A Patch pocket is the easiest pocket to sew on your garments. You can sew a patch pocket with your sewing machine or even hand sew them to your clothes.
Besides the convenience of a good pocket, they also provide a design element to your garment. You can add a printed or embroidered patch pocket to your plain dress, or a striped cloth can be placed diagonally to the striped dress for an interesting change.
You can even sew them to your already-constructed dresses if you need an additional pocket. That said, it is easier to sew them before the garment is sewn, of course.
I have even seen a lady make patch pockets with velcro in the back so that she can change hand embroidered cute little patch pockets on her kids’ dresses as she likes. In fact, that is a genius idea I should try.
Patch pocket (Sewing tutorial)
This is a good method to sew patch pockets with thick fabrics like denim.
Cut out your patch pocket.
Finish the top edge with a zig zag stitch or serger stitch.
Sew a straight line 1/4 inch down from the top edge and 1/2 inch down from the other edges.
Fold the side and bottom edges to the inside along this stitching line. After this, fold the top edge to the inside as well.
Press in place.
Fold the top edge 1/2 inch to the inside.
Top stitch along the top edge 1/4 inch from the top edge.
Now sew the patch pocket in place on the garment – top stitching it along the edge.
Use the stitching sequence as in the picture below.
Patch pocket pattern
Regarding the size and shape of a patch pocket, they can be drafted in any shape you want. But usually a dimension of 5 inch wide and 5.5 inch length is used.
If you are sewing them on a shirt usually they are placed about 2 1/4 inch away from the center of the shirt.
The most important thing in designing the pattern for Patch pocket is that you need to be able to put your hand inside and maybe keep somethings in it.
What if you have a fat purse and you have sewn a 3 inch wide pocket. Not the thing.
If you have a specific thing in mind to keep inside the pocket, measure its dimensions and add 1/2 inch extra for ease, all around it when drafting the pocket.
But if it is just a decorative pocket, any dimension which looks good on your garment would do. Just make a template and keep it on the garment to see if it suits you.
Patch pocket pattern template
When drafting the pattern for a Patch pocket, you have to add at least a 1/2 inch seam allowance all around the bottom edge and sides. Ie, For a 5-inch wide pocket, it takes 6-inch wide fabric. For the top edge, you need to add 1.5 inches as seam allowance to turn under and stitch.
If you have a pattern template (made out of thick cardboard, preferably in the size of your pocket), it will make the job easier for you.
For the patch pocket pattern template, skip adding seam allowances. The template is cut in the original size and shape of the pocket as it appears on the face of the garment.
Keep the pattern template inside the pocket piece and fold in the seam allowance. Press in place. No more guesswork as to the seam line.
A Pattern template comes in really handy when sewing triangular bottomed patch pockets that you see in shirts.
Place the interfacing on the back of the fabric where the patch pocket will be sewn on; atleast on the top portion where you will put pressure on the seams. This will reinforce the seam and will prevent it from ripping apart with the slightest tug.
This is an optional step of course but very much recommended especially for kids’ pockets which get a lot of tugs.
It would be great if you could add interfacing to the back of the pocket piece. Cut the interfacing in the same pattern for the pocket. If you are using sew-in interfacing, baste in place; If you use fusible interfacing, fuse it by pressing it to the back of the pocket piece before sewing it to the garment.
The types of patch pockets you can add are endless, but you can generally classify them as square, circular and lined. Patch Pockets generally do not need a pattern.
If you have a pattern for a patch pocket with your sewing pattern, you just have to cut it out and stitch it on your clothes following the sewing instructions given below.
To get symmetrical pockets – When cutting out the pattern, you can fold the pocket piece fabric through the center line, mark the pocket pattern on this half side, and then cut this half side. Just like you would cut for stitching bodices to get symmetrical cuts.
Square Patch Pocket Tutorial
Draw the pocket shape onto the pocket fabric. Add the seam allowance (1/2 inch for the sides and bottom and 1.5 inches for the top edge). Cut it out.
Turn under the top edge 1/2 inch first and then 1 inch. Top Stitch in place. Top stitching will look better if you do it from the right side of the fabric. You can also do a whip stitch on the folded edge, as I have done. You may add interfacing to the hem if you want.
(Checkout the tutorial for hand hemming stitches)
Press 1/2 inch side seam allowances inside.
If you want mitered corners, follow the steps below.
On the pocket mark, 1/2-inch seam allowance all around the edges
Fold the bottom corners diagonally, lining up the stitching lines. Press in place.
Trim the seam allowance in the corner to 1/4 inch.
Turn the seam allowance up. Press in place.
You now have mitered corners.
Press the pocket nicely to remove wrinkles and then pin in place on the garment. You can also baste in place.
Edge stitch the pocket in place 1/8 inches from the fold. Your pressure foot will have a groove – align this with the folded edge.
I usually start the stitching from the middle of the bottom edge and continue to the top of one edge and then go again to the middle and finish stitching till the top of other edge.
You can also use a twin needle to stitch the pocket in place so that you get parallel rows of stitching on top.
Reinforcing stitch – This refers to the triangular tack, which reinforces the patch pocket near the two top corners. To make this, when you reach the top edge, stitch 2-3 stitches horizontally, then pivot the needle and go down to the hem stitching line of the top edge. Do this for the other side as well. You can read the tutorials for a hand-sewn arrowhead stitch and a bartack stitch.
You can read the tutorials for a hand sewn arrowhead stitch and a bartack stitch.
Curved Patch pocket Tutorial
Follow the same steps as above till Step 2.
Do a line of basting stitches along the bottom edge, 1/8 inch outside from the 1/2 inch seam mark.( you can make a stitching line along the seam line to mark it clearly) .
