Tutorial: adding pockets to a princess seamed dress

I’m a big fan of having pockets in things. Being able to carry stuff, places to keep your hands warm when it’s cold out, and they even give you something to do if you ever find yourself standing around feeling silly – just put your hands in your pockets and look casual, yo!

(Plus, when you have a small person in your life, you really do find yourself needing pockets for carrying tissues/snacks/random ‘gifts’ they present to you and expect you to hold onto, that sort of thing.)

So when I made my Rock-a-birdy Bleuet dress, strangely enough, I decided to add pockets!

Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

The Deer&Doe Bleuet dress is a cute, princess-seamed, shirt dress. For my Bleuet, I decided to add pockets to the side front panels of the dress – that way, they would be less likely to ruin the lines when I was carrying things in them than in-seam side pockets would be. Plus, I’d still be able to easily adjust the fit of the dress if I needed to take in (or let out!) and of the seams.

This technique would work on pretty much any princess seamed dress (or coat, or top).

Here’s a little tutorial of how I did it….

Step 1
First, we need to mark where our pocket opening is going to be. You’ll then use this marking to cut your side front panel out in two sections – upper and lower – and also to cut your pocket bag.

Draw a line on the side front panel where you want your pocket opening to be (hold it up to yourself to get it in the right spot). We’ll call this the ‘pocket line’ from now on.
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 2
Cut lower section of side front from 1.5cm (5/8″) above the pocket line to the bottom of the side front pattern panel.

Cut straight across at 1.5cm above the pocket line. (That 1.5cm above is your seam allowance.)
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 3
Cut upper side front panel to 6.5cm below the pocket line. This gives you a pocket facing so the pocket bag doesn’t show through when you’re wearing your dress. It also includes the seam allowance.

Mark the pocket line on this panel – you’ll be using this to match up where the top of the lower side front will go.

Here’s how the pocket facing works – see how far I have to pull the pocket down before you see the pocket bag on the inside? That’s what we’re aiming for – no accidental flashes of other prints when we’re carrying things!
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 4
Now it’s time to cut the pocket bag!

Cut on the fold, using the side front panel as a guide. The top of the pocket bag will be 1.5cm (5/8″) above the pocket line, to give you your seam allowance.

Mark where the seam is that will join the centre front panel.
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 5
Open out your pocket bag.

On one side, cut off 5cm at the top – this will attach to the pocket facing in the upper section of your side front panel. Mark this as top front.
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 6
If you’re putting pockets in both sides, use your new pocket bag as a template to cut a second bag. Make sure they’re mirror images of each other (i.e. cut right-sides-together).

Step 7
Time to sew!

Right sides together, sew your pocket bag to lower front side panel, using a 1.5cm seam allowance.
Press so pocket bag and lower side front are wrong-sides together, with seam allowance flat between them. Understitch seam allowance onto pocket bag.

Right sides together, sew pocket bag to upper front side panel, using a 1.5cm seam allowance.
Press seam allowance towards pocket bag and understitch.

Here’s what it’ll look like when you open it all out, with the pocket bag joining the upper and lower side front panels:
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Both seams should be understitched so the seam allowance is against the pocket bag:
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Step 8
Line up top of lower side front with the pocket line you marked on the upper side front. Pin in place and press pocket bag so it’s nicely folded over.

Here’s what it’ll now look like on the front – with the lower side front end along the pocket line (and a bonus toddler photo-bomb):
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

And here’s what it’ll look like at the back, with your pocket bag folded in half:
Adding pockets to a princess seamed dress | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

Baste sides together.

Step 9
Repeat steps 7 & 8 for the other front side panel if you’re adding two pockets.

All done!

Now go ahead and use it like it’s one panel for constructing your dress. ๐Ÿ™‚

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17 responses to “Tutorial: adding pockets to a princess seamed dress

  1. Thanks for this tutorial! I would never have thought to do it that way but I love the way it looks ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Fabulous tutorial! Would work well with any dress with princess lines! Love it!

    • Ooh, good point! I’ve just gone and updated the title to make it a bit broader in topic. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Love it – thank you!
    del

  4. Great idea! l love the idea of outside pockets instead of in-seam pockets.

  5. Thanks to you, I want to add pockets to EVERYTHING now! =)

    • Pockets MUST be in EVERYTHING!!! Because when something is awesome, it is almost always more awesome with pockets. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      (I get rather sad when I forget to add pockets to things like dresses and skirts.) (Although usually not quite sad enough to unpick them and add them, it must be admitted….)

  6. Thanks for sharing this technique.

  7. Great tutorial – I’ve pinned it for safe keeping ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Love the pocket additions! I’ve played with patch pockets mostly, but just put in some bagged pockets into my Colette Lily dress for the Mad Men Dress Challenge III. Do you like the Deer & Doe patterns?

    • Ooh, bagged pockets would look great on the Lily dress! Such a cute pattern.

      This is the only Deer&Doe I’ve made so far. I like it, although I did find their instructions were a little bit lacking in some places in the Bleuet dress (such as never telling you to sew up the shoulder seams). So I’m not sure I’d recommend them for beginners, but I think their designs are really cute so if you’ve made a few things before they’d be good. ๐Ÿ™‚ I have plans to make some more of their designs in the future (especially the Belladone – love that back cutout feature!).

  9. Pingback: Rock-a-birdy Bleuet | Modern Vintage Cupcakes

  10. Pingback: A dream is a wish the heart makes.. – Sophie Bach

  11. Pingback: Them pockets. – Sophie Bach

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