“Thanks! It has Pockets.” Sounds familiar? It’s a meme you’ve probably bumped into quite a few times if you’re active in the online sewing community. In fact, pockets are a detail one often likes to have in a garment. Something you’d add if the pattern doesn’t have them already.

I figured I have way too few pocket tutorials (only one!) on my blog, considering the popularity, so I prepared some alternative pocket patterns for you.

These are mainly patch pockets, but there are also a few front pockets for skirts or pants and one more welt pocket design. As usual, the most difficult part was to invent names for the pockets!

Layered Patch Pockets

Here’s the first example. You could make these pockets in many different shapes, use only one color or type of fabric, or many. Just choose a material that doesn’t create too much bulk when stacking the layers together.

You start by drawing the final pocket shape. Place your hand on the pattern to evaluate the size. This rule applies to all pocket patterns.

Then draw as many layers as you want inside the pattern, as shown.

When copying the pieces, remember to mark the placement of the piece that will go on top of the one you’re copying (see the two dots).

Here’s the piece number 4 as an example. Add seam allowance all around.

Copy each layer in the same way. Only the largest piece will then have an opening which will require a “hem allowance”, too.

I recommend interfacing at least the largest piece. You could add a lining, too.

When sewing, start from the center and attach one layer at a time, folding the seam allowance under, and stitching near the edge.

layered patch pocket

Pleated Patch Pocket

Now something more familiar: a patch pocket with pleats in the center.

First, draw the patch pocket shape normally, adding a 3cm wide facing at the top. This will then be folded. You might also want to add a lining so that the pleats don’t open when you put something in the pocket.

The lining starts where the facing ends. Copy the lining pattern before adding the pleats.

Then add the pleats. In this case, there’s a box pleat in the center and knife pleats on both sides of it.

The box pleat requires double the amount of pleat allowance compared to the knife pleats.

pleated patch pockets pattern

You could sew the pleats like tucks if you don’t want a lining. The stitching will keep the pleats in place.

Here’s the pocket with the pleats sewn. You can also see the edges and the facing already pressed.

And here’s the final pocket, attached to the base.

Pleated patch pocket denim

Tulip Patch Pocket

Or another layered pocket. But it kind of looks like a tulip. I’d see these pockets on a dress or a coat.

This is a bit more complex, both to draft and to sew. I have a basic layering tutorial here.

Start by drawing the pocket shape. Add the central line. Then draw the layers one at a time, from the bottom up.

Each layer, except number 6, has a little facing (the dashed line). And each layer is attached at the base of the previous layer, underneath it. In this case, at the base of the two previous layers actually: See layer 4, as an example.

creating pockets

Copy each layer and its facing piece. There will be a lining to finish the edges and to make the inside of the pocket clean. It will follow the edge of layer 6 and the base of the facing of layer 5 at the top.

creating pockets

Now you have the pattern, but then you need to sew the pockets, too! There are lots of pieces to keep in order. If your fabric has a right and a wrong side, the facing pieces must be cut the wrong side up.

First, you attach the facing to each layer, and then attach the layers together in the opposite order, starting from the top.

sewing the tulip patch pocket creating pockets

Lastly, you’ll then attach the lining, right sides together. Leave a little opening in the bottom so that you’ll be able to flip them right side out. You’ll then close the hole when attaching the pocket to the base, stitching near the edge.

tulip, layered pockets

Square Pocket

The title doesn’t describe more than the shape of this pocket. It’s another layered pocket where the final shape is created by the base fabric, not the pocket piece itself. I saw this on Pinterest and thought I should definitely try making one.

This time the pattern is quite simple: you draw the smaller square first. It will be the final pocket shape, the hole your garment will have.

Then you draw the larger square around it (about 2-3cm larger on each side). That’s the actual pocket piece size. There will be two pocket pieces, the small and the large pocket bag. The small pocket bag will be folded where the dashed line is, so that it coincides with the smaller square level.

The part between the two squares will become the facing. Add seam allowance to the inner edge.

So, mark the smaller square shape on your garment, add a seam allowance (inwards), and cut a hole.

Attach the facing, right sides together, around the hole. Cut the corners.

Fold the small pocket piece opening and then stitch the pocket bags together.

Flip the facing to the wrong side and press. Then attach the pocket bag under. Just a note: you’ll need to find a way to keep the facing in place when wearing the garment.

This is the result. Quite cool, huh?

Circle Pocket

The previous design brings us to a circle pocket that is done in a similar way. It’s just that you have to create the opening differently.

Here, again, the smaller circle is the final pocket shape, the hole in the garment. Then there’s the facing piece around it, where the pocket pieces will be attached. Use a compass.

Draw another arch for the pocket opening. You can use the same circle radius as you did when drawing the larger circle with your compass.

And finally, you’ll need the pocket bag. Draw it under the circle as shown.

