Guest Post: Tasha’s Fancy Pockets!

January 22, 2013

Hi everyone, I’m Tasha from By gum, by golly! I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Rochelle while she’s on her WWII reenactment adventure. I thought I’d talk about a little project I did recently that could easily fit into the “make do and mend” wartime spirit. It’s not a tutorial exactly, but I’ll explain how I did it in case you’d like to try it, too!

Now I don’t know about you, but I adore patch pockets on vintage dresses and skirts. They are such a fun element that you see on so many 40s and 50s day dresses. I’m always inspired by the drawings of them that I see on my vintage pattern envelopes!


They’re a great way to use up scrap trim or even scrap fabric for contrasting or lined pockets, too. Adorned with lace, flaps, piping, ruffles or buttons… the possibilities are endless!


This got me to thinking: why not create pocket inserts that could be changed out depending on your outfit? A solid pocket could have a patterned insert and vice versa. The possibilities are limited only by what scraps you have laying around. And thus I came up with patch pockets with snap-off inserts! Believe it or not I hatched the idea almost a year ago, but it too me until this month to try it out.


It was pretty easy to do, too, it just took a bit of planning and preparation. Here’s how I did it.

I started sewing the skirt first. When the front skirt pieces were assembled, I played around with tissue paper and a pencil until I created a pocket shape I liked, taking into consideration the seam allowances so the pocket didn’t end up too big to fit on one of the gores, as it was a 6-gore skirt. (If you do this with a lapped side zipper, be smarter than I was and make sure you’re clear of the zipper overlap, too.)


Then I created a tissue piece for the insert, making sure that it would fit just inside the patch pocket opening, not including the seam allowances on either piece. To test that out, I just folded in the seam allowances on the pieces to check the fit. I sewed muslins for both to make sure everything lined up, since I wasn’t positive that it would work out like my brain thought it would. Fortunately, my brain was right.


For the muslin pocket piece, I sewed along the seam allowance and left the angled side open. When I turned it right side out to press, I folded the raw edges of the angled side in and top stitched it closed. I did the same for the pocket insert, except I just used my serger on the open edge since it would be inside my pocket. If you don’t have a serger, you could just fold the edges in and topstitch the same as for the pocket. (You can see the open end on the muslin pocket insert above, I didn’t actually serge the muslin since I was just testing fit.)

When I was confident it would work out in my fashion fabric, I cut a piece of my fabric and a piece of facing fabric out of muslin, and then reversed the pattern piece for the opposite pocket. I used vintage fabric for the skirt so I didn’t want to waste any on the inside, hence the muslin. For the pocket insert I just used two pieces of my contrasting fabric.

The lined pieces were necessarily because of the snaps holding it all together! I didn’t want the opening and closing of the snaps to cause more stress on the fabric than needed, nor did I want my stitches on the snaps to show through. Below you can see the two finished insert pieces, the inside of one pocket and the outside of one pocket.


All that was left at that point was sewing on the patch pockets, marking and making a buttonhole on the inserts and sewing a button to the pockets.

It’s hard to photograph the inside of a pocket, but you can see how it all goes together:


The insert fits just inside the pocket:


And the finished pocket and insert looks like this:

The inserts really adds a little something special to the skirt, don’t you think? While I didn’t make them specifically to match this vintage-inspired pink elephants sweater that I designed and knit a few years ago, I think it’s pretty much a perfect combination.


The beauty of the pocket inserts is anytime I’d like, I can make another set with fabric scraps to match a different outfit, or I can just wear the skirt without them. It has the ability to turn a potentially limited wardrobe piece into something more versatile.


I think a wartime sewist would be proud of this clever trick to extend an outfit!


Thanks ever so much to Rochelle for letting me guest post! I really hope you’ve enjoyed this project. Let me know if you try it out!


Tasha, thank you SO much for sharing your brilliant little pocket mod with us! p.s. If you’re not following Tasha’s blog already, you’re seriously missing out! Tasha is not only an extremely talented seamstress, but her knitting will blow your mind. Please stop by and tell her how awesome she is 😉