How to Add Pockets to Pocketless Skirts & Dresses

How to Add Pockets to Pocketless Skirts & Dresses

– We all have them, those
beautiful skirts and dresses that we fall helplessly in love with, welcome them into our
wardrobes with loving arms, only to find out that
they bear the inexcusable and blasphemous feature
of not having pockets. Furthermore, if you were a
garbage human like myself and make your own skirts and dresses only to neglect the all-important pocket, then do please come along
with me on this adventure as we explore the all-important
and very, very simple skill of adding pockets to your wardrobe. The first thing to do is to
put on your dress or skirt and measure how far down
you’d like the pockets to sit. I’ve done this many times before, and so I know that my pockets
should sit 8-1/2 inches down from the waistline. I don’t know if this is standard, but it can’t hurt to have a quick measure. The pocket opening should
sit just below the full hip so that it doesn’t create bulk where the skirt fits closer
to the body above this point. Now it’s time to draft the pattern. Here’s my trusty old pocket piece that I’ve used for
everything over the years. So the good news is that once you’ve drafted
your pocket pattern, you can treasure it forever
and reuse it on everything. But I’ll draft a new one today just so that you too
can join in on the fun. First, draw a straight line wide enough to fit your hand comfortably. Mine is five inches wide, although, I believe my original piece was a bit wider at 5-1/2. (bright piano music) Next, I’m just roughly
tracing around my hand as if I’ve got my hand in
this hypothetical pocket just to get a sense of
how large it should be. (bright piano music) All of that rounded space
below the bottom point of your opening line is
going to be the safe space for things to sit without falling out. So I’m just going ahead and
making this a little bit deeper because the more pocket room,
the better, in my opinion. Finally, I’m just using a French curve to clean up the shape
so that all my curves and lines are nice and neat. However, if you don’t
have a French curve handy, fear not as the pocket will
sit inside your garment and nobody will actually see it, so you don’t technically need to have perfectly rounded shapes. The grain line should sit
parallel to your opening line. (bright piano music) And then it’s time to
begin some pocket wizardry. Again, as nobody will see these, really you can use whatever
material you would like for your pockets. I’ve got so much cabbage
left over from the lining of my Edwardian skirt project, so I’m going to go ahead and use this. It’s just a nice lightweight black cotton, and it seems I’ve already
cut some pockets out of this. Also, yes, I’m aware
that I’m cutting this out on the cross grain. Apparently it worked just
as well for the left pocket, but whatever the grain, be
sure it’s running straight along that flat edge. (bright piano music) Oh, and balance marks,
we mustn’t forget those. (bright piano music) Then I’m marking all
around my pattern piece with a bit of tailor’s chalk or pencil if your fabric is lighter or, of course, you can draft your pattern with seam allowance included and just cut the pattern
pieces out directly, but I’m just used to
drafting patterns net, so this is just how I prefer to work. I’m then cutting out the pieces with roughly 1/2 inch seam allowance. I’m not usually too careful about this since I always end up trimming
down the seam allowance to about a quarter of an
inch when I finish the edges, but if you’re not stitching
along traced lines, do be careful to cut
your edges out evenly. (bright piano music) Now it’s time for a bit of surgery, measuring down 8-18 inches or whatever your waist to pocket measure and then marking the
additional five inches for the pocket opening
and marking both places. (bright piano music) Then I’m going in and carefully
splitting the side seam between these points and
extending about a 1/2 inch beyond on either side so that I
have a bit of room to breathe when inserting the pockets. By the way, since my skirt
has a side zip closure, I’m only inserting one
pocket into the side seams as the zip would get in
the way on the other side, but one pocket is better
than no pockets, right? (bright piano music) Flipping the skirt inside out, I’m then pinning the
pocket pieces in place with the right sides together so the right unmarked side of the pocket should lay against the right
outer side of the skirt with the edges matched
up, if that makes sense. (bright piano music) Then they’re stitched down like so. (bright piano music) The skirt is then taken to the iron and the pocket flaps pressed inward so that a nice clean crease
is formed at the seam line. (bright piano music) And then pinning the edges of
the two pocket flaps together. (bright piano music) And it’s stitched into place
beginning a little ways down on the side seam to close
any of the excess distance that was still split. (bright piano music) Now, I don’t know how normal people, that is people who don’t literally
live in the 19th century, finish their edges. So if you know of a nice quick
and modern way to do this, please go right ahead and do so since my knowledge of modern sewing method is severely limited. However, I shall be going
ahead and finishing these edges in the historical manner
by turning and felling. One side of my seam
allowance is trimmed back to about an 1/8 of an inch,
the other two a quarter, and then the larger side is folded down over the smaller edge. This is then secured into
place with a whip stitch. (bright piano music) And with that, the newly
pocketed skirt is complete! (bright piano music) Go forth, my merry sewing friend and give yourself the pockets you deserve.

