Classroom Chair Pockets

If you are making Classroom Chair Pockets, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a parent. Like many other parents out there, time is not something freely handed out. This project is one that I struggled to find time to sit down and make them all at once, so I’m breaking them up by days below. Give yourself a week or two and set aside an hour (or little less) to complete each step at a time. You may want to make the first one and try it on the chair to verify size before making them in mass.

The instructions are using two pieces of durable fabric with no inside liners; on average they take about ½ yard of fabric per chair pocket. If you are using thinner fabric you will need twice as much fabric for a liner (those instructions are not included in this).

Chair PocketChair

The chair I had to work with is one of those plastic chairs that are wider and thicker at the bottom. I don’t remember the exact measurements. To find the width of the chair pocket start by finding the widest part of the chair back, also measure how deep the back is at that spot. To figure out how wide to cut your pieces add the width, depth and add a seam allowance.

Each Chair pocket will need: 2 pieces – 16 inches (or a different width) x 17 inches (About ½ yard per Chair Pocket)

Times listed below will vary with sewing skill and the amount you make.

Step 1: 30-60 minutes

Look at the pattern of your fabric; does it need to go a specific direction? What is the width of your fabric? Standard width is 44 inches; as long as your width isn’t longer than about 20 inches you can get 2 pieces with one cut. The fabric I used needed me to cut each piece using the length measurement (17 inches). If my fabric were just dots, I would have cut using the width (16 inches) to save fabric. Note: If your fabric is really wrinkly, you may want to iron it to ensure an accurate cut.

Before you cut take one end of the fabric and make sure the long side ends are matched up (to keep the cuts straight). Trim off the end of the fabric using the folded edge of the fabric to square it off.

Next, with the width of the fabric it can be difficult to read the measurements on the cutting board (depending on the size), so I used two rulers to measure. Take the one that is the easiest to read and measure out from the edge your just trimmed, use the second ruler as the ruler to cut with (they should make a “T” like the picture below).IMG_3985

I needed 17 inches, when cutting lots of pieces using this method I try to add a little extra to ensure I have enough so I cut 17-1/8 inch. Before you cut, make sure you are cutting even. I started by measuring in the middle and moving the ruler along the entire width to make sure the ruler I’m using to cut isn’t un-even. Also make sure you look at the folded edge to make sure you didn’t have an un-even cut, if you do just trim off as little as possible (I did have to do this once). Don’t rush this part; you don’t want to waste fabric!

As you cut each piece, pull the fabric up and ensure the edges are straight so your cuts are even and as accurate as possible.  When I was done cutting them I had 15 pieces that were 17 inches tall and as wide as the fabric, one of the pieces will be one chair pocket.

Step 2: 30-60 minutes

Each piece you have should be cut in one direction; the next step is to cut each of those pieces into the final size. If the fabric is wrinkly make sure to iron it first, I end up doing this to a few of the pieces that were cut on a fold but most were ok.

Keep the fabric folded in half, it will allow you to cut both pieces with one cut. Take one short edge of the fabric and square off the edge, if the fabric has an ugly edge cut enough to remove the ugly part. Sometimes one side has a bigger ugly edge, make sure you cut both ugly pieces off when trimming.

Chair Pocket 04a


Using the cutting board ruler or a second ruler measure cut your second measurement, in my case I measured out 16 inches. Repeat this for all the pieces you have, putting the 16×17 pieces in one pile and the scrap in a second pile.

Step 3: 30 minutes

Take two pieces and place one piece right side up, take the second piece and place on top of the first one right side up. Do not sew right sides together and don’t sew back sides together, if you do you will have ugly sides showing.  By sewing tow pieces together it may feel very wrong, but it will allow you to not have any ugly sides showing.  Sew along one of the 16 inch sides.  I saved thread by not cutting the thread after the first one and kept sewing.  Once I sewed a few inches on my next one I trimmed the edge on the previous piece.

Step 4: 3 hours

When Ironing I try to make sure I sew right after, otherwise I might need to re-iron if I store it for another day. If you don’t have the time I suggest you break this up and do about 5 pieces at a time, it should take about an hour.  (More or less depending on your sewing skill)

Iron flat the seam on the 16 inch side, also iron a seam on each of the ends.

Sew along the part you ironed flat, make sure to sew the seam flat on the back. Sew each of the 16 inch seams you ironed.

Chair Pocket 11a

Step 5 – 1 hour

At this point you should have all the prep work done; each chair pocket should be one piece, have the ends sewn to stop fraying, and have the middle seam sewn to reinforce. Watch these steps closely, if you sew the next few steps incorrectly the middle seam could show the ugly side slightly.

Lay the fabric on a flat surface with the nice seam up. Take a ruler and measure 11 inches (This will be the pocket), than pin or clip the ends on each side.  Make sure when folding over the “nice” fabric is on the inside as you will be turning this inside out when you’re done.

Chair Pocket 12a

I put between 7 and 8 pieces layered on top of each other on my ironing board, than I ironed the folded edges.

Sew along the edge on both ends. Below is what the front and back of your pieces should look like.

Step 6 – 2-3 hours

Start by turning the pocket right side out, make sure the corners are crisp (I use a chopstick to help with that).

Chair Pocket 17

After turning inside out you will notice that where the pocket ends the fabric needs to be trimmed. Trim just enough so you can iron it the opposite direction.

Iron the pocket flat and press the side seams. Flip the whole piece over and iron the side seams.

With the pocket facing down, take the end with seams and fold over just below middle seam like the image below. This should give about an 8 inch pocket that when finished will pull over the chair.  Make sure to iron flat, this is the last time you will need the iron.

Sew along both edges. I would suggest going slightly past where you need to sew to and back stitch to reinforce. Once you sew along both sides you’re done!

Chair Pocket

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