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A to Z: Beyond the Basics

Pockets


Generally, pockets are worked in unshaped areas of a garment so as not to interrupt its design. The most common types are patch, horizontal inset and vertical inset. Pockets should be in proportion to your garment. For example, don’t make a tiny pocket opening on a bulky jacket.

The average size of a woman’s pocket is 5-6½"/12.5-16.5cm wide by 5½-6"/14-17.5cm deep. For a man’s pocket, add 1"/2.5cm, and for a child’s pocket, subtract 1"/2.5cm or more.

Place the pocket at a level that is comfortable for your hands. The easiest way is to check an existing sweater.

On a woman’s sweater, the lower edge of a horizontal or patch pocket should be no farther than 21-22"/53-56cm from the shoulder and approximately 2½-4"/6.5-10cm from the center front edge. Vertical or side seam pockets are easier to wear in cropped sweaters.

If you want to add pockets to a garment, you will need to decide what type of pocket and edging, where to place the pocket, and whether it should contrast or match your sweater’s yarn and pattern. Work with the stitch and row gauge of your design to calculate the number of stitches and rows needed for the pocket. Don’t forget to add a little extra yarn to the amount required for the garment.

patch pockets
applying a patch pocket applying a patch pocket  
Block or press the pocket. Measure it and outline an area the same size on the garment, using a contrasting yarn in the basting stitch. Pin the pocket over the area before applying. Then overcast the pocket in place. An alternate method of applying a patch pocket is to run a needle in and out of one-half of every other row along both vertical edges of the pocket and one-half of every stitch along the lower edge of the pocket.  
applying a patch pocket applying a patch pocket  
Pin the pocket in place in the center of the needles and, using the overcast stitch, sew one stitch from the needle and one stitch from the pocket. To make a neater, nearly invisible pocket seam, use duplicate stitch along the edges through the pocket and the body piece as shown.  


patch pockets with hemmed edges

The hemmed patch pocket has folded lower and side edges. Cast on the desired number of stitches and work tightly in stockinette stitch for approximately ½"/1.5cm, depending on the weight of the yarn (heavier yarn may need more depth).

patch pockets with hemmed edges patch pockets with hemmed edges patch pockets with hemmed edges

1. Work a turning ridge by knitting one row through the back loops on the purl (wrong) side. Work the same depth above the turning ridge. Cast on two to four stitches at the beginning and end for side hems.

2. Continue to work pocket, slipping the first stitch inside of the side hems on right-side rows and purling this stitch on wrong-side rows. Work to the desired length. 3. Add a ribbed edge (about ½-1"/1.5-2.5cm) or work another turning ridge at the top of the pocket and fold the edge under. Bind off all stitches. Backstitch the lower edge as shown, then flip the pocket up and whipstitch the two side edges.


picked-up patch pockets
picked-up patch pockets    
This patch pocket looks like a set-in pocket. You can knit the pocket as a flap and then sew it in place, or you can pick up the side edges and apply it as you knit.    
picked-up patch pockets picked-up patch pockets picked-up patch pockets
1. If desired, baste a line along the desired placement line of the pocket. With a crochet hook, pick up one stitch for each stitch of the pocket, placing the stitches on a knitting needle. Work one row even on the wrong side. 2. To attach at the right edge, skip one row on the piece. With the right needle, pick up one-half of the stitch in the next row (directly over the first stitch of the pocket), slip it to the left needle, and knit it together with the first stitch of the pocket. 3. To attach at the left edge, slip the last stitch knitwise to the right needle and with the left needle, pick up one-half of the stitch on the piece, slip the stitch back to the left needle and knit it together with the picked-up stitch through the back loops as shown.

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