It’s no secret that we love maxi dresses here. They are versatile, comfy, and easy to style for formal or casual occasions. The only thing we love more than maxi dresses is maxi dresses with pockets. I mean, who doesn’t like having a place to put their hands in?
Unfortunately, dresses don’t always have pockets. Thankfully, dresses with pockets have risen in popularity, making it easy to find them in boutiques and online stores. But if you don’t, it’s possible, easy actually, to add pockets to a maxi dress even if you are not a seamstress. Sometimes you find such a beautiful maxi dress that’s great in every way, and the only thing missing to make it perfect is pockets.
Ready to learn how?
Let’s get started.
- A sewing machine
- Iron box
- Sewing pins
- Matching Thread
- Seam ripper
- Fabric marker or chalk
- Pocket template
To make an invisible pocket, the maxi dress must have side seams and a seam allowance. This refers to the area between the edge of the fabric and the stitching, which is usually ¼ inch or more.
It will also be very helpful if the dress is flowy, not tightly fitted. If the dress is tight, the bulk of the pockets will show and ruin the smooth silhouette. Its fabric should also be sturdy enough not to rip when you undo the seams.
If possible, the pocket should be the same color and fabric as the dress, but that is not a must. Using identical colors helps make the pockets more conspicuous because nobody wants to see pink pockets on a blue dress.
1. Find the pocket placement
Put on your maxi dress to determine the perfect pocket placement. The pocket should be at the hip bone, so you will stand up straight and imagine your hands in the pockets. Mark where you want the top and bottom of the pockets to be with chalk, and then put pins there.
When you make these marks, measure from the hem of your dress to where you have marked the top. You will use this measurement to mark the other side of the dress so the pockets will be uniform.
Alternatively, you can lay the dress on a flat surface and fold the seams towards the center of the dress, ensuring the armholes are matched or symmetrical. Mark the top of where each pocket opening will be and ensure the marks on both sides are even.
2. Cut out the pockets
Get a pocket template that you will use to cut the actual pockets for your dress. You can download a pocket template online or use actual pockets in another dress to get the template. Ideally, you should have a manila or cardboard cut-out of the template. The shape of the pockets doesn’t really matter as long as the seam line is straight and the shape is big and deep enough to accommodate your hands and other stuff.
Using the cut out to trace the shape on a fabric, cut four equal and identical pieces from the fabric using scissors.
3. Open the side seams
Measure the length of the pocket patterns you have just cut. This length will be the amount you will open up on your dress side seam. We find that 5” is a good length, but it can go up to 7” or down to 4”. Just make sure the opening is large enough to fit your hand without forcing the stitching.
Mark that length with pins (pss… the video above shows you how to do it properly). Using a seam ripper, gently undo the stitching on the side seams between the pins you used to mark and add ½ an inch on top and bottom. This will create some room to insert those pockets.
4. Attach the Pocket
While the dress is still right-side-out, pin one pocket piece to the front and another to the back of the seam you just opened. The pockets and the dress should have their right sides facing each other. Then, use your machine to sew along the straight edge following the original seam lines.
Do the same for the bottom part, and remember to backstitch when you start and finish your stitches. Iron the seams you have stitched towards the pockets and then the pockets away from the maxi dress. Once everything is smooth and flat, flip the dress inside out to get better access to the pockets.
5. Close the pocket
Pull the pocket pieces together so they lay flat on each other and pin their ends together. Then, starting right above the pocket on the side seam where you had unpicked, begin to sew down and then go around the pocket. You will also need to go down about ½ an inch because you had unpicked that part too. Do not forget to backstitch the start and finish of your stitches to lock everything tightly.
Turn the dress right side out and push your new pocket in. iron the seam flat, so the pocket is completely invisible from the outside.
Now all you have to do is repeat the same process on the other side if you want two pockets. Measure and open side seams, stitch each pocket piece on the seam, close the pockets, ensuring you start ½ an inch above and then below the pocket, and make sure to back stitch at both ends to secure the stitch.
Finally, Iron your pockets, paying special attention to the edges or seams, and enjoy posing with your new and improved maxi dress with pockets.
That isn’t too hard, is it? But, if you want a step-by-step visual of adding pockets to a maxi dress, this short YouTube video will help.
As long as a dress has side seams and ample allowance, you can add invisible pockets to it. All you need is to open a section of the side seams and sew in pockets. Once you iron the edge or seam where you sewn in the pockets and push the pockets inside, nobody will know you did any alterations to the dress.
You can add pockets to any type of maxi dress, provided it’s loose around the hips and has side seams. Adding pockets to a wrap dress takes some expertise to know which part you need to open up, but it’s easier when you put on the dress.