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Adding Hidden Side Pockets to Anything (skirt, pants, shorts, etc.)


A friend asked me a few weeks ago how to add side pockets into a skirt that she had. I tried explaining in words…..but I could tell the verbal explanation just wasn’t making sense. It was sounding way more complicated than it needed to be.  I could see that if I had fabric in my hands to show her, she’d be able to see just how simple it really was.


So, I figured there may be others out there as well, who would like to see the simplicity of adding in basic side-seam pockets.  Because really, you’ll love how easy they really are.





You’re going to especially LOVE this if you’re one who feels lost without a simple little pocket to drop in some chapstick, a few tissues, or maybe a cell phone.




Elli didn’t really NEED pockets in this skirt (she’s not necessarily a “pocket” kinda girl) but it was just easier to show you in small form.  (And she has like 39 skirts to choose from, haha…… it was easier this way.)




But then, Elli decided she liked having a place to put her little hands.  And her “treasures”.  (Because the only other pockets are on her jeans…….and she said those are “too tight” on her hands.)  And, HA, now she likes pockets………go figure. ;)




As long as your skirt, pants, shorts, capri’s, culotte’s, gauchos (are you catching my drift??) have side seams, you can add in these simple set of pockets in NO TIME AT ALL!




Ready to insert a pair of pockets??


First of all, cut out a piece of paper that will serve as your pattern piece that is in a pocket shape.  Remember, the bottom of the shape falls down deeper, to keep stuff down in there……..while the top part is angled down and out of the way.  It’s kind of like a tear drop shape with a straight side.  Or you could make it square at the bottom….both work.  If you have a hard time eyeballing a shape and making it work, try tracing around a pocket in an existing skirt/pants.


Then, lay your pattern piece down on your skirt/pants and see if it looks like the right size.  It may also help to try on your article of clothing and the place the pocket pattern piece in position and imagine sliding your hand down in there.  Is it big enough?  Too big?  Wide enough?  Etc.?  Adjust if needed.


Then fold your fabric in half (so that wrong sides are together, or right side together….doesn’t matter which) and cut around your pattern piece, adding a 1/4 inch all the way around (for seam allowance).


Then you should have 2 identical pieces that are mirror image to each other.  This will be enough for one pocket.  Repeat and cut out 2 more for your other pocket.


Then, hold our pattern piece up to your skirt/pants and decide where you want your pocket to be.  (Ooops, my pattern piece is upside down in the photo but I just needed the length of that straight edge.)  Then place pins at the top and bottom of that straight edge… mark where your pocket will sit.  (Trying on your clothing may help with determining placement as well.)


Use a seam ripper to pick open the seam between the two pins.


Adjust your pins so that they’re out of the way (but still marking the top and bottom of pocket placement) and continue ripping open the seam a bit past each pin.  You’ll need some room to insert those pockets, so maybe up to an inch past each pin?  Whatever works best.  (And keep those pins in there so you’ll know right where to place those pockets.)


Now, turn the skirt inside out and place the “right” side of one of the pocket pieces down and line up the straight edge with the side seam you just opened up.  See how the pocket is laying over on the right side of the opening?  But it’s actually lining up with the opened edge of the fabric from the left side??  (Use the pics below to determine which pocket piece to attach to which side.  That can get a little confusing…..but hopefully the pics will help.)


The fabrics are pinned together with right sides together and the pocket is centered between those two pins that you first placed there to mark placement.  See that?


Here’s another peek if you lift up the pocket piece.


Now, sew the pocket to the skirt, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  However, if your side seam was more or less, you won’t use a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Just match whatever your skirt/pants has……so that the side seams will match up correctly once the pocket is in.  (I forgot to do this and had to go back and do it later…….but zig-zag these raw edge together.)


Then repeat with the other half of the pocket……inserting it on the other side seam opening.  Just be sure that the top and bottom of each pocket piece are lined up with each other.  (And again, zig-zag the raw edges of where you sewed the pocket to the skirt, just like I mentioned above…….but forgot to do myself.)


Then, press the two pocket pieces together matching them up evenly.  Starting at the top of the pocket, line up the pocket pieces, right at the top where the seams are where they were attached to the skirt.  Pin in place.  (This just holds them together evenly……if you don’t need the pin, skip it.)


Then, fold up the side seams of the skirt, over the pocket.  Make sure they’re flapped up on both sides.


Keep it pinched in place and then slide out the pin that was there in the last step and then re-insert it so that it now holds the pockets nice and even AND keeps the flaps up from the fabric from the skirt.


Then, do the same thing at the other end of the pocket pieces where they meet the skirts’ side seam.  And then add pins all the way around the pocket pieces…….keeping them together evenly.


Now, start above the pocket (left side of pic below), and ABOVE where you ripped open the seam and back-stitch a few times to re-secure that side seam.  Then begin sewing right along where that side seam was (and use the same seam allowance) and then begin sewing past where the pocket begins, by a 1/4 inch.  Then keep your needle down, lift up your presser foot, adjust your fabric, and then begin sewing all the way around the pocket……using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Do the same thing at the other end……sewing past the point where you opened up the side seam and back-stitch several times to secure it closed.  Then, zig-zag around the pocket edges to keep them from fraying.


Now, turn your skirt/pants right side out and iron flat……..making this pocket more or less, invisible.





That wasn’t too bad, was it?  Now go and add pockets to whatever you’d like.


Good luck!




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Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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