It’s finally warm and sunny outside, which means that I have ample opportunities and a not-so-subtle excuse to wear my summer dresses. And, of course, to go buy some more. However, I’m always so distraught to rediscover that the majority of my lovely summer-wear lacks any pockets. I’m a pocket girl, and I can’t imagine not being able to slip my phone, keys, chapstick, and/or wallet into my pockets and run out the door.
A purse/bag has its place, but 1) I like knowing that my most important items are closest to me, and that 2) I don’t need a purse to accompany me everywhere I go. For instance, I’m a college student, and that means I carry a heavy backpack around. I often leave my backpack in study rooms, classrooms, and other places for a while to go get some campus food, visit the computer lab, etc. Therefore, I need somewhere to store at least my phone, money, and school ID. Pockets are really a wonderful solution for this! Why don’t all dresses come with pockets? Beats me. I added my own in-seam pockets to my first summer dress of the year, and wrote a tutorial for anyone else who wants to do the same:
In-seam pockets are great for a few reasons:
- They are essentially invisible because they lie on the seam of the dress.
- The work needed to add these in is practically minimal.
- You are only restricted by the size of your dress as far as how large you want to make your pockets.
- Pockets in a dress! It’s like bacon for dessert.
See how much room there is in there? Large pockets are just so much more practical.
Ready to get started?
- Fabric for pocket lining
- Fabric Marker or Tailor’s Chalk
- Sewing Pins
- Seam Ripper (craft knife or scissors can be substituted)
- Sewing Machine (with thread)
1. Decide how big you want your pockets to be, and cut 4 from your fabric of choice (2 from the right side, 2 from the wrong side)I drew my pocket pattern piece from an existing pocket I love. You can download the pattern I used here:Pocket Piece
You can also find/make your own pattern piece. Keep in mind that the actual finished size will be smaller because of seam allowances, so be sure to add an inch or two all around to however big you want your pockets to be.
Cut a front and back side of the piece for each pocket. You will end up with 4 pieces. I used a thinner cotton material, but if you want your pockets to be more resilient, be sure to use a thicker fabric.
2. Mark where to place your pocketsUse a fabric marker or tailor’s chalk to mark off the placement of your pockets. It helps to mark the pocket placement while wearing your garment. Get a good feel for where your hands would naturally migrate to locate a pocket, and mark this with a line.
Take off your dress/skirt, fold it in half and make sure the marks line up so that both left and right pockets will sit evenly.
The lines you mark need to be just barely larger than the height of the straight line of the pocket piece. For my pockets, this meant that I marked off just larger than 8-inch lines.
3. Rip the seamsUse a seam ripper or craft knife to rip the seams right along the lines you marked off for the pocket placements.
The length you seam-rip should be barely larger than the height of the straight line on the pocket piece (my pocket line height was 8 inches, so I ripped 8.25 inches).
4. Pin the pockets to the dress and sew them onPin the straight edge of one of the pocket pieces to the front edge piece of the dress with right sides facing. Do the same for the back edge piece of the dress.
Sew the pocket pieces to the dress by sewing in a straight line next to the straight edges of the pieces. I used a seam allowance of 1/2”. Use the dotted lines in the image below as a reference. Don’t forget to lock your stitches in by backstitching at the beginning and end of the lines.
I skipped this brief step, but I suggest that you press your seam allowances toward the pocket, and then press the pockets away from the dress. This will help them sit flat and inside your dress.
5. Push the pocket pieces to the inside of the dress and turn the dress inside-outPush both of the pocket pieces to the inside of the dress.
Turn the dress inside-out.
6. Align the pocket pieces together and pin with right sides facingNow that the dress is turned inside-out, align the pocket pieces together and make sure that the right sides are facing.
Pin the pocket pieces together.
7. Sew along the seamStarting slightly above where you started seam ripping, sew along the original seam of the dress, then around the pocket, and back down the remaining seam of the dress slightly past where the seam was ripped. Sew this in one continuous line, and backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam. I used a 1/2” seam allowance.
If you need to, go slowly around the curves of the pocket to help keep an even line.
8. Finish the other pocket the same way, then iron the pockets to the frontIf you haven’t already done so, go back and add the other pocket on using the same instructions.
Working on the inside of the garment still, use an iron to press the pockets to the front of the dress. This will make it so that the pockets will not have a tendency to fall toward the back of the dress since they are sitting in the seam.