Knitting Patch Pockets

patch pockets on coat made in rib
Contrast Stitch Patch Pockets
Design #20 Vogue Knitting Fall 2001

Pockets are either decorative or functional. Patch or applied pockets are the simplest pocket style to knit up; knit a square, rectangular, or other shape in the desired pattern stitch. Although they are simple to knit up, the difficult step is sewing one neatly in place. I’m going to show you a few methods to make patch pockets, and how to properly sew them onto the project.

Step 1: Making the pocket pieces

Knitting separate pocket pieces – The simplest patch pocket is either a square or rectangle shape. They can also be made in contrasting stitch patterns (as in above image), colors, or other shapes like triangles and circles. Knit each pocket piece to the desired shape, pattern stitch, width and length. Because they are applied and visible, patch pockets need to be neatly knit. Patch pockets should also be proportional to the garment or other project. For example, you wouldn’t want to place a tiny pocket on an oversized jacket.

Picking up stitches and knitting pocket pieces – There are two different methods of doing this. One way is working from the bottom of where the pocket will sit, picking up a row of stitches the desired width, and knit the length of the pocket piece. Only the side edges will need to be sewn to the garment. The other method requires no seaming; you pick up stitches from the garment and work them with the edge stitches on alternate rows of the pocket piece. You are applying the patch pocket to the garment as you work the desired height of the pocket.

picking up stitches and knitting patch pocket
Picking up stitches and knitting pocket; no seams. (The Knitter’s Book of Knowledge, Debbie Bliss, p.236, 2015)

Step 2: Block your pocket pieces!

After blocking, the pieces will lie flat, making it easier to stitch them in place.

Step 3: Applying a patch pocket

Overcast Stitch – Measure the pocket piece. Outline these measurements on the project using contrasting yarn and a running or basting stitch. Baste the outline 1/2 stitch beyond the measurements of the pocket piece. This ensures the pocket piece is properly aligned, and makes it easier to remove the basting yarn. Pin the pocket piece within this outlined area, and use an overcast stitch to sew the pocket to the garment. Sew by picking up one stitch from the garment, and one from the pocket. A contrasting color of yarn can be used to make a visible, decorative overcast stitch.

how to sew patch pocket with overcast stitch
Sewing patch pocket with overcast stitch

Duplicate Stitch – Sewing with duplicate stitch makes a neat, almost invisible seam ( if using the same color of yarn). Outline the pocket area on project as described above, and sew using duplicate stitch along the side and lower edges of pocket. For a decorative touch, use a contrast colored yarn.

Sewing patch pocket with duplicate stitch

Patch pockets are easy to knit up, and by following the above steps, your pockets will have a professional finish.