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Chair Pocket Tutorial - Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

Here's an inexpensive way to create chair pockets for your classroom with minimal sewing skills (4 straight lines per seat cover - promise!)  You'll need an iron, scissors, measuring tape, and some fabric.  Warning - lots of pictures ahead!!  :)
Alright - in the interest of full disclosure - I am not very crafty.  I typically leave that to my teammates, including Casey and Cassina.  My mom was a Home Economics teacher for years, and taught many young ladies and gentlemen how to sew, cook, clean, etc.  Not me; I had no interest at all... until I moved out, got a job, and bought a house.  Since then, I've learned how to follow a recipe, clean the house enough to make sure I'm not attracting critters, and sew straight lines semi-straight lines.  I never appreciated how amazing she is until I moved out, and now I'm asking for her help all. the. time.  She's probably getting tired of it, but she really comes through for me, and I love my momma.  Dontcha' just love this pic?
Me, Mom, and my brother
Step 1: Score some fabric.  I visited my local thrift store and bought sturdy tablecloths, fabric shower curtains, and curtains.  If you want to be all matchy-matchy, this approach won't work for you... Bear in mind that I created 25 of these for less than $20.00 using the thrift store fabrics (and a few yards of fabric from my mom).  The key here is to make sure the fabric isn't frayed and that it looks like it will take the abuse of a 7 year old jamming a pencil in with their journals without popping a hole in the fabric.  Wash and dry the fabric so it will go ahead and shrink if it's going to.  :)

Step 2: Measure twice, cut once.  For reals.  (Don't use your favorite fabric on your first attempt.  Trust me! The first one I made was hideous, and I had forgotten a step somewhere along the line.  The first one took me about 30 minutes.  Now I can make one in about 5 minutes.)  We use "standard" metal/plastic student chairs... please make sure to adjust the measurement if needed to fit your chairs.  I cut the fabric into rectangles 17 1/2" wide x 45" long.
17 1/2 inches wide
45 inches long
Step 3:  Fold over the short side about 1/2", iron it flat, and fold it over again.  Sew a line close to the folded edge.  I use zigzag stitches on my sewing machine; I think I heard somewhere that a zigzag stitch is a bit more durable.  If that's not true, you can correct me!!  Repeat the fold, iron, fold, iron, sew a line on the other short side.
Fold over the short end 1/2" twice and iron
Sew a straight-ish line to secure the end.
 Step 4:  Lay the fabric flat, wrong side up.  Fold the first short side in 1/3, then fold the other short side in 1/3.  It will look a bit strange, like it only makes 1 pocket.  This is the step I messed up the first time I made a chair pocket.  Trust me.  You only have 2 more lines to sew - almost there!
Fold the short side in 1/3 of the way.
Then fold the other side in 1/3 of the way.
It will look like it only makes one pocket.  Trust me - this works.  :)
Step 5: Sew a straight line across the top and the bottom.  For added durability, serge or zigzag stitch twice to keep the sides from fraying.  Just sayin'. 
Zigzag stitch along the top and bottom.
Step 6:  Lift the top of the pocket and look inside.  See the little flap inside?  Grab it and gently pull it out.  This turns the pocket inside out, allowing for "both" pockets - one to slide over the back of the chair and the other to store supplies.
Peek inside and see the little flap.
Gently pull the flap out and turn the pocket inside out.
It'll look like this.  :)
The "wrong side" is showing, but that part doesn't show when the chairs are pushed in (or kiddos are sitting in them!)
You're done!  :)
I hope this helps you utilize chair pockets in your classroom instead of having to pay so much out of pocket.  I made the set in my classroom almost 3 years ago when I decided to go back in the classroom, and I can't imagine teaching without them.  We only have tables in our classroom (no desks!) and I love having a spot for my green beans to store journals, their math workbook, and their pencil pouch.  The original set has held up very well.  I take them home during each track out (at the end of each quarter) and run them through the washing machine.  Make sure to shake them out well, so you don't have a crayon in the wash.  :)  The striped ones I made today will go at my small group table to hold dry erase boards and supplies.

Want to download the tutorial as a pdf?  Click the picture to download for free from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Don't forget to leave feedback.  :)
Download from TpT for free here
Does this look like too much for you to tackle today? Click on this link to see reasonably priced durable Seat Sack from Amazon. {affiliate link}
Do you already use chair pockets in the classroom?  What do you like/not like about them?


  1. I'm so impressed with you right now. Nothing I have done today can compare. Awesome job friend! :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  2. AWESOME!! Thank you. I tried cutting a pattern from another old chair cover and it just didn't look right. This makes it so simple! I have the fabric and now I have a plan for the weekend! THANK YOU for sharing this!!!

  3. Anonymous7/30/2013

    Do you know how many yards you needed (per # of chairs)? I think those measurements are the same as our chairs... Just trying to save my 'non-sewing' brain from figuring out the yardage! Thanks for the great tutorial! Will be doing this soon! Jen

    1. Jennifer,

      Here are the specifics: 1 yard of fabric (make sure it is at least 42" on the other side) makes 2 chair pockets. If you are going the thrift store route - which I highly recommend - 1 fabric shower curtain = 5 or 6 chair pockets. Same with a large oval tablecloth. I hope that helps!!


  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I haven't, but I might after seeing how easy this is! Thanks for a great tutorial!


  6. Will have to see if this would work with my plastic chairs. Looks great!

  7. Can you tell me how long these chair covers lasted?

    1. These are still around. I had to retire 2 due to holes from pencils that punched through, but I might just patch them and keep going!! :)

  8. Okay, thanks. I am making some for my daughters teacher but the fabric she purchased was pretty thin cotton.

  9. Very impressive post.Thanks for share with us such a nice blog with some new ideas.

  10. Anonymous7/14/2014

    If you used the shower curtain,did you trim off the edge where the rings go?

    1. Rhonda, I had the edge with the holes left over when I was finished cutting the pieces. It is important to cut one first, go ahead and mess up, and figure it out before trying to do a class set. I promise you, the first one I made was a wreck. ;)
      Thanks for your comment!!


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