Looking to add simple cargo pockets to your garments? We will show you how to create patterns for the pocket and flap, plus how you how to sew your pocket together. Because pockets can come in all different sizes, I’m not going to provide set measurements but rather help you make your own custom pattern. We’ll start drafting the pocket pattern first. Decide what you want the finished width to be, mine will be 5”. My finished height will be 4 ½”. We need to choose the width of our pleat. I am going to choose 1 inch. Take your pleat width and multiply it by 2. Add this to your finished width measurement. Next we need to add seam allowance to each side of the pocket. My seam allowance is ⅝”, so I would add 1 ¼” to my finished width measurement. So for my demo, my finished pocket width is 5” plus 2” for the pleat and 1 ¼” for seam allowance.
My new pattern width is 8 ¼” To your finished height measurement, you’ll add desired hem allowance plus the standard ⅝” seam allowance. In my case my finished height is 4 ½” plus 1 1/4” for hem allowance and ⅝” for seam allowance. My new pattern height is 6 ⅜” On your pattern paper, draw a box using your pattern width and height. In my example, my box is 8 ¼” wide by 6 ⅜” tall. Next I’ll draw a line down the center of the width. From the center line we are going to create a parallel line on each side of the center line. The distance from the center line should be whatever your pleat width is. So in my case each line is 1” from the center. As an option, you can shape the bottom of your pocket for a rounded look.
From the bottom of each corner, measure up 2” and inwards2” and make a mark. Then blend a curve from mark to mark. Here’s what my finished pocket pattern looks like. Next we’ll do the pattern for the flap. You’ll need your finished width from the pocket pattern. For me that was 5”. Then pick your finished flap height. I’m going to choose 2”. To the finished width of 5” I’ll add 1¼” for seam allowance. My flap pattern width is now 6 ¼”. To get my flap pattern height, I’ll take my finished flap height and add 5/8” for seam allowance plus ¼” for sewing the flap on to my garment. So, that means I’m adding ⅞” to my finished flap height of 2”,giving me a total of 2 ⅞”. I’ll draft my flap pattern by drawing a box that’s 6 ¼” wide by 2 ⅞” tall.
Again, we are going to round the bottom corners. For this one I’ll go up each bottom corner 1” and inwards 1” and blend a curve from point to point. Now that we have our patterns, cut them out from your fabric, one from your pocket pattern and two from your flaps. With a fabric marker or chalk, transfer your pleat lines to the wrong side of the pocket. First, we’ll create the pleat on our pocket. With it wrong side up, fold the outside pleat lines to centerline. Press to create a crease.
On the right side of the pocket, edge stitch with your sewing machine on each side of your pleat crease. Please note, you’re only edge stitching the crease, not sewing the pleat to the pocket fabric. Baste across the top and bottom of the pleat to hold it in place. Then baste ⅜” away from the raw edge along the bottom of the pocket for easing the curved edges later. Next, at the top of the pocket, fold ¼” to the wrong side and press. Flip the pocket to the right side and fold over the hem allowance minus ¼”. For me that would be 1”. On each side, sew the folded edge at a ⅝” seam allowance. Trim your seam just in the folded part only.
Then flip the folded hem to the wrong side and press. Stitch along the folded edge of the hem On the remaining raw edge, turn to the wrong side ⅝” and pin. Pull your basting stitches to ease the curved parts to make turning easier. Press. Next take your pocket and place it on the right side of your garment fabric. It’s usually easier to attach your pocket prior to the garment side seams being sewn. So you’ll want to add your pockets early in the process. Pin the pocket into place. Take it to your sewing machine and edge stitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket only. Next we’ll sew the flap. If you’re using a thinner fabric, you may want to cut a piece of interfacing from your flap pattern and add it to the wrong side of one fabric flap piece. Place the two flaps right side together and pin the sides and bottom curved edge. Stitch a regular length straight stitch at your machine.
Trim and clip notches at the curves. Then flip right side out and press. Take it back to your machine and edge stitch the finished side. At the top straight side, sew a basting stitch to hold the raw edges together. Match up the raw edge of the flap to the top of the pocket on your garment fabric, making sure the sides are lined up and pin. Sew the bottom edge of the flap in place ¼”away from the raw edge. After stitching, carefully trim away as much of the raw fabric as possible. Flip the flap so it lies over the pocket and then edge stitch at the top of the flap.
If you’re interested in adding a fastener to your pocket, check out our videos on adding buttonholes or snaps. Your pocket is now done. You’ll notice the pleat allows the pocket to expand in order to hold more than a standard patch pocket and they look great.