Gathered Pockets

Skill Level: Intermediate
* 1/4, yard of white cotton or nice muslin (or other fabric for elastic pocket below).
* 2 to 4 buttons
* Sewing machine
Sewing Time: 1 hour
For the ELASTIC GATHERED POCKET, scroll to the bottom of this tutorial.

A Market Skirt just doesn’t feel complete without a pocket for treasures. If our pocket here seems too advanced, you can add a simpler pocket by cutting the pattern pieces smaller and not gathering. Or you can try a lovely tutorial for The Pleated Pocket from Made by Rae. If you’re up for our challenge though….then here we go! (you’re gonna do great). For the ELASTIC GATHERED POCKET, scroll to the bottom of the tutorial. There are two pattern pieces. And you’ll need TWO of each. If your white fabric isn’t dense enough, I recommend double-layering it. This is what I’ve done here. Here are your pattern pieces (note: these are not actual size, but simply provide the measurements):
On your fabric, trace and cut out TWO of each pattern piece (the yellow piece below is my pattern piece, used to trace on to the white fabric):
Cut out your Top pieces:
Iron over the sides of each (about 1/4 of an inch):
Like this, so that you have two long Top pieces that will hold the top of your pocket together. Put them aside for the moment:
Serge or zigzag all the way around your entire pocket pieces:
Then, using your button for size measurement, iron over a pocket hem so it’s wide enough to create a button hole for your size of button:
You should have two pocket pieces like this:
Then folding in slightly, iron down the edge all the way around the semi-circle part of each pocket piece:
like this:
Stitch down the hem of the pocket first at the very top, about 1/8 inch in:
Then stitch down the bottom of the pocket hem like this:
you should have two pieces like this:
In the middle of your pockets (if you are using two buttons per pocket, make sure you space the two buttons so they are evenly in the middle)…..mark your button holes with very small dots, using a fabric pen or other pen, so you know the length for your button holes:
like this:
Using those dots as your Start and Stop points, sew two button holes to the top portion of your pocket:
Like this:
Use your seam ripper to (very carefully) rip the hole in the center of the button hole:
Time to gather your pocket. No cheating this time! Set your stitch length to the longest length:
Starting on one side of the bottom hem stitch, sew a stitch about 1/4 inch away from the hem stitch (do NOT stay stitch – or back and forth stitch – at the ends of the pocket):
Stitch another similar line on the other side of the main hem line, 1/4 inch away. You should have 3 lines now, like this:
Then, using either both top strings, or both bottom strings (but NOT all the strings), pull on one side of the pocket strings to gather your pocket:
It should look like this:
Take your Top pieces that you ironed in the first step and pin each one on top of each pocket to cover the gathered portion. You MUST sew something to the gathering or your pocket will never stay together. You can also use ribbon, contrasting fabric, or colorful stitching (as shown on the red skirt below):
Sewing only about 1/8 inch in from the edge, sew both sides of the Top piece on to the pocket (when you sew the pocket to the skirt, you’ll need to tuck the overhang parts into the pocket):
It should look like this:
Now comes the tricky part….placing the pockets. Find the center of your skirt and evenly eye-ball the pockets on top:
Pin one down with just a few pins, then pin the other down and check if they are even and straight. If they look good, continue with more pins, pinning all the way around each pocket (and keeping the pocket edges all tucked inside):
If you’re doing one large pocket (which requires a slightly larger pattern cut-out) it should look like this:
Then, staying about 1/8 inch in from the edge, sew each pocket on to the skirt; all the way from one side of the pocket to the other (make sure your skirt doesn’t get gathered or caught under as you sew…that it lays flat the whole time):
Almost done!
Sew your buttons to the under side with a needle and thread:
Now comes the fun part….go play and dance and run around with friends.
as seen on the Harvest Dress
Follow the steps above for creating a gathered pocket. Instead of gathering the pocket by sewing lines and pulling the strings, gather with Elastic Thread.
Taking a spool of elastic thread, thread it around an empty bobbin. Don’t pull the thread too tight, or leave it too loose. Now hard line here, just wind it fairly average.
Then sewing on the RIGHT side of your pocket, sew horizontal lines over and over and over, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from each other (use the edge of your presser foot as a guideline for sewing a straight line each time). When you’re done, the top of the pocket should look like this:
and the underneath should look like this:
A button hole is not necessary but if you choose to do so, create one now and then sew the pocket on to your dress.
Ta Da!

  1. 1) Holly

    Our little girl loves pockets these days! Do you have a tute for that cute dress too?

  2. 2) gr81gkar

    Why do you sewing button holes and cut them out? Is it just for looks because I think the pockets are cute without buttons and all. Just wondering, don’t get me wrong I LOVE LOVE putting buttons on to add a splash of color I was just wondering if that’s why you do it here? And Thank you again for yet another WONDERFUL project that I can make for my Grand daughter. Vonnie

    • 3) Pretzelstix

      After studying the pictures a bit more, I have another idea for the buttons. Place them on the thin fabric piece going across the pocket instead of sewing them above it. They would only be for decor, not buttoned onto the skirt. Just an idea I felt led to share. Love this little skirt. I make gifts for Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and this skirt will be a new addition this year for the girls, even the older girls!

      • 4) Monker Doodle

        That’s what I ended up doing, because I’m a beginner, and didn’t leave enough room up top for the buttons. Also, my 18 month old doesn’t need a working button šŸ˜‰

  3. 5) Pretzelstix

    Perhaps we could sew on buttons for decoration without making the button holes. It seems that the buttons would be pulled as the girl puts her hand into the pocket with buttons sewn from behind and then buttoned onto the pocket.

  4. 6) Judy McKee

    I love the cute little skirt and thank you for going into detail for the pockets. I have a 4 yr old grand-daughter (Morgan) that lives with me and I must start sewing her some new clothes. Do you have a tute for the little dress on the pocket page? It is so neat and pretty. Thank you much for the work you put into all the sewing and sharing.

  5. 7) Melanie

    Such cute skirts! What size buttons are on each skirt?

  6. 8) s kenrick

    Thanks, nice tutorials, they’ve given me some ideas.

  7. 9) gunjan mishra

    U r such a wonderful teacher …Thanks for Ur all tutorials

  8. 10) Cheryl

    I love this pattern for the pockets but I did adjust it. I made it 6 inches high and 6 1/2 inches wide. I cut one out of the main fabric and one out of a lining fabric. I then sewed those right side together and left and 2″ opening across the top edge so I could turn it right side out after clipping curves. This made a neater edge and made it easier to press. I then folded 1″ down on the top and sewed across near the bottom edge of this folded area and sewed another row about 3/8″ above that to form a casing. I used 4 1/2″ of 1/4″ elastic and tacked it on both ends and then it was ready to sew on the dress. Would have shown a picture but wasn’t sure how to do that.

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