How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress (Or Anything Really!)

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress (Or Anything Really!) Featured Image

If you have been following The Flora Modiste for any length of time.. Then you KNOW I love my pockets. So this week we are doing something a little different: I am going to show you how to add side pockets to a dress, a skirt, shorts--Anything really!

Because there is nothing sadder than going to put your hands into a pocket.. And then realizing there IS no pocket. I really don't understand WHY pockets aren't just included in everything. They are such an easy addition to a design, and provide an insane amount of functionality. Am I right?

A while back, we covered how to sew an inseam side pocket when creating the Ashby Coat. And in that tutorial I show you how to sew an inseam pocket when creating a new garment.. But not really how to add pockets into an already existing garment.

While the method is pretty close to being the same, there are a few additional steps that need to be taken when adding them into an existing garment. And yes: This method can be used for adding inseam pockets into any garment out there.

Liiiike dresses, skirts, or shorts. Coats, pants--Anything!

And I think (more often than not) dresses and skirts are the garments that seem to not have side pockets included in the design. Which is something I will NEVER understand.. Dresses & skirts are literally THE garments that should have side pockets included.

Think about it: If a dress or a skirt doesn't have side pockets.. Then it most likely doesn't have any pockets at all. And I'm kind of over men's clothing getting all the pocket love. Girls need pockets too!

Because when it's summer and it's beautiful out, we want to just walk out that front door without having to carry a purse sometimes. Or a wallet. We want to just GO. But we can't do that without pockets! So in comes this week's post on how to add side pockets to a dress. (Or a skirt. Maybe pants. Anything really!)

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to anything: Tools needed

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Tools Needed

Now, for this post, I will actually be adding side pockets to a skirt, not a dress. Why? Not for any particular reason.. I really just wanted to add side pockets into this beautiful skirt of mine.

I have had this skirt since I was in college--So almost 10 years now. And since the weather is reeeeally starting to shine here in San Diego, I was able to wear this little striped beauty of mine a few weeks ago.

But was so sad to realize it still doesn't have pockets.

Sigh. However, (thankfully) not much is needed to add side pockets to an existing garment. The tools you will need to pull out for this project include:

  • Straight Ruler: To measure out the length of the pocket opening.
  • Curved Ruler: To draw the circle shape of the pocket. (Technically this can be freehanded.. But I think I am just used to using rulers out of habit. And honestly, it just makes things so much easier.)
  • Sewing Pins: Per usual, sewing pins are needed for almost every sewing project.
  • Seam Ripper: This will be used to open the side seam of your garment, so that you can add the side pockets in.
  • Fabric Scissors: These will be used to cut out the pocket bags.
  • Sewing Machine: Duh! Self explanatory.

If you have already built yourself a basic sewing kit, then you should have all of these tools already! And now on to the materials.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to anything: Materials needed

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Materials Needed

While the list of tools needed for this project is pretty short.. The list of materials needed is even shorter:

  • The Garment: Again, duh. As long as the garment falls below the hip, you should be able to add side pockets to it. If the garment has an invisible side zipper (like my skirt for this project) it's a little bit trickier, but still definitely doable. Linings might also make adding side pockets slightly more challenging--But again, totally doable.
  • Spare Fabric: This is for the pocket bags. I would recommend a light weight to mid weight woven fabric that has a similar texture & coloring to the self of the garment. For instance: The skirt I added side pockets to is made up of red & white stripes, so the fabric I chose for the pocket bags is white. Since I didn't have any spare white seersucker in my fabric box, I just used a light weight woven that I had in there.

And that's it. Really!

Normally I recommend adding a facing when sewing pockets.

Inseam pocket facings are typically made using the same fabric as the self, then attached to the pocket bags. That way, when seen from the outside, the inside fabric of the pocket matches that of the garment.

However. Unless the garment you will be adding pockets to is made using an incredibly common & basic fabric.. It's probably not going to be possible to find a fabric that matches it exactly.

