throwback thursday

Throwback Thursday: How to draft in-seam pockets

Photo from  Corey , one of my lovely pattern testers

Photo from Corey, one of my lovely pattern testers

I love pockets. I really do. I like to put pockets anywhere I can as they are oh so handy for phones and keys, but also very comfortable for hands!

This is a tutorial to help you with "in-seam" pockets - a pocket that is hidden... surprise, surprise... in a seam of your garment (normally the side seam). Yesterday I showed you how to sew in-seam pockets (with french seams), so today I thought I'd show you how to draft the pattern piece as it is a very quick and easy process (both pattern cutting the pockets and sewing them) and once you have a pattern you are happy with, you will be able to use it over and over again, with minimal changes.


For this tutorial you will need the pattern of the garment you are adding pockets to, as well as some basic pattern cutting equipment: a transparent ruler, a pacer (or pencil), some scissors and a small piece of pattern paper (just bigger than your hand).



1. Take the front piece of the pattern you are making pockets for. I will be using the basic skirt block (as we are in the middle of The Skirt Series) as an example, but you can use this same method to add in-seam pockets to any garment that has a side seam.

2. Think about where you would like your pattern to sit. A good way to do this is to put on your toile and put your hands where the pockets would feel comfortable. Mark the location with a pin.

If you don't have a toile, you can just measure down from your waist to work out a good spot. For me, if I am adding a pocket to a waisted garment, I will place the pocket 9 - 10cm (3 1/2 - 4in) down from the waist. 

Mark this point on your pattern piece. 

3. Now think about how big you would like the opening to your pocket to be. I suggest around 15-20cm (6 - 8in). Measuring along your stitch line, down from the point you marked in the previous step (the top of the pocket), indicate the bottom of the opening with another notch. 

Draw the pocket bag


4. I think the easiest way to get a good pocket shape, is by tracing roughly around my hand. To do this, place your hand on your pattern, as if it was in a pocket, and draw around it in the rough shape of a pocket bag (have a look at the in-seam pockets of some of your own clothes if you're not sure about the shape). You don't want it to be too tight around your hand, so leave a little bit of space between your hand and the line you draw.

5. Take a separate piece of pattern paper and, using a weight to hold the pattern in place, trace the shape of the pocket (leaving enough space around it to add seam allowance). 

6. While you are tracing the shape of the pocket, you can also trace the seam allowance at the side seam. 


7. Add a notch, roughly in the centre of the pocket opening, and then using a tracing wheel, transfer that notch onto the front pattern piece. This notch will help when you are positioning your pocket, when it comes to sewing.

8. Add a grainline to your pocket piece, making sure it is parallel to grainline on the pattern you are adding the pocket to (this will ensure that the pocket sits nice and flat, when it is sewn in).

Add seam allowance and pattern details


9. Add seam allowance to the curve. I suggest 6mm - 1.2cm (1/4 - 1/2in) to make the curve as easy as possible to sew.

10. Add a notch to be used as a balance point on the curved seam - this helps when sewing the front and back pocket bags together.

11. Add cutting instructions (cut 2 pairs).

When it comes to cutting, you may choose to cut from your main fabric, or something lighter, to minimise bulk.

Transfer notches


12. The last thing you need to do is transfer the notches from the front pattern piece, to the back, so that you can place the pattern correctly on the back piece when it comes to sewing. 


13. Lay the back pattern piece onto the front, matching the side seams at the stitch line. Transfer the three notches onto the back pattern. If your pattern paper is not transparent, you can use a tracing wheel to transfer the notches. And there you have it... You now have in-seam pockets!



If you are creating a pocket pattern for a garment with a waistband (like the skirt in the example), you may want to consider making your pocket piece so that it sits flush with the waistline. This can give you a lovely finish, and can prevent the pocket bags moving. 

To do this, simply draft the pattern piece the same way as the standard pocket bag, but continue to curve up to the waistline. To complete, add seam allowance, notches and pattern markings. 

Download a pocket pattern

Just in-case you'd prefer a printable pattern, instead of drafting your own, I have included one for you to download (just click on the diagram above, to start the download). It is a 2 page PDF, so nice and easy to put together. If you would like some help printing it, check out my tutorial on printing PDF patterns.

Happy sewing!

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Throwback Thursday: Adding volume to a pattern


Over the past weeks I have been showing you how to draft a skirt block, as part of The Skirt Series.

Now that it is complete, it is time to start making the pattern your own. 


Last week I showed you how to draft an A-line skirt, by relocating the fullness of the dart to the hemline, using the cut and spread technique.

Today I will show you how to add more volume to the skirt block, using this same technique. You can use this same method to add fullness to just about any pattern piece: sleeves, trousers, blouses and jackets, and many more. 

Mark the cut and spread lines


1. I am using my skirt block to demonstrate this tutorial. The darts have already been moved, as shown in this tutorial. As always, it is best to have a copy of your pattern, without seam allowance. It is much easier to make adjustments with seam allowance removed.

2. Draw three lines (this is only a suggestion, you could use more or less) down the length of your pattern, roughly parallel to the centre front. Space them out, with roughly even gaps between them.


3. You will be cutting these lines, to add volume to the pattern. Wherever there is a line, this is where more fabric will be added - that's why it is best that they are evenly spaced.

4. Take your scissors and cut along the first guideline, from the hemline up towards the waistline.


5. Do not cut all the way through the pattern. Stop a few millimeters (1/16 in) from the waistline, leaving a 1-2mm "hinge" to keep the two pieces together.

How much volume to add?

Think about how much volume you are wanting to add to the pattern overall. You may want to do this by eye (just cut along the line and then spread until it looks as though enough volume has been added), or by an exact amount. If you are just opening up a hemline, I would say that doing it by eye is fine. But if, for example, the hip-line of a pattern is too tight and you are spreading the pattern to accommodate this, then I would suggest finding an exact amount so that you don't get any surprises.

If you have found an exact amount, you will need to divide this figure by four, as the volume will need to be distributed between the four pieces that make up the skirt pattern (front right, front left, back left and back right). Then divide the number again, by the number of guidelines you have on your pattern piece.

For example, if you would like to add an overall 30cm to the hemline, you will be adding 7.5cm to each pattern piece. If I was to add this to my pattern used as an example, I would divide this 7.5cm by my three guidelines, meaning I would open up each guideline by 2.5cm.

Cut and spread 


6. Slide a separate piece of pattern paper under your pattern, so that you will have something to stick the pattern to once you make the adjustments. Spread the hemline by the amount worked out in the previous step. Use tape or glue to secure in place.

7. Repeat process for the other lines, spreading each opening by the same amount as the first.

Check pattern


8. Redraw the waistline with a smooth curve.

9. Redraw the hemline with a smooth curve.


10. Check the the hemline meets the side seam and the centre front with a right angle. This will help you get a nice smooth hemline between front and back pattern pieces.

Complete the pattern

The pattern is done and you can now add seam allowance. If the pattern is a bit of a mess, with all that tape and extra paper, then simply trace a copy onto a seperate piece of paper.

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