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How to make Patch Pockets

WHAT IS IT?

Patch pockets are pockets sewn to the surface of a garment, like a patch. Generally they are applied like a patch, with stitching around the edges, but they can also be sewn on invisibly by hand. Patch pockets can be any shape. They are easy to sew and only require one piece of fabric! If your pattern doesn’t have patch pockets included, it’s very easy to add your own.

Patch pocket on inside of Minoru Jacke

Patch pocket on inside of Minoru Jacket

Bias-cut patch pockets on Archer Shirt (Grainline Studio)

Bias-cut patch pockets on Archer Shirt (Grainline Studio)

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

Patch pockets are perfect when you want to add visible pockets to a garment. You’ll see patch pockets on blouses and dress shirts, suit jackets and coats, skirts, dresses and trousers. Patch pockets draw attention to the area where they are located. Therefore, you may not want patch pockets on your chest if you’re busty, and you may not want patch pockets on your hips if you’re pear-shaped. Patch pockets are great for embellishing, because you can add the embellishment to the pocket first, make sure you are happy with the look and then add it to the garment. Embroidery, appliqués or ribbon trim are all ways of embellishing a patch pocket. Patch pockets are an easy pocket to add to the inside of your garments, too, as you’re simply sewing a piece of fabric to the lining. Make patch pockets out of contrast fabric or matching fabric.

For striped (page link) or plaid (page link) fabric, patch pockets can be turned diagonally for an interesting effect or matched to the lines of the garment so they’re barely visible. Patch pockets can be added as an afterthought or removed without affecting the structure of the garment. You can place patch pockets symmetrically, on both sides of a garment, or place just one on the right side as a design detail. Sew pockets with contrast stitching, with one row of stitching or two, or with zigzag or decorative stitching.

HOW TO MAKE PATCH POCKETS

Patch pockets are easiest to sew before the garment is constructed. Sew pockets to garment panels while they are still flat. Decide on pocket shape and size. For decorative pockets, they can be any size. For useable pockets, make sure you can put your hand in them! Make pockets to fit specific items by measuring the item’s width and height and making the pocket’s dimensions slightly larger to fit the item. (Test the pocket size by making the piece, pinning it in place and placing the item in the pocket.)

How to make Patch Pockets (1)

Draw the pocket shape on paper. Add 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance around all of the edges, and 1¼” (3.2cm) along the pocket opening edge.

How to make Patch Pockets (2)

Cut out the pocket from fabric. Mark the fold line along the pocket opening by either hand basting (page link) along the fold line or clipping the seam allowance at each end of the fold line. Finish the top edge. Serge (page link), turn under ¼” (6mm) and stitch (page link), zigzag (page link) or bind (page link) the edge.

How to make Patch Pockets (3)

Turn under the top edge along the fold line, toward the front of the pocket, right sides together. Stitch across the sides of the top edge using a 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. Trim (page link) across the corners.

How to make Patch Pockets (4)

Turn the top edge right side out. Press the top edge, and press under all pocket edges. For curved edges, run a row of basting stitches (page link) around the corner, and pull basting threads to ease in this edge. If desired, topstitch along the pocket opening edge.

Pin the pocket in position on the garment piece, then press the garment piece if necessary to remove wrinkles. Secure the pocket in place with pins or by hand basting (page link).

If you use pins, pin in the direction you are going to sew, so the heads are closest to you. Or pin at right angles to the stitching line, with the heads on your right.

If you hand baste, use a contrast color thread so it’s easy to see when it’s time to remove. If you baste inside the stitch line, it will be easier to remove than if you have stitched through your basting.

How to make Patch Pockets (6)

Edgestitch (page link) the pocket in place. I line up the folded pocket edge with the groove of my presser foot as I sew. When you reach the corner, slow down and stitch until you are one stitch length away from the corner. Stop with the needle down and lift the presser foot. Pivot your work and lower the presser foot. The work should be lined up for you to edgestitch along the next edge. If it’s too far away, turn your work back and take a half stitch toward the corner, then pivot again. To sew around curves, sew slowly and gently turn your work around the curve, without stopping and lifting the foot. You may want to shorten your stitch length for the pocket stitching to make it easier to sew around the curves.

How to make Patch Pockets (7)

Topstitch (page link) with a second row of stitching if desired. When you reach the end point, sew across the top of the pocket for three or four stitches, then pivot again and topstitch parallel to the first row of edgestitching. When you reach the opposite corner with your second row of stitching, pivot at the top edge, sew across the top for three or four stitches and stop once you reach your starting point. Stitch in place to secure your thread.

How to make Patch Pockets (8)

Sew bar tacks (page link) at corners of pockets for extra strength. As an alternative to bar tacks, sew triangular tacks. Sew across for a few stitches, then sharply angle your stitching to meet the edgestitching about ½” (1.3cm) down from the top edge. Repeat on both corners.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine