Ultimate Guide to Adding Patch Pockets to Knitted Sweaters!
Remember a few years ago when a bunch of the dresses stars wore to the Oscars had pockets? They were all posing with their hands in their pockets, with amazed looks on their faces, like “check out these newfangled side openings that I can put my hands and other stuff in!” I was cracking up. I’ve always been a pocket lover, and now that we have to haul our phones around at all times, they’re even more handy. So today we’re focusing on knitted sweaters with pockets.
One of our technical editors, Karen Frisa, wrote a really nice article about different ways to insert pockets into knitwear, which appeared in Knitscene Spring, 2015.
One of the featured knitted sweaters was the Prismatic Pullover by Moon Eldridge, which is a favorite of mine. It’s so sporty and casual, but with its textured stitch patterns throughout, it’s anything but boring!
I know you’ll enjoy learning about knitted sweaters with pockets, so here’s Karen:
Knitted Sweaters: Put a Pocket on It
How many times have you thought, “This knitted sweater would be even better if it had pockets?” Whether they’re holding your treasures (or your ball of yarn) or simply keeping your hands warm, pockets are a fun way to customize a garment. Here are a couple of examples.
The Horizontal Slit Pocket
This pocket requires some preplanning but is straightforward to create. It consists of a horizontal slit opening with a lining behind the body of the garment. Here’s how to work it in a bottom-up garment.
Using your gauge numbers, decide on the number of stitches needed for the width of your pocket. Cast on that number of stitches for the pocket lining and work the required number of rows to achieve desired pocket depth. For example, if your gauge is twenty stitches and thirty-two rows to four inches, and you want a four-inch-wide and -deep pocket, cast on twenty stitches and knit thirty-two rows. Set the lining aside.
Work the garment to the location of the pocket opening. Place onto a holder the same number of stitches as you used for the lining. With the working yarn from the garment, work across the lining stitches. This incorporates the pocket lining into the garment. Continue with the rest of the garment. To finish the pocket, use the held stitches to create an edging at the top of the pocket. This is often worked in ribbing, garter, or seed stitch, but any stitch pattern could be used. Work the edging to the desired height, then bind off. Sew the sides of the edging to the right side of the garment. Sew the sides and bottom of the lining to the wrong side of the garment.
Moon Eldridge’s Prismatic Pullover is worked from the bottom up, but the pocket lining is worked by picking up stitches, rather than sewing them to the wrong side of the garment during finishing. Inserting a pocket in a top-down garment is a similar but slightly different process. Work to the location of the pocket opening, place the number of stitches needed for the width of your pocket onto a holder, then cast on the same number of stitches and continue with the garment. For the lining, work the held stitches in stockinette stitch to the desired pocket depth and bind off. Sew the lining to the wrong side of the garment. For the edging, pick up and knit one stitch for each cast-on stitch at the top of the pocket and work as for the bottom-up pocket edging.
Meiju K-P’s Focus Dress has horizontal slit pockets worked from the top down. She shaped the pocket fronts using short-rows to add some extra dimension.
Whichever direction you are knitting, you could add interest by working the edging or the lining in a contrasting color. Working the lining with an especially warm yarn could make the pocket extra cozy!
The Patch Pocket
This is the most straightforward of pockets—no preplanning needed! Knit a square (or rectangle or semicircle or heart—let your imagination run wild!) in the size you’d like for your pocket, pin it to your garment to check for placement, then sew it in place. Easy peasy!
You can use any technique for your pocket (textured stitches, intarsia, stranded knitting, etc.) and work it in any color. You could even make the sewing a decorative element (buttonhole stitch, herringbone stitch, etc.).
Allison Jane’s Chiroscope Clutch hides a cute little half-octagon patch pocket behind the purse’s flap.
Use these techniques to add pockets to any garment you knit!
—Karen Frisa, Technical Editor, Knitscene
Adding patch pockets after the fact is such a great idea. You can put them on any finished knitted sweater, and even add them in a contrasting color to brighten up a dark or solid colored sweater. How cute!