Top 10 awesome pockets (and a few tutorials)

Top 10 pockets title image

Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and I have to make things functional as well as beautiful, but I can hardly sew a garment now that doesn’t have a pocket.  It’s the first thing the kids look for when they try something on and it’s the first thing to drive me crazy if it’s missing.  (I once *naively* bought a winter coat with no pockets!!  Who would design such an evil garment of clothing?!).

This top 10 list hopes to combine function with style by giving you some inspiration and tutorials for adding pockets to your own sewing projects.

Click on any image below to go straight to the source.

10.  Knotted pockets

I  came across this little pattern and quick tutorial for knotted pockets and just loved it.  This would really personalise any garment.

I think it would look great on the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress version B.

I love this pocket, but a little knotted one would really make this dress unique.

9.  Cut-out pockets

Piping plus and original pocket – what could be better?  With this technique you could play around with the size and shape to get exactly what you want.  I also love the contrasting fabric on the inside.

8.  Slanted pockets

As useful as in-seam pockets are (see below) sometimes you want to make a feature of the pocket and not hide it away.  This is where slanted pockets come in handy.

banyan shorts - side view

Here’s a great tutorial for adding slanted pockets to a trousers pattern from VeryPurplePerson.

7.  Kangaroo Pockets

The good ‘ole kangaroo!  Yes, it’s useful for sweatshirts – but why stop there?  Here is one of the first skirts I EVER made.  You can’t go far wrong with pockets and pom-poms!

I love this linen skirt with the added vintage doily by Carli of Stitched Rabbit.

6. Floating pockets

Now, I’ve never made a floating pocket but, after reading this tutorial from ikat bag, I’m going to by trying one soon.

And while you’re there checking out this awesome floating pocket, you mind as well read up on the whole pocket series – there are 25 variations for you to choose from!

5. Welt pockets

We usually associate welt pockets with formal attire such as suits.  However, I think welt pockets are great for the exact opposite reason – you can add contrasting fabric on the inside, giving your garment and a subtle, yet exciting burst of colour or design.

Here are my (bad phone photos – sorry!) of my first welt pockets (post on the completed shorts to come later – if ever – the pockets worked fine but the shorts didn’t turn out as I imagined).

welt pockets in progress

completed welt pockets

I don’t usually go for the video option in tutorials but to make these pockets I watched this video (about 100 times).  It’s clear and simple.

If you’re not a fan of video tutorials then have a look at this welt pocket sewalong by the Coletterie.

And, to make a welt pocket with a flap, you can follow this tutorial by my friend IRL, Nele, from spiegelstiksels.  (It’s a guest post for Sew Mama, Sew so it’s in English!).

If you don’t want to go to the trouble of full-blown welt pockets then you can always fake it with Shwin&Shwin’s faux welt pocket tutorial.

4.   Bubble pockets

This method of pocket-making involves adding some elastic around the opening of the pocket for a bubble effect.  Here is my version from Sewing for Boys – The book.

Treasure pocket shorts 1 - KCW Spring 2013

I also love this version from Backstitch.  For me, this photo captures functionality with oh-so-cool kid style.

You can see loads more of versions of these trousers/shorts in the Sewing for Boys Flickr group.

Another great bubble pocket pattern is from Elephants and Elegance.

I love this version with the piping.

For a similar effect you can also follow this tutorial for bubble pocket capris, also from Elephants and Elegance.  (As I’m writing this I’m scrolling through the great patterns and tutorials on this site – I’ve mentally noted at least 4 I want to try!  They all look amazing).

3.  Zippered pockets

Zippers are scary…and pockets can be scary…so put them together and it’s double scary, right? Not necessarily.  Here are two great tutorials to get you through.

First it’s Sanae Ishida’s super beautiful top with full instructions on how to do the pockets.

Next is from Prudent Baby, also a very clear and useful tutorial.

2.  Patch pockets

Patch pockets can take on many forms.  In fact, I could have easily written an entire top 10 on patch pockets alone.  Here are a few of my current favourites and some links to tutorials.

geranium dress owls- margot

Tutorials for patch pockets (or variations of):

1.  In-seam pockets

In-seam pockets are probably the first thing we think of when we think pockets – they are sewn right into the side seam and are usually very discrete – more function than a bold fashion statement.

Jess from Craftiness is not Optional gives quick and easy tutorial for adding in-seam pockets.

A similar tutorial can be found here by Sweet Verbena.  Both of these two are exceptionally clear.

Also, if you have a ready-to-wear item that needs pockets you can follow Ashley’s great tutorial.

For a variation of in-seam pockets (on a jersey dress) check this out.  It’s in Dutch but I got Google Chrome to translate and could figure it out (with a few giggles along the way  – suffocating stitches!?!).

So, if you have any clothes-sewing planned for the summer – go ahead and experiment with a few pockets.  You can never go wrong with a pocket!  This drawing by mirtlemyth sums it up perfectly for me.

Thanks for reading,

Laura x

17 thoughts on “Top 10 awesome pockets (and a few tutorials)

  1. Meghan

    Great round up of pocket tutorials! I too love pockets and also made the mistake of buying. Fall coat for my daughter that was pocketless :/ The coat was on sale for a great price and was so cute I couldn’t pass it up! I think I’ll check out that tutorial on adding pockets to ready to wear. Thanks for rounding up all this pocket-y goodness!

  2. April

    I adore pockets! And love each of these in your top 10! I made two skirts recently and meant to add inseam pockets…and forgot both times! Next time I hope I remember.

    1. laurabehindthehedgerow

      Ha! Why don’t you go back and add them (click on the link to tutorial)? Or you could always add patch pockets….or does the thought of doing more work on a ‘completed’ project fill you with dread (like it does for me!)?

  3. Adrienne

    I want to make some shorts for my son this summer so it will be so great to refer back to this post! I have tried something similar for faux welt pockets….of course both still require the “scary part” of cutting a hole in your fabric. 🙂 I never actually use the pocket when it’s on the back of pants, so why bother with a full pocket bag, right?

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    1. laurabehindthehedgerow Post author

      Thanks for letting me know, Ara. It’s updated now with a link back to your site! Love your work. Lx

  9. Jennifer

    I need to sew a few pockets into the interior of my coat for an upcoming international trip. Why does my husbands coat have 5 pockets and mine has 2?


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