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Tutorial: Add pockets to the Violet Blouse (with free pocket template)


Whether it’s a snazzy style statement or a place to stash your pen collection, adding pockets to the Violet blouse (or any other blouse) is a fun and easy way to switch things up.

Below are the instructions for adding a basic rectangular pocket. At the end of the post is a free pattern download for the pocket featured. Alternatively, you can measure and cut a rectangle that is 5.75″ wide and 6.25″ tall.

(And just a reminder – the Violet Blouse is the Pattern of the Month, meaning it’s 20% off in the shop through the end of January. Use code VIOLETMONTH at checkout.)

How to add a basic pocket

1) Cut out one or two pocket pieces depending on how many pockets you’d like to add. From notch to notch, baste around the sides and bottom of the pocket at a scant 5/8″ seam allowance, pivoting at the lower corners.


2) Press the upper edge of the pocket 1/2″ towards the wrong side.


3) At the notch, fold the top pressed edge towards the right side and pin. (This fold should measure 1″.)


4) Stitch in place on each side at 5/8″, making sure your first pressed edge stays folded.


5) Turn top of pocket right side out, using a point turner to make the corners crisp.


6) Pin the pressed edge in place and edge stitch along it.


7) Fold the raw edges to the wrong side and press, rolling the basting stitches to the back as you do so you can’t see them from the front. Clip the corners at a right angle about 1/4″ away from the basting stitches.


8) Sew the dart in your front piece. Hold it up and decide where you’d like the pocket. Keep in mind that the center front edge of the shirt will lose 5/8″ when the facing is attached. Pin the pocket in place, making sure it’s parallel with the center front edge.


9) Since the bust dart adds a rounded shape to the fabric, place it over a pressing ham or other curved surface while pinning the edges of the pocket.


10) Topstitch around the sides and bottom of the pocket 1/8″ from the edge, pivoting at the corners and backstitching at the beginning and end. For added strength, stitch a triangle at each upper corner as shown.


pocket variations

A pocket takes barely any fabric, so it’s the perfect opportunity for some experimentation! Here are some ideas:


  1. Change the shape. Cut off the bottom corners to make a six sided pocket.
  2. Add a trim. Stitch a piece of lace, bias tape or other trim to the top of the pocket, incorporating the ends into the stitching when you fold the top edge towards the right side. Similarly, use a decorative stitch on your machine to hem the pocket instead of a straight stitch.
  3. Change the size. Make a mini pocket! Or, change the proportions to make it shorter and wider or taller and narrower.
  4. Make it curved. Curve the bottom corners of the pocket. To help when you press the edges, sew a basting stitch in the seam allowance of the curves and use it to gather the excess fabric.
  5. Add a button. Stitch a buttonhole in the hem of the pocket before attaching, then sew a button to the shirt.
  6. Make it a shape. Go crazy and make heart shaped (or any other shape) pockets. Cut two pieces per pocket, stitch them right sides together almost all the way around, notch curves and turn right side out, press and topstitch around the edge.

If you have any other pocket brainstorms you’d like to share, please comment below!

Click here to download the pocket template (or draw one yourself).

This post is part of #violetmonth. Get 20% off on the Violet pattern thought January 2015 with code VIOLETMONTH and follow along with tutorials and ideas on the blog.

Devon Iott

Raised on a farm in Ohio, Devon moved to Los Angeles for college and worked in the film industry for several years. She has taught sewing at various shops throughout Southern California and at the Craftcation Conference in Ventura. She now resides and teaches in Nashville. When not obsessively sewing she can be found knitting, baking, and drinking wine with her cat.


Betty Jordan Wester

January 6, 2015 #

this is great! The pictures are so clear!

My Grandma used to cut thin cardboard to whatever size the pocket was & use it to fold the fabric around it & press.

SJ Kurtz

January 6, 2015 #

Your grandma was a smartie. I’ve seen that technique as a paid tutorial. Thanks for the reminder!


January 9, 2015 #

thanks for the tip!


January 6, 2015 #

i love this idea! Do you have any photos of the violet with pockets?


January 9, 2015 #

Unfortunately we don’t, but perhaps someone will upload one to the Colette Flickr Pool!:


January 6, 2015 #

That is such a great way to finish the top of the pocket! I usually just turn the top over twice and stitch in place, but then there is the risk of those annoying fraying edges peeking out at the top if I don’t manage to wrangle them perfectly into place when stitching. I will use this method next time I sew a patch pocket…thanks!


January 7, 2015 #

Great tute Sarai! Thanks…


January 8, 2015 #

Hey there, you encouraged us to explore the Colette patterns this year on Coletterie beginning with Violet. Can we have a square like the wardrobe architect challenge folks? I plan to try to do the patterns I’ve purchased from you, as many as I can along with you each month that you post- my goal this year is to sew more often, to sew consciously, to learn techniques and try new fabrics and am trying to organize my time accordingly- your monthly pattern focus seemed like a good way to use what I have to that end- PS i am also trying to learn how to blog( eg put those cool patches on the blog, sort blog pages, links, tags,take better photos and etc – ) so the patch would be really sweet!