Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

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How to sew an inseam pocket (with FREE download)

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

We all know that pockets are great. Having pockets in our garments is a continuous struggle when it comes to RTW, but for those of us who sew it is an easy hack to add pockets to a pattern we are working on! Here’s a tutorial for sewing a pocket into your next project!

It is a good idea to have a trusty inseam pocket pattern piece in your arsenal. Something you can easily add to any pattern. In this blog post we will provide you with an inseam pocket piece you can add to any side seam – just click below to download it.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Notes on drafting: 

The pocket pattern we are giving you is a standard inseam pocket with a vertical side seam and 6 3/8” (16.19 cm) pocket opening. The 5/8” (1.6 cm) seam allowances are already included, but you can sew this pocket with whatever seam allowances you want without changing anything. 

We sized this pocket pattern so that it fits onto one page of Letter or A4 sized paper. However, the pocket includes lengthen/shorten lines so that you can make it as deep as your heart desires. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

As we mentioned, the pocket has a vertical side seam, but it is easy to change if you are working with an angled side seam. Simply overlay the pattern you are working on, matching side seams roughly at the bottom of the pocket. Trim excess paper off the pocket piece. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Alternatively, you can just ignore it and attach the pocket to the side seam as is. The pocket itself will not be on-grain, but it is not a big deal. 

The construction steps are exactly the same whether the inseam pocket has a straight or angled side seam. 

Finally, you can use the main fabric to cut 4 pocket pieces, or you can use lining or other fabric scraps you think will work for your pocket. Since the pocket is hidden in the seam, it will not be too visible, so feel free to add character to your project here. 

Printing Instructions:

The pocket is on a one page PDF file suitable to be printed on either Letter or A4 sized paper. Make sure to keep your printer settings to print “actual size” and “auto portrait/landscape”. 

There is also a calibration square which when printed correctly should measure 2″ x 2″ (5 cm x 5 cm).

Where to add the pockets:

If your pattern indicates a waistline, measure down from your natural waist to see where you want the pocket opening to be. Make note of the distance and make a notch on your pattern that distance down from the waist. That will be the top of the pocket opening. 

If your pattern doesn’t indicate a waistline, try holding the paper pattern piece next to your body and mark a spot where you want pocket opening to be. Do your best and eyeball the pocket placement. In my experience, pockets that are slightly too high are better than pockets that are too low. 

Make sure to indicate the pocket opening on your main garment with two notches spaced 6 3/8” (16.19 cm) apart. 

Sewing Instructions:

Follow the instructions in your pattern up until you need to sew side seams on your garment. Do not sew the side seams yet! Instead, follow the instructions below to add pockets and then sew the side seams. 

We are using instructions and illustrations from our free Orchard Top and Dress Pattern that comes with inseam pockets. Note that throughout the instructions and illustrations we will refer to and show the dress front/back, but the instructions are the same when sewing pants or skirts. 

Finish the curved edge of all 4 pocket pieces using your preferred method.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

With right sides together and matching notches, place a pocket piece onto the dress front/back. Sew the pocket to the dress using 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

The seam allowances on the pocket pattern piece are 5/8” (1.6 cm), but we are intentionally attaching them with a smaller seam allowance so that the pockets are not peeking out to the right side when everything is finished. 

If you are using seam allowances other than 5/8” (1.6 cm) in your main pattern, attach the pockets using a seam allowance 1/8” (0.3 cm) narrower than that indicated in your main pattern.

Finish the side seam of the dress and pocket together using your preferred method. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Press the pocket and seam allowance away from the dress. Understitch the seam allowance to the pocket bag, 1/8” (0.3 cm) away from the pocket attachment seam. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Understitching is a line of stitches sewn close to the edge of a facing or a pocket. It is done using a regular stitch length. Understitching prevents the facing or a pocket bag from rolling towards the outside of the garment.

Repeat the steps above for the remaining 3 pocket pieces. 

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

With right sides together, pin the dress front and back at the side seams and around the pocket bags. Sew the side seams using a 5/8” (1.6 cm) seam allowance, starting at the underarm and sewing 5/8” down from the top of the pocket, pivoting to sew around the pocket bag, and pivoting again to sew down to the hem.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Secure the pocket opening by placing two bar tacks right in the seam allowance along the pocket seam line.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

Press the seam allowances and pocket bags towards the front of the dress.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

If you do not like your inseam pocket bags being loose inside the garment, you can  topstitch them to the front of the dress.

Helen's Closet Free Inseam Pocket Sewing Tutorial

And that’s how you sew an inseam pocket! Let us know if you use this pocket sewing tutorial for your next project.

About the author


Helen Wilkinson is the designer and founder of Helen's Closet Patterns. She also co-hosts the Love to Sew Podcast! Helen is obsessed with all things sewing and strives to share her passion and knowledge with the sewing community.

4 Comments on “How to sew an inseam pocket (with FREE download)”

  1. Thank you, Helen. I have been making patch pockets for my dresses from your patterns. This will be a nice change.

  2. Helen, when I print the pocket pattern piece I measure 16.19cm/6-3/8” from center to center of the marks for the notches. I’ve measured the calibration square and it’s accurate. Your instructions say to mark the side seam notches 15cm or 6” apart. Do you gather the pocket piece a little? Am I not getting something?

    1. Hi Reneé! Great catch, that is an error in the instructions. I will update that right away. You want the noches on the project to match the notches on the pattern piece. No easing is required.

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