Ladies hand in pocket of blue skirt with bright pink accents

How to insert pockets on a skirt or dress

We all love having a pocket in our garments, but we all know that not every retailer adds them! Your pattern doesn’t have them either? No problem, let us show you how to insert them.

Adding pockets to any garment with a side seam is simple – even on already constructed garments. As long as you have a seam allowance of at least 5mm in the seam you want to add the pocket to, you can.

This project shows you how! 


Materials needed

  • Dress pattern you want to add pockets to – you need a pattern that has side seams
  • Pocket pattern – you can download one here or you can draft your own
  • To draft your own pocket pattern:
  • Pattern paper – you can use normal printer paper, or newsprint or scrap paper
  • Pencil

You will also need

  • French Curve ruler
  • Fabric
  • Sewing thread
  • General sewing supplies, like scissors, pins etc

Equipment needed


Step 1

We are going to use this basic skirt pattern from New Look and add pockets to the side seams.  
This type of pocket is suitable for looser fitting garments.

Step 2

You can use a pocket pattern from another garment, or make your own, or simply download the pattern below.

To make your own:
Place your hand on a sheet of paper and draw around it, adding about an inch (2.5cm) extra.  
Tilt the pattern and draw a straight line where it will be fixed to the garment. Add seam allowances all the way around.

Use our ready-to-print pocket pattern piece:
Click here to download our pocket pattern piece in adult size and child size. You can tweak the size to your requirements.

Step 3

The top of a side pocket is normally placed on the hip. Mark the position on your pattern and transfer this mark to your fabric (for both front and back pieces). Cut two fabric pieces for each pocket.

Lay the first pocket piece on your front skirt piece, right sides facing and the top of the pocket piece matching the placement mark.

Step 4

Sew the straight side of the pocket to side seam of front skirt – right side of pocket facing right side of garment. Your seam allowance should be 2mm or 3mm smaller than that of your side seam.
For example, if the seam allowance of your side seam is 1.5cm, the seam allowance of the seam joining the pocket to the side should be 1.3cm. This seems like a very small amount, but it makes it easier to get a good result!  

The easiest way to achieve this is to place the fabric in your machine as normal, and then move your needle a few positions to the left. If your machine does not have this function, you could just measure and mark the smaller seam allowance before sewing.
Repeat with back of skirt. 

Step 5

Finish the edge of the pocket and seam on the back with a zigzag stitch.  

Press pocket pieces away from skirt pieces and topstitch with matching thread, or contrasting if you would like to make a feature of it. You will sew through the pocket piece as well as the seam allowance, along the pocket opening.

Step 6

You will now have two pieces for each side of the garment. Lay back and front on each other, edges matching and right sides facing.  

Starting at the waist, sew side seam to 1cm beyond pocket edge. Pivot (stop with the needle down, lift the presser foot and turn your work, lower presser foot again) and sew along outer edge of the pocket, pivoting again at bottom of pocket. Then sew to the hem of the garment.  

Make sure you keep your seam allowance exact, so you will enclose the top and bottom bits of the pocket in the seam. Finish your seam with an overlocking or zigzag stitch.

Step 7

Press your seam towards the front skirt piece.  

Turn to the right side, and reinforce the bottom of your pocket with a satin stitch or straight stitch bar. Sew about 5mm through all layers just below the bottom of your pocket opening. This will keep it laying to the front, and also prevent the join becoming undone.

Voila! You have a beautiful pocket! 

More from Sewing Room

You might also like

Back to top