100 Replies to “How to Add Pockets to Pocketless Skirts & Dresses”

  1. I love your voice! Happening upon a pocket tutorial is a lovely enough surprise, but finding one with a merry, musical, lilting narration was an extra treat:)

    Also, would you mind including a list of some of the terms you use in your tutorials for us wee sewing babes to later look up? It would be much appreciated! I did quite a bit of pausing, re-watching and googling to figure out what on earth we were trimming and felling (since my first thought was forestry management!).

  2. For some reason…your voice sounds like what I expect Anne of Green Gables to sound like. It's very pleasant.

  3. The almighty pocket – excellent! I'm a tailor but never have been asked to create a pocket before. Thank you for the clear tutorial

  4. The like button cannot express how much I need this in my life! So often I resort to jeans because my skirts don't have a pocket. This is a game changer.

  5. I put pockets in everything I make. I used a pair of my husband's flannel pajamas to make my pattern (pockets in pajamas are apparently a thing in men's clothing) and they're the perfect size and shape. 🙂 This video makes me happy.

  6. would you do a video on how to identify grain and cross-grain on different types of fabric? I understand it in theory, but in practice often get it wrong:(

  7. Excellent tutorial. I was almost tempted to buy a deeply discounted wedding dress once because it had two pockets. It seemed so miraculous twenty years ago!

  8. This is beautiful!! Any chance you remember the pattern you followed (or created) for this skirt?? Would love a link to the pattern, or a video tutorial if you created the skirt yourself!!

    Also, love your videos. The details, the pursuit of excellence, the creativity, and your unique video style make for fantastic videos for perfectionists like me! <3

  9. One must have pockets! I recently made a really pretty dress for my daughter, I believe the pockets are a tiny bit low, but a pocket that is a tiny bit low is 100% better than no pocket!

  10. I work as a professional theatrical costume-maker & tailoring stitcher. I can trace my interest into pursuing this as a career back to my childhood dress-up clothes. I remember being so annoyed at the faked pocket welts and flaps, and vowed that one day I would put functioning pockets into everything I sewed. And I have. Pockets are very important!

  11. Your Cursive!! So pretty, like everything you do 🙂 Thanks for this tutorial, I shall implement it immediately.

  12. I love pockets and I love your tutorial. It is very clear
    I am wondering if this will also work for a reversible skirt?
    Thanks again

  13. Helpful I’m Male that like to wearing skirts in hot weather as shorts are uncomfortable.
    I really need pockets for wallet and phone as I rarely carry a bag so was happy to know I could add them. Thanks

  14. Everytime i buy pants/skirts/dress i WILL ALWAYS check for a pocket😂😂 if it doesn't i will consider other designs immediately

  15. The amount of trackys (I think most people called them joggers) that are so soft but don't have pockets is amazing, I'll have to give this a go! Thank you =D

  16. ive only recently gotten into sewing clothing (Much more into simple repairs than actually making things) and this feels like something I should have naturally thought of but somehow is still amazing to me. Also, ive never heard of turning and felling (guessing on the spelling) to do seams and it looks so beautiful! I'm way too lazy to put that level of detail into my own work (A basic zig-zag on the machine to cover the seams holds it together enough that i don't fear fraying but looks really sad), but its a wonderful method i may put into use in smaller segments where i need to clean up seams.

