A How-To: Applique Pocket Tutorial

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Welcome to my new blog. I am not very skilled at introductions so I am going to just get right down to business with my first post, a diy, and then see where all this goes from here! But thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to see more of you. - Christine

While searching online for "how to make an applique pocket" tutorial, I only found links to products in which I would have to make a purchase to learn this little craft. Well, I didn't want to do that, not that I don't believe they are worth every penny, but..."Free" was actually the first word I typed into my search engine in that sentence. So, I thought, "I can figure this out myself," and through a process of trial and errors, I did.

So, I am now offering a "free" little tutorial myself, for other newbies out there interested in how to make an applique pocket.

First you need to find your object of desire. Me, I found this sweet little owl print fabric, which had these very cool owls on it, sparking me to dive into the land of applique. To practice, you may want to start with a simple shape, such as a circle or square.

You will also need a piece of double-sided fusible fabric and a larger piece of muslin or neutral scrap fabric (approximately 3 inches larger in diameter than you applique piece, measuring tape, pins, pencil, scissors, iron, and of course, a sewing machine and thread.

Step One, would be to cut out your shape; I just cut around the owl, eliminating parts that would make it too complicated to sew. Keep smooth edges that are simple to sew around.

Step Two, trace the shape of your applique piece on a bit of fusible fabric. I use a light weight double-sided fusible fabric, so that it can give your pocket some shape, but not be too stiff that it sticks away from your base fabric (garment). You want to make sure that your fabric is traced and cut out so that it goes all the way to the edges of your fabric, this will ensure that it is sewn in and washable.

Step Three, is to iron your piece of fusible fabric between your applique and a square (or larger) piece of muslin, or other plain scrap material (see photo below). The larger piece of muslin will help you when you get to step four, afterwhich you will cut away the excess muslin fabric.Your three pieces of fabric should now be fused together!

Step Four, is to sew it up! Sew around the edges of your applique piece with a satin stitch (a close in width zig-zag). Now, go back over the top portion of your applique, the portion where your pocket will open, and NOT be sewn down to your garment. (You may have to adjust your tension so as your applique doesn not pucker or warp; however, a little of either is okay, because you will be sewing it again to your garment, and ironing usually takes care of this problem as a final step). At this point your applique will look anything but perfect, but don't fret, you are not done!

Step Five, now that you have sewn around your applique piece, (see above photo) you will cut around it, cutting away your muslin fabric. This should be done carefully as not to cut stitches, but perfect is not required.

Step Six, is to place your applique on your garment. Now, this is where I like to cut corners, but where corners should not be cut! Get out a measuring tape and place your applique so that it isn't sewn on cock-eyed and you will realize you did all that work for nothing! Mark and pin your applique in place, double check it's exactly where you want it , and head back over to the sewing machine.

The Final Step is to sew that puppy, er, well, owl in this case, on to your garment. Using the same satin stitch; however, lengthen the stitch just teeny bit so that you will go over the edge a little bit onto the outside of your applique and on the garment. This will give you a more smooth final look. Remember to leave the opening for your pocket; measure and mark your opening so that it is even, and place a pin there as a reminder! Start your stitch where you want your fabric to be sewn down to your garment (at your first pin), and sew all the way around to the second pin. I like to use my free hand to kept the applique nice and smooth as I sew, to get a clean finish. Finally, iron your applique down to get rid of any puckering or warping that may have occured.

And voila! You have an applique pocket!

Happy appliqueing!


  1. This idea solves a problem I have--no pockets on work shirts--as well as showing me how to do it and make it fun. Thanks for the idea and tutorial. If you need any scraps of muslin or batting (poly, cotton, wool and cotton/poly blend), please let me know, I have lots. I'm interested in your etsy business also, having just set up an account this week.
    Thanks again, quilt.rocker@comcast.net

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