How To Add Pockets To A Dress Pattern

I love dresses with pockets! It’s the best place to stash that ever-so-needed tissue, or your cellphone when you’re waiting for a message, or just to slip the hand in for extra coolness. Let me share with you a step-by-step tutorial on how to add them to a simple dress pattern.

I found this Pinafore Dress pattern from Angela Kane and I’ll be using it as my playground. I think pinafores are meant to be loose on the body like an apron over another dress. I made mine to fit just like a shift dress. I didn’t like the optional patch pockets that came with it, so I made my own slide pockets based on an old dress. I figured along the way that I could’ve done this and that to make the process easier, but never mind. I have made mental notes on the short-cuts. For now, this is what I came up with and I am quite happy with it.

Warning: This tutorial is my own. And because I’m not an expert, there’s a chance that you will fail… hahaha! Just kidding. If you are as stubborn as I am, patient, determined, and you love pockets to death as I do, you’ll finish this in no time. If not, keep you life simple and leave the pockets out! : )

Here goes!

Download the free Pinafore Dress pattern from Angela Kane’s website. She has a wonderful video tutorial on how to put together the dress (her voice is luveleh). Or you can just use any similar dress pattern with a cut on the waist. Trace your pattern and cut your fabric as directed.

This is the part where I add the pockets, which is not in her video tutorial. Before sewing up the dress pieces together and adding the zipper, here’s what you do:

1. Draw your pocket shape on paper and cut. You will have two parts: the outer fabric (or the main dress fabric) and the lining fabric. Why? Because that’s how they do it (check your jeans or shorts). You don’t want a bulky pocket, so half of it should be made with a thin fabric. But if you don’t mind the bulk, go ahead and trace it on paper and jump to step 3!I used light denim for my main dress/outer fabric, and gray silk for the pockets/lining fabric. I wish I used plain cotton for the pocket lining, though. You will find later on that I changed the gray to black… an after-thought.

2. Trace pocket pattern on to fabric and cut. Make sure to add 5/8″ seam allowances all around.Make 2 sets. Stitch the two sections together.

I didn’t have a serger so I just zigzagged to seal the seam allowances.

3. Stitch pocket pieces, right sides together.  I know, right? The one on the left looks awful. I didn’t realize how tricky it was to seal the edges of silk fabric as you go around the curve! Ewww. My second attempt (at right) where I simply folded and zigzagged looks better. Anyway, no one will ever know. A serger is the best solution to this. That’s what I love about pockets. You can make all the mistakes in the world and no one will notice! Note to self: do not use silk for pockets next time!

4. Position the pockets on the dress skirt.This part is a bit very tricky so pay close attention. Turn the skirt right side up (with the pockets pinned in place).

5. Mark the pocket slant.

6. Tuck the pocket piece (front side) and the dress skirt front in towards each other. Leave the back side of the pocket piece out of this step. Try to visualize the effect (read: I can’t really explain it in words.)Pin in place.

You must be ready to die at this point.

7. Flip the dress wrong side out and stitch pockets to dress. Take your time and don’t give up now! If you’re not sure, it is best to baste stitch with a contrasting thread before doing the final stitches. Iron the seams as you go for a good finish.


This is what the front looks like…

And here’s the inside.I changed the gray pockets to black a few steps back because the gray showed when I sat (and the flaps would open) and it wasn’t nice.

Finish your dress and rock it!See what I mean? I think this girl Jen agrees. (No, no, that’s not me, okay). I think I’ll do leather next…

Thanks for checking in today. Enjoy!



3 thoughts on “How To Add Pockets To A Dress Pattern

  1. Pingback: Chinese Jackstone Revisited |

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