  17. I sew my own garments, and I personally don't add pockets because I feel that the weight added by having something in a pocket ruins the drape of the fabric

  18. omg this is so helpful! and your handwriting is so amazing. your voice is so satisfying and the background music fits this video soooo well ! thank you for making this video~

  19. As I always wear a skirt or dress, I have several pocketless skirts, as well as a couple of skirts with far too shallow pockets. Now that you have demonstrated how I can deepen them, I definitely want to do so, since fake or too shallow pockets are a betrayal of the worst sort.

  20. I‘m too lazy for felling so as soon as I have a serger I‘ll do this to all my skirts and dresses! I tend to not sew the skirt allowance flat onto the pocket though, because then it won’t lay as flat. On wide skirts it doesn’t really matter but on tighter skirts it really makes a difference 🙂

  21. Pro tip: When you're using a sewing machine place your pins diagonally and not verticly to the needle. This way the needle will pass over the pins without breaking them and you don't have to stop every once in a while to remove the pins from the fabric.
    Also your work is perfect and the videos are very helpful cause I'm planning to make a historically accurate victorian gown when I can afford all those beautiful fabrics that I'm going to need.
    Sending love from Greece <3

  22. I discovered how easy it was to add pockets to existing garments by watching this video. So far, I've added pockets to a couple of fancy dress costume pants I sewed a couple of years ago. I finished my edges with an Overlocker, as I am definitely a 21c sewer.

  23. I've always loved how pockets are shaped a bit like lungs since having them always let's me breathe easier.

  24. It is currently 9:30am and I want a pocket in this skirt by the time I leave the house at 11:30! I also need to do hair and makeup and eat lunch! Wish me luck!

  25. I have only rudimentary sewing knowledge. Nonetheless, I do pray to one day have the resources, attention span, and organizational skills to sew all my own clothes.
    For instance, a couple years ago I saw a Simplicity dress pattern I simply fell in love with! #8257. Regardless of my lack of sewing skills to make this dress, I bought the pattern and began a hunt for material to make the longer styled dress out of.
    (For those unaware, modern sewing patterns almost always have patterns for different versions of basically the same design, such as a sleeveless dress with sleeves, or a portrait collar coat with instructions for a layered portrait collar. I specified "modern", because I am much less aware of what antique patterns were like.)

    After a few weeks, my search was over! I delightedly found at my local Joann's Fabric (wasn't on any site anywhere, Joann's or otherwise) a beautiful brocade with an all-over bold paisley design—all in bright brilliant teal and turquoise! (I love simply love greens, blues, and everything in between!) That day I picked up fabric, color coordinating zipper, and thread for when I someday have the time and resources to make the dress! (Don't worry. I've learned from my mother, who has been sewing off and on since childhood, to use either old bedsheets of a similar thickness and weight, or muslin to make a mockup first, so I don't risk ruining the material. 😉)

    I am delighted to have come across your channel, subscribed, and to see this video on how, when I make the dress, I can add pockets with ease! Yay!
    My mother has tried in the past to teach me to sew, but usually the demands on her time when I was a child, and now that I am an adult and so we're both busy, it often makes a schedule for lessons more unrealistic.
    In addition, she has projects abounding she would love to tackle. For instance, this year she reupholstered the couch and love seat my parents bought 19 years ago. All the cushions are still in good condition, and she found a beautiful dark chocolate brown upholstery material with large, slightly metallic beige and light green leaves all over. Much heartier fabric than the original material.
    She has also been getting into quilting after my 4-year-old nephew watched a quilting video with her of making a Christmas tree quilt. He asked her for one and her heart melted. Lol She told him she would try.

