How to Make a Dress: Part 7 – How to Make A Patch Pocket

Hello! : )
My cold is almost gone now and I’m feeling much better.

The next thing we are going to do is make the patch pockets. This stage is optional, but the dress looks better with them. Besides pockets are very handy.

How to Make a Pocket

Get your pocket piece and if you haven’t already, interface the WS of the hem (the top bit of the pocket). Turn 1/4 inch (6mm) along the top edge to the WS.

I did it wrong when I was making the dress and I turned it to the RS so I have “corrected” it on the photo with the red rectangle and drawn-in stitches.

Then you grade the seam allowances as shown and trim the edges like you did for the collar. Then you just neaten the raw edges with a zigzag stitch.

The next bit is a good idea. I’m not sure whether I thought of it or whether I got it from somewhere else. Anyway, get the pattern piece for the pocket, put it on top of a piece of cardboard such as you get from used cereal packets, and using your tracing wheel, trace the stitching lines. Cut out the cardboard shape and trim about 1 – 2mm) off the edges (otherwise it won’t fit into the pocket).

Turn the pocket RS out and poke the corners out with a knitting needle or something. If they need trimming to a sharper point you should do that now. Now insert the square into the pocket hem and press. Fold the raw edges over the cardboard and press. You probably can’t do the corners so leave them.

Take the cardboard out. Now it’s time to mitre the corners. As you have folded the straight edges, you now have creases as a guide. Fold the corner in as shown so that the creases line up. Press. Trim the corner as needed to get a flatter corner. Fold the straight edges down so that the corners look neat like the left-hand one below. Then just hand stitch the corner closed, sewing only the seam allowances.

Now it’s time to hem the top of the pocket in the same way as you hemmed the sleeve. Your pocket’s hem will have the little fold going under, so you should be happy if it doesn’t look like mine. : )
Secure your thread in the seam allowance at one side of the pocket. Take a stitch about 1/4″ (6mm) long inside the fold of the hem, then take a stitch of one thread only in the pocket. Repeat until you reach the end. Then secure your thread in the seam allowance and cut it off.

Now you can place your pocket on your dress. There may be markings such as Tailor’s tacks or dressmaker’s pencil to help you match it up, or you may like to put the pocket wherever you want. Pin and baste. Then topstitch in place by machine. I have tried hand sewing pockets in place, but my hand stitching is never strong enough for something like a pocket, so I machine stitch.

I tried topstitching one of the pockets on using my blindhem foot as a guide, but the results were terrible. Thank goodness for my quick-unpick. It’s better to topstitch with your regular presser foot.
And that’s it. Just repeat for the other pocket.
Next week we’ll make and apply the pocket flaps.
Until next time, Happy Sewing!
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner Haberdashery, 41 Market Place, Hornsea, East Yorkshire, HU18 1AP
Tel. +44 (0)1964 537901
P.S. Are you watching Kristie’s Homemade Britain on Channel 4? I especially liked last week’s episode because it was mostly sewing. On my mental wishlist is now a Free-motion embroidery foot. : )
P.P.S. Sorry for any typos; I don’t have much time for checking today. : )


4 thoughts on “How to Make a Dress: Part 7 – How to Make A Patch Pocket

  1. Hi,

    This is more relevant to one of your earlier postings but I'd like your advice on sleeves. I'm currently making a little girls dress and I'm having terrible trouble attaching the sleeves. I believe we have the same machine (Brother XR6600) – how an earth do you manage on tiny sleeves?! I use a Bernina at my sewing class and the base is small enough to fit a small sleeve around – not so with the Brother. I'd love to know how you get round this,



  2. Hi Alice,

    I sew the sleeves in with the sleeve inside the dress and with the body of the dress against the presser foot. You have to keep stopping and starting as you go, and it can be a bit fiddly, but it can be done! 🙂

    I hope that helps!
    Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    P.S. When I get to the post about setting sleeves, I'll post a short video of ease-stitching using the sewing machine.


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