Introduction: How to Add Pockets

Picture of How to Add Pockets

Why on earth a perfectly good jacket like this didn't have pockets in a normal place is beyond me.  As you can see, it did have pockets at the bust, but I'm not going to walk around all day acting as my own bra, thank you very much.  If you have ever been in a similar dilemma, or wanted to add pockets anywhere along a seam line (skirts, dresses, you name it), here's how.

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

All you need to add pockets is a strong fabric to make them out of, a seam ripper, and your sewing machine.  And of course something in need of a pocket.

Step 2: Make the Pocket Pattern

Picture of Make the Pocket Pattern

Lay your garment flat, and use a piece of paper to draw the pattern for your pocket.  In my case, I was constricted on the size of the pocket by the zipper and bottom of the jacket, which you can see drawn on the paper.  The pocket can be pretty close to the hem or zipper, but leave a little space to prevent the possibility of it getting caught in the zipper, or showing beneath the hemline.  Also, be sure to test the pockets when you sew them in the next step- it is easy to make them too small (which I did first time around).

Cut out your paper pattern when finished.

Step 3: Cut and Sew the Pockets

Picture of Cut and Sew the Pockets

Fold your pocket fabric into fourths, as you will need four layers to construct your two pockets.  Cut around the pocket pattern, adding whatever seam allowance you prefer (I left 1/4"). 

Now it's time to sew the pockets.  Only sew around the curves, the flat part stays open.  At first I only used a zig zag stitch to secure it, but found I needed a line of straight stitching as well for strength. 

Step 4: Rip Openings for Your Pockets

Picture of Rip Openings for Your Pockets

Pretty self explanatory.  Lay your pocket on the garment to determine placement, and pin to mark the top and bottom of the opening.  You will need to rip about a half inch to an inch more that the height of your pocket in either direction to allow for easy sewing. 

Step 5: Attach the Pocket in Front

Picture of Attach the Pocket in Front

Now the tricky part.  First, turn the pocket inside out, and lay it in the orientation that it will be when finished on the front of the garment, as shown in the first picture. 

The first seam will be attaching the bottom layer of the pocket to the top layer of the jacket, which are in between my fingers in the first photo.  Pin the seam in place, and sew.  Be very careful to make your new seam line exactly in line with the original seam line, as especially with this jacket there is a strong crease line and distressed coloring along the edge of the seam which will show if the seam is crooked.  I found it easier to sew with the jacket side facing up, as that allowed me to follow the original seam line more easily.  Sew as close as possible to the top and bottom of the pocket.  When finished, the pocket should look like the last two images.

Step 6: Attach the Pocket in Back

Picture of Attach the Pocket in Back

With the pocket positioned like in image 1, flip the whole jacket and pocket over.  Looking at the back, you will see the two raw seams that need to be attached (image 2).  Sew the seam along the original seam line of the garment, getting as close to the top and bottom of the pocket as possible.

Step 7: Topstitch the Pocket

Picture of Topstitch the Pocket

In my case, the pocket is going into a flat felled seam, so I will need to mimic the original stitching along the seam line.  If you are insetting your pocket in to a standard seam however, you can skip this step.

First, top stitch two lines of stitching along the front of the pocket, matching the style of the rest of the seam.  There will be a gap at the top and bottom (see image 2) from ripping additional room on either side of the pocket opening.  After adding the stitching to the pocket, top stitch over the remaining gaps, sewing through all layers of fabric.

Step 8: Tack Down the Pocket, and Done!

Picture of Tack Down the Pocket, and Done!

Now just tack down the pocket in key places (such as along the zipper and bottom in my case), and you're finished!  Never find yourself pocket-less again!


grannyjones (author)2016-03-02

This what irks me about women's ready to wear. The failure to place pockets where we need them, and to make those pockets large enough to use. A purse can be snatched, and if your phone is in it, how do you call the police? Women's safety and security is not even considered! I only feel comfortable with my keys and phone on my person, where men carry them. Why does it have to be so hard to find clothes that have usable pockets?

Boy, do I ever agree with you. My adult son can't understand why I keep losing my phone. Unlike him, I don't have several pockets in which to carry it or, maybe in truth, it's because I've become absent minded and messy! I've moved from a large two story into a small ranch and I'm overwhelmed with so much stuff. Thus is the plight of a sewer.

jillcatt (author)grannyjones2016-04-08

Two reasons come to mind: One, it costs more to put in pockets, so the garment's price point would be higher; and two, the fashion industry expects that women want to look as slim as possible, so especially on pants the pockets are often omitted. I agree that pockets are an absolute necessity. Interesting that you NEVER see pocket-less men's pants.

grannyjones (author)jillcatt2016-04-08

If it is cost, then women's pants should cost less than men's. Vanity comes FROM the fashion industry, so the skinny, helpless stereotype is here until WE stop it.

rainingfiction (author)2016-07-07

Great job! Could you add pockets to blazers or trench coats the same way?

