Hack Your Sewing Pattern: Make Pockets in the Side Seam of Your Dress!

Last Updated on September 24, 2021

Hack Your Sewing Pattern: Anyone who has ever carried a bunch of keys and a telephone (everyone) appreciates the existence of pockets in clothing. As soon as a skirt or dress has no pockets, your life is immediately a lot more clumsy.

If a sewing pattern does not contain pockets, you will learn how to make them in this blog. Coincidentally, I do this using the pattern for the maxi wrap skirt, but you can also use this tutorial for other dresses and skirts (possibly with some modifications). Let’s go!

Hack Your Sewing Pattern

Hack Your Sewing Pattern

Download the pattern for the bag member. The pattern is A4 size. Print out without scaling the file. Cut the normal sewing pattern from the gathering fabric. Before proceeding with your sewing pattern instructions, complete the instructions below.

Step 1:

Cut the pattern 2-times from double fabric. You can use the fabric of your dress or skirt for this, but if it is a bit thicker or stiffer, I will choose a thinner lining fabric.

Mark 1.5 cm seam allowance. It is not included in the pattern! Optionally, you can add an extra seam allowance upwards. It makes the pockets sit a bit lower, and this is to your preference. I added a total of 4 centimeters extra at the top edge.

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Step 2:

Place a pocket piece on both side seams of the back piece, right sides together, with the long straight side of the pocket along the side seam. Align the top edge of the pockets with the top edge of the back piece. Pin and sew.

Step 3:

Finish the edges together with a zigzag stitch, pinking shears, or on the serger. Only do this for the part where the pocket is. You don’t have to finish the entire side seam of the back piece. Iron the pocket away from the back piece, with the seam allowance towards the pocket.

Step 4:

Also, place a pocket piece on the front piece, right sides together, with the long straight side of the pocket along the side seam.

Optionally, you can reinforce the front along the side seam with a 1.5 cm wide strip of nonwoven fabric. Make sure the strip is the same length as the long edge of the bag. (Take a peek at step 5 to see what that looks like.) Pin and stitch the bag.

Finish the edges together, only at the pocket (just like you did on the back piece).

Step 5:

Iron the pocket away from the front piece and the seam allowance towards the pocket.

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Step 6:

Now sew the seam allowance to the bag. You do this by placing the fabric right side up under the sewing machine and then stitching 2-3 mm from the seam through pocket + seam allowance.

Repeat steps 4-6 for the other front piece. Now return to your sewing pattern instructions. Only when the sewing pattern indicates that you can stitch the side seams of the skirt do the following steps:

Step 7:

Place front piece on the back piece, right sides together. Make sure all marks are on top of each other. Pin the side seam; you pin around the pocket (the side of the pocket will become your new side seam).

Step 8:

Get stuck. Start at the top: stitch along the rounded outer edge of the bag until you reach the seam allowance. Then cross straight over towards the stitching of the bag. Once there, put the needle down in the fabric, the foot up, and then turn the skirt 90 degrees so that you can continue stitching down the side seam.

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Step 9:

Cut the triangles from the curve of the bag. Be careful not to cut into the stitching! Finish the raw side seams of the skirt together.

Step 10:

Now lay the skirt flat on the table, right side down. Fold both pocket pieces towards each other to lie flat on top of each other, then fold the entire pocket towards the front piece. Temporarily sew the bag along the top edge to the front piece, 10 mm from the edge.

Step 11:

This step is optional, and only if you noted extra inches at the top of the bag in Step 1.

Lay the skirt right side up flat on the table. The pocket should now be almost invisible because the opening is incorporated in the side seam. You can now stitch the top part of the bag close to the seam.

I added an extra 4 cm to the bag, + 1.5 cm seam allowance, so I stitched the bag closed by 6.5 cm. It is unnecessary, but it helps make the bag lie a bit flatter with large bags.

Ready! Now you can follow the rest of the pattern to finish your skirt or dress.

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