How to knit pockets for a cardigan

Add interest to a plain cardigan with pockets in a matching or contrast yarn. Horizontal insert pockets look professional, are less bulky than patch pockets and can be knitted in a fancy or plain stitch. It's usual to knit the pocket edge in the same stich as the garment edging, but consider using a different colour and adding buttons to match. Use an existing cardigan as a guide to work out the position of the pockets.

Determine the size of the pocket opening, bearing in mind that the wearer's hand needs to be able to fit in the pocket. As a guide, the pocket on a woman's cardigan should be approximately 15cm square; a man's pocket is approximately 3cm larger and a child's pocket 3cm smaller.

Calculate the number of stitches required for the pocket width from the pattern gauge or measure a piece of the knitted fabric and count the number of stitches. For example, if the pattern gauge is 24 stitches to 10cm, a woman's 15cm pocket will need 36 stitches.

Cast on the stitches calculated for the pocket lining and knit in stocking stitch for the required depth of the pocket. Leave the stitches on a stitch holder or double-pointed needle.

Work the right front piece of the cardigan until you reach the level of the top of the pocket, or the depth of the pocket plus 2 or 3 cm above the ribbed edging, ending on the wrong side.

Work the next row from the centre front to the inner edge of the pocket. Put the same number of stitches on to a stitch holder or on to waste yarn as you knitted for the pocket lining. In the example, put the next 36 stitches on to a holder or waste yarn.

Work across the stitches from the pocket lining with right side facing and knit the remaining stitches from the left needle. Complete the front panel on these stitches and cast off.

Slip the stitches remaining on the holder or waste yarn on to the left needle with the right side of the work facing you. Join the yarn and knit the pocket edge to match the ribbed edge of the cardigan for approximately 2cm. Cast off ribwise.

Stitch the side and bottom edges of the pocket lining in place on the wrong side of the work. Stitch down the sides of the ribbed pocket edge on the right side.

Complete the left front panel to match.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 stitch holders
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About the Author

Isobel Phillips has been writing technical documentation, marketing and educational resources since 1980. She also writes on personal development for the website UnleashYourGrowth. Phillips is a qualified accountant, has lectured in accounting, math, English and information technology and holds a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in English from the University of Leeds.