    I digress. The point being, we are both far too busy these days for her to teach me, and teaching also means her having to bench her own projects, of which many abound and she wants to accomplish them sooner than later, as she is starting to feel her 63-years. I don't blame her. Lol

  26. I’m making my first skirt now and so this is very helpful! My biggest struggle is wanting to keep sowing forever and finish it in one wonderful swoop but the late hours of the night always impede me into sleep. Which is a positive long hour sowing deferent bc fresh eyes and mind make it easier to not make silly mistakes. You are definitively my favorite youtuber, you are so real and don’t seem to force anything♥️

  27. Ugh, your handwriting is just one more absolutely perfect thing about you. Why are you so perfect!? Even your imperfections (like your existential crisis during your Kon Mari adventures) are perfect in every way. You’re Mary Fucking Poppins’, excuse my language, it was necessary for emphasis.

  28. You asked how people finish the edges on pockets in the modern era….I know this will be a dreadful shock, and it may even seem that I am teasing you quite horribly. Brace yourself.
    They don't.
    They simply sew the shapes together, and that is the end of the matter.

  29. Love it! I will remember that tip about starting them a little lower. I had pockets added to my work slacks one school year when I had to always have my phone with me, and they are right on the hip and tend to pull open a little, showing an unattractive sliver of lining.

  30. Along with putting pockets in all my dresses, I also put them on all my pairs of bloomers. I never need a purse.

  31. Thanks, I was just planning to add pockets to my lounging pants. I hate not being able to pick up stuff and carry it to a destination without doing something first. Your pattern making is superb!

  32. This is great! 😚❤️ I have a question with the balance marks on the pattern, what's the purpose of that btw

  33. I normally where trackys (I think they're called joggers everywhere else?) But, I do have 1 black miniskirt and I don't where it at all, because I cannot live without pockets!

  34. An easier way than turning and felling is just sew it inside out. If you want bonus points you can sew the edge again as in the step you showed here.

  35. pulls out all the skirts and dresses I love that have no pockets yay now I can actually wear my lovelies!!!!

  36. Thank you for such an easy to follow tutorial! After watching this I dared to try it on my own skirt and I actually made it! I never really understood how to make pockets when other people explained but it was very easy to follow you and you have such a wonderful voice. Thank you for your amazing work!

  37. Can you please show us a journal or something? I am in love 😍 ❤️💙 with your handwriting.

  38. You are my savior!! I’m currently knees deep in hand making my Renaissance faire working garb for the first time, and as you so accurately stated, all skirts and dresses deserve pockets. But I was at a loss for how to make it without over complicating things. Thank you for your elegant and perfectly executed tutorial.

  39. Omg thank you!! I was trying out a pattern and decided I wanted pockets! So already had the seams done with space for pockets left. Yay now I know how to add pockets!!

  40. Hmmm, I did the same thing when I wanted pockets in my medieval costume when I was putting it together. I just drew a nice big pocket, and sewed it into the sides of my gown. Great minds think alike, yes? Loved your video, Bernadette! ~Janet in Canada

  41. I always use my phone to draft pockets. I've been hesitant to add pockets to anything but this has encouraged me. Industrially, pockets are overlocked at 1/2" SA.

  42. Drafted this pattern in red fountain pen ink. Then continued tracing onto my fabric, not switching pens. This is why we don't sew after midnight. At least it's going on something black. And Diamine, for the most part, has inks that come out with modern detergents.

  43. Great video but for heavens sake get rid of that annoying "music" (and I use the word loosely!).
    It is very distracting when one is trying to concentrate on what you are doing!

  44. A) Thank you so much for this video, I have a few items I need to fix and this was a wonderful reference video.

  45. Your video is fun to watch but also extremely helpful! I fancy myself a skirt connoisseur of sorts. I of course have my own collection and thus am familiar with the tragedy of which you speak. For helping remedy this, you have my utmost gratitude!

  46. When I was using more stereotypically female clothing I was found myself hating the small/fake/non-existing pockets, now I have a pant where I can actually put a TABLET on, another where I can put 2 cellphones and my wallet… I'm gonna add those kinds of pockets to my skirts, definitely.

  47. I am deeply afraid of electric machines (no i'm not joking. They're too loud!) but i assume the lot of this could be done with a back stitch of sorts so Imma do that

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