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Starry Sky Skirt / Emerald Dress Pocket Hack Tutorial

Starry Sky Skirt / Emerald Dress Pocket Hack Tutorial


I love a nice full skirt; I love their vintage yet timeless feel and that they're flattering on all body types.  I also love skirts that have an elastic waistband because of the comfort it provides. The Starry Sky Skirt by Rae Hoekstra combines both of these features, which makes it an instant favorite. 

The linen I used for this skirt is the Angry Flowers Print Linen designed by Karen Gelardi. I used the light grey color, but the dark grey is equally as stunning. This linen has a structured and elegant feel, which combined beautifully with the fullness of the Starry Sky Skirt, making it a more dramatic piece. With my skirt, I decided to add pockets by using the pocket pattern piece from the Emerald Dress, also by Rae, which is a fun and easy hack. Adding pockets is one of those simple changes that can be done on almost any dress or skirt. Once you've learned how simple it is, I'll bet you'll add them to nearly everything! 

You will need:

Making Issue No. 3 / DOTS (pages 66-69)

Making Issue No. 7 / DESERT (pages 78-82)

• Around 1/4 yard extra fabric

Note: You may or may not need extra fabric for the pockets depending upon the width of the fabric you choose and the size you're making. For the size I made with the 56" width of my material, I didn't need any extra fabric. If you do end up needing extra fabric and find you don't have enough, something fun you can do is use a contrasting fabric for the pockets, which is also a good way to use up scraps! 

Step 1 - Cutting the Main Skirt Pieces 

Follow the preparation instructions for the Starry Sky Skirt. Once you have your skirt pieces cut out, set them aside. 

Sizing Tip: I measured for a size XXS but cut size XS for a skirt with a little extra fullness.

Notes on Length: Some things to keep in mind when cutting your skirt pieces include finished length, hem width, and where you prefer the waist to sit (hips, low waist, high waist). I prefer midi-length skirts with a high waistband, so I added a few inches to the length of my skirt pieces. If you would like to make a longer skirt like mine, one method I find helpful is to use clothing items I already have, take their measurements such as length, and use those measurements for pieces I'm sewing. Using the measurements of my ready-to-wear (RTW) clothing that fits well has been extremely helpful in getting my handmade items to fit better. Another method would be to stand in front of a mirror and hold a measuring tape to your waist, or where you would like the top of your skirt to sit, with the 1" end hanging down toward the floor. You can get an idea of where you'd like the hem of your skirt to be by raising and lowering the edge of the measuring tape. 

Additionally, I did a 2" wide hem, which means I added 2.5" to the unfinished length. This skirt is perfect for doing a wide hem since the side seams are nice and straight! 

Step 2 - Cutting the Pocket Pieces

Print and assemble pages 27-28 of the Emerald Dress Pattern, then cut out the pocket pattern piece. After you have the pocket pattern piece, cut out four pocket pieces from your fabric. 

Note: It may be helpful to mark the top of the pocket for placement later. I've installed pockets upside down in the past! 

Step 3 - Determining Pocket Placement

(A) To determine pocket placement along the side seams, I took measurements from another skirt I'd made. Since I'm petite, I rarely follow pocket placement on patterns because if I do, they almost always end up too low. I usually take measurements from something else I've made that has a similar structure and waist. If I don't have something similar to measure, I will stand in front of a mirror and hold the skirt piece up to my waist and place the pocket piece on top, moving it up and down, then pinning it, and put my hand on top of it as if the pocket is being used. I've gotten to know how the angle of my arm and elbow look in a pocket that's comfortable for me, which is about halfway between when my arm fully extended and fully bent. 

(B) Next, skip ahead to Step 2 of the Starry Sky Skirt instructions (don't sew the side seams yet!) for creating the waistband and fold the top edge down on one skirt piece as directed in the instructions, then iron flat.

Note: I added about 1/2" more to the folded edge because I like at least an extra 1/8" with for the elastic casing since this makes it easier to manage when inserting the elastic since sometimes it can be challenging to keep it in place and from folding over. I also use a serger to finish edges and like to sew down waistbands along the inner line of serging.

(C) Once you have the top edge folded down, flip the fabric over so that the right side is facing you and measure from the top of the folded edge down to where the top of the pocket will be, and mark this spot. (For me, the top of the pockets is placed 3" down from the folded edge.) Then, open back up the top edge that you folded down and measure from the upper raw edge of the fabric down to the spot you marked where the top of the pocket will be placed. (For me, this measurement was 4 3/4".) Mark this spot on the left and right sides of both skirt pieces, (four total for each of the four pocket pieces). 

Step 4 - Installing The Pockets

The hard part is over, and now it's time to sew your pockets! I remember the first time I installed pockets I thought, wow, this is so cool! I even think I showed my husband, but he wasn't as excited about it as I was. 

(A) With right sides facing, place the pocket piece on top of the main skirt piece, lining up the top edge of the pocket with your mark, and the side edge of your pocket with the side edge of the main skirt. Stitch the pocket down along the side seam with a 1/2" seam allowance, backstitching at the start and finish. Finish this section of the side seam with a serger (what I did) or a zigzag stitch. Do this with the three remaining pockets. (For another visual of this step, see Steps 10 & 11 of the Emerald Dress instructions on page 81 of Making Issue No. 7.)  

(B) Press open all four pocket pieces so that they're going away from the main skirt piece, pressing the seam allowance out and away from the main skirt piece. (For another visual of this step, see Steps 17 & 18 of the Emerald Dress Instructions on page 82 of Making Issue No. 8.)

(C) OPTIONAL - Understitch along the seam where the pocket piece is attached to the skirt piece, 2/8" from this line. I like to add this line of stitching because it helps the pocket to stay inside, and I also like how it gives a little more of a finished look. 

Step 4 - Side Seams 

Lay one main body piece on top of the other with right sides facing, and pin in place along the side seams and around the pockets. Stitch the side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance starting at the top edge, flowing down and around the pocket, then down the bottom to the hem. Finish this edge with either a serger or zigzag stitch. Do this to this other side as well. 

And now you have pockets! After your pockets are installed, pick back up at Step 2 of the Starry Sky Skirt Instructions on page 68. 

P.S. You may have noticed that the waistband on my skirt looks a little different, and that's because I like to add topstitching to my elastic waistbands. In the next post, I'll be sharing how I do that. Stay tuned! - Emily