Trim the seam allowance close to this gathering stitching line, leaving just enough for turning under. Also, snip the seam allowance near the curve at 1/2-inch intervals.
Pull the basting stitches and gather them a little bit to ease the edge on both sides so that there are no wrinkles when you join them to the garment. Ensure that the gathers are the same for both sides. If not, adjust accordingly.
Pin the pocket piece in place.
Follow the directions given above (Step 4) for top stitching the square pocket.
When sewing a curvy-shaped pocket, sew very slowly. Also, shorten the stitch length so that you can be more accurate in your stitching.
You can sew a similar curved pocket and make it expandable with small darts at the bottom edge.
Lined patch pocket Tutorial
Lining a patch pocket makes your sewing a lot easier. No difficulty in turning under the seam allowances neatly to the inside. The lining makes the seam edges inside and gives structure to the pocket.
Cut pattern pieces for lining and Pocket piece; Both will be of the same size and shape.
Keep the two pieces together, top edges aligned RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER. Stitch them together along the top edge, leaving a one-inch gap in the middle ( for turning). Trim the lining seam allowance very near the stitching line ( so that the lining will turn inside).
Stitch around the bottom edge along the 1/2-inch seam line. Trim the seam allowance to 1/4 inch. Snip at the seam allowance at 1/2 inch interval.
( If you want a piped patch pocket, place the piping sandwiched in between the lining and pocket piece at the top edge. Sew with a zipper foot)
Turn the pocket right side out through the opening. Press in place so that lining fabric is not seen on the front of the pocket.
Sew the opening shut with hidden stitches like a ladder hem stitch.
Follow the directions for stitching the pocket to the garment given above, for square and curved patch pockets.
Self-lining pockets – Lining the pocket with the same self-fabric as the pocket fabric is another easy-to-sew option. You do not have to cut two separate pieces or sew the top edge in this case. Just keep the pattern on a cross-folded fabric.
Cut two layers of these pocket pieces and an interfacing piece (if you are doing that). Stitch these pieces all around the sides, right sides together, leaving a small opening un-stitched( to turn).
Trim the seam allowance. Turn the pocket inside out through the opening.
Patch pocket with facing
This is a suitable technique when sewing odd-shaped patch pockets. Checkout the way it is sewn in this tutorial for culotte/divided skirt.
Ruffled patch pocket
(Dimensions are for a final patch pocket of width 5″ and length 5.5″)
Make a band for the top edge – Cut a 3″ wide and 6 inch long piece of fabric of the same fabric as the pocket or a contrasting fabric.
To make the ruffle, cut a 26″ x 2 ” contrasting fabric strip on the straight of grain. Press in half longways. Run 2 rows of lengthened machine stitching. Gather to fit band. Baste piping to the long side of the band. Place gathered ruffle on top of piping and baste.
Along one 6-inch side of the band piece, baste ruffle to the band, right sides together. Turn the seam allowance at that side inside. Now you get a band piece with the ruffle facing down. Press in place, and if needed, pin in place.
Turn under the seam allowance of the top edge of the band. Press in place.
Top stitch the band piece to the top edge of the patch pocket (The patch pocket should have had the top edge turned inside at this point).
You can make box pleated and inverted pleated patch pockets. They are commonly seen in men’s shirts. They can be made easily by extending the center fold line to accommodate the pleats.
Checkout the post to know different types of pleats .
A floating Patch Pocket
This refers to a pocket that is not top stitched in place and hence looks like it is floating on your garment. It involves little more expertise than sewing the easy patch pocket which are described earlier.
There are two methods of doing it.
This method involves sewing the pocket from the inside after basting the pocket with a zig-zag stitch.
Use an applique foot to sew the edge of your patch pocket with a very long zig zag ( stitch length set at 4) to the fabric.
Now stitch from inside the pocket. Use the edge of the foot on the raw edge f the seam inside. You will have a teeny tiny seam width. Your pocket will look like it is not stitched at all.
Unpick the zig zag stitch you have made.
This method is suitable for a lined patch pocket.
Pin the pocket to the garment
Pull the pocket a little to the side and use the blind hem stitch to attach the lining to the garment. Checkout the tutorial to sew a blind stitch hem – by hand and by machine.
Embellishing Patch pockets
It may be a copyright violation to attempt to copy the beautiful stitches seen on some branded jeans. Still, you can do a variety of embroidery stitches and other surface embellishments on your patch pocket. You can embroider letters or make little floral embroidery designs as is appropriate for the garment. Let loose your creativity on these tiny little canvases.
Patch pockets with Strap
You can make a patch pocket with a strap on its face. This strap is a trim and does not serve any purpose rather than give it a well-tailored look.
This type of pocket is usually found on tailored shirts and coats.
Make a template for this pocket.
Cut a rectangle of size – 4 1/2 * 5 1/2 inch
Trim the top left and right edge by 1/4 inch – This is so that the shape of the pocket is Narrower at the top. You have to trim the bottom edges slightly curved so that it is curvy at the bottom.
To make the Strap – Cut out a piece of fabric with a width of 2 3/4 inches at the bottom and 1 1/2 inches at the top. The Length of the fabric should be 5 1/2 inches. Cut out two such pieces. Sew along the edges at the sides (not bottom and top) right sides together..
Keep on the center of the pocket piece and stitch in place.
You can also make decorative patch pockets like in the tutorial for making a dolman sleeve top. This is just a small piece of square fabric piece which is a contrasting colour and serves no purpose other than as a decoration.
Updated on December 22, 2022 by Sarina Tariq
Thank you for all your details. I’m concerned about how to evenly place 2 pockets on the chest. You explain how far from center they should be. But my concern is how to make the bottoms of the pockets even on plain tee shirts.