Store it pretty – how to sew on pockets

Baby Essentials Pocket QuiltHave you ever tried sewing a pocket on a quilt? Our own Jenny Wilding Cardon did, making this darling wall hanging equally ready to store practical baby gifts like diaper cream and lotion—or Mama’s treasured mementos of Baby’s first days.

Whether it’s an apron, a bag, a place mat, or a garment, adding a pocket amps up both the pretty and the practical. Ready for some ideas? Take a look at the charming possibilities below!

For those of you who never learned how to sew on pockets in home ec (or who’ve forgotten how), you’ll also find a tutorial on sewing a pocket two ways: how to sew a pocket with straight corners, and how to sew a pocket with rounded corners.

Where will you place your pocket? Check out the options below to get inspired!

Sewing a pocket on place mats

Place mats with pockets
Pocket place mats from: (top row) The New Handmade, Sew Decorative, and (bottom row) Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing (also available as an ePattern)

Sewing a pocket on aprons

Aprons with pockets
Aprons with pockets from: (top row) Quilting Those Flirty ’30s, Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing (also available as an ePattern), Everyday Handmade, (bottom row) Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing (also available as an ePattern), and Stitched for Fun (middle and right)

Sewing a pocket on bags

Bags with pockets
Bags with pockets from Bag Boutique, Felting for Kids, and Sew the Perfect Bag

Sewing a pocket on garments

Garments with pockets
Garments with pockets from: (top row) Start with a Sweatshirt, Marie Osmond’s Heartfelt Giving, and (bottom row) ReSew

Sewing a pocket for storage and celebration

Pockets for storage and celebration
Storage pockets from: (top row) Fig Tree Quilts: Fresh Vintage Sewing (also available as an ePattern), Sew Merry and Bright, Sew Decorative, (bottom row) The New Handmade, and Everyday Handmade (middle and right)

How to Sew a Pocket

From A to Z of Sewing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginning to Advanced Sewing

Unlined Patch Pockets

A patch pocket is attached to the outside of a garment with machine stitching. Patch pockets can be lined or unlined, plain or decorated, in basic or novelty shapes.


Check the position of the pocket to ensure it’s at a comfortable height. Adjust if necessary. Mark the pocket position using tailor’s tacks, basting, or a fabric marker appropriate for the fabric. Apply interfacing where required to add strength and stability.

How to Sew a Pocket with Square Corners

1. Turn under a narrow hem, stitch, and press. Then refold the hem toward the right side of the fabric. Stitch the around the sides and bottom of the pocket just a hair inside the seam line. Trim the seam and clip the corners along the hemmed edges.

How to sew a pocket 1

2. Turn the hem right side out and re-press the hem; also press under the seam allowances on the sides and bottom using the stitching as a guide.

How to sew a pocket 2

3. Baste the pocket in place on the garment. Beginning and ending with a triangle of stitching at the top corners, edgestitch the pocket in place, leaving the top edge open.

How to sew a pocket 3

How to Sew a Pocket with Rounded Corners

1. Fold and stitch the upper hem as for square-cornered pockets, stitching around the sides and bottom of the pocket.

How to sew a pocket 4

2. Using a straight pin, gently pull on the stitching to roll the curved corners to the wrong side. The stitching should be just inside the fold. Press under the seam allowances and then stitch in place as for square-cornered pockets.

How to sew a pocket 5

A to Z of SewingFor a cornucopia of pocket options, check out A to Z of Sewing. In that ultimate guide to advanced sewing, you’ll find instructions for making patch pockets with flaps, a hip pocket, in-seam pockets, slash pockets, a besom pocket, and welt pockets. And lots more!

Ever had a hole in your pocket? Did you lose something, or maybe find something wonderful lurking in the lining of your purse? Share your story in the comments!


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