Welcome to the third tutorial in the Little Girl’s Bedroom Makeover series from Molly and Mama - sew a bed pocket! In case you missed them, we’ve already made a sweet pillowcase with lace and trims and a practical embroidery hoop head band holder.
This tutorial is all about creating a cute little bed pocket that your little ones can use to store their teddy bears or security blankets, and perhaps their favourite book. It’s just a simple quilted pocket with a double fold bound edge. You tuck the ‘tail’ over the side of the bed and under the mattress, so it can be used on both beds with frames and ensemble beds. The instructions are easy to follow with lots of photos, so beginners can create this one too. And you’ll also be learning the basics of quilting!
My little miss loves her special ‘bunny’ that she sleeps with every night. But he often gets misplaced. This results in a very teary bedtime and some very frantic searching throughout the house. Determined to avoid this situation, we’re happily using the new bed pocket to store ‘bunny’ during the day. We also choose a book for bedtime stories and place it there too. I only wish I’d made a bed pocket sooner!
The finished size of this project is approximately 28” x 12” and the pocket is about 8” deep. You can also easily adjust these dimensions to suit your own bed size or pocket requirements too.
What you’ll need
* Four co-ordinating fabrics; one for the underside of the pocket, one for the top, one for the front of the pocket and one for the binding. Choose a print or feature fabric for the front of the pocket. Your underside won’t be seen so you really could use anything. And I chose a striped fabric for the top, as I used the horizontal lines as an easy guide for quilting. It saved me having to mark out my quilting lines.
* Pocket front – cut one piece 9” high x 12” wide – I’ve used a pink floral
* Underside – cut one piece 29” x 12” – I’ve used a small green floral
* Top – cut one piece 37” long x 12”wide – I’ve used a pink and green stripe
* Binding – cut two strips of fabric length 2” wide to make one continuous length of binding 65” long and another 12” long – I’ve used a dark pink pattern
* 29” x 13” thin cotton quilting batting (we don’t want too much bulk)
* 12” of lace
* 12” of ric rac
* ribbon for a decorative bow if you wish
* quilt basting spray to hold your quilt sandwich together
* sewing machine and threads to coordinate with your fabric
* needle and thread (if adding a bow)
* iron and ironing board
* ruler or measuring tape
* cutting board, ruler and rotary cutter
* a walking foot for your sewing machine is an optional extra. It is a good investment if you’re planning on doing lots of quilting, but a standard foot will do the job for this small project too.
How to sew a bed pocket
Let’s get started!
MAKE THE TOP
To begin, we need to join the base of the pocket top piece with the underside piece. Remember that your pocket top will be folded up to make the actual pocket, so check if your fabric has a directional print. With right sides facing, sew a straight stitch (with at least a ¼” seam allowance) along the 12” width of your fabrics to join them together.
Iron your seam so that the seam allowance rests on your underside piece. That way, the seam bulk will face the back of your pocket when it’s folded over. You can see this in the image below.
Place your lace and ric rac trims on the top of the pocket piece and pin in place as pictured.
With a very scant seam allowance, stitch down your trims close to the fabric edge, being sure to remove pins as you go.
MAKE A QUILT SANDWICH
Now we’re ready to quilt our two fabric pieces together. If you’re an old hand at quilting you’ll know what to do here, but if you’re new to this, it’s very straightforward. Be sure to do some online research if you need extra information or video tutorials.
We’re going to make a quilt sandwich by joining our two pieces of fabric and one of batting. I’ve done things a little differently here, so feel free to do what works best for you.
Place your cotton batting on a flat surface. I pressed mine to remove any fold lines, but this isn’t advised for polyester batting because it could melt! Spray the batting with quilt basting spray (an old sheet will protect the floor or table top underneath). Carefully lay your pocket top piece ‘right side up’ over the batting, being sure you’ve left an overhang of batting on all sides. Smooth it out ensuring there are no puckers or bubbles in the fabric.
Using your cutting mat, ruler and rotary cutter, trim away the excess batting.
Use the same method to secure the back striped fabric to the batting underside. Again, trim up any overhang if necessary.
Give your quilt sandwich a quick press to ensure the three layers are joined and laying flat. We’ll be quilting soon!
BIND THE POCKET TOP
Before going on, we need to finish our pocket top by binding the lace and ric rac edge. I use the double fold binding method, which is machine stitched down at the front and hand stitched at the back.
Cut a strip of binding fabric 2” wide and 12” long. Fold it in half along the length (with the right side facing out) and iron it flat. (This creates a narrow binding. Add extra width by cutting a 2.5” strip or more if you’d like wider binding).
Pin the binding piece on top of the lace and ric rac trims, so that the raw edges are facing the raw edge of the fabric. Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch the binding down over the trims. At this stage you should be covering the stitching used to originally secure the lace trims. Once complete, iron the binding seam out as shown below.
