Tutorial - add easy french seamed side pockets to anything. Yes! Anything!

Remember my blathering excitement last year when I happened upon a vintage skirt pattern with a nifty little drafting feature that allowed me to do easy-as-pie french seamed in-seam pockets? I didn't do a particularly good job of explaining it I'm afraid.  But after finding the same type of pockets in my recent Fujiyama Mama frock I was determined do a quick and dirty step-by-step tutorial for you......




It's super super easy and you can adapt any pattern (skirt, dress or pants) that uses in-seam pockets. 



As you can see the side seam of the dress pieces have a little extension on them - this is the brilliantly simple feature and the only alteration you will need to make to your pattern. It's the width of the seam allowance you wish to use, and the length of the pocket piece at the seam. As simple as that. There's no need change the pocket pieces (BTW how cute is the little sewing machine foot that demarcates the seam line? Love vintage patterns!).


So.... (And I'm really sorry I used a fabric without an obvious right and wrong side - head smacking myself!).

Start by attaching your pocket pieces to the respective fronts and backs of your dress/skirt. Use a french seam - this truncated demo version has a 5/8 inch seam allowance, so I did wrong sides together using a 2/8 inch seam allowance, trimmed to avoid that nasty 'fluffy bikini line look', pressed, then sewed the right sides together with a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Press the pocket bags away from the garment so they sit nice and flat. 


Truncated 'skirt' piece on the left, pocket bag on the right. Weird mark on my kitchen table....
Pinning the wrong sides together as step 1 of frenchin' a seam


Seam trimmed of fluff and ready to press open


Right sides pinned together (from underneath)

Right sides pinned together (from top)
Finished french seam of 1 piece of pocket bag and 1 piece of skirt/dress/whatever

Press the pocket bag piece away from the skirt/dress:


Repeat these steps for the remaining pocket bags/side seams.

It should now be clear that the seams of the pocket side seams will be within the seam allowance of the skirt side seams. 



I've drawn the seam allowance in with chalk to make it more obvious. 




Pin together the matching pocket bags and skirt/dress pieces and sew the side seams and pocket bag seams - to french them sew wrong sides together, trim the fluff, press and sew the right sides together. 


All done! 








And OMG is that not the prettiest pocket seam you ever saw?!

Enjoy - go forth and french!













Comments

  1. Thanks for the tutorial, I love the neatness of french seams so will be using this at the first opportunity!

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    1. You're very welcome Alex. I hope it's clear enough! Thanks for coming by!

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  2. This IS the prettiest pocket I've ever seen! I'm just getting into french seams, they can be mind bending at the corners. Thanks for the tutorial.

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    1. You're very welcome! I hope it works for you!

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  3. Yay! Thanks for the tutorial! It’s really obvious once you know how it works, but sometimes you just need to see how things are done before you really grasp them, don’t you? I’ve bookmarked this for whenever I might be doing side-seam pockets again! (:

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    1. You're very welcome! I'm very much a visual learner myself, and I hope this clears up any confusion from the garbled explanation I tried to give last time!

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  4. Genius! I'm totally doing this.

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  5. Great idea, thanks for the tutorial.

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    1. Wish it was my genius idea! But you're welcome!

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  6. Hey thanks for this tutorial, I have it saved and ready to go for my next pocketed project.

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    1. Excellent - I look forward to seeing it!

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  7. Such a neat trick! Thanks for sharing :-) I could have have used it on the project I'm working on right now, but it's too late!!!

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    1. You're very welcome - I'm so delighted to share it! Such a nerd!

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  8. Great tutorial Sarah! Using french seams on pockets is the best idea - adds sturdiness and stability. Thanks for sharing :D!

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  9. Awesome. I never would have figured this out even though it's one simple step to make it 'click'. Thank you!

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    1. You're very welcome! Can't wait to see some of your innards!

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  10. Genius! I'll definitely give this a go.

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  11. Love this! Thanks for sharing it :)

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  12. So handy! Bookmarking this for next time I need it, thanks!

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  13. What a great tutorial! I always struggle with french seams on a curve, what's your secret?

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    1. Goodness sorry Jo - didn't see this comment - I never seem to have a problem but I did read recently doing the first seam at the larger seam allowance seems to help....

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  14. This tutorial is just what I've been looking for! Thanks for sharing! I have just one question: how do you go about the curve of the pocket with the french seam? Do you sew the first seam then trim and snip into the seam at the curves and then turn the fabric and sew the second seam?

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    1. Hi Klara, no there's no need to clip the seam at all. If you trim the seam allowance down very small you'll be fine. I think I read somewhere recently you do the first seam at the larger seam allowance 3/8 inch, then the second at 2/8. I don't think it really matters for me personally but I almost never clip into curves! Such a rebel I know, but I find trimming the seam allowance down to about 1/8 inch makes it very easy to manoeuvre. Good luck!

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  15. That is such a glorious pocket - what a fantastic idea! Thank you for the tutorial! x

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