Notions: Basic Patch Pockets


Recently I seem to have been teaching students how to do various forms of Patch Pockets so I thought I’d add this little Tutorial and follow it up with some variants upon the theme including a Pleated Patch Pocket. 

Patch Pockets are super duper easy but care us needed when Top Stitching the Pocket to the Main Fabric. The more preparation and care taken, the more professional and beautiful the final product- but that is true of any Sewing project taken on!

If you are following a Pattern, you will already have cut out your Patch Pocket however; if you are adding Pockets to a project, or even up-cycling a garment you will need to draw up and cut out a Paper Pattern. this is easily done- simply draw the Pocket you would like on some paper using a pencil and ruler. If you would like curved edges- I think they look lovely!- use a glass or a sauces to draw the curves in. When you are happy, add a 1.5cm or 5/8″ Seam Allowance around the sides and bottom, then a 2cm or 1″ at the top.


Pin the paper pattern to the Fabric you are going to be making the Patch Pocket from, keeping one side parallel with the Selvedge of the fabric to make sure the Grain Line is straight. Cut around the edge, and repeat if you would like to make two.

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Iron the top of the Pocket over .5cm or 3/8″, then iron over again 1.5cm or 5/8″ so the raw edges are enclosed. Lining the edge of your Sewing Machines Presser Foot up with the edge of the fold and stitch along the edge as illustrated. Lining the edge of the Presser Foot up against the fold will keep the seam nice and straight. You may wish to use your Zipper Foot to get extra close to the edge!

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Pinning directly on to your Ironing Board, turn the edges of the Patch Pocket in 1.5cm or 5/8″ and pin as shown. Pin carefully around each curve , the fabric you are turning back should wrinkle, but the front should stay flat. It is helpful to hang a Tape Measure about your neck, and measure each turn. When you are happy that the curves are perfect, carefully Iron over to ‘set’ the Fabric. Turn the Pocket over and Iron again to be sure.

Pin the Pocket onto your Main Fabric- if you are using a Pattern this will be marked. If you are adding this detail in yourself if may take a couple of goes to Pin exactly where you like them, and it may be advisable to try the garment on to make sure they are not too high or low.

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On the Sewing Machine, you will need to start on the Top Stitched Hem you previously sewed and, sewing towards the top of the Pocket and at a slight angle stitch to the top of the Pocket as in the first two pictures above. Do not reverse stitch but do push the thread away from you as you start, and make sure they’re about 15cm or 6″ long.

When you reach the top, use the Balance Wheel to roll the Needle in to the Fabric. Lift the Presser Foot and turn the Fabric then sew to the edge of the Pocket. Remember that, if you do not think you can sew slowly enough, you can always roll the Balance Wheel forward to sew these few stitches by hand. When you reach the corner of the Pocket, roll the Needle into the Pocket, lift the Presser Foot and spin the Fabric as before.

Continue to sew around the Pocket. You may choose to use the Zipper Foot again however; I have used my normal Presser Foot because I find it feeds the Fabric a little more easily, especially when sewing right on the edge like this.

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When sewing around corners, use the same technique as when sewing a corner. Lifting the Presser Foot, with the Needle in the Fabric, and moving the Fabric to keep an equal distance from the edge of the Pocket.

When you have reached the top edge of the Pocket, turn and sew along the top edge- the same distance at the other side- then turn the corner and stitch at an angle until you join the stitching from the side and the original Top Stitching along the top of the Pocket- as in the above picture on the right.

If you notice the Fabric is not making a perfect curve, you can use a Pin to gently push it back in to place.

Again, do not reverse stitch, but pull the fabric from the Sewing Machine and cut threads long.

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On the reverse side, pull the thread (here white) until a little loop pulls through (here red). This is the front thread. Use a pin to pull the loop through (the middle picture above), until the front thread has been pulled completely through. You will then be able to tie in a knot to secure so that the front is incredible neat! I tie two knot just to be safe!

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And you are finished!

If you look carefully at the above picture you will see the left hand Pocket curve is perfection however; the right hand is slightly squared. This will happen when the Fabric isn’t pinned correctly initially, or not corrected as it is stitched. Not preparing properly will result in a ‘squared off’ curve. Of course, you can always unpick and start again (that’s the beauty of Sewing!) however; I think you will agree that on patterned Fabric and with matching thread this would not be as noticeable. Sewing curves is all about practice, so you may wish to sew a few practice runs before stitching the real thing.

As ever, I would love to see any projects you use this technique on! You can also find more hints and tips here, and here.

If you would like to have a go at Patch Pockets, but don’t have a project, why not grab a Sewing Tidy Kit?

Happy stitching!

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