Introduction: How to Add Pockets

About: Former long time designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!