How to make your own pleated pocket

I’m going through a bit of a style slump and decided that a guaranteed winner of a make was going to be a pretty summery dress. Out came my Nina Lee Kew dress pattern, one of my most-made and most-loved patterns. You know how books can get ‘dog-eared’? My Kew dress pattern is more like ‘mauled and torn to pieces by a pack of wild dogs’; that’s how many times I’ve made it.

In spite of my sewing slump, a lovely little gem arose in the form of this pocket, and, as requested, I’ve made a little tutorial for you here! There’s even a pattern to save you measuring it all out, because I’m nice like that.

So let’s get making…

Click here to download the pattern. Cut your pieces and jump to step 5!

If you don’t have a printer, follow these steps:

  1. Measure a rectangle 26cm wide by 18cm high
  2. Mark the centre point of the long edge – 13cm in from the side.
  3. Mark your notches at each of these points:
  • 1cm each side of the centre point
  • 2cm to the outside of these notches
  • 2cm again to the outside of these notches
  • 2cm again to the outside of these notches

This will result in a total of 4 notches each side of the centre marking. If it’s a bit confusing have a look at the download for reference! Mark the notches at the top and bottom edges.

4. Cut another rectangle 17.5cm wide by 8cm high, this will be the top section of the pocket.

5. Line up your notches at the top and bottom, folding inwards in the direction of the arrows on the pattern. Press really well and sew at 3mm away from the edge of the pleat. If your fabric keeps springing up, you may want to press and sew one pleat at a time.  You’ll end up with two pleats each side of the centre, going in towards the middle:

6. Now all your pleats are sewn, place the small rectangle along the top, right sides together. Pin and sew with a 1cm seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance and press the small rectangle up and away from the pocket:


7. Flip it over and press the long unstitched edge of the small rectangle under by 1cm. Then fold the top section over on itself to just overlap where it joins the main pocket piece. Flip it over and stitch at 3mm from the seam line. If you prefer you can stitch in the ditch, but I think you’ve got some top stitching on the pleats so it’s nice to echo that here:

8. Now you can either leave your pocket as a rectangular shape, turn the edges under by 1cm and top stitch it to your dress or skirt. Or, if you like an angled finish, fold the pocket in half down the middle. Mark 2.5cm up from the edge and use tailor’s chalk to draw a line from here to the centre. Cut. You will now have a shape like this:

Press the sides under by 1cm and attach to your garment 3mm from the edge again, so it’s the same as your topstitching. Ta dah!

2 thoughts on “How to make your own pleated pocket

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