Easy Cargo pocket Pattern & tutorial

What are cargo pockets ?

Cargo Pockets are basically patch pockets which are expandable and stitched on the cargo pant leg outside seams. They usually a flap and sometimes have inverted pleats in the front. Cargo pockets look like ordinary pockets from the front but expand as needed because of the accordion folds on the sides.These  side folds  make them able to carry more things inside than ordinary pockets

These pockets are so named because they are staples on cargo pants which are loose outdoor pants. The expandable cargo pockets are suitable for containing all the gear needed for adventure which is what cargo pants are all about.

There are some who dislike these pockets on clothes – checkout this article on why men should never wear cargo shorts  . Even I think these pockets make for thicker dress silhouettes than you may want but they are best when added on bags and aprons

This tutorial given here is for a simple cargo pocket without pleats. The pleats can be added by adding 2 extra inches to the pocket and making an inverted pleat in the middle.

How to sew Cargo pockets – 2 ways

Method 1

cargo pocket sewing tutorial

This is an easy way to sew cargo pockets – you will find this kind on bags, pants etc. This will give you a 6″ by 5″ cargo pocket.

To sew this, cut out the pocket pattern as in the picture below – cut outer fabric and the inner lining from this pattern

how to sew cargo pockets

Keep the outer and lining right sides together; Sew the two pieces along the  top edge with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Press seam allowance open.

Flip the pieces right side out; press.

Sew the darts. Keep the dart sides together and stitch.

cargo pockets

You will get a dimension now.

The piece will look like this after both the darts are sewn closed.

diy cargo pockets

Press 1/2 inch to the inside, along the outer edge (ref picture below)

cargo pocket sewing tutorial with pattern

Now draw the shape of the pocket on your main fabric – a 6″ by 5″ pocket. Keep your pocket on top and and top stitch the edges along this pocket shape you have made.

cargo pockets sewing how to


Method 2

Step 1

Decide on how big you want the pocket to be and make the pattern .

Height  = Add 1 inch height for the top hem. Then add 1″ inch for the folds and 1/2 inch for seam allowance . So if you want pocket height of 8 inch, take 10.5″ as height of the pocket piece

Width = Add 3 inch to the width of pocket you need.( 1 inch each for folds and 1/2 inch each for seam allowance on the two sides )  So for 8 inch wide pocket make it 11 inch.

Check the picture below for details. If you want more depth add more, but remember to add the same to the height as well. 

Cut out the pocket piece. Attach a fusible interfacing piece to the backside of the pocket piece. You will get some strength this way if you have thin fabric. If you have a heavy enough fabric skip this step.

Mark all the lines of seam allowance and fold line on the back side of the pocket piece.

cargo pockets

Step 2

Cut through the marks as below.

cargo pocket

cargo pocket


Step 3

With an iron box press the fold lines and the seam allowances to the back of the fabric 

cargo pocket

Step 4

Stitch the top hem of the pocket by turning under twice – 1/4 inch first and then 3/4 inch.

Step 5

Top stitch very close to the fold line along the fold lines you have made on all 3 sides. A-B , A-C, C-D are the fold line if you donot know.

cargo pocket

cargo pocket

Step 6

Turn to the wrong side of the pocket piece, fold the corner piece by the diagonal and stitch straight down as in the picture below. Ensure that the line you have on the piece matches. 

cargo pocket

This will give you a square corner

cargo pocket

Step 7

Keep the pocket on the fabric / garment where you want it. Ensure that the seam allowance is pushed to the inside. Top stitch the pocket in place. Stitch very close to the fold.

cargo pocket

cargo pocket

Step 8  

Finger Press the side folds inside ; press the pockets flat with an iron as well

cargo pocket

Step 9

Make the flap. Flap is made by cutting two pieces of fabric in the shape as below and sewing it right sides together on the top edge. Turn it rightside out . Join on top of your pocket

You can add velcro as fastening on the flap and the pocket. Remember to add this before sewing the pocket and flap. 

cargo pocket


Comments 2

  1. hey,i would like to know how to create a detachable cargo pockets.if you could give me some tips how to make it it will be very helpfull

  2. I highly appreciate your post. Please I am looking into sewing the whole shorts from scratch but honestly I need your help. Is there a site for complete tutorial on this please? I mean from start to finish. Please!

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