How to Sew Down Pocket Linings

Having pockets on sweaters is so handy, but sometimes the lining can look messy on the inside. Here are two excellent and simple techniques that will keep your pockets in line every time: the first is for knit pockets, the second for fabric pockets.

Knit Pockets

Use the scrap yarn to establish the line on the back of your knitted garment, then sew your pocket to that nice straight sight-line. Our patterns Lena and Maude use this technique. Our Sarah and Zoe patterns also use this technique, however you won't need to whipstitch the bottom. Here are the steps that will make this job easier and give you a very tidy result.


Step 1

After knitting a garment with the slit for the pocket opening and completing the knit lining of the pocket, place the lining of the pocket on the inside of the sweater.


Step 2

Mark the length that the pocket lining is supposed to be. For example, in the photo the pocket lining was 5" deep.


Step 3

Thread some scrap yarn onto a tapestry needle.


Step 4

Start directly below the pocket ribbing and choose either smiles or frowns (sometimes called u’s and umbrellas).


These are the parts that make up a stitch on the purl side, if you study the fabric you can see that there are u-shapes (smiles) and upside-down u-shapes (frowns). If you choose one or the other and stick to them, it will help keep your work in a straight line all the way down.


Step 5

Thread your scrap yarn through every other smile or frown, in a straight line down from your beginning point at the ribbing.


In the photo you can see the scrap yarn is threaded through smiles from the bottom of the ribbing to the 5" mark.


Step 6

Repeat for the other side


Step 7

Thread your working yarn (use tails wherever possible) onto your tapestry needle and stitch through every other row on the edge of your pocket lining. Then thread it through the stitch that your scrap yarn is running through on the sweater. This gives you a precise road map of where to go.


Step 8

Once you have worked down each side edge it should be easy to whipstitch across the bottom. I whipstitch knitted linings with a tapestry needle and yarn.


Every other stitch for fine gauge


Every stitch for bulky yarns

Fabric Pockets

I use whipstitch to attach pocket linings. I whipstitch woven fabric linings with a sewing needle and thread (as shown). 

Pre-wash and dry fabric. Cut 4 pieces of fabric to the size directed in your pattern. With RS’s together, sew 2 pieces together around edges, leaving 1/2 " / 1 cm seams and 2 " / 5 cm opening to turn right-side-out. Repeat for 2nd pair of fabric pieces. Turn RS out and press. Sew the remaining opening closed. Our pattern Emma (Version C) uses this technique. 



Thread needle.


Step 1

Pass needle up through both pieces.


Step 2

Bring needle to front over the top.


Step 3

Repeat these two steps for length of seam. If working with thread, knot as end and snip. If working with yarn, work in end and snip.



Hi Dominique, We’d love to help. Could you e-mail us at and let us know which pattern you are knitting and why it looks wrong? Thanks!

Dominique BLOKKER

I am ready to divide for the pockets. Do you have a visual tutorial of how to do it? I have have made the first purl row and knitted the next row and It looks wrong.I would go to my LKS. Stir in Bozeman we are in lockdown.
I AM ON THE FINAL Lap of this project and I don ’t want to have to rip it out. Please help


Hi Melanie, We recommend hand sew the top of the fabric pocket to your sweater. You can fold the fabric lining so right side of fabric shows on both sides of finished sweater. However if you’re using particularly thick fabric and do not want to add bulk or weight to the garment, you can simply hem the fabric and show the right side toward the front of the garment.


Do you machine sew or hand sew the top of the fabric pocket to the knit? And confirming that the fabric piece is folded over and sewn on three sides, so that right side of fabric shows on both sides of finished sweater?


I have made 2 cardigans with the same pattern from Vogue Knitting Julie’s pattern. I loved the pattern and fabric pocket. I sewed it down just like this method, as I was a seamstress before a knitter. I wish I could afford cocoknits sweater workshop book. I’m saving for it. Thanks for your great tutorials and patterns.

Anne Stevenson

Thank you so much for this tutorial for 2 kinds of pockets. I had never considered a side seam pocket nor, was very careful about sewing on an attached pocket.

Suzanne Roberts

Very helpful. Such a simple but fabulous idea. I will be sure to use this on my Timber sweater.

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