Thursday, February 2, 2017

Fixing Fake Pockets

Hola from Bogota, Colombia! I'm three weeks into my World Race and enjoying it! (Though I do miss home, and sewing sometimes) You can read all about what I'm up to on my World Race blog, but meanwhile, as I'm missing it, let's talk about sewing!

Is there anything more frustrating than fake pockets?
Well, maybe, but fake pockets are pretty high on my list. You buy a garment, thinking it has pockets, then nope, just kidding! Thankfully, it's pretty easy to turn fake pockets into real ones.
Approximately two months ago now, I asked my friend Erentry what she wanted for Christmas. "Tutorials on how to add pockets to things" she told me, "since you're leaving and not going to be around for 11 months to help me do that."
Well, that's true enough, and I agreed to write a few posts about adding pockets to things (this one being the first, this series will continue all year since I'm separated from my sewing machine for 11 months!), but I really wanted to actually give Erentry something too, so I had her pick something out for me to add pockets to. She picked a cute vest from her closet with fake welt pockets.

What is even the point of fake welt pockets? If you're going to go through the trouble of making the welts you can easily add a pocket bag, it's really no extra work!
Ok, rant over. If you have been cursed with a garment that features fake welt pockets, here's how to turn those into real, functional, can actually hold something, pockets.

Step 1: Carefully, very carefully so you don't cut the lining or anything else, cut a slit where the fake pocket opening is, making it real.

Step 2: Measure the length of your new pocket opening and figure out how deep you want your pocket to be. (the deeper the better!)

Step 3: Make your pocket bag these dimensions.

This part is really easy. Cut a rectangle the width of your pocket opening, plus a half an inch to allow for a 1/4 inch seam allowance on either side, and twice as long as the depth you want your pocket to be, plus half an inch for seam allowance. So, if your pocket opening is 5 inches wide and you want your pocket to be 4 inches deep, cut a rectangle 5.5 inches wide and 8.5 inches long. Next, fold it in half so its's 5.5 inches wide and 4.25 inches deep. Then, sew up the sides and leave the top open. You have a pocket! Now to put it into the garment.

Step 4: Insert the pocket into the opening you cut.

Step 5: Fold the raw edges of the pocket opening in and fold the top edge of the pocket, about 1/4 inch, out, like so;

Step 6: Line up the top folded over edge of your pocket with the folded in edge of your pocket opening. Make sure no raw edges are visible, then pin in place. 

Finally, hand sew your pocket in place!

Your pocket is real and functional! Now feel free to repeat this process on any garment that has those annoying fake pockets!

Have another type of fake pocket you want to make functional? Let me know and I'll see if I can put together a tutorial for you! 

Hasta Luego! My month here is Colombia is nearly up, so next time you hear from me I'll be in Ecuador. If you're interested in what I'm up to on the World Race feel free to check out my World Race blog and subscribe so you know when I post something new (about once a week)! Otherwise, I will do my best to post something here about once a month for the next 10 months. I sewed most of the clothes I packed for this year so I'm looking forward to sharing them with you!


  1. I want to put a pocket in my jeans that to my dismay I found out had faux pockets. I also want to put in the small coin pocket. Can you help me?

    1. Hey Bobbi! I've fixed fake pockets on jeans before and it's very doable! I'm out of the country for another month, but when I get back to my sewing room I can definitely write a tutorial on how too fix fake jean pockets! If you don't want to wait that long, here's the simplified version - use a seam ripper to open up the fake pockets, then sew and attach a pocket bag on the inside of the jeans.

  2. Tried this today and was very pleased with the results! Thanks for the help!

  3. I am going to try this, but unsure. My fake welt pocket is in the middle of the front hip with the slit going up and down.

  4. Hello!
    Thank you for your tutorial with the greatest idea I have found online.
    I have a bit of a silly question, sorry!
    I have a coat with a lining, so I was thinking of using your idea but sewing by hand as I can't think of how to sew with the machine afterwards... Would you have any other idea? Do you think it would be okay to sew by hand, or would it be too fragile and break/unsew afterwards?
    Thank you very much for your help!

    1. Sewing by hand is fine! I put in this pocket entirely by hand :)