Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Round About Pocket Tutorial

I have been toying with a circle pocket design (mostly in my head) after seeing a picture of a dress that designer Heather Bailey had sewed. The dress featured a flower pocket complete with petals where the center of the flower was the pocket opening. So stinking cute! I went right to work sewing Soren a skirt featuring this type of pocket. I had no idea how to construct such a thing but pushed forward determined to make one similar. I turned out a wearable skirt but wasn't completely satisfied with the function of the pocket. Many months later I was still dreaming about this pocket and went on the search for a better method. After speaking to a professional seamstress friend I was pointed in the direction of vintage sewing books. Apparently circle pockets were once a popular look in athletic wear in the 60's. Go figure. I eventually hit pay dirt and found a description of how to create this type of pocket. Which I will now share with you. I am no pattern maker but may attempt a PDF if people are interested and can't follow my written directions here! ; )

The first step is to decide how large you want the hole to be. I made my circle 3.5 inches across. You can use a compass or find something to trace around. To make the pattern piece draw your circle on a piece of paper. Then draw a half circle 1 inch larger on the tops and sides of the circle. Draw straight lines down to create the overall pocket size size you desire (make sure it won't hang out the bottom of your garment). I think this picture will give most people the idea.

You will use this piece as the pocket lining (back). Cut one out of your pocket fabric.

Cut a second piece out of your pocket fabric with the center circle removed for the pocket facing.

Now use the pattern piece with the center circle removed to find the right placement on your skirt . Trace around the circle on your fabric.

Cut the circle you just traced out leaving a big scary hole in your beautiful fabric!

If you are going to add petals around your hole do it now.
Put your pocket facing on top of the hole in your fabric with right sides of fabrics facing each other. Sew all around your hole.

Turn the pocket facing to the inside of the garment and press.

Top stich around the circle close to the edge.

Flip your garment over and place the pocket back over the hole alining it's edges with the pocket facing.

Sew pocket facing to the lining. I used my serger.

Pocket Complete!!!

You can use bias tape around the hole instead of facing the pocket from the front. If that makes any sense at all! Here is a picture. Just assemble the pocket and join the pocket to the back of your garment edging the raw circles with bias tape.


  1. This is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing. You're going to start a new trend!

  2. This is a great tutorial. I also saw the pocket on Heather Bailey and wondered how she did that! I am now trying to imagine it on a dress for my neice.


  3. ps did you just free hand the petals?


    ( I am also anonymous commenter above.. I am still trying to figure out this blogger thing)

  4. I made a pattern for the petals and sewed them on the machine before basting them around the circle. It's basically a lot of math. You need to break the circle up into sections based on how many petals you would like around the hole. For 8 petals divide the circumference of the circle by 8. Then draw a petal shape with that divided width as the base of the petal. Then around your petal shape add your seam allowance. There is allot of room for error here as the petals can over lap or have space between them. I have a friend that is going to help me put the whole pattern including the petals into a PDF. I will post the PDF here when I get it done!

  5. I am so glad spring break is over, and now I can make this skirt. I will make two for a shower gift. A friend is having twin girls, they won't be able to wear them for a while, but that's OK.

  6. Nanm, If you do try it I would love to see what you make. You are going to be the hit of that babyshower!! Such a fun and eye catching project.

  7. Sonja, thanks for this tutorial. A customer of mine emailed me the original heather bailey photo, and had this not been here, I don't think I would've been able to figure it out. Thanks for the sleuthing, and nice job!

  8. This is so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Sonja, the two little skirts are done, and are SO cute. I can't believe I have to wait till June 13 to show them off! I will take a pick and post you the flicker site. I used a petal pattern piece from a McCalls pincushion pattern, made it easy. The second one came out better than the first, of course! I am thinking to give a coordinating Oliver Owl (My TIny Star's pattern) with the skirts, b/c the skirts are size 1!!

  10. Great tutorial, clear and simple!
    Loved the idea and the result.
    Congrats on winning, too...

  11. That is adorable! Thanks for sharing.

  12. wow wow it's fantastic, wonderful skirt

  13. LOVE IT!! Please advise when you do the PDF, I would be interested!!

  14. Very super cute. I emailed the Heather Bailey store to try to get the pattern for their flower pocket. They wrote back saying that the flower was designed especially for the photo shoot and was too difficult to make a pattern for. You made it sound so easy!! I can't wait to try it! Thanks SO MUCH for sharing it!!!


  15. I emailed them about all their patterns in general for the same ME issue. I got a similar response, well they actually said patterns were in her long range plans. Thanks so much for the tutorial! So useful! I cannot wait to get started! Oh did you figure out the shirt/dress the older girl was wearing with the ruffles on the back? Still mulling that one over.
    Jenny Fish

  16. Just wanted to thank you so, SO much, Sonja!
    I pointed the girls ( and boys ) at Sykroken ( Norwegian sewing site ) to your tut and they all absolutely love it!
    I'm planning a wee dress with egg-shaped pockets for Easter, - time allowing!

    Best regards from Norway :D

  17. This is such an informative tutorial! Usually bloggers use horrible, fuzzy pics, but you can actually see what you're doing in this one!

  18. Did you make a PDF of this pattern? And if so where can I find it?