Howto: add simple, invisible pockets to skirts and dresses

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This bugs me a little, because most commercial clothing is serged, and the seam allowance won’t really be sufficient to support a straight stitch like she’s using. The example dress looks like a lightweight rayon, and that seam will probably unravel after a few washes.

I suppose it’s a trade-off between “won’t wear this ever without pockets” and “will not be able to wear this for long until the seam unravels”.


Isn’t that what a purse is for?


Is there a companion Whyto? I can’t seem to find the link.


Isn’t this just “how to sew a pocket”? It’s the same technique for pants too.

As @manybellsdown points out, the problem is that most women’s clothing is made so that you can’t open up the side seams to add a pocket.


I found this handy tutorial recently for removing a serged seam.

This is, I think, an oversimplification of the actual process. I mean, sure- you can do this on clothes with straight stitching and whatnot and it’ll be ok, but nothing’s really made that way anymore, so…
Between the serging and felled seams on men’s clothing, alterations of this nature can be really tricky.


Removing the seam isn’t the problem so much as re-stitching it in a manner that will hold. Most people don’t own sergers - even if they sew. I’ve been sewing for nearly 30 years and I only bought one for myself last year.

A serger trims off the excess material, so that the edges of the fabric are enclosed. If you sew a straight stitch along that same seam line, you’ll have maybe 1/4" of fabric sticking out past your stitching. The standard seam allowance for a straight stitch is 5/8".

Basically a straight stitch is probably not the best way to do this. Machines with multiple stitches will usually have a zigzag or some sort of faux-overlock that would be a better choice.


I just got a serger for Christmas and am learning how to use it, but I never could figure out how to remove those serged seams. So this tutorial was really helpful.

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1/4in seam allowance should be fine for normal wear, especially in a loose fitting skirt (as in the photo). I sew professionally and all of the patterns I design or modify use 1/4in SAs where possible - with outlets to allow for alterations or seam finishing techniques. If it was serged and has been through the wash a few times I would worry about pre-existing damage to the fabric from the double needle serger seam. An amateur unpicking a serged seam is also likely to do some damage. Maybe plan to take up 1/8 extra inside of the existing seam line.

You might want to add a zig zag or mock-overlock stitch to prevent raveling, but they should never be used as the construction seam. Use a needle appropriate to the fabric, and if it is a high-stress area consider a triple stitch, although that may add bulk. Avoid adding an in-seam pocket in an area that falls just over the hip - drop it a little lower or the pocket will tend to gap open and make that area seem wider.

It should also be pointed out, this type of pocket modification should really only be used for wovens where the seam is on or close to the straight of grain, it would stretch out of shape on most knits, or if the seam were cut on the bias.


If you can identify it, cut the needle thread or threads every 4 stitches or so and pull the upper looper. It should come out in one go!

Enjoy your serger! Make some napkins with the rolled hem function and a nice thread - easy $5 gifts that people will love.


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