Then copy the pieces. These are the 4 pieces you should end up with. Mark the pocket opening on the facing and the large pocket bag pieces.

Here’s a picture I took while sewing this pocket. You can see the facing already attached to the base fabric, and the small pocket bag to the pocket opening piece. Just about to attach the large pocket bag.

Then finally the top edge of the large pocket bag and the lower edge of the pocket opening piece (creating a full circle) will be attached to the facing so that it ends up looking like this:

Bamboo Pocket

One more patch pocket! This one is decorated with the origami bamboo folds. The basic tutorial explains the technique better, but here’s a quick pattern draft sequence.

Add a seam allowance around the pocket as shown, before drawing the bamboo folds. It’s easier to cut the fabric this way, as you can simply follow the pattern edges.

Start adding volume for the bamboo folds from the bottom. You always fold upwards.

You could also make bigger folds than 3cm BTW.

There will be a lining underneath to keep the folds in place. It’s attached to the top layer at the upper edge so that you can simply fold it.

bamboo pocket pattern

The bamboo bodice tutorial mentioned earlier explains the sewing process, too, so I just took pictures to show the pocket after the lining has been attached.

Like the tulip pocket, it has an opening at the bottom before it’s sewn to the base fabric. And for some reason I placed the pictures here in the wrong order.. 😀

Here’s the final pocket.

bamboo pocket

Faux Double Welt

Enough with the patch pockets. Let’s see this welt pocket.

It’s a single welt that looks like a double welt because of a pleat that has been added.

Begin by drafting the welt pattern piece as normal. You’ll find instructions at the welt tutorial, if needed.

Then add a pleat in the middle of the top layer, as shown. The measurement is for a 1.5cm high single welt.

faux double welt pattern, adding a pleat

Here you can see the actual welt piece folds pressed before attaching it: It has a pleat, and it’s also folded in half.

Otherwise you can sew this pocket as a normal single welt pocket. This is how it’ll look like.

faux double welt pocket

Folded Pocket Flap

You could use this pocket design for your skirts and pants. The pocket flap is cut in one piece with the small pocket bag. This gives you the opportunity to use a different fabric for it, to add some color or texture to your pocket.

This is a simplified version of a front pocket, without a facing. You can see a basic example here.

Draw the pocket opening and the pocket bag as usual, adding a few millimeters to the side seam for ease. Then add the pocket flap shape, the way you’d like it to look in the end.

When copying the small pocket bag piece, you need to flip the pocket flap shape around to unite it all in one piece.

You can choose whether you prefer to cut the flap facing piece separately or unite it to the skirt piece. However, if you cut it separately, you can more easily stitch a stay tape at the pocket opening, attaching it into the seam line.

When sewing, you’d first attach the flap facing to the skirt piece, and then unite the small pocket bag+flap piece to the skirt at the pocket opening, which in this case has the flap shape. And finally attach the large pocket bag to the small pocket bag edge.

creating pockets

Alternative Pocket Opening Shape

This is just one example. You could create all kinds of different shapes. You don’t have to limit yourself to the basic straight or round line for the front pockets.

So, instead of a straight line, draw your preferred shape. Otherwise the pocket construction is normal.

creating pockets

In this case the two pocket bags are cut in one piece, which works when you don’t mind using the same fabric for the pocket bag, as for the garment. Otherwise, you could add facing pieces, or separate the pocket bag pieces and cut just the large pocket bag in the same fabric as the garment.

I made this pocket in a contrasting color to show the shape of the pocket opening better.

creating pockets

External Pocket Bag

Sometimes you see the pocket bag added on top of the garment, almost like an actual bag hanging at the waist. In this case you then have to make an opening using the welt construction. I added a flap, too.

The pocket bag can be completely separate, only attached at the waistline, or as here, attached also to the side seam.

Draw the pocket bag shape on your main pattern piece and mark the opening for the welt. Then draw the pocket flap.

Copy the pieces and draw the double welt pattern as usual. You don’t need more pocket bag pieces, but if you’d like to make the inside of the pocket look nicer, without the welt seam allowance showing, you could line it, using the same pocket bag pattern piece.

The pocket bag piece could also be cut on the fold, as it has a straight seam. You only need to mark the pocket opening on the uppermost pocket bag piece.

creating pockets

Here are a few pictures of the sewing process.

creating pockets

Ideally this pocket bag would be made in the same fabric as the rest of the garment, but for the purpose of this tutorial I made it in a contrasting color, making only the waistband in the same fabric.

creating pockets

So there you have them; all 10 pocket designs. It’s easy to invent more, for example, by using different fabric manipulation techniques. What will you invent?

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  1. Barbara Showell Reply

    These pocket tutorials are sooooo good! I wasn’t expecting to get wowed by pockets, but there you are.

  2. I was actually looking for something just like your Circle Pocket. That comes at the right time !
    I like the Alternate pocket shapes ideas… Might come in handy 😀

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