How to Add Pockets to a Dress or Skirt

In this tutorial, I am going to show you how to upcycle your favorite dresses and skirts by adding pockets. How many of you automatically get excited about a dress once you realize that it has pockets? I know I do 😉

how to add pockets to your dress or skirt

Materials to Add Pockets to a Dress or Skirt

  • A dress or skirt with side seams.  Preferably at least 1/2-3/4″ seam allowance
  • A pocket pattern or another garment that you can create a pattern from
  • 1/4 yard of fabric that is a similar weight to the dress/skirt that you’re adding the pocket to
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Seam Ripper
  • Sewing machine (I used the BERNINA 480)
  • Iron

It’s Time to Learn How to Add Pockets!

Steps to Add Pockets to a Dress or Skirt

  1. Determine Your Pocket Placement

    You want to try on your garment to find the perfect placement of the pocket.  The top of the pocket is normally at the hip bone. Place your pin where the top of your pocket will lay.

  2. Cut Out Your Pocket

    If you’re using a pre-made pattern, go ahead & cut 4 pocket pieces out.  If you are tracing a pattern from a pocket in one of your garments make sure you add a 1/2″ seam allowance around your pattern.

  3. Measure the Length of the Pocket

    Measure the length of the pocket pattern.  This length will be the amount that you need to open up in your dress side seam.

  4. Open Your Side Seam

    Using your pin from step 1 measure down the amount of the length of the pocket from step 3.  Use your seam ripper to open your side seam in between pins

  5. Pin Your Pocket to Your Dress

    Right sides together, pin your pocket along the seam of the opening in the dress.  You should have 4 individual pieces pinned in.

  6. Stitch

    Using your sewing machine, stitch along the seam

  7. Close Pocket

    Pin and sew around the pocket to close the pocket

  8. Press

    Press the seam allowance towards the pocket

  9. Top Stitch

    With the seam allowance pressed into the pocket topstitch along the pocket opening.

Now you have a dress with pockets! Enjoy.

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14 comments on “How to Add Pockets to a Dress or Skirt”

  • This is SUCH an important topic. Why was it ever ok to deprive women of pockets!

    Now please address ideas for adding functional patch pockets to pants/ shorts to hold phones! Do you recommend fabric with stretch to avoid having to add flaps and closures? How to harmonize styles?

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Very clear, and just what I needed.
    I have SEVERAL dresses, that IF they had pockets, I could go purseless…and that would be a very good thing.
    I am anxious to get to ripping and sewing.

    • Adding a zipper takes a little more work but I’m sure it can be done. You also have to be careful with adding zippers to certain dress fabric in the seams. You don’t want to make it too heavy.

      I say make your pockets deep enough so you won’t have things falling out ?

    • Hi Terrimcg,

      It’s a little more complicated adding a pocket to a dress without a seam. You would have to create a side seam in order to add the pocket. The dress would need to have enough room ideally about 2″ total of extra room in order to add the seams. If you have the room in your dress… create a side seam & use this tutorial to add your pockets!

  • I found this video the same day that my daughter & I were talking about dresses being useless (in our book) without pockets! We LOVE pockets in our dresses! This video is definitely a keeper as your demonstration was excellent! If only I had your instructions when I put a pocket in my graduation gown. It would be looking so much nicer! Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for this great video of pockets added to dresses. I have a dress that is my favorite and through the years, it is not large enough in the chest area. It may be possible to add a bit to the dress since it’s black rayon with yellow roses. Any tips on that?

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