How to Sew a Lined Patch Pocket

Many bag or tote patterns that you buy off the shelf have all the beautiful detail reserved for the outside of your bag. A lot of the time they do not incorporate any of that detail – specifically pockets – into the inside of the bag. Or if they do have pockets worked into the inside lining, they never seem to be exactly how I would want them. So, here’s an easy trick to making your own lined pockets!

The easiest way to add pockets either to the outside or inside of your bag is to add a patch pocket. This is my favorite method because I can customize the pockets to hold my favorite items, such as my cell phone, keys, lip gloss (in 3 colors, of course), etc. Now the bag is PERFECT for my needs!

photo 1I made the pocket pictured here using Beth Bradley’s method. An extra tip here is to reinforce your pocket because there is going to be lots of stress on it by reaching in and pulling stuff out and stuffing stuff back in. To do this, simply back one of the fabrics with interfacing. Once you have topstitched the pocket to the lining of your bag (before you put the bag together, of course), tuck in the items you will be carrying (like your cell phone or lip gloss), and mark with a pen where the stitch line should go. Ta da! You have the makings of a custom pocket.

photo 2Then, go along this long pocket and separate them into more functional pockets. Don’t forget to leave a LITTLE room to make sure the item slides easily into the pocket. I am also going to reinforce the top edge of my divider stitches for security. This is also a great way to embellish a plain T-shirt that needs a bit of sprucing up. I’ve made a pocket using Beth’s method to make a beautiful finish using quilting-weight cotton and a light, slippery lining made from China silk.

I basted the pocket stitch lines on as Beth recommends, and then placed the pocket onto those lines and topstitched it into place. Look how much more visually interesting this shirt is now!

I’ve even used this cute shirt embellishment project for group events like bachelorette parties. Instead of making custom-printed t-shirts, each girl hands over a shirt that already fits perfectly, and we embellish with a pocket in a different fabric for each!

If the pattern you have chosen does not meet your needs in the pocket department, now you know how to customize them to make them pocket-perfect!

Happy sewing!

Related Video: Making Lined Patch Pocket Patterns

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21 Responses to “How to Sew a Lined Patch Pocket”

  1. marlyn g brunskill

    I’ve done this for several years, because I like fabric purses better, (weigh much less than other types of purses), but they never seem to have pockets that are right.


    I really like this site. It is relaxing to put yuor ideas together & actually see it come to life.

    • Nina

      Unbelievable. I’ve been sewing since I was a preteen. I am now 80. Never have I seen a better way to make my patch pockets perfect. I use them mostly on purses and tote bags I make. Thank you.

  3. Sandra Akins

    I don’t know how to make pockets for already made pants. I have to have pockets in all my clothes I need some help! Thank you

    • Lady

      You could use a seam ripper to open the side seams where you’d want your pockets to sit and then cut the pockets in the shape you’d like them to be, sew them onto the seam you just opened. Just be sure to use a fabric that is similar to your pants, both in weight and match colour as best you can (or coordinate a colour that compliments your pants because the pocket material will show a little when you sit down). Hope this helps you. Happy sewing!

  4. Bonnie murray

    Did this on a fabric purse that i made.Put pockets on both sides(on outside)Measured them to fit cell phone,writing pen,reading glasses,lipstick and very small mirror.Many compliments.most fun purse i ever owned,and most usable.

  5. Danita

    Love this custom pocket and the detail for finishing the end for strength! This is a must try! Thank you very much!