DIY chair pockets for classrooms

We’re less than a week from starting school (!!!) and a lot of my friends are teachers, so sometimes they let me help them decorate their classrooms. (Literally the one thing I think I’d enjoy as a teacher, other than writing on those big pads of paper on the big stand.)

(Literally the one area I think I’d thrive as a teacher, other than writing on those big pads of paper on the big stand.)

My good friend has her very own Primary class after years of working part-time, and I was SO pumped to make her something for the occasion.

For less than $20 in stretchy fabric from the discount section, I was able to make 20 of these chair pockets for the tiny (adorable) chairs in her classroom.

Want a set for your own classroom (holla, teachers!) or for a special teacher in your life? (They are ALL special, for real.)

Here’s how to make your own …

Teacher DIY: Classroom chair pockets {Heather's Handmade Life}

Cut a length of STRETCHY knit fabric that’s about 32″ long and 12″ wide.

It honestly does NOT have to be exact, thanks to the stretchiness.

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Chop your piece of fabric in half, about 12″ from the bottom.

I didn’t measure except for this picture, TBH.

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Now you’ll have two pieces — a longer (20″ or so) and a shorter (12″ or so). 

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Take your longer piece. Fold up the bottom until it’s about 4″ from the top.

(You’re making a pocket.)

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Take the edge and fold it over about 1″.

This is to make a nice folded-under edge on the finished product. (No need to hem because stretchy fabric won’t fray — it just looks nicer folded under.)

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Pin the edges to prevent your fold from unfolding.

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Place your shorter piece over the longer piece. 

They should be roughly the same size, but do NOT sweat it if they’re not. This is supposed to be fun, and I never stress over measurements. Obviously.

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Take the bottom of the shorter piece, and fold the edge UP 1″.

This is the opposite of what you did last time, and it’s all very confusing, but basically this part will be an “inside” of a pocket, so the edge is going to fold in. Just trust me.

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Pin the edge to secure the folded-under bit, and then pin around all three edges.

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Sew or serge around those three edges.

You can use a stretch-stitch (or zig-zag) on a regular machine.

Then turn your creation right-side out, and you’ll see a complicated-looking thing with a pocket on each side (one facing up, and one facing down). 

One pocket slides over the back of the chair, and the other pocket holds books, school supplies, or whatever else the little urchins want to store in there. Because it’s made from stretchy fabric, you don’t need to buy (or mess around with) elastic.

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Thanks for checking out my first teacher tutorial! Let me know if you make these for a classroom — I’d love to see photos.

Now back to your regularly-scheduled programming of counting down until the first day of school.

(Five days, 21 hours and 58 minutes until mine are on the bus. But who’s counting?)

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16 Comments on “DIY chair pockets for classrooms

  1. These book pockets are awesome! If I wanted to make book pockets for bugger chairs – say those in an early college classroom, what size do you think they need to be? Thanks!!

    • Good question, Toni! I’d imagine you’d probably need a width of at least 16″ for adult-sized chairs, depending on the stretch of your fabric. It would be best to do a test one and see — that’s what I did with these child-sized chairs.

    • Hi Julia! Since the chair cover pieces I cut were 12″ wide (and 43″ long), I’d be able to cut three chair covers per 1 yard of fabric. So if you need 24 chair covers for a classroom, eight yards would do it as long as the fabric was at least 43″ wide (standard). Hope that helps!

    • Ha the only repairs have been a result of Primary students snipping a couple with their scissors, actually! 🙂 Other than that, no issues!

    • I’m not good with fabric names. It’s just a cheap stretchy knit. I’m sorry — I wish I could say more!

  2. Love these! What are the size of your chairs? And what was the final dimension of the pocket? Thanks for sharing!

    • I’m afraid I can’t answer that, as the chairs + pockets have been back in my friend’s classroom for years now.

  3. Thank you for sharing this!

    We are trying to figure out the safest way for our littles to start the school year. And know we don’t want them crowded around the cubbies.

    I found your site and in the span of an afternoon knocked out 20 of these lovelies!!
    I
    used some spandex that was gifted to me over a decade ago!! Woohoo!

  4. Your directions were great and I so appreciated them so I could make the pockets for my daughter’s classroom. They are preschoolers so the size was perfect for those chairs. I used Novelty Canvas as we didn’t want them to stretch. I had a little over 8 yards and got 24 pockets done with a little material left over. I stitched through the pocket part so they had one side for the water bottle and the other side for what supplies were needed that day.

So what do you think?

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