Since our kids have done virtual learning off and on this year, it has been a challenge to keep their essential papers organized. We needed a way to have their class notebooks handy without cluttering their desk space. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say!
This project works best with fabric that is the same on both sides. For this, I used a quilting cotton weight that I had as a scrap, but for long-term use, I would use a solid canvas or duck cloth which will look the same on the right and wrong sides of the fabric.
*Since my fabric looked the same on both sides, I found it helpful to place a straight pin on the right side of my fabric to distinguish the difference since it was a bit confusing.
We will do a lot of folding of fabric in this tutorial. I did my best to capture this in the pictures, so just try to make your project look like the picture!
Measure the seat back height, width and the depth. You can totally customize these and make them as big or small as you’d like. I started by measured from the top of the back of the chair to the seat. My chair back was 10″ tall. Then I measured across the back of the chair. My chair was 10″ wide. Then I measured the depth of the back of the chair, which was 1″ deep.
Make a Template
I love using freezer paper to make templates for projects like this! It’s something I always have around because my kids love it for painting. You can also use butcher paper, tracing paper or even newspaper!
Based on the measurements above, I made my template 25″ tall and 13″ wide. I am not a scientific or mathematic person, so most of this for me was trial and error!! What I figured out was that you want to double the back height measurement and add a few inches for hemming and the box corners (more on that soon). As for the width, you’ll use the measurement and then account for a seam allowance and the box corner. I really suggest using inexpensive fabric and playing around with the template before using any nice fabric!
After cutting my fabric out from the template, I finished all of the edges with a serger. If you don’t have a serger, you can use pinking shears or run a zig zag or overcast stitch around the edges.
Begin construction by hemming the short edges. **PAY ATTENTION HERE!!** For the hem, you will fold the TOP short edge over 1/4″ twice towards the WRONG side and stitch. Then you’ll fold the BOTTOM short edge over 1/4″ twice towards the RIGHT side and stitch. If you look at the finished project, you’ll see that the pockets are opposite directions when we are done (one will slip over the seat back and the other will be in the opposite direction to hold the notebooks).
Lay the fabric out flat. Take the top edge and fold it about 4″ down Right Sides Together. This will be the “pocket” that slides over the back of the chair. You can adjust this measurement if you made your pocket template smaller or larger.
Next take the bottom and fold it under so it is Wrong Sides Together. You will fold it up ALMOST to the edge of the top pocket – but not touching the top pocket. I left a gap of about 1/4″.
Stitch down both sides of the bag. I used a 3/8″ seam allowance. After sewing, press all edges flat.
To make the bags have a little depth, box corners can be created. Box corners are great for nap mats and tote bags too! To create them, stick your hand in the top pocket to pull the fabric apart.
Next make the crease from the very top of the bag (that you ironed in the last step) line up with the side seam of the pocket. It will form a little triangle.
Since my chair depth was 1″, I measured 1″ down and drew a line across.
Now sew across that line. Do this for all 4 corners. After sewing, you can trim the top triangle off to reduce the bulk.
The Grand Finale!
Now turn the pockets out. The will be in opposite directions. One will slide over the back of the chair and the other will be the opposite way to hold the notebooks and folders!