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 This technique guide has been written by Little Miss Fancy Frocks – the dynamic mother-daughter duo who lovingly create handcrafted clothing for adults and children. Visit their Facebook page here.


Bound Pockets and Buttonholes

How to sew bound buttonholes

Add a couture finish to your garments with bound pockets and buttonholes. Traditionally they were used on tailored coats and jackets to give a professional and expensive finish. Today you can use contrasting fabrics to produce a unique look.


Medium to heavy weight fabric remnant, approx. 25cm x 25cm - we have used a contrast fabric to illustrate the pocket opening more effectively.

 Lightweight fusible interfacing – 15cm x 15cm

You will also need tacking thread, sewing thread, needle, scissors and a sewing machine.

Instructions - Bound Pocket

Marking buttonholes

Commercial patterns will clearly show the position of pockets and buttonholes. The vertical and horizontal markings should be transferred to the garment pieces using small tacking stitches.

Tack around buttonhole

 Tack around each pocket/buttonhole position to form a rectangle.

Prepare the pocket opening

 The processes are identical for the buttonhole and the pocket until the final stages. I would suggest working a sample pocket to practise the technique before working a buttonhole.

 Pocket - The depth of the opening can vary to suit the design, but for your first sample I would suggest 1cm above and 1cm below the opening.

 Cut a piece of fabric and a piece of fusible interfacing 15cm x 15cm.

 Iron the fusible interfacing onto the piece of fabric.

 Tack a rectangle identical in size to the rectangle you have tacked on the main fabric.

Stitch pocket opening

 Place the interfaced fabric onto the main fabric right sides together, carefully matching up the rectangles.

Machine stitch the rectangle.

Cutting a bound pocket

Remove all tacking and cut along the centre of the rectangle stopping 1cm from each end. Cut carefully into the corners.

Letterbox opening on a pocket

 Turn the fabric piece onto the wrong side and press to form a letterbox opening.

Forming top lip of pocket

Fold the top edge over to form a pleat covering half of the opening (1cm) and pin in place.

Form bottom pocket lip

 Fold the bottom edge to meet the first pleat and pin in place. Baste the two edges together, this will only be a temporary measure.

Close sides of the opening

 Fold over the garment fabric to reveal the underside of the opening and machine stitch the one side of the opening as indicated. Repeat the process on the other side of the opening.

Stitch opening of buttonhole

 Turn to the right side of the fabric and stitch along the top and bottom edges of the opening by hand.

Make pocket lining

 Cut a piece of fabric for the pocket lining – the width of the pocket plus 4cm x the length doubled plus 4cm.

Machine stitch a narrow end of the pocket to the lower edge of the opening.

Finishing top edge of bound pocket

 Machine stitch the opposite narrow edge to the top edge of the pocket.

Stitch bound pocket sides

Working on the wrong side machine stitch each of the pocket sides.

Completed bound pocket

 Completed pocket wrong and right sides.


 Instructions - Bound Buttonhole

Bound buttonhole

 Follow the instructions for a bound pocket.

Buttonholes normally have a facing or lining and this needs to be taken into account when finishing the inside of the buttonhole. Place the garment lining or facing in position and on the right side of the buttonhole use four pins in the corners to pierce the lining underneath.

Lining a buttonhole

Where the four pins pierce the lining, draw a rectangle. Tack the rectangle in position. Cut along the centre of the rectangle and into the corners.

Finish a bound buttonhole

 Fold under the edges and stitch neatly in place.

Finished bound buttonhole

 Completed bound buttonhole. 


 For other sewing techniques, see here.

How to sew guides