How to Sew Pool Chair Covers… that have lots of pockets and fold into a bag!

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Sew a pool chair cover with a pillow and so many features! It will keep your pool chair clean and comfy – and have pockets for all your things. This fun sewing project uses a new beach towel and some fabric to make the perfect pool chaise cover.

UPDATE: This blog post has been converted to an optional PDF that’s optimized for printing. Find it here. The blog post below is totally free to read, print, and sew! Just hit CTRL +P on your computer to print. The PDF download for $2 is totally optional.


And you will love how it folds up into a fun tote that you can carry other stuff in too!

(Don’t you think the ‘reserved’ towel that I used for one of my covers makes it seem all exclusive? Everyone at the pool will be afraid to steal my chair, lol!)


I designed these chair covers to fit the 22” wide chairs that we have at two different pools in my area – the dimensions are the same as this one.

Because the back part is sewn with stretch knit fabric (don’t worry, this is easy!), the cover is somewhat one-size-fits-all, unless your chairs are a lot bigger.

If your chair is smaller, you could tie the bag strap part tighter to secure it better.


There is an elastic piece at the bottom of the cover to hold it in place too.


And of course, lots of pockets! I made two zippered pockets and two slip pockets – all with cotton quilting fabric. These can be customized however you want.

The reason why I cut the towels to be narrow – just wider than the chair – is so that the pockets wouldn’t touch the ground. Who wants their phone to hit the ground when the drop it in the pocket? Not me!!!

But my favorite part is the pillow pocket – I almost left that off until a reader commented about it. She was so right! The narrow pillow that fits snugly in the pocket is just the right size to cushion your neck and head. Trust me – it’s perfect!

So let’s get to it!

This tutorial begins with an extra long beach towel – the ones that I bought (from Target) were 36” x 72”.

Tip: Towels as narrow as 24” will work fine (you won’t need to hem the sides). If your towel is longer or shorter than 72”, some adjustment may be necessary at the bottom end – but it won’t be difficult.

You will also need:

  • 1 yard total of woven fabric (such as quilting cotton) for the pockets and pillow. I used different fabrics for these so I could use up scraps.

  • 1 yard of stretch knit fabric (if it’s 48” or wider, there will be enough left over for a second cover)

  • 24” of 1” wide elastic

  • 2 zippers, at least 13” long (I used wide handbag zippers – but regular zippers are fine too)

  • polyester fiber-fill for the pillow



In case your fabrics are directional, all dimensions are height x width.

From regular (woven) cotton fabric, cut:

  • 1 strip 8” x 28” (to make the pillow)

  • 1 rectangle 11” x 16” (to make the pillow pocket)

  • 2 rectangles 18” x 13” (for the zippered pockets)

  • 2 rectangles 18” x 8” (for the slip pockets)


  • 2 strips 5” x 20” for the bag strap – these can either be cut from new fabric or you can use scraps cut from the sides of the towel like I did – see below.


From stretch knit fabric, cut:

  • 1 rectangle 30” x 24”

Tip: make sure you cut this piece so that the fabric stretches in the direction shown to the right.

If your fabric has 4-way stretch, this won’t matter.


Cut the towel so that it is 26” wide (or 4” wider than your pool chair). Since my towels had a design on both of them, I cut 5” from each side to preserve the design.

Leave the hems on the top and bottom edges of the towel.

I cut my 5” x 20” bag strap pieces from these scraps.


Make the Pillow:

1/2” seam allowance allowed.

1. Fold the 8” x 28” rectangle in half with the short ends right sides together.

2. Sew around the 3 sides, leaving a 4” opening for stuffing. Clip the corners.

3. Turn the pillow right sides out. Stuff to desired firmness with polyester fiberfill.

4. Hand- or machine-sew the opening closed.


Make the Pillow Pocket:

1. Fold one long edge over to the wrong side 1/2” and then again 1/2′, and press. Stitch close to the fold to make a 1/2” hem.

2. Press the remaining 3 edges over 1/2” to the wrong side.


3. Pin the pocket upside down (with the hemmed opening at the bottom) 3” below the top edge of the towel and centered.

4. Stitch the pocket to the towel around the 3 (not hemmed) edges, sewing 1/8” from the edge.


Add the Elastic and Hem the Sides:

1. Flip the towel over, and pin the 24” piece of elastic to the bottom end, on the back side of the towel. Center it so that it is 1” away from each edge, about 1” away from the bottom.


2. Sew a 1/2” hem on each long towel edge, enclosing the elastic at the bottom.

Tip: since my towel was so thick, I found it more accurate to fold over about 1/4”, and then 1/2”. This used up about 1” on each side because of the bulk in folding.


Make and Attach the Tie Straps:

1. Fold the 5” x 20” strips in half lengthwise.

2. Sew across one short end, pivot, and then sew down the long edge.

3. Clip the corners and turn the straps right side out.


4. Pin the raw edge end of the straps to the sides of the towel, 13” below the top edge. Baste in place within the 1/2” seam allowance.


This tutorial is too long to load easily! I’ve broken it up into two blog posts.

Click here for Part 2. See you there!

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  1. THIS IS BRILLIANT! Absolutely love this idea and have to get in some time to make one this summer. Like, brilliant!

  2. Pam Frederick says:

    Was wondering why you would leave the opening for the pillow on the bottom rather than the top…is there an advantage to inserting it from the bottom? I am making my first pool chair cover now and am at this point in the construction. I was thinking that pillow might be more apt to slip out if inserted from the bottom…..

    1. Hi Pam,
      This way when you carry it like a tote, the pocket is right side up. That is so you can carry keys, your phone, or anything else in the pocket when the cover is folded up.

      Don’t worry, I designed the pillow to fit snugly. If you follow my dimensions, there is no danger of it falling out. 🙂


  3. Pam Frederick says:

    Gotcha Caroline…didn’t realize the pocket would be right side up when being carried. I figured there was a reason. Thank you and thanks for a great tutorial. I’m about to finish my first one today. I made this first pillow just a bit larger (10" x 28"). Would I increase the dimensions of the pillow pocket to 13" x 16" or 13" x 18". The original design calls for the pocket piece to be 11" x 16". Please let me know as soon as you can. Thanks for the information.

    1. I’m not sure about that. If I were you, I’d lay the pillow on the towel and place the pocket piece on top and see how it will fit.

      Just so you know, my daughter and I both tested the pillow design as written and LOVE it. It’s narrow, but it slides right to the perfect spot under your neck when reclining.


  4. I love this idea!! I’ve just found your blog and you have so many things I want to make… But this will make an amazing gift exchange gift for a group of friends who are frequent Mexico vacationers!

    I do wonder- I’m considering trying to make this out of a quick dry microfiber towel since space is always at a premium when traveling. What are your thoughts on that?

  5. Angie Terry says:

    THANK YOU!!! My daughter and her boyfriend are preparing to move to Florida, as he begins working on his PhD. I’ve been brainstorming ideas for going away gifts. I’d only come up with Univ Florida face masks and sunscreen. This will be PERFECT! Thank you so much for the idea and directions.

  6. Betsy Kirk says:

    our daughter is putting in a pool this year – what a perfect gift for the 3 grandchildren (and their parents)!! Thanks for the free download

  7. Thank you. This would be a nice graduation gift.

  8. Patricia McKnight says:

    Sew excited to make this. What a wonderful idea/pattern. Thank you.

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