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Hot Pockets! Part 1- Matching Prints on Inset Pockets

Hello everyone! My name is Kelle and I usually blog at, but I have paired with Amelia Lane Designs to bring you a series of pocket tips! Pockets in our house are necessary, but also provide the unique opportunity to add a little design element to handmade garments. I plan to share tips on matching prints for inset pockets, matching prints for patch pockets, adding flat piping, and adding faux piping.

It’s a strange sort of magic to make the pockets disappear into a garment and today we will be talking about just that! First up is print matching for inset pockets. Inset pockets are made by cutting an opening in the garment and stitching the pocket bag to the inside of the garment so only the opening is visible. This is the type of pocket typically seen on the front of jeans. Inset pockets require 3 pieces: The main front of the garment (in my example, a pair of 5 out of 4 Stella Romper shorts), the pocket facing (which is not seen from the outside), and the pocket lining (this is where the matching comes in!).

Start by cutting out the front of the shorts. The crotch curve is on the left in this picture and the pocket opening is on the right as labeled.

Next, lay the fabric to match flat on a cutting surface. Lay the pocket lining pattern piece directly on the fabric, leaving enough space on the side and top so the fabric print is still visible. Be sure the pattern piece is facing the right way! On one side, the pattern piece will be flipped upside down so you finish with a mirrored set. Typically the straightest edge of the pattern piece will line up with the edge of the garment front piece, but verify this with the pattern’s instructions.

Lay the front shorts piece directly on top of the fabric and pocket lining. The goal here is to line up the print of the front piece with the print of the fabric. I realize this is a little hard to see because it’s lined up so beautifully (which is the point!) so I included two pictures.

Once the fabric is lined up perfectly, gently slide the front of the garment off the fabric, ensuring that the pocket lining pattern piece stays in place. Often I put a pattern weight on top of the pattern piece to help with this.

Now, cut around the pocket lining pattern piece. If everything went correctly, the pocket lining piece should match perfectly with the front piece!

Just as an extra hint, if you are a little unsure of your matching ability, but more confident in your sewing abilities, you can cut just a little extra space around the print. This makes the pocket lining piece larger than required, but provides a bit of wiggle room in print matching. If you are familiar with sewing pockets, you can fudge where to sew based on the pocket facing and lines of the side seam for the front piece. If none of this makes sense to you, definitely don’t try it!

That is how I print match inset pockets. This method works best on prints with a fairly small repeat. What is a repeat? Every print has a certain size, which at some point starts over again on the fabric. Repeat is how much distance there is before the print starts over again. Because we are not adjusting for the seam allowance we use when sewing the pocket facing onto the pocket cut out, the matching may be slightly off. This discrepancy will get larger and more noticeable the larger the fabric repeat is.

I used the Blueberry liverpool from Amelia Lane Designs in my example, which happens to be perfect for this technique. The pattern used for demonstration is the 5 out of 4 Stella Romper made into separate shorts. Just for reference, here a few pictures of the finished garment, including shots of the pockets.

You may notice that there is a little extra detail on our pockets- piping! I'll have some tips soon on different piping techniques. I hope you give inset pocket matching a try!

Any questions? Ask away and I'll do my best to answer!

This post contains affiliate links.  When clicking these links, there is no extra cost to you, but I receive a small commission which helps fund my further sewing adventures.  

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