Dress Up Your Dress: A Guide to Adding Pockets

Pockets are incredibly useful! They add functionality to any outfit, allowing you to carry essentials like keys, a phone, or a wallet. But what if your favorite dress lacks pockets? Fear not! Adding pockets to a dress is a fun and relatively simple sewing project that can be completed at home.

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about adding pockets to a dress, from choosing the right pocket design to sewing them on securely.

Selecting the Perfect Pocket

The first step is choosing the pocket type that best suits your dress and your needs. Here are some popular options:

In-seam pockets:

These pockets are discreetly hidden along the side seams of the dress. They are a great choice for dresses where you want the pockets to be subtle.

Patch pockets:

These pockets are sewn directly onto the outside of the dress. They come in various shapes and sizes, allowing for creative expression.

Welt pockets:

These pockets are more involved to create but offer a polished look. They are inset into the dress with a raised border.

Consider the style of your dress and the level of difficulty you’re comfortable with when choosing a pocket type.

Transform Your Dress with Pockets!

Gathering Your Supplies

Once you’ve chosen your pocket design, gather the necessary materials:

  • Matching thread: Choose a thread color that matches the color of your dress fabric.

  • Fabric for pockets: Select fabric that complements your dress. You can use leftover fabric from the dress itself, a contrasting fabric for a pop of color, or even a patterned fabric.

  • Sharp scissors or rotary cutter: Use sharp tools for clean cuts.

  • Sewing pins: These will hold your fabric pieces in place before sewing.

  • Sewing needle: Choose a needle size appropriate for the weight of your fabric.

  • Sewing machine: A sewing machine will make sewing the pockets much faster and easier, but hand sewing can also be done for a more rustic look.

  • Ruler or measuring tape: You’ll need these to measure and mark fabric accurately.

  • Tailor’s chalk or fabric marking pen: Use this to mark cutting lines on your fabric.

  • Iron (optional): An iron can be helpful for pressing seams flat.

Understanding Basic Sewing Techniques (or Brushing Up!)

If you’re new to sewing, here’s a quick refresher on some essential techniques you’ll use for adding pockets:

  • Straight stitch: This is the most common sewing technique used to join two pieces of fabric together.

  • Backstitch: This stitch reinforces the beginning and end of your sewing line to prevent unraveling.

  • Serging or pinking shears (optional): These can help prevent fraying on raw fabric edges, but they are not essential.

There are many online tutorials and resources available to learn basic sewing techniques in more detail.

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Let’s Add Pockets!

With your chosen pocket design, supplies gathered, and basic sewing skills in mind, you’re ready to add pockets to your dress! Here’s a general guide, but remember to refer to specific instructions for your chosen pocket type:

  • Prepare your pocket fabric: Cut out two identical pieces of fabric according to the pocket pattern or dimensions.

  • (For in-seam pockets) Prepare the dress: Mark the location on the dress where you want the pocket to be. This is usually along the side seam, slightly below the waistline.

  • (For patch pockets or welt pockets) Create the pocket lining (optional): This step adds structure and a finished look to the pocket. Cut lining pieces slightly smaller than the pocket pieces and sew them together, leaving an opening for turning.

  • Assemble the pocket: Place the right sides of the pocket fabric pieces together (or the pocket fabric with the lining, if used). Pin them in place and sew around the edges, leaving the top opening unsewn. Clip the curved edges if necessary for a smooth look. Turn the pocket right side out and press flat.

  • Attach the pocket to the dress: Pin the pocket to the dress, aligning the raw edges and matching any side seams. Sew the pocket to the dress using a straight stitch.

  • Finish the opening: For in-seam pockets, sew the dress side seam closed, enclosing the top of the pocket opening. For patch pockets or welt pockets, fold the raw edge of the opening inwards and sew it closed to create a clean finish.

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The Finishing Touches

Once you’ve attached the pockets to your dress, here are some finishing touches:

  • Reinforce stress points: Add a few extra stitches at the corners or ends of the pocket opening for reinforcement. This will help prevent tears or rips during use.

  • Press the seams: Use an iron to press the seams of your pocket flat. This creates a polished look and helps the pocket lay smoothly against the dress.

  • Try it on! Put on your dress and see how the pockets feel. Make any adjustments necessary for size or placement.

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Embrace Your Creativity!

Adding pockets to your dress is a fun way to personalize your outfit and add functionality. Here are some inspirational ideas:

  • Embellish your pockets! Add buttons, ribbons, or other trims to your pockets for a unique touch.

  • Use contrasting fabrics! Create patch pockets from a different fabric than your dress for a pop of color or pattern.

  • Experiment with pocket shapes! Don’t be limited to traditional square or rectangular pockets. Try rounded shapes, angled pockets, or even heart-shaped pockets for a whimsical touch.

With a little creativity and these helpful tips, you can transform your dress into a garment that’s both stylish and functional!

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Sewing with Confidence!

Adding pockets is a fun way to modify clothes, but sewing can feel tricky at first. Here are some tips to build your confidence:

  • Start small: If you’re a beginner, consider practicing on scrap fabric before tackling your dress.

  • Take your time: Don’t rush! Careful sewing will lead to a neater and more durable finished product.

  • Don’t be afraid to rip out stitches: Mistakes happen! It’s easier to remove a few stitches and try again than continue with an error.

  • There’s no shame in hand-sewing: While a sewing machine makes things faster, hand-sewing can also create beautiful results.

There are many online tutorials and resources available to help you learn more about sewing techniques. With a little practice, you’ll be adding pockets to your clothes like a pro!