Friday, April 20, 2012

No-Sew Pillowcase Chair Pockets

This is not something I got from Pinterest, but since I'm going to pin it when I'm finished writing this, it belongs in my Pinterest diaries. :-)

I have to admit that the idea for this came from a coworker of mine. She gathered pillowcases and had a grandparent of one of her students sew them to create seat back pockets for her. Since I am definitely not a seamstress and my mother, who loves to quilt, lives sixteen hours away, I filed her idea away that "to-do-at-some-point" part of my brain. Recently I came across one of those hand stitchers and thought that I'd be willing to spend the $11 it cost to try to make them. I found a few pillowcases at thirft stores and bought the rest from the dollar store. Not the best quality, but workable for now.

Unfortunatley, things did not go as planned. After struggling with the gadget for about 15 minutes, I gave up. As I was looking at my pile of pillowcases, I knew I couldn't just leave it. It suddenly dawned on me that I could just use safety pins to make them. So, $6 for 150 safety pins later, I almost have chair pockets for all of my students. I need to get a few more safety pins to finish the last few pockets. Once I got a few done, I was really glad I used the pins instead of sewing. They're much easier to adjust if they're just off, or if I end up with bigger or smaller chairs, or if they get stretched out after being used for awhile.

Once I go the hang of it, these took less than 5 minutes each to do. It seems like a lot of steps, but it was actually pretty easy and the kids are loving them so far!

Here's the final product:

Start with a standard pillowcase:

Turn it inside out and place it over the back of the chair you are using:

From the bottom, fold the pillowcase up to meet the top of the chair:

Take the pillowcase stright off the chair, flip the whole thing inside out, keeping it folded, and place it back over the chair:

Pull the fabric tight across the back of the chair and using large safety pins, pin each side of the pillowcase, about 1/2"-1" away from the side of the chair. If you pin too close, it will not fit back over the chair when you are finished:

Only pin the top two pins on each side (there will be four on each side total):

Take the pillowcase off the chair and lay it on a flat surface. Pin two more safety pins down each side:

My chairs get slightly wider near the seat, so I found that pinning the bottom pin a little further out toward the edge helped make it fit better:

After all the pins are in place, flip it right side out:

It is now ready to be placed back over the chair:

Great way to store library books, binders, etc. My students say that leaning against thier binder or books is actually more comfortable than leaning against the hard back of their chair:

Ta Da! A chair pocket solution that is not only cheaper than buying comercial versions (free except for the safety pins if you ask your students to send in old pillowcases!)  but also doesn't require any sewing expertise!


  1. Thank you for saving me so much time this summer!!!!!!!!!

    Teaching with Grace

  2. I would love to know how well the pins held up- did they last all year?

    Thanks so much!!

  3. OMG!!! Never would have thought of this-thanks a million!

  4. Do they take out the pins and stab each other with them??

  5. How long did they last with using safety pins?

  6. So when you are finished and it is on the chair, the material is inside out... correct?