Patch Pocket Tutorials

Welcome to all of you who have taken on the Summer of No Pants challenge!  I am really excited to share some patch pocket tutorials with you today.  I love patch pockets because they are easy to make, adaptable to many styles, and you can add them to anything (even clothes you didn’t sew yourself!)  So let’s get sewing!

Basic Patch Pocket

There are several ways to make a patch pocket, this way is super-easy and results in a nice strong pocket without any raw edges to worry about.

Decide what size you would like your pocket to be, and then add 1/2″ inch to each side.  For example, if you want a pocket that is 4 x 5 , cut two squares that are 4.5 x 5.5.  You will need 2 squares per pocket.   If you have stripes or plaids you might want to spend some time cutting pieces that line up with the plaids or stripes on your skirt.

If you aren’t sure what size you want your pockets to be, cut out some paper squares in the size you think you want, lay it on the skirt and see what you think.  When you find the size that looks good, add 1/2″ and you’re ready to go!

Place your squares right-sides together, and sew around all edges with 1/4″ seam, leaving about 3 inches open for turning.

Clip the corners, turn the pocket right-side out and press.  (If you want to be fancy you could slip-stitch the opening closed at this point but I usually don’t bother)

Top-stitch across the top of the pocket.

Pin your pocket in place on the garment.

Sew around the sides and bottom, close to the edges.  Make sure the opening you left for turning gets sewn closed at this point.

Tip:  For pockets that don’t sag when they are full, start and finish sewing a little bit across the top on each side. 

Done!  That was easy, right? 

But what if you want something with a little more style to it?

Dress it up!

Before you sew the pocket to your garment it’s really easy to dress it up with ribbon, a contrasting fabric piece, buttons, ric rac, or oven some embroidery.

Make a Shapely Pocket

Who says pockets have to be squares or rectangles?  Try cutting your pocket in circles or half-circles, triangles, flowers, stars, hearts, you’re limited only by your imagination!

Bias-Binding Trim

Sometimes a little bias binding on the top of a pocket dresses it up nicely.

To make this kind of pocket, follow the directions for the basic patch pocket, but when sewing your fabric pieces together, leave the top open.

Clip corners or curves, turn right-side out and press.

Now take a piece of bias binding, open it up, and pin it to the top of the pocket, right-sides facing and matching the edges.  (Bias binding usually has one side that is shorter than the other.  Pin the short side to the pocket.)  The binding should hang over the sides about 1/2″

Sew the binding to the pocket just to the side (closer to the edge) of the first fold-line.

Press the binding towards the top of the pocket, and then fold it over to the other side to encase the top of the pocket and press again.

Top-stitch along the bottom of the binding, being sure to catch the back of the binding in the stitches.

Fold the ends of the binding to the back of the pocket and pin it to your garment.

Stitch around the pocket as described for the basic patch pocket.

You now have a fancy bias-trimmed pocket!

Create Flapped Pockets

Start with patch pockets already sewn to your garment. 

Decide how big you want your flaps to be.  This is a good time to play around with paper models until it looks right.

Once you have the right size, add 1/4″ seam allowance to all sides to create your pattern.

Cut two of these out of your fabric, and one out of interfacing for each pocket.

Apply the interfacing to one of the two pieces for each pocket. 

With right-sides facing, sew around all sides, leaving a hole for turning.

Clip curves and corners, turn right-side out and press.  (Sounds familiar, right?)

Find the centre of the flap and put in a button-hole.

Pin the flap into place on your garment and stitch across the top.

Sew a button to the pocket.

That’s it!  (Isn’t this fun?)

And one more….

The Gathered Pocket

This pocket has a unique look, and also provides a little extra room for pocket treasures.

Start with a paper pattern of  the size of pocket you want to create.

Trace the bottom onto another piece of paper, and then mark out a top that is 1.5x larger than what you want your finished top to be.  (You could go bigger than this if you want even more gathers in your pocket, but this was a good size for me.)

Connect the top line to the bottom line. (I used curved edges for this semi-circle, you would use straight lines for a square.)  I folded it along the centre-line to do this so I would have two sides exactly the same.

Add 1/4 inch seam allowance to the bottom and sides.   Cut out your pattern and use it to cut 2 pieces of fabric (per pocket.)

With right-sides together sew along the bottom and sides, leaving the top open.  Turn and press.

Set your machine on a long stitch and stitch two rows of stitching across the top – one at 1/4″ and one at 1/8″.

Pull the bottom threads to gather the top to the desired width.

Finish with bias tape as described for the bias-taped pocket.

Voila!  A gathered pocket!

So there!  Absolutely no excuses for not having pockets on your skirts and dresses (or aprons, or pants, or bags, or anything else you’re making!)    Once you’ve mastered the patch pocket there are so many others you could try (with zippers and pleats and welts, oh my!  Maybe a future blog post?)

Happy Sewing!

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