but just never thought I could pull it off. This is something I am definitely going to try. Thanks for posting this!!

  3. Carolyn says:

    As far as matching colors go I think that would depend on what I was putting them in. Kinda like match it if it’s satin & add a splash to denim.

  4. Eva says:

    Thank you this is a great thing to have will be saving this

  5. Great and easy tutorial.

  6. Great and easy tutorial.