How to Sew Chair Pockets for a Classroom!
Sewing chair pockets (or seat sacks) for an elementary school classroom turned out to be really fun and a lot easier than I expected! I’m so glad that my daughter’s teacher asked me to make these, because it will really help the kids keep their items organized and separate – less likely to spread germs! So if your kid’s teacher ever asks you about making chair pockets for the class, say yes – I’ll show you how.
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Guess what – it only took me 12 hours to make 20! After I finished all the cutting and presswork, I was making 5-6 each hour. Woo hoo!
Make sure you measure your little chairs before you get started. The backs of my chairs were approximately 11” tall and the width at the base of the chair back was 15 1/2”. I decided that my pockets should be 12” tall and 16” wide. Funny thing, my little sewing chairs are the same size, lol.
To sew the same chair pockets that I made, each one will require about a yard of fabric and a 17” x 25” piece of quilt batting. I pulled a whole bunch of different fabrics from my stash – mixing lavender, aqua, and yellow. Sweet combination.
For each chair pocket, cut:
1 exterior rectangle 17” x 25”
1 lining rectangle 17” x 25”
1 batting rectangle 17” x 25”
1 large pocket rectangle 17” x 21”
1 small pocket square 17” x 17”
2 pocket binding strips 1 3/4” x 17”
Fold the edges of the binding strip to the center and press. I used my Clover 1” bias tape maker tool to make quick work of it.
Then fold the strip in half lengthwise and press.
Here’s my pile of 40 – two for each chair pocket.
Fold and press each pocket piece in half with the 17” edges together.
Wrap a binding piece around the folded edge of a pocket and sew it down close to the fold.
Repeat for the other pocket.
Lay the 17” x 25” batting rectangle on your workspace and smooth out the exterior rectangle of the same size on top of it, right side up.
Then line up the two pocket pieces with the bottom 17” edge of the exterior. The smaller pocket goes on top of the larger one, and they are also both right sides up.
Now place the lining rectangle on top, right side down. Pin along both of the shorter edges.
Using a 1/2” seam allowance, stitch along the shorter edges only – not the long edges.
After sewing, Turn the lining to the back and press along the seams you just sewed.
Lay the pockets flat against the exterior piece, as before.
Sew basting stitches along the raw edges of the pockets to hold them in place, if desired.
Bring the top edge down to meet the bottom and make sure the pockets are flat on the inside. Pin along the side edges.
Stitch the sides, again with a 1/2” seam allowance.
Flip the cover right side out and check to make sure your side seams are good. If the pockets are straight and all the layers were sewn properly…
Turn inside out again and serger or zig zag the raw edges together for a nice finish.
And that’s one done! If you are planning to sew a lot, here are my tips:
Use ugly fabric (we all have it!) for the lining, it won’t show at all.
Do all of your cutting and pressing first so you can sew assembly line style later.
If you are really in a hurry you can use wide double fold bias tape for the pocket binding. If you used thicker fabric for the exterior – such as canvas or upholstery fabric – you could skip the quilt batting. But it think it make the seats more comfortable and since I have a kid in the class, I don’t mind putting it in.
Happy back to school sewing! Don’t miss my 3-ring Pencil Pouch tutorial, I’ve been seeing some reader-sewn versions on Instagram, yay!
Disclosure: some of my posts contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links I may receive a small commission, so thank you for supporting SewCanShe when you shop! All of the opinions are my own and I only suggest products that I actually use. 🙂
Those are really wonderful but the kids here use desks with a shelf inside for all their books and pencil boxes so those wouldn’t really be needed. They sure make the room pretty though.
I have desks as well but they are such a catch all and become so full of stuff!! I now turn my desks around and use pockets! No more messy desks! It is so much better. I have a book shelf at each table group for large books and pencil boxes on each desk for all of the kids pencils. I might switch to pencil pouches though so they can fit in their pocket!
These are totally washable, too. Little children can get sick at school or spill paint or do lots of other things that can get things dirty. It’s a wonderful idea!
…aaaaand you just became the teacher’s favorite parent. I guarantee you that teacher is already bragging on you to all the other teachers in the school. I’ve got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that links to your tutorial: https://sewing.craftgossip.com/?p=84291 –Anne
Yea!! These should last a LONG time for the lucky teacher. I made some for my son’s classroom…he’s the teacher…over 10 years ago. I look at those on the backs of the chairs to this day and am amazed at how they have stood the test of many critters. I used a rather heavy weight denim, so his aren’t as cute as these. His kids all have a "number" that they put on everything, so the pockets also have the number embroidered on them. Even the years that he has had desks rather than tables he has used the pockets for spirals and folders. :>) MS
Do these also serve as a padding for the chairs? It looks as if there is a portion of the seat cover on the seat of the chair…I don’t need the padding….can the pattern be modified to just have the pockets? If so, how can this be done? I can sew but I don’t have the ability to modify patterns….thanks!
I would LOVE to make these for my classroom, but I have the desks where the chair is attached to the desk, so I would need to leave one side unsewn, and then maybe add a button or something to secure it, so that it can go around the pole that connects the chair to the desk. I’m trying to figure out how I would make that work?
Wow that’s amazing !
I’m planning on making some for my class and was wondering if you could advise me on which type of fabric to use. Did you just use cotton? Is it sturdy enough?
I used quilting cotton on these chair pockets and they turned out great. The binding did help to reinforce the pockets and keep them from stretching out. More recently I made another batch of chair pockets with home decor weight fabric and I was able to skip the pocket binding. I still need to blog about those! ❤️ xoxo
I just made a set for my sister who just started teaching 1st grade. After the first day, she took them off becasue every tume the kids got up, they would push it off and onto the floor..suggestions!!!
I plan on making these for a special ed class in my school! To DeAnna…I am going to put ties on mine along the bottom to tie to the chair legs. Glad you made me aware of that problem 🙂
Thank you so much for your tutorial! I’m a middle school teacher, but due to lack of space and slanty desks I’ve been wanting to make some. Now I have a starting point, :).
I made pocket chair covers for my son’s kindergarten class 20 years ago. Yours look great!
What a useful and DARLING idea, Caroline! I’m going to make some for my DIL who is currently home schooling my grands. Thanks so much for sharing this! 🙂
I am a teacher. Supplies have to be kept separate due to COVID-19. I have two classes. One keeps their supplies in their cubbies (home room) and one keeps theirs in the chair sacks. Perfect. Mine need replacing so I may need to sew. You can always donate to a local school!
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This would be a great project for donated/thrift store sheets! The larger size would allow larger patterns to be seen!