Practicing Creativity

Adding Pockets To a Pocketless Blazer – the Art of Making Do

Fake pockets – nothing there but the flap!

Our recent Covid-19 confinement has made me realize that a lot of what I thought I HAD to have, I don't. It's also shown me that I can make do. That often, instead of rushing out and buying something else, I can find a solution with what I already have on hand. This sewing project is an example of that. This isn't a 'how-to' for sewing. If you've never sewn before this won't help you, but if you have intermediate sewing skills it might inspire you to upgrade some of your pocketless clothing, and at the very least illustrate the make do spirit.

I bought this blazer last September on vacation in Spain. I'd been looking specifically for a red linen blazer all summer and couldn't find one. We were wondering through a market when I spotted it. I tried it on, it fit, it was €10, I bought it. It was only later I realized it didn't have pockets. That the pocket flaps were looks only – fake pockets!

Marking off the sleeve to cut.
I was rearranging my jackets recently, pushing winter to the back and summer to the front when I came across it again. I knew its pocketless state would drive me nuts (why don't they put pockets on ALL women's garments?!), but other than that it was perfect. I decided pockets were a must and by golly I was going to find a way to add them. After recently making eight face masks for my husband and myself, my sewing skills and machine were warmed up and ready to go. All I needed was fabric for the pockets.

Ready to make pockets (I evened them up later).

A thorough search of my fabric scraps revealed no red linen or cotton fabric. I went online. Nothing affordable there; I'd spend more on a half meter of fabric than I did on the blazer. Hmmm...what would make do? I searched my closet and found a 3/4 sleeve red t-shirt I've had for years and never wear. And just an aside here, but does anyone really like 3/4 sleeves? I decided to sacrifice it for the cause.

How inside blazer looks after sewing first pocket seam to back layer.

I measured and cut off the t-shirt sleeves. I decided to use the end of the sleeves for pockets, by sewing the cut end shut, I only had to sew one seam.

Voila! Pockets!

I've sewn clothing with pockets from a pattern, but never added them after the fact. YouTube wasn't any help, I decided to wing it. The front of the jacket was a double layer of fabric and the blazer did not have a lining. I lifted the pocket flap and very carefully cut right underneath the flap through the first layer of fabric only. I sewed the cut sleeve ends to make the pockets and inserted them into the slit openings I'd cut underneath the fake pocket flaps. It was tricky, but I pinned and sewed the back edge of the pocket to the back layer of fabric, through the top edge of the flap, and the front pocket edge to the front layer. I had to do a bit of hand sewing around the edges, but it turned out great!

Made do – have pockets – will wear!

Could a professional seamstress have done better? Yes. Are they perfect? No. But, they work, my keys will thank me.


  1. Wow--very creative! Great idea and job! btw, I do like 3/4 sleeves! Being short, very often long sleeves are way too long for me.

  2. Brilliant! Yes, there should have been pockets there in the first place but then you wouldn't be able to impress us with your skill! I totally agree, 3/4 sleeve tops are the stoopidest things ever....I have long arms and they are always 2/3 sleeves on me...which make them even more hateable!


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