Instructions for Making a Doll’s Waist Pocket

Edyth Doll Pocket 3.jpg

Large bag like pockets preceded our common practice of sewing pockets into garments themselves. Women wore pockets tied around the waist with long strings, under the skirt but over the petticoat. These waist pockets were accessed by means of an opening in the side of a lady’s skirt. They were sometimes worn in pairs, one on each side. Some of the most beautiful examples are decorated with crewel embroidery. The pocket might hold many things, such as household keys or a bit of needlework or a sewing rollup.

Edyth Doll Pocket 2.jpg

Click Here for the PDF pattern

These directions are for making a doll sized pocket. Your choice of fabrics used will determine the success of the project.

This is a great use for a special small scrap. Also needed is some type of binding which can be bias cut light weight cotton fabric 1 inch wide, or as in the illustration shown, old used cotton seam tape. A soft piece of old ribbon is another excellent choice.

Instead of using a strip of bias cut fabric, finishing the edges with a binding of twill tape is also correct. Cotton twill tape may be dyed for this purpose. This is one type of tape which was woven on small hand-held wooden tape looms. Women and girls carried these interesting little looms about with them, to make use of spare moments, (we will not say idle moments!) A nearly endless list of uses existed for these tapes, as can be shown in any collection of early household linens or garments, particularly children’s garments.

Making the Pockets

Resize these pattern pieces as you need them! The smaller one may suit our little Izannahs as it is. The larger one will suit a larger doll or may be sized down. Trace and cut out paper shape.

From fabric chosen for the back of the pocket, cut one back piece without a slit. The back may be of medium heavy fabric to add shape and substance to the finished piece.

Cut one pocket front and front lining if wanted with a slit from the top as marked. The front of the pocket can be of light weight quilted work, or any other attractive fabric which will give an 18th century or early 19th century look to the pocket.

Baste or pin the front to the front lining if any. Finish the center slit with a piece of bias cut fabric At the point of the slit, either a double outside miter may be used or the extra fullness may be gathered and eased with tiny stitches.

When the front slit is finished, baste the pocket front to the back, right sides out, and sew binding around the sides and bottom of the pocket. To complete the pocket, the center of a long piece of binding is sewn across the top of the pocket and extended in both directions to make waist strings.

Edyth Doll Pocket 1.jpg

Edyth Doll Pocket Pattern.jpg

Click Here for the PDF pattern

Copyright Edyth O’Neill 2010 Thank you for respecting copyright. This pattern is for your personal use, not to be copied for others. However, please feel free to use the patterns on any dolls you might wish to dress and sell. Thank you, Edyth


  1. When I did living history, I couldn't live without my pocket! The 'real' thing holds an incredible amount of 'stuff'. It held my keys, wallet, 'feminine' items, phone, etc. And you never saw a lump under my skirt.

    Mine was very utilitarian and plain. I never thought of dressing it up...but for a doll, the sky's the limit!

  2. Kind of the colonial version of a fanny pack. :-)

  3. I love this and have made many for my dollies to wear under their skirts.
    Thank you for sharing this tutorial, Edyth.
    Your dollies are so beautiful. They seem to have such lives of their own.


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