Inseam pockets are hidden in the side seams of garments and can add a functional and fun feeling to any pattern. They are easy to add even when the sewing pattern doesn't have it included. Even beginner sewers can create side inseam pockets with ease. Pockets give you somewhere to put your hands and feel ever so confident and stylish.
What are Inseam Pockets?
Inseam pockets are medium-sized pockets hidden in the side seams of dresses, pants, and skirts. They are not obvious unless you put your hands inside them, making them a sleek and flattering option for all garments. Inseam pockets are large enough to put your hands inside, making them perfect for hiding a tissue, small purse, or phone.
Free Inseam Pockets Pattern
You can make your own pattern by tracing around your hand and then adding seam allowance, or here is a free pocket pattern you can print.
Free Side Pocket Pattern
Don't forget to measure the test square is correct and if you need printing help, read my article on how to print PDF patterns.
Inseam Pockets Supplies Needed
- A pocket pattern - you can make your own or download the Treasurie inseam pockets pattern.
- Sewing thread, pins, machine, and basic supplies
- Matching fabric to your garment. If you are sewing thick fabric, for example, wool, you can use a thin pocket fabric in a matching color to reduce bulk.
I have used a contrasting fabric so you can see the side pockets clearly; most of the time, these pockets are designed with a matching pocket color. Alternatively, using a contrast color pocket can add a cute pop of color that is exposed when you move or put your hands inside.
For this tutorial, I have photographed the pocket attached to a skirt, but this method works exactly the same for pants, shorts, or dresses. Any side seam will do!
The pattern featured here is from the Treasurie pattern shop. It includes inseam pockets and comes with 2 great options. Shop the dress pattern.
How to Sew Inseam Pockets
Step 1 - Prewash and Cut the Pockets
Pre-washing your fabric is important since if the pocket shrinks more than the outside garment, you will end up with a puckered mess after the first wash. Also, check for color bleeding, as this can also ruin all your hard work.
Seam allowances of ½ inch (12mm) are included in my downloadable inseam pocket pattern. Add more or less if you need to.
When cutting the pockets, make sure you are cutting the fabric on a fold so that you end up with 2 pockets a mirror image of each other. Alternatively, if you are cutting them separately from scrap fabric, flip the paper pattern over to cut the second one.
How Many Pieces to Cut - My pocket pattern says cut 4, assuming you are going to put the pockets on either side of your garment. If you only want to put the inseam pockets on one side, then you will only need to cut 2 pocket pieces.
Step 2 - Placement of Inseam Pockets
Most patterns will indicate where to add the inseam pockets, but if it doesn't you will need to work it out yourself. Try or hold up your half-made garment and determine the position just on or below your hip where it will feel comfortable.
Mark the top of the pocket placement on both the front and back of the skirt so you can match them up evenly.
Step 3 - Finishing Side Pockets
To prevent having to serger or finish awkward angles, it is easiest to serger the pocket edges now. Finish the rounded part of the pocket, keeping the straight edge unfinished for now.
Of course, a serger is easiest, but you can also use a zig-zag stitch or pinking shears. Bias tape is also an option, but it can get a little bulky and show on the outside of garments made from thinner fabrics.
Further Reading: Seam finishes
Step 4 - Join the Inseam Pockets
With right sides together, stitch a pocket to the front of the skirt with the seam allowance. Do not stitch beyond the seam allowance at the top and bottom. Match the top of the pocket to the top of the mark you have made. Some patterns will have notches for the side seam and pocket that you will match up.
If my seam allowance is ½ inch (12mm), then stitch the seam at ½ inch (1.2cm). Stop at the top and bottom ½ inch from the edge.
Step 5 - Finish the Seam
Finish all the way down the side seam of the skirt (catches in the pocket edge). The best way is with a zig-zag, serger, or pinking shears. Finishing the edge now makes your sewing look neater and is less awkward later.
Step 6 - Press Open
Press the pocket open. Optionally, topstitch along the seam on the pocket, once again stopping ½ inch (12mm) from the top and bottom. I usually don't topstitch, but if you have a bulky fabric that won't stay open, this helps the pocket stay flat.
Step 7 - Joining the Pockets
Open up the pockets. With right sides together, stitch the front and back of the skirts together at the side seam and all around the pocket. Take care to leave the pocket opening open.
Step 8 - Press Inseam Pocket Toward Front
Press the pocket towards the front of the skirt. If you press the side seams forward, you won't need to clip the corners of the pockets meaning there are no weak points that can fray.
Step 9 - Turn
Turn the garment to the right side, and you have a lovely inseam pocket ready to use.
Inseam Pockets - In Conclusion
Now you know how to sew inseam pockets, you can add them to almost any garment. They are slimline, discrete, and best of all, easy to sew.
More Pocket Tutorials
- How to Sew Zippered Pockets - These pockets are great for bags and purses and can be added to most patterns easily. A concealed pocket is great for safety.
- Types of Pockets - This article shows you all the types of pockets including the inseam pockets shown here.
- How to Sew a Pocket - Learn how to make patch pockets in any shape. This tutorial includes the shapes for a rounded and tulip pocket.
- Sewing Basics
- Pocket Pattern
- Finish the edges of the pockets.
- With right sides together, stitch a pocket to the front of the skirt with the seam allowance.
- Finish all the way down the side seam of the skirt. Press the pocket open.
- Open up the pockets. With right sides together, stitch the front and back of the skirts together at the side seam and all around the pocket. Leave the pocket opening open.
- Press the pocket forward.
- Turn the garment to the right side.