Natalina (author)rainingfiction2016-07-12

You can add a pocket to any garment this way as long as you have a seam line in which to insert it.

jillcatt (author)2016-04-08

Natalina, if you're still out there: Thanks for this very, very well done Instructible! It would be great if you could do a similar one on how to do slash pockets. Much trickier, but so cool.

Natalina (author)jillcatt2016-04-29

You're welcome! If I ever have a need for adding slash pockets I'll be sure to make an ible. Those would be tricky, since without extra face fabric you'd have a visible patch of second fabric and some extra seamlines.

HazelAurum (author)2014-01-12

I was wondering, how could I safely add an inside pocket(s) to a leather jacket I recently purchased?

Natalina (author)HazelAurum2014-01-13

It's difficult to say without seeing the jacket. but theoretically you can safely add a pocket anywhere as long as there is a seam. However with leather you just need to take extra care, and would likely skip step 7 (topstitching), as I assume the seams would be clean and not flat felled like the jacket in this instructable.

dmarrero (author)2012-10-26

can this be done on a denim jacket? i purchased this jacket and it doesn't have side pockets?

Natalina (author)dmarrero2012-11-02

It will be a bit tougher because there is a lining, but yes you can add pockets to anything. I would put them on the seam closer to the side seam so there is enough space for the pockets themselves. The hard part will be sewing in the pocket, you'll be able to sew it to the front side, but you might want to sew in the back side by hand unless you want to rip out the whole seam along the hem to access the inside of the garment.

dmarrero (author)Natalina2012-11-02

yeah i don't wnat to rip out the whole seem either. hmmmm....i am just trying to picture it. i haven't done anything yet because i am still trying to figure out how. i want to practice on my favorite denim jacket first before i intent to do anything on the 100.00$ jacket :)

ilpug (author)2011-11-08

I have a jacket that I need a bunch more pockets in, to carry more geek crap.

canida (author)2011-09-21

Why is it that women's clothes never come with enough (useful) pockets? I basically refuse to carry a purse.

I've got to add an inside pocket on my blazer, as you can't get through conferences without somewhere to stash an iphone.

Kaelessin (author)2011-03-28

Wow! This came out very professionally!
I always like to see mods that look like they were always that way. Those seams made for the perfect opportunity!

I'm looking to add some vents and zippers to a pair of motorcycle pants I just picked up and a couple of the techniques displayed here will come in handy!

nurse1 (author)2011-03-28

You are so clever and talented! Thank you for a great instructable!

cleanslate33 (author)2011-03-27

This is great-thanks for the clear instructable! Would you mind telling me where you got your jacket? I would love to know, it looks super comfy!

Natalina (author)cleanslate332011-03-27

It's from H&M, and i got it recently so you can probably still find it in stores.

criggie (author)2011-03-27

I like five pockets in my pants, but they don't always come that way. This technique works fine for adding a fob or side pocket too.

rimar2000 (author)2011-03-27

Thanks for teach us this, it seems not so difficult. All my cheap jackets lack of one or more pochets.

I hate shirts without upper pocket, but these are different, isn't?.

Natalina (author)rimar20002011-03-27

Yes, these are slash pockets, which means they are inset into a seam with a slit opening. Usually pockets on a shirt would be patch pockets, which are sewn on top of a garment rather than inside a seam. Perhaps that should be my next instructable!

chibimaddy (author)2011-03-27

Excellent job with this. Very professional, and I'd never ever know that it wasn't made that way in the first place. Thanks for the great Instructable. :o)

Metal Crave (author)2011-03-27

Great Instructable!
Now I have one less thing to be picky about when I go shopping, now that I can just add pockets.

ilpug (author)2011-03-26

Well done. i have a coat that i want to completely fill with hidden pockets.

snideprime (author)2011-03-26

All winter long, I tried to put my hands in my non-existant pockets, Now I have the summer to add them. Late March, no sense in doing it now, hope I remember before October! Thanks!

jessyratfink (author)2011-03-26

Great pictures and very well explained. :D

caarntedd (author)2011-03-25

Nice work. Great instructable.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.
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