Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Tutorial: Drafting an In-Seam Pocket

Karen from Did you make that? Wrote a post recently about being unhappy with the pockets of a particular pattern.

This made me think about pockets.

Pockets are SO personal. Some of us like our pockets lower on the hip; some of us like them higher. Some of us like the entry a bit bigger to accommodate our wider hand. Some of us like them shallow, so we're not tempted to overload it. Some of us like them very deep for the option to forgo the purse.

All this to say, the ability to draft pockets is a good skill to possess as a dressmaker.

Luckily, you're mere seconds away from learning this skill. Yes, friends, mere seconds away!

The first thing you need is a pattern to pimp up.

Second is your usual drafting equipment (i.e.: tracing paper, scissors, pencil, eraser, ruler, etc.).

If you're working with a commercial pattern with seam allowance included, you're going to need to first locate the true seam on your pattern. In this case, my seam allowance is 1/2 inch, so I trace the true seam in red.

Next, place your hand on the pattern, where it feels most natural to you. You can place the pattern piece against your body to determine the angle of insertion and depth that feels most natural to you.

Trace around the tip of your hand. Now you have the bottom of the pocket bag.
Now, place the widest part of your hand at the entrance of the pocket. Determine how much extra room you want on each side. Keep in mind that you need to account for the thickness of your hand. I like to leave half an inch on each side.
Next, extend half an inch inside the pattern (or 5/8 of an inch if that is your seam allowance), at the lower entry point of the pocket. This is to ensure your pocket will not get in the way of the side seam. (Excuse my messy illustration here.)

Finally, draw the remaining parts of the pocket, as shown bellow. Don't worry too much if it's not perfect at this point.
Note: Your pocket bag can be pretty much any shape you want it to be... except square. You want to make sure all your corners are nicely rounded to avoid accumulation of dust or other unpleasant surprises with the passing of time. Keep it round, keep it clean!
On a different piece of tracing paper, trace the pocket bag + seam allowance all around and we're in business!

Don't forget to draw your grainline. You always want your granline to be as long as possible and parallel to your center front.  Also don't forget to mark notches on your skirt front piece so you know where to place your pocket during assembly.

So there you have it! If you press well each step of the assembly, you'll end up with a professional-looking pocket... and you'll be so proud to have drafted it yourself!

PS: Several of you have requested that I share some more of what I've learnt in pattern drafting class. This was the idea behind this post. Stay tuned for more!


  1. Great information - thanks for posting this!

  2. Ha! You make it seem so easy! I'll be trying this next time I make some bottoms. Thank you, and waiting for more how-tos from you!

  3. Love this drafting tutorial! Super clear and easy to understand. I think this will be really useful for a lot of people. I love pockets and add them to all my dresses and skirts.


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