Pockets add functionality and style to a pair of pants, but they can be a little tricky to sew. You can easily add pockets to a pair of pants you're making from scratch or to a garment that doesn't have pockets. If possible, use a pattern to help create the pockets, then position the pieces and sew the sides of the pants to secure them.
Part 1 of 3: Cutting Fabric for Pockets
Step 1. Cut the mold pieces that form the pockets
If you're following a pattern that includes pockets, find these pieces and cut them out. If you are not using a pattern, trace and cut your own pieces to ensure they are all the same size.
- You can make the pockets as big as you like, but a 25x13 cm rectangle is a good size. If you want to use a pattern but don't have one, look for a free pattern online.
- To make a curved edge at the bottom of the pockets, cut a rectangle and round one corner.
Step 2. Attach the piece of paper to the fabric
Roll out the material you are going to use for the pockets and place the pattern piece on top. Secure the pattern in place with all edges on top of fabric. Insert a pin every 5 to 7, 5 cm along the edges of the pieces.
- The pins must pass through the paper and fabric.
- You can use any cotton fabric to make the pockets. For dress pants, it is common to use a thinner fabric used for linings.
Step 3. Cut at the edges of the paper template
Use fabric scissors to cut the material along the edges of the pattern you have attached to the fabric.
- Repeat once to make a second identical piece for the pocket. You'll need two pieces for each pocket, so create a total of four pieces if you want to add a pocket to each side of the pants.
- If you find cut marks on the pattern pieces, make the cuts in the fabric as well. They will be useful for aligning the pieces.
Step 4. Transfer the marks from the paper to the fabric
After cutting the piece of fabric for the pockets, use a chalk or fabric pen to transfer the pattern marks to the pieces of fabric at the same points.
- For example, there might be two dots on the paper indicating where the pocket opening should be. Mark the fabric at these same points.
- If you've created your own pattern, you won't have to worry about adding marks to the fabric.
Part 2 of 3: Positioning the Pockets
Step 1. Place a pocket piece on the edge of the pants and align the marks
Position the pants fabric with the right side (printed or outer) facing up and place a pocket piece right side down on top of it. Align the marks on the pocket piece with the marks on the pants. Position the pocket piece with the edge of it aligned with the edge of the pants fabric.
- If you're adding pockets to ready-made pants, you'll have to open the side seam of the garment to attach the pockets. Use a buttonhole opener to cut the stitches from the side seam of the waistband to the bottom of the pocket.
- If the pattern has cutouts, align them with the cutouts on the pants.
- Fasten the pocket so that it is not visible from the outside.
Step 2. Insert pins into the edges of pockets and pants
Clip the pocket piece into place in line with the edges of the pants. Insert a pin every 5 to 7, 5 cm from the top edge of the pocket.
Do not clip the front and back of the pants or pocket together. Attach only one piece of pocket to one piece of pants
Step 3. Sew straight stitch on the attached edge of pants and pocket
Set the sewing machine to a straight stitch and start sewing near the top of the pocket piece. Sew about 1.5 cm from the cut edges of the pocket and pants. Continue sewing until you reach the bottom of the pocket.
Remove pins while sewing. Do not sew over them, or you could damage your sewing machine
Step 4. Repeat for each pocket piece
After sewing the first pocket piece in place close to the edge of the pants, do the same with the second piece. Position the pocket on the other side of the pants, like the front if you sewed the back piece first. Sew this piece in the same way. Then repeat the entire process again to sew a front and back piece on the opposite side of the pants.
For example, if you are sewing a pocket on each side of the pants, sew one piece on the front and one piece on the back on each side for a total of four pocket pieces
Step 5. Iron the seam to flatten it
After sewing the pocket to the edge of the pants, spread the pieces with the seam created facing up and iron it flat. This will help improve the look of the pants when they're done.
For delicate fabrics, use the lowest possible setting on the iron. It's also a good idea to put a thin T-shirt or towel over the fabric before ironing
Part 3 of 3: Sewing the Pockets
Step 1. Extend the pants and pocket pieces with the right sides together
After securing the front and back pockets of the pants, lay out the stacked pieces. Position them with the right sides (printed or outside) of each piece facing each other. As you do this, make sure the front and back pieces are aligned.
- The edges of the pants should line up from the waistband to the hem.
- Line up the cuts in the pocket pieces or pants as well.
Step 2. Attach above and below the two points of the paper pattern
These are the dots that indicate the opening of the pocket. Fasten pocket and pants edges above and below these points, but do not put pins inside this area. The space should be 12, 5 cm.
- You can also put two pins forming an X at each of these stitches to remember not to sew that part.
- If you are not working with a pattern, measure 2.5 cm from the top of the pocket and a 12.5 cm line following the edge where the pants and pocket meet. Mark the space with pins at each end.
Step 3. Sew straight seams on the tight edges of the pants
Start by sewing at the top edge of the pants and stitch straight to the first stitch or X mark. Leave the seam 1.5 cm from the cut edges of the fabric.
- Sew slowly to make a straight seam line.
- Be careful not to sew over the pins, or you may damage your sewing machine. Remove pins while sewing.
Step 4. backstitch when you reach the mark with X.
When you reach the marked stitch, take your foot off the pedal to stop the machine, then press the reversing lever or button on the side of the sewing machine. Continue to hold the lever while applying light pressure to the pedal. Sew about 2.5 cm back to secure the stitches, release the lever, sew up to X again and stop the machine.
Go even slower when sewing backwards to avoid going too far
Step 5. Reposition needle under second X and sew forward
Cut the thread and lift the needle from the fabric. Raise the foot to release the fabric from the machine and reposition the pocket and pants with the second X or stitch below the needle. Remove the pins in this area, lower the needle and foot at this point and sew forward 2.5 cm.
Apply light pressure at the beginning of the seam to ensure that it does not go over the stitch
Step 6. Backstitch again and sew to the bottom edge of the pant leg
After backstitching, sew from second X to bottom edge of pant leg. Continue leaving seam about 1.5 cm from the cut edges to the end of the piece.
Repeat this process on the other side of the pants if you are adding two pockets
Step 7. Finish the pocket opening
After sewing the sides, turn the pants over, leaving the right sides out and the pocket material inside the pants. Then, sew straight on the edge of the pocket about 0.5 cm from the pocket.
- Repeat on both sides of each pocket.
- This seam will make the pockets more flat and beautiful.
Step 8. Sew around the outside of the pocket with the right sides together
Turn the pants inside out again and align the edges of the pockets with the right sides facing each other. Then sew straight 1, 5 cm from the edges of the material, starting at the side edge of the pants.
- Do not sew the opening, or you will not be able to use the pocket.
- Repeat for each pocket.
- After you finish sewing around the pocket, turn the pants to the right side.