How to add pockets to a skirt or dress

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Adding pockets can be a great way to give your skirts and dresses a functional style! In this easy and simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to create inseam pockets, which are the most common type of pocket for skirts or dresses. You’ll have stylish and practical pockets in no time for all your skirts and dresses!

How to add pockets to a skirt

Adding pockets to a skirt

For a look that is both stylish and practical, why not customize your wardrobe by adding pockets to skirts or dresses? In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to add pockets to any skirt or dress that doesn’t have a lining. So now you can have an outfit with fashion AND function!

Pockets are so useful for keeping small stuff like lipstick, handkerchief, or other items we need on hand quickly. Of course, we use bags and larger storage fashion items, but pockets are still a must. This tutorial will teach you the essentials for creating inseam pockets – the most popular kind of pocket for this type of clothing.


This tutorial has been converted to a PDF file available HERE


Why add pockets to skirts?

Many of us wear pants, as they do come with pockets, but what about those moments you want to feel girly and still carry your stuff around?

Using a bag is the obvious solution, but what about that moment you just need to carry one small object or be able to move around without something hanging from your shoulder? Pockets are amazing and so easy to add to dresses and skirts, as they are invisible and easily hidden in the side seam.

Fuller skirts can hide wider pockets and are really helpful when shopping quickly for bread or when going out for a walk and need to put your keys somewhere close.

How to sew pockets into a skirt

Is it hard to add a pocket to a skirt or dress?

Ever liked something in a store and got discouraged because it didn’t have pockets? Buy any dress you love and insert your own pockets if it doesn’t have one. Because adding pockets to a skirt or a dress you already own is a really quick project that only requires beginner skills. So don’t get intimidated by having to make your own garment alterations.

What is the easiest way to add pockets to a skirt?

Inside pockets can be attached to the side seams of any skirt, including the skirts of dresses. If you have an existing skirt or dress, just unpick the side seam and add the pocket to the seam, on the inside of the garment.

The easiest way for sewing pockets into a skirt is to hold the skirt up to the wearer, which should hold her hands in imaginary pockets, to mark the spot. Put them slightly higher, to be sure they are able to reach them easily.

You can also use this technique to add pockets to pants that didn’t originally have them, but be careful with tighter ones, as items in the pockets may make them look bulky. Wider ones, however, can hold pockets very well, which would be just as invisible as skirt pockets.

What kind of fabric should I use for inseam pockets?

You can use the same fabric or similar in pattern if you like your added pocket to be less visible. But the inside fabric shouldn’t always match the outside one, as nobody will be seeing the inside of the pocket. This is why you can always use whatever fabric scraps you have, that are the right size. Old t-shirts and pillowcases go great for this project as well, if you can’t find a new use for them.

Can I add other types of pockets?

Adding outside pockets to an existing skirt is even easier than in seam pockets and pretty much the same as adding them to the apron I made in this tutorial. For outside pockets, the fabric should be the same or a match (contrasting or complementing) to blend well with the design of your skirt or dress.

These kind of pockets can be functional or decorative.

But for now, let’s just focus on how to add pockets to a skirt, inseam pockets in particular! Ready for some sewing magic? Here’s how to sew pockets into a skirt or dress without lining.

Inseam pockets

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What do I need to make and add pockets?

  • tracing paper to create the pocket template
  • pencil
  • fabric scraps
  • marker
  • seam ripper
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • matching needle
  • matching thread
  • presser foot to match your fabric type

How to make and add pockets to a skirt

Create the template and cut the pockets

  • Start by placing your palm on the paper tracing around it to create the pocket pattern. Keep the palm at an angle as if you were putting it into a pocket. Draw leaving a lot of room for wiggle. Also take the seam allowance into consideration, typically 1/4″, around the pocket as well as at the base (which you will be attaching to the seam of the skirt). What I did to make sure I got the right pocket placement is I asked my daughter to wear the skirt, then I placed the paper on the skirt at one side, pinned it to the fabric, and asked Ellie to place her palm over the paper as if she were inserting it into an existing pocket. Then I drew around her palm.

  • Cut out the pattern and place it over a piece of fabric that is matching the garment or is in a nice contrast fabric. Trace the pattern onto the fabric and cut it out. For each pocket, you’ll have two fabrics.

Sew pocket pieces to the seam of the skirt

  • Measure the side seams of the skirt, decide where to place the pockets, and mark the top and the bottom of the hole for the pocket.

  • Take the seam ripper and unpick the seams between these spots plus 1/2″ at the top and bottom to leave some room for sewing the pocket to the side seam later one. If your seam is serged, use this tutorial to rip the seam faster. Press the seam open once finished ripping it out.

  • Take the fabrics for the first pocket and start working with individual pieces separately. I found it easier to work on the wrong side of the skirt but you may feel like working with the skirt flipped onto the right side works best for you. Use whatever side is comfortable for you.

  • Place one of the pocket piece on one side of the seam. The right sides of the fabric and the pocket piece should match. The pocket curve should point downwards.
  • Pin the pocket piece to the seam.

  • Stitch together with 1/4 inch seam allowance then press this new seam open. If you wish you can top stitch onto the right side of the fabric to add more shape and structure to the pocket. Flip the pocket piece to a side.

  • Repeat with the second pocket fabric, pinning and sewing it to the other side of the seam in the exact same manner.

Finish sewing the pockets

  • Flip one piece of the pocket to the other side so that it matches the other pocket piece (they should now be right sides together).
  • Pin the raw edges together, plus those parts of the skirt seam that you ripped out earlier to make room for the pocket.

  • Sew the entire pocket plus the opened skirt seam, starting at the top of the pocket. Stop when you reach the other end of the skirt seam that is opened. Finish the raw edges of this seam with your favorite finishing technique (I got 12 suggestions in this tutorial). Most popular methods use a serger, overlocker or a zigzag stitch.

  • Repeat all these steps for the other pocket.
  • Turn the skirt right side out and give it a nice press around the pocket opening.

And there you have it! Fabulous side pockets in no time! I hope this tutorial has helped you to understand how to add pockets to a skirt.

If you have any questions leave a comment below and I’ll help you out with it. Don’t forget to share your finished projects with me, as well! I love seeing how creative you can get! Happy sewing!

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How to add pockets to a skirt

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ABOUT PETRO

Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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