Fold the binding over the seam to the back of your fabric and pin it in place. Use the seam stitching line as a guide and make sure the binding covers it.
Hand stitch the binding in place by using a blind stitch. It gives a really neat finish. I find it difficult to describe hand stitching because I’m left handed and have learnt that I do everything the wrong way around! So if you are unsure, do a quick internet search and you’ll be sure to find a useful video or image.
When complete, your binding will look like this at the front:
And this at the back:
QUILT THE SANDWICH
To give your fabric sandwich some strength and added durability, it’s a good idea to quilt the sandwich together. You can do this by hand, using straight or decorative stitches, or you can keep it simple and straight stitch on the machine.
10 points for guessing what I chose to do here? Let’s keep it simple!
If you chose a stripy fabric for your fabric top, then this part is easy! Basically, we’re going to stitch down along the fabric width every 3” or so. Use your stripes as a guide for stitching. If you don’t have stripes, use some tailors chalk or an erasable marker to mark your lines before you stitch. Continue to quilt along the whole width. When you’re done, it will look something like this;
FOLD UP THE POCKET
Fold your pocket up so that the fabric seam is at the base of the fold. Pin it in place. Using a scant seam allowance, stitch the pocket down right along the fabric edge.
Time to get binding!
BIND THE POCKET
We’re going to bind three sides of the bed pocket, using the double fold binding method described above. The base doesn’t need binding as the fold acts as an edge already.
You’ll need about 65” of continuous biding for this part, so we’ll need to join our fabric strips together. A diagonal join is stronger and helps avoid bulk.
Overlap the ends of two pieces of fabric strip with their right sides facing (as shown).
Sew a diagonal seam across the fabric and trim the edges.
Press the seam open.
As described previously, fold the binding in half along the length (with the right side facing out) and iron it flat. Fold about an inch up at one end and press.
Ensure you have enough continuous binding to cover the three raw sides of the bed pocket (plus a little extra to mitre the corners and fold up at the other end).
Now we’re ready to bind the raw pocket edges. There are a few ways to complete this step, so do what works for you. If you’re unsure, I’ve outlined what I have done here. It may be a little different to what you’ve seen before, but will get the same result.
Just like before, pin your binding down on one side of the top of the bed pocket, so that the raw edges of binding are next to the raw edge of the fabric. Begin stitching down the binding using a ¼” seam allowance. Finish your stitching about a 1/4” inch before the corner.
Fold the binding straight up so that there is a 45 degree angle in the binding from the corner.
Then fold the binding back over itself and pin in place. This little flap of fabric is going to create your mitred corner. Continue pinning down the length to the next corner.
Stitch down the next side using the same ¼” seam allowance, starting and finishing ¼” from the fabric edge.
Follow the same method for the last side. Pin down the binding. When you reach the end, trim your binding so there’s about a 1” overhang. Fold up the excess just like you did at the beginning of the binding, so that there are no raw edges showing. Stitch the binding in place.
When you’re finished your binding will look like this;
And your corners like this:
Use your iron to press the binding out flat, ready for pinning and hand stitching. Don’t worry about the corners. They’ll be mitred when we hand stitch them down.
Just like before, turn your binding over to the back of your pocket and pin it in place, ensuring the binding covers the seam line on the back. When you get to the corners, the fabric should naturally mitre. Hand stitch the binding in place as before, using a blind stitch. Finish each end with some small but close stitches, so you ‘seal’ the ends of the binding.
It seems like a whole lot of hand stitching, but it’s very therapeutic to stitch in front of a good movie. And it’s great practise for that beautiful quilt project you want to tackle in the future! You’ll have completed the binding before you know it!
We’re on the home stretch now! I love to ‘pretty up’ everything I create. So naturally I have added a bow. I tend to put bows on everything! But feel free to leave this stage out. Truth be told, bed quilts often cover up the bed pocket anyway! But if you want to, tie a bow with some coordinating ribbon and trim the ends. I used 1” wide satin ribbon. Be sure to heat seal the ends too. Attach your bow with a few well-placed stitches that can’t be seen from the front. You’re all set for a road test!
Hang your pocket over the bed base or frame, and tuck the long ‘tail’ underneath the bed mattress.
Add a favourite teddy, toy or book and your little one is ready for bed!
I really love this project. It’s simple and so practical. If you’d like to see more free tutorials and projects feel free to stop by Molly and Mama!
I’d love to see your creations so be sure to leave Deanna a comment and show us your beautiful work. Thanks for being here again. Happy stitching! -Lauren
Lauren of Molly and Mama is a contributor on sewmccool.com. To make sure you don’t miss a tutorial, please follow SewMcCool by e-mail (the link is at the top of the right-hand column) or join me on BlogLovin’ – the button is just below the e-mail feed box!