inseam pockets

The Acton-sew along : Sewing in-seam pockets


Hello! Welcome back to the Acton sew-along! Yesterday, we finally got started on our bodice, and today we're onto the skirt. 

View A has in-seam pockets (pockets hidden in the side seams) because I love to put pockets in every dress I can! This post will guide you through inserting the pockets with a standard finish (zig zag or overlocking), if you are using a really soft or flimsy fabric, I would suggest using french seams instead. The process is a little more involved, but you will achieve a really beautiful finish. You can check out that tutorial here

If you aren't including pockets in your Acton, you can simple stitch the front and back side seams together with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Finish the seams and press them open. 

Getting started :

Finish the edge of each pocket individually


Take both pairs of IN-SEAM POCKETS and finish the curved edge of each pocket individually, using an overlocker, zig zag stitch or bias binding.

Stitch pockets to front skirt


Take one pair of IN-SEAM POCKET pieces and pin to the FRONT SKIRT (with right sides together) by lining up the straight edge of each pocket with the side seam of the skirt. Stitch from the top of the pocket to the bottom, with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the side seams - capturing the edge of the pocket, as well as the side seam - using your chosen method.

Stitch pockets to back skirt


Take your BACK SKIRT pieces and place them side-by-side, with the centre back seams next to each other. Take the other pair of IN-SEAM POCKETS and match with the notches on the side seam of the BACK SKIRT pieces, with right sides together. Pin in place and stitch from top to bottom, with a 1.2cm (½in) seam allowance. Finish the side seams - capturing the edge of the pocket, as well as the side seam - using your chosen method.

At this point you can also finish the centre back seams with your chosen method. 


Press each pocket bag away from the body of the skirt. Understitch the seam allowance to the pocket bag on each pocket (this will help keep the pockets on the inside of the dress).

Join front and back skirt


With right sides together, match the SKIRT FRONT to the SKIRT BACK at each side seam. Pin in place, around the pocket and then continue pinning the rest of the seam.


Stitch along the side seam with a 1.5cm (⅝in) seam allowance, reducing to a 1cm (⅜in) seam allowance around the pocket edge. Pivot to get from the side seam to the pocket edge. Press the seams, and the pocket, towards the skirt front. 

And that's it. Your Acton dress now has pockets! Tomorrow we'll be attaching the skirt to the bodice and all these pieces are really going to start looking like a dress. Yay!

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How to: Sew in-seam pockets with french seams


Over the past two days I have shown you how to prepare the bodice of your Rushcutter - View B. At this point we are up to putting in the in-seam pockets.

I just LOVE pockets, so I find a way to put them in pretty much every garment I make. Even a soft floaty dress like my Rushcutter.

If you're not as partial to a pocket as I am, you can simply attach the FRONT to the SIDE PANELS, ignoring the pocket all together. But if you are a fan of the pocket, well continue on with me today and I'll show you how to get a lovely finish with a french seam. And this method will work for other garments, not just The Rushcutter!

Place your pockets


Take 1 pair of pockets and, with wrong sides together, match the pockets to the notches on the FRONT. The notch in the centre of the pocket should be matched with the middle notch on the FRONT of the dress.

Pin pocket in place. Now, before sewing, I would suggest holding the panel up to your body, and checking how the pockets sit on your body. The top of the panel should sit just above your bust. If the pocket feels too low or too high, remove the pins and place the pocket in a more suitable location (this is when a toile really comes in handy). Measure the distance between the notch on the pocket and the notch on the dress, so that you will be able to place the other pocket pieces in the correct spot. 

Stitch one side of the pocket to the front


When you are happy with the pocket placement, stitch from the top of the pocket to the bottom, using a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. 

Repeat on the other side.

Trim back pocket seam allowance


Trim back the seam allowance by 2-3mm (1/16in), from the top of the pocket to the bottom, leaving the rest of the seam untrimmed, on both sides.

Open the seam, and press the seam allowance towards the pocket. 

Create a french seam


Fold the pocket back towards the dress, now with right sides together, enclosing the raw edge and the original row of stitching inside the fold. Once again, stitch from the top of the pocket to the bottom with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. Repeat for the other side. 

Stitch pocket to side panel


Now take the remaining pair of pockets and match them to the SIDE PANEL pieces with wrong sides together, once again matching up the centre notches. If you changed the placement of your pockets on the front, make sure you do the same for the pockets being attached to the side panels. Pin in place and attach using the same method we used for the first side.

Join the front to the side panel


Press all 4 pocket bags away from the panel they are attached to. 

With wrong sides together, pin the SIDE PANEL to the FRONT on both sides. Pin up the seam, around the pocket, and then continue pinning the remainder of the seam.


Stitch the pieces together with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance. You will notice that, when you approach the pocket, your stitching line does not meet up with the seam between the body of the dress and the pocket. This is how it is supposed to look, they will match up when you sew your second row of stitching. 

Clip into corners


Clip into the corners between the pocket bag and the body of the dress, getting nice and close to the row of stitching, but being careful not to cut through. 

Trim back the whole seam by 2-3mm (1/16in).

Press seam


Turn the pieces inside out, and press the seam flat. Pin and then and stitch along the seam, with a 6mm (1/4in) seam allowance enclosing the raw edge inside the seam. 

Attach the back


Attach the BACK to the side panels with a french seam. Use the notches to help you position the pieces correctly. Press the finished seams towards the front of the dress.

So that brings us to the end of this post! Tomorrow, the Rushcutter will really start looking like a dress as we will be joing to the bodice to the body of the dress. Yay!

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