how to add a pocket to dress featured image
Refashions,  Dress Refashions,  Ovarian Cancer & Me,  Sewing Tips

How to Add Pockets to a Dress & an Update

My First Chemotherapy Treatment
H&M Puff-Sleeved Dress Inspired Refashion

Hello friends! Let me start this post with an apology for being so long absent. But hopefully, the fulfillment of my promise of a tutorial on how to add pockets to a dress (!!!) from my last post will prove worth the wait.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this, but I now know for sure that I have Stage III Mucinous Epithelial Ovarian Cancer. This isn’t anything new, but this is the second opinion. So now we’re ready to move forward.

All visible cancer has been removed, but we have to assume there’s microscopic spread as well.

Which brings us to my treatment. Right now, the plan is 6 cycles of chemotherapy with three weeks in between treatments. Mr. Refashionista and I have been doing a LOT of prepping to get ready for this, both emotionally and logistically.

It’s been tough. It’s going to keep being tough. but so are we.

I’m actually sitting in the oncology center getting my first dose of chemo as I write this.

In an impressive move by 2020, my final (and toughest treatment) is on December 23. Merry Christmas to me. Seriously…this reminds me of when I broke up with a guy who had my Netflix password and he changed my queue to nothing but animated Disney movies (which I haaaate), thus throwing off my Netflix algorithms for months. I couldn’t even be mad because it was just such a perfectly pointed act of spite. I may have slow clapped.

But…Pockets!

I started with this non-pocketed dress in a beyoootiful ’80s print.

refashionista how to add pockets to a dress before
Pretty!

There really isn’t anything wrong with this dress, per se. It fits fine (just needs a belt, as the top is supposed to be blousy), and as I said, that print is just so pretty.

The only thing this dress needs is pockets!

Here’s how to add side pockets to just about any dress (& other garments too)!

how to add pockets to dress before and after
Don’t you wish your dress had pockets like these?

First off, make sure your dress is right for pockets.

  1. Your dress needs to have side seams. You’ll need rip open the side seams to add in the pockets.
  2. Make sure your dress has a large enough seam allowance to add in pockets. A seam allowance is the area between the edge of the fabric and the stitching on the dress. It ranges between 1/4 inch and several inches. The bigger, the better!
  3. Make sure the fabric of your dress is sturdy enough to be unpicked without ripping.
  4. Choose a dress that’s flowy, rather than fitted. If the dress is form-fitting, the bulk of pockets will show and ruin the lines of your frock.
  5. Choose a fabric for the pockets that is the same or lighter weight than the fabric of your dress. For this refashion, I cut off some fabric from the bottom to make matching pockets, but I could have used scrap fabric too!

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Dress (that meets the above requirements!)
  • Fabric to make your pockets (can be harvested from the dress itself if it’s long enough)
  • Matching thread
  • Seam ripper
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron

Now, let’s add some pockets!

I decided to harvest the fabric for my pockets from the bottom of the dress, which meant shortening the dress.

cutting off bottom of dress
Chop!

Then, I folded that bottom scrap over to give me enough fabric to make two mirror images for each side (4 pieces total).

Of course, this meant I needed to add a new hem to my dress, which I did!

I pinned the raw edge under.

pinning new hem
Pin it to win it!

Then, I stitched it down.

sewing new hem
Whirr!

1. I used the pocket I removed in my last refashion as a template, but you can also just trace a pocket you like from an existing garment onto a piece of paper, making sure to add a seam allowance to the straight edge.

laying pocket template over fabric
Stop. Pocket Time!

2. Then, I cut my pockets out!

cutting out pockets
Snip!

This left me with four pocket pieces.

cut out pocket pieces on table
Pocket pals!

3. Mark where you want the top & bottom of your pocket to be on your dress with a pin. It’s a good idea to try your dress on and see where your hands fall before making your mark.

marking where the pocket will begin and end with pins
Make your mark!

4. Beginning just above the mark you made, unpick the side seam until just below the end of the pocket. Leave about 1/2″ above and below from where the pocket will sit. 

unpicking side seam for pocket
Pick. Pick Pick.

