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Free Sewing Book: Sewing Lessons For Beginners

Chapter Seven: Pockets


sewing pockets There are several different methods for adding pockets to a garment or other item. This chapter will cover side seam pockets (pocket sewn into the side seam of a skirt or dress) and front pockets (such as on a shirt, or front of tote bag). 

Basically, a pocket must have a front and a back (inside). If a pocket is sewn directly onto a shirt front, the shirt front is the inside (or back) of the pocket. If the pocket is sewn into the side seam of a skirt or pair of pants, the front of the garment serves as the front of the pocket, and a back is created by sewing in a pocket back. 

EASY SIDE SEAM POCKET: I use this method for knit skirts. I also used this method when I changed a tee shirt pattern into a robe pattern.

Turn A Tee Shirt Pattern Into A Robe

skirt side seam pocket 1. Add Extensions   
If you wish to add a sideseam pocket to an existing skirt pattern, draw an extension on each of the side edges of the main skirt front piece (these extensions will be facings for the pockets). They should measure 1/2" and should extend a length that is equal to the hand that will use the pocket, plus about 2".  The rectangular pieces at the sides of the main piece on the right represent the extensions (they sort of look like ears).

side seam pockets 2. Draw Pockets   
Draw pockets in the shape you want. They need to be large enough for the hand to fit into nicely and they must come to about 2" above and below the extensions.

side seam pocket 3. Reinforce and clip facings   
Stitch on each side of the corners of the facings (I marked with circles). Clip from the edge almost to the circle - do NOT cut your stitching. The clipping is shown in red. Press facing under. Sew a box along the edge of the facing to reinforce it (refer to photo in step 4 below).

sideseam pocket 4. Stitch pocket to skirt front   
Stitch the RIGHT side of the pocket to the WRONG side of the skirt front around the curved edge (not the side seam edge). The pocket shows as pink in the diagram to the right.

side seam pocket 5. Stitch Skirt front to Skirt back   
Stitch the skirt front to the skirt back at the side seams, being careful not to sew the pocket edge into the seam. The line that will be stitched is shown as a dashed red line (skirt back not shown).

side seam pocket 6. Press   
Your pocket now resides within the side seam. The stitching of the pocket shows on the skirt front.


shirt pocket 1. Cut your pocket piece
Cut a rectangular piece that is the size you want your pocket to be plus 1/2" for upper hem and seam allowances on the other three sides.

2. Press edges under
  Iron under the three lower edges. Iron under the hem.

shirt pocket 3. Topstitch upper hem   

Turn pocket to right side. Topstitch (see Chapter Six on Topstitching) upper hem into place.

shirt pocket 4. Sew pocket to shirt   

Place your pocket on the shirt front (pocket is right side up) and stitch onto shirt around the lower three sides. Leave pocket top open. Reinforce the corners of the shirt pocket as shown on the right. Reinforcement stitching has been enhanced in the photo on the right.

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Thank you! Relax, get ready, SEW! - Christina Sherrod

Index & Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Fabric, Notions, Pattern & Thread
Chapter 3: Pattern Instructions
Chapter 4: Tools, Layout & Cutting
Chapter 5: Set Up Sewing Machine
Chapter 6: Now We're Sewing - Terms & Techniques
Chapter 8: Zippers & Buttonholes
Chapter 9: Sleeve Installation
Chapter 10: Darts & Pleats
Needle & Thread Chart

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