Add hidden pockets to a dress

Add hidden pockets to a dress
29/05/2020 Cami

In this blogpost, discover how to add hidden pockets, or in-seam pockets, on the sides of your dresses, skirts and trousers. The post comes with a free pocket pattern to download and all the instructions!

If you love having pockets on your dresses, then this post is for to you! Not all patterns come with pockets, some Camimade patterns do, and others don’t. The good news is that with this post, you will be able to add pockets on any dress, skirt or trousers pattern you want!

Enjoy sewing!

The pattern pieces

Download the pieces here:

>> Pocket pattern A4 <<

>> Pocket pattern US letter <<

In this tutorial, I am suggesting to make 3-piece pocket bags. Cut the pattern pieces as follow:

  1. Outer pocket bag: cut x2 in a light weight fabric
  2. Inner pocket bag: cut x2 in the same light weight fabric
  3. Pocket facing: cut x2 in the main fabric

I like to make 3-piece pocket bags when my garments are made in medium to heavy weight fabric, so I can have pocket bags in a lighter weight fabric (avoiding bulkiness at the hips) while making sure the pockets are completely hidden from outside.

For pieces 1 and 2 I recommend cotton voile, cotton poplin or cotton lawn. In addition of being light, they are tightly woven which makes them strong fabrics: ideal for pockets! Don’t hesitate to use your fabric scraps!


However, you could simply have a 2-piece pocket bag. You only need 1 pattern piece:

  1. Pocket bag: cut x4 in the main fabric or in a contrasting fabric

You can use this type of pocket bag in two cases: 1. if you are ok with the weight of the main fabric (cut in the main fabric); 2. if you’re ok with the possibility that the pocket is not going to be completely hidden (cut in a contrasting fabric).

Sewing instructions

All the following instructions are for 3-piece pockets. If you want to have 2-piece pockets, skip the steps 2 and 3.

The pocket bag pattern includes 1cm / ⅜” seam allowances. If your garment includes 1.5cm / ⅝” seam allowances, this is not an issue, simply add 5mm / ¼” around all the pattern pieces.

Pocket openings

1. After finishing the edges of the garment sides with a zig zag stitch or using an overlocker, stitch the them right sides together leaving a 14cm / 5 ½” opening for the pocket. See where you want to position your pocket openings. I put mines on my hips for example, but choose the position that is best for you. Press the seam allowances open.

If your garment is already sewn on the sides, then unpick the seam to create openings. You will need to reinforce the seams ending on both sides of the openings with back stitches.

Pocket bags

2. Pin the inner pocket bag and pocket facing right sides together matching notches. Stitch. Finish the seam allowances together with a zig zag stitch or using an overlocker and press towards the inner pocket bag.

3. Understitch the seam allowances. In other words, from the right side, stitch the inner pocket bag together with the seam allowances located on the other side, close to the existing seam. Press. 

4. Finish all edges of the pocket bags with a zig zag stitch or using an overlocker.

Attaching the pockets on the garment

5. Pin the finished inner pocket bag (inner pocket bag + pocket facing) onto the pocket opening on the back of the garment, right sides together. The pocket bag extends 1cm / ⅜” over the opening at both ends. Stitch making sure you are not catching the front of the garment in the seam. Press towards the front. 

6. Pin the outer pocket bag onto the pocket opening on the front of the garment, right sides together. The pocket bag extends 1cm / ⅜” over the opening at both ends.  Stitch making sure you are not catching the back of the garment in the seam. Press towards the front.

7. Understitch the outer pocket bag. In other words, from the right side, stitch the outer pocket bag together with the seam allowances that are on the other side (but not catching the front of the garment), close to the existing seam. Press. 

8. Finally, pin the pocket bags together. Stitch carefully along the curve. You can catch the front seam allowances in the seam.

Press the pocket bags and openings flat. Et voilà!

Are you ready to sew pockets?