I must admit that I was a little wary of this project when Cadie's teacher first asked me, but it turned out to be really fun and a lot easier than I expected. So if your kid's kindergarten or first grade teacher ever asks you about making chair pockets for the class, say yes - I'll show you how!
First things first, my chair covers were inspired by the adorable 'Seat Stash' that Heidi of Fabricmutt made. Hers is totally cute and quilted and perfect if you only need to make one. But I was asked to make 20 in a short amount of time. I opted to redesign it completely, making two pockets instead of one, and finishing the inside seam allowances with my serger instead of French seams. You could totally zig zag the raw edges if you don't have a serger.
In simplifying the pockets, I decided to use just a double layer of fabric reinforced with a binding at the top. They turned out really cute - and fast.
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.