Oh, simple gathered skirts. I like ’em all the ways. I like like ’em all the ways. I like ’em with a cardigan and tights in the winter and I like ’em bare-legged with a tank top in the summer. Sure, all gathered skirts may be created equal…but, a gathered skirt WITH a pocket? Marry me.
The pattern I’ve been using lately for my own wardrobe is the Pocket Skirt by Califaye. It’s really your standard mini-length (I love it lengthened to a midi, too) gathered skirt with an invisible side zip, but the back waistband is elasticated, which means you can guarantee the right fit by adjusting the length of the elastic to your waist measurement.
I taught this pattern for a workshop we did at Butcher’s a few months ago and this tutorial came about because I wanted to adjust the pattern slightly for a few of my students who were fairly new to sewing. The original Pocket Skirt pattern (below) is made with two patch pockets that, after hemming the opening, are topstitched to the front of the skirt.
While I love the look of the original patch pocket, I suspected that when it came time to asking the more novice sewers in the group to do topstitching around two pockets with sometimes shifty fabric, nerves might bubble to the surface. So, the goal was to create an alternative option that would give the satisfaction of a profesh finished pocket while setting aside the dread that comes with trying to achieve perfectly parallel rows of topstitching on your first-ever skirt. The solution was….drumroll…slash front pockets!
The chartreuse-ishy skirt here is made with the slash front pocket variation. In addition to eliminating your garden variety top stitching woes, I like the vibe slash front pockets give off. Sure, they’re less of a statement than a patch pocket, but sometimes it’s nice to have a pocket that quietly does its job on the inside without making a big fuss.
The steps below will help you add a slash front pocket to your own Califaye Pocket Skirt. However, you can really use these steps to add a pocket to any skirt or pants pattern you keep in your sewing arsenal. As you’ll see, I used the original pocket pattern piece from Califaye’s pattern to draft a new pattern piece for the slash front pocket. If you’re choosing to add a slash front pocket to a different pattern, you would just need to draft your own pattern piece for the pocket and then follow along with the remaining steps.
If you’re drafting your own pocket, make the pattern piece twice as wide as you want your pocket to be (including seam allowance) and a height reasonable for you to comfortably fit your hand in. Then add a diagonal ‘slash’ across one side to form the opening you’ll see on the front panel of your skirt or pants. (Note: The side seams of the Califaye skirt I’m using are totally straight–they extend at a 90 degree angle from the waist–therefore the sides of the pocket are straight. If you are working with a pattern with a flared or curved side seam, you would want the sides of your slash front pocket piece to mimic this curve or flare.)
Regardless of the pattern you’re using, cut all pieces from your original pattern aside from any original pockets to start (If you’re using the Califaye Pocket Skirt pattern, you will not need the small diagonal pocket facing piece included in the pattern for this variation).
And there you have it, POCKETS–the future home of loose change, chilly hands, and the remnants of tissues you forgot to take out before washing. Take a moment to revel in the glory of your work and then you can go about with the rest of your pattern (and now pocket-ful life) as usual.
Have fun y’all! If you use this tutorial and want to post a pic of your perfect pockets, tag us on instagram @butcherssewshop. We’d love to see what you made!
*If making the Califaye Pocket Skirt: When you get to the step of inserting your elastic in the back waistband, I found the diagram included in the pattern to be confusing–when the waistband is folded over with wrong sides facing out, you should attach your elastic on top of the inner waistband, not sandwich it in between the inner and outer waistband. This way, when you flip it, it will end up concealed between the outer and inner waistband. 🙂