5. Keep your dress right-side-out and pin one pocket piece to the front and another to the back, with right sides of the fabric together.

pinning pocket pieces to dress
It’s all coming together!

6. Stitch along the straight edge of the pockets for both sides of the dress, following the original seam lines. Make sure to backstitch when you start and finish to lock your stitches.

Sewing in pocket
Stitchin’ right along!

7. Press the seams toward the pockets with your iron, and then press the pockets away from the dress.

8. Turn your dress inside out and pull out the pockets so they lay on top of each other, then pin them together like so:

pinning pockets together
Come together. Right now. Over pockets.

9. Beginning above the pocket on the side seam of your dress where you’ve unpicked, sew down and around the pocket and back down the unpicked seam below the pocket. Remember to backstitch when you start and finish to lock your stitches. 

10. Reinforce your pockets by overlocking the raw edge, or with a simple zigzag stitch.

sewing machine screen showing zigzag stitch
This one right here!
reinforcing pocket with zigzag
It’s the stitch that zigs!

11. Turn your dress right-side-out and push the pockets in. Iron and favor the edges so the pocket is completely invisible. Because secrets are fun.

Get ready to say, “Thanks! It has pockettttssss!” a lot, friends!

refashionista how to add pockets to a dress after
Pocket Power!

I styled my dress with a $1 thrifted vintage necklace, a $1 thrifted belt, $4 thrifted sandals, and a pair of bright red sunnies!

refashionista pocket dress after
Neat, huh?

I’m sure there’s a dress hanging in your closet just begging you to rock it with a pocket (or two)!

Side note: How fahbulous is the button-up back of this dress?

button-up back closeup
All buttoned up!

What are you waiting for?

refashionista pocket dress closeup
Come closer!

Cheers!

refashioista how to add pockets to a dress before and after
Yield: 2 Side Pockets

How To Add Pockets to a Dress

how to add pockets to dress before and after
Active Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours

Materials

  • Dress
  • Fabric to make your pockets (can be harvested from the dress itself if it’s long enough)
  • Matching thread

Tools

  • Sewing Machine
  • Seam Ripper
  • Iron

Instructions

    1. Trace a pocket you like from an existing garment onto a piece of paper, making sure to add seam allowance to the straight edge.
    2. Cut 4 pocket pieces. Make sure they're mirror images of each other.
    3. Mark where you want the top & bottom of your pocket to be on your dress with a pin. It’s a good idea to try your dress on and see where your hands fall before making your mark.
    4. Beginning just above the mark you made, unpick the side seam until just below the end of the pocket. Leave about 1/2″ above and below from where the pocket will sit.
    5. Keep your dress right-side-out and pin one pocket piece to the front and another to the back, with right sides of the fabric together.
    6. Stitch along the straight edge of the pockets for both sides of the dress, following the original seam lines. Make sure to backstitch when you start and finish to lock your stitches.
    7. Press the seams toward the pockets with your iron, and then press the pockets away from the dress.
    8. Turn your dress inside out and pull out the pockets so they lay on top of each other, then pin them together.
    9. Beginning above the pocket on the side seam of your dress where you’ve unpicked, sew down and around the pocket and back down the unpicked seam below the pocket. Remember to backstitch when you start and finish to lock your stitches.
    10. Reinforce your pockets by overlocking the raw edge, or with a simple zigzag stitch.
    11. Turn your dress right-side-out and push the pockets in. Iron and favor the edges so the pocket is completely invisible. Because secrets are fun.

Notes

  1. Your dress needs to have side seams. You’ll need rip open the side seams to add in the pockets.
  2. Make sure your dress has a large enough seam allowance to add in pockets. A seam allowance is the area between the edge of the fabric and the stitching on the dress. It ranges between 1/4 inch and several inches. The bigger, the better!
  3. Make sure the fabric of your dress is sturdy enough to be unpicked without ripping.
  4. Choose a dress that’s flowy, rather than fitted. If the dress is form-fitting, the bulk of pockets will show and ruin the lines of your frock.
  5. Choose a fabric for the pockets that is the same or lighter weight than the fabric of your dress. For this refashion, I cut off some fabric from the bottom to make matching pockets, but I could have used scrap fabric too!
shares
%d bloggers like this: