Tutorial: How to sew a shirred pocket

shirred pocket tutorial

Pockets! Everything is better with a pocket. Today I’m going to share with you how to make a cute shirred pocket. We used it on our lined market bag. You can find the full market bag tutorial here. 

Ready let’s get started!

What you need

A piece of scrap fabric, size depends on your desired pocket size

Elastic thread* (I like Gutterman, but I have also used Dritz) affiliate link

Getting Started

Cut your rectangle. I cut a 5″ x 10″ rectangle. You need 2.

Since you’re going to be shirring your pocket you want the pocket to be 2-3 times as wide as the finished goal. I’m using an upholstery fabric so it’s thicker and won’t shirr as aggressively. If you use quilting cotton it’s going to shirr much more.

Put your rectangles right sides together. Sew along both long sides at 1/4″ seam.

shirred pocket tutorial

Turn your pocket. It’s going to look like a tube. Press it flat.

shirred pocket tutorial

Prep your sewing machine. You want to wind your bobbin with elastic thread. DO THIS BY HAND. You want to wind the elastic thread tightly enough that you don’t have loops, but do not stretch the thread taught.

Put your regular machine thread in the needle. Lengthen your stitch. I sew at the longest stitch length.

Do a tester run if you haven’t used elastic thread before. Machine settings can differ so yours may need to be adjusted differently than mine.

I sewed 5 lines across the bottom and 5 lines across the top tightly spaced.

shirred pocket tutorial

My fabric is thick so it doesn’t spring right together. If you are shirring a lighter fabric yours may look really tight already.

shirred pocket tutorial shirred pocket tutorial

Now it’s time to tighten it all up. Get your iron nice and hot. You want to hold the iron over the top of your pocket, without touching it, and steam it. And steam it some more, and keep steaming it.

You’ll see it start pulling together.

shirred pocket tutorial shirred pocket tutorial

Now secure the ends of your elastic and finish the edges. You can do this a number of ways. I serged my edges. You can hand knot your elastic ends, and zig zag over the edge to finish also.

Turn your side edges to the back.

shirred pocket tutorial

Flip your pocket over and sew down the short sides and across the bottom. I backstitched several times at the corners to really secure it.

shirred pocket tutorial

Find the bag tutorial here. 

Happy Sewing,






{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment