The night before my kids went back to school, I realised that I needed a chair bag (a bag that hangs on the back of a chair to hold books) for Mr Happy. Oops! Luckily I had some Ikea upholstery fabric in my stash so I made up the design as I went along. Here’s a tutorial for you so you don’t have to make it up!
What you will need:
- fabric – if it will hold heavy books, I’d go for heavier weight fabric, 20″ x 40″ or 51cm x 102cm
- (Note: all my measurements were trial and error so they could be out a cm or two here and there)
- the usual sewing supplies – sewing machine, pins, thread, iron, etc.
- I’d recommend a denim needle if you are sewing heavier fabric
Start with cutting your fabric to 20″ x 40″ (51cm x 102cm). Then cut it across the width at 16.5″ (42cm) so you have two pieces. Turn one piece over and join them back together. You should have a right side and a wrong together as you pin them to sew. I sewed a seam of about 1/4″ (5mm), then trimmed it with my pinking shears, but you could also overlock it or zig zag to stop fraying.
Fold and stitch a small hem at each end to finish those edges. It should now look something like mine below:
Lay it on the floor like mine with the shorter piece to the left and right side up. Take the left hand edge and fold it over about 15 ” (38 cm). Pin it in place. This will be the pocket for books.
Turn the whole thing over so the right hand piece is right side up. Take the right hand edge and fold it over about 7.5″ (20cm). Pin it in place. This will be the pocket that goes over the top of the chair. The two hemmed ends should now be almost on top of each other. Don’t overlap them though – I learnt that by trial and error too!
Stitch down each side to hold your two pockets in place. Then trim the edges with pinking shears or zig zag the edges to stop fraying.
The next step is to box the corners so that they are a little wider to fit over your chair and accommodate your books. There are a few different ways to do this but this way works for me. I’m creating a “box” about 1″ (2.5cm) wide.
While your pockets are still inside out (so don’t turn them through yet) do this at each corner: Pull the seam apart and press it flat again to form a little triangle. The seam line should run up the middle of your triangle like in the picture above. Pin it flat then stitch across the “base” of the triangle about 1/2″ (1.25cm) down from the point. Look at the next picture to see what I mean:
Do that on each of the corners then turn the two pockets through. They should look like this on the outside:
Done! Ready to slip onto a chair and fill with books. My kids use these at school for their school hats, jumpers and folders that don’t fit in their desks.
I’m thinking of making a couple for home to go on the chairs at the table where they do their homework. They could store their homework books and reading folders in them so they don’t have to search for them to take back to school.