Friday, March 19, 2010

Adding Pockets (a tutorial)

My friend asked me if I could add some pockets to her work out shorts for her so she wouldn't have to carry her cell phone the whole time she's exercising.  I said sure!  In case any of you have been wanting to do the same, I thought I'd let share a little how-to.

Grab your shorts and an old t-shirt to cut up.  (You could of course use other fabric instead, but I'll be explaining how to do it with a t-shirt.)

My friend, by the way, is not a trashy motorcycle chick.  This is just a shirt from the "to be cut up for something else" pile which had already had the bottom cut off for another project.  I'll tell you about that project some other time.  Anyway, let's move on.

Locate the side seams on your shorts. (I have no idea why the shorts look gray in this picture.  I'll blame it on the weird snow storm that was going on while I was working on this.)

Grab a piece of paper and line the edge of the paper up with your side seam.  (You'll just have to trust me that my paper is lined up.  Again with the weird snow storm.)  With your paper in place, draw a template for the size you'd like your finished pocket to be.  I might have made the pockets a little bigger, but I knew my friend only wanted a place to stash her cell phone, so I kept my pockets on the slightly smaller side.

Draw a line for your seam allowance.

Cut out your pocket pattern piece.

Pin it to one of the sleeves of your trashy biker shirt, making sure to line up the edge of your pattern piece with the edge of the sleeve.

Cut out both layers at the same time.  Remove pins.

Turn your pattern piece upside down, pin to the other sleeve, cut out both layers, and remove the pins.

Turn pocket pieces inside out and pin together.

Sew a straight stitch from one edge of the sleeve all the way around to the other edge.

Sew a zigzag stitch on the outer edge from one edge of the sleeve all the way around to the other edge.  This will keep any loose ends together and offer reinforcement.  Nobody wants a hole in their pocket.

Both pockets should now look like this.

Now, turn your shorts inside out.  Line the edge of your pocket up with the sewn edge of your shorts.  Decide where you'd like your pockets to be.

Pin each pocket in place. 

Pin just above and below where your pocket begins and ends.

Keeping your outside pins in place, remove pocket.

Do this for both sides.

Turn your shorts right side out.  Mark your pin placement again, now on the top of your shorts.  Remove pins from the inside.

Using a seam ripper, carefully pick the side seam of your shorts in between the two pins.  (Ignore the fact that the shorts are still inside out in this picture.  I accidentally took this picture out of order, but your shorts should be right side out at this point.)

It's easiest to pick the seam neatly by carefully pulling at the seam with your thumb and forefinger until you can see the seam threads begin to strain. 

Then, using your seam ripper, begin opening the seam by picking at the seam threads you can now see.

Continue until you've opened the entire side seam in between your pins.

Now, if your shorts are like my friend's and was surged along the inside edge in addition to some top stitching, you may have to pick through a couple of rows of stitching in order to actually have an open hole to put your pocket in.  Just keep at it and carefully pick out the seam until you have an open hole in between your pins.  Do this for both sides.

Now, with the shorts still right side out, keeping your pocket inside out (it will always remain inside out) fit your pocket inside its corresponding side seam.

Start fitting your pocket into the opening by lining the side seam of the pocket (green fabric) with the top of the opening in your shorts (blue fabric).  Pin in place.

With the pocket in place, begin pinning the edge of the pocket to the edge of the side seam of your shorts.  Offset the edges just a tiny bit with the pocket just slightly inside the edge of the shorts.  This will keep your pocket from hanging out and showing all weird once you're finished.

Pin all the way down one side of the pocket, then go back up to the top of the pocket and pin down the other side.  Pin any extra space at the opening closed.

Edge-stitch all the way around the pocket, being careful not to let the fabric bunch up underneath. 

Now, at the top and bottom of the pocket you will likely still have a small part of the opening left open.  Pin together.

 Sew, starting at the top of the opening (the part farthest away from the pocket) and going diagonally down until you sew off the edge (at the very top of the pocket).  (The picture doesn't show this very well.  I hope this makes sense.)

Repeat this process to close the opening left at the bottom of the pocket.

Stitch the remaining pocket in place.

Ta-da!  You're finished!

 You now have some great exercise shorts, complete with pockets!  (And you can hardly tell by looking at them, which is just the way it should be!)

You're ready to fill your pockets up...

...and head out to exercise!

Enjoy your pockets!


Sarah said...

Woo hoo! Thanks again Katie!

Kathy Haynie said...

Great tutorial! I've added pockets to dresses this way in the past.

Emily said...

LOVE this!!! Thanks for the tute! I also LLOOOVVVEEE your new blog cute! Congrats!

Dorothy said...

Very clever and smart! I think I know which friend these were for: it could possibly be the same girl who is always telling me to keep a cell phone in MY pocket (and I keep forgetting)! Nicely done, Katie!

emmalou said...

It looks so professional! Sweet.

Infarrantly Creative said...

You did a great job. I love pockets...especially in work out shorts. I am always looking for workout shorts with pockets. I usually end up purchasing guys because they do have pockets.

Lauren @The Little Things We Do.... said...

oh there anything you CAN'T do? i think probably not :).

DeeAnna said...

You are a pocket genius! Your tutorial is soooo precise that even I could try it. I would have never thought of it!!

Anne said...

Brilliant!! I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


adornedunicorn said...

Thank you for this! I need to add some pockets to a few skirts to make them more functional!

Andrea said...

LOVE it. Great idea!

Andrea @

Jen @ said...

What a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

Thanks for linking up to my party!