Which is why I recommend just finding a fabric in a similar color scheme or texture. So how much spare fabric do you need for the pocket bags? Roughly, you need about 4 squares of fabric that are slightly bigger than your hand laid flat.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to a dress: Measurements & prep work

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Side Inseam Pocket

Adding side pockets to a garment is really pretty simple, but there are a few prep steps that need to be taken before getting started. The prep work is really pretty quick, and the measurements just depend on your body type and the garment that you will be adding pockets to. Prep steps include:

  1. Try the garment on, and determine where you want the pocket placement to be. I like to bend my arms slightly, and hold them right below my hips where pockets typically are. After that, mark the top of where your hand is with a sewing pin. (This step is completely subjective, based on your body type. Do whatever is comfortable for you!)
  2. I prefer to make my inseam side pocket openings 5"-6" wide. To make sure that will work for you, lay your hand flat on the table. Grab the ruler, place it perpendicular to your hand, and measure the widest part of your hand. If that measurement is wider than 5"-6", then you will need to make the inseam side pocket opening wider than my preferred 5"-6".

While some people have long torsos, some have short torsos. Long arms & short arms. Tiny hands & big hands. So the placement of the pockets and how wide the pocket openings need to be really is 100% dependent on your own body type.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to a dress: Step 1

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 1

First, locate the pin that was placed while trying the garment on. If you will recall, this is where the top of the inseam side pocket will start. After that, grab your straight ruler.

Mark a second pin down from the first, using the measurement of how wide your hand is. (For me, that is the 5"-6" measurement. I think 6" is a pretty good estimate for a pocket opening.)

Grab your seam ripper and rip the side seam out, from pin to pin. This is where the pocket will be going! Repeat on the other side of the garment.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to a dress: Step 2

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 2

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 2.1

Now it's time to draw the pocket bags. While some people choose to first draw the pocket bags on pattern paper.. I myself prefer to save time by just drawing directly on the fabric.

First, draw a straight line measuring the length of the pocket opening. (Again, for me, that's typically 5"-6". But it may be different for you, depending on the size of your hands.)

After that, lay one of your hands flat on the fabric, fingers spread wide. Your wrist should be lined up right with the straight line. Using your other hand, draw a rough circle around your hand, then even it out using the curved ruler. Cut 4 pocket bags out. (Two for each side!)

NOTE: Pocket bags are NOT a perfect circle. They have a bit of a dip towards the lower right hand side, and then curve back up to the seam. Follow this general shape, and you will be good to go!

How to add side pockets to a dress: Step 3

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 3

Next, pin & stitch the pocket opening to the side seam ripped out in step 1. Make sure to pin the RIGHT side of the pocket bag to the RIGHT side of the garment.

Stitch the length of pocket opening, on both sides of the pocket bag. After that, repeat on the other side of the garment.

NOTE: I would also recommend pressing these seams open, then under stitching the seam allowance to the pocket bag. This will help with making the pocket bag a little less visible, which is ideal when not sewing a pocket facing.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

How to add side pockets to a dress: Step 4

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 4

Now it's time to connect the pocket bags together. From the underside of the garment, pin & stitch the pocket bags together. This should essentially close up the pocket bag.

After that, repeat on the other side of the garment.

NOTE: If the seam opened up a tiny bit more than the length of the pocket opening, simply restitch it closed. This will actually most likely happen--However, it's an easy fix!

How to add side pockets to a dress: Step 5

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Step 5

This may be an optional step, depending on the fabric used for the pocket bags. But I would hiiiighly recommend overlocking the edges of the pocket bag closed, so that they don't fray & disintegrate.

You may also need to re-overlock the side seams a bit, depending on the garment. I didn't need to do that for my skirt, but you can bet I definitely overlocked the raw edges of those pocket bags.

NOTE: Don't have a serger? Most sewing machines nowadays have a sort of imitation overlock stitch. Even this will do--You really just don't want the pocket falling apart. And since pockets receive a lot of wear & tear, it's important to keep them strong from the get go.

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Now you're ready to add side pockets to anything!

How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pockets Side View

So. Pretty easy, right? Kind of infuriating that they didn't add them to the garment in the first place, am I right?!

As I stated above--If the side seam of the garment that you want to add pockets to has an invisible zipper.. It's still totally doable to add side pockets in. While one of the pocket bags would still be stitched to the front side seam, the other bag would simply be stitched to the zipper tape. (Rather than stitched to the back side seam.) While it's slightly trickier, it's still definitely doable! So don't get discouraged.

However, if you do have questions, don't hesitate to get in touch--Because I can help walk you through it! Do you guys have any garments that you want to add side pockets to? I would loooove to see them!

(So. Ready to learn how to add side pockets to a dress? Grab your printable tutorial on how to sew an inseam pocket today! Combine that with this post, and ALL of your dresses will have pockets in no time.)How To Add Side Pockets To A Dress: Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

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