Thursday, December 16, 2010

Car Organizer Tutorial

Today, I'm posting my first sewing tutorial!!  I'm rather excited that this finally came together.  I've been wanting to find the time since June!  I had 2 to make for my Christmas giving.  Seemed like the perfect opportunity to put it together.  Anyway, let's get straight to it...

This is a basic over the seat car organizer.  There's plenty of room and plenty of pockets to keep all your kid's stuff off the floor and organized within their reach.

Car Organizer
Finished dimensions = approximately 21"x17"
Top pocket is approximately 6 1/2" deep
Bottom pocket is approximately 9" deep

What you need to purchase:
3/4 yd main fabric (I used cotton quilter's fabric)
fat quarter coordinating fabric for pockets (again, cotton quilter's fabric)
1/2 yd 1 inch webbing
1 yd 1 inch elastic

Cutting your materials:

- Out of your main fabric, cut 2 pieces 22"x18".
- Cut your batting to be just a hair larger than 22"x18".  Sometimes batting shifts in ways you can't imagine.  Cutting it slightly larger helps eliminate frustration - which is always helpful!
- For the top pocket, cut your coordinating fabric 7.5"x17.5".
- For the bottom pocket, cut another piece of your coordinating fabric 10"x17.5".
- Cut the 1 inch wide webbing to 18".
- Finally, cut your 1 inch wide elastic to 33".  (You can measure around your car seat to ensure that this will be enough.)

Sewing your car organizer:

Step 1:   Lay your main pieces of fabric so that they are right sides together.  Then lay the whole thing over your batting.

Pin the 2 long sides almost to the bottom, and pin in the middle to make the whole thing more stable. 

Step 2 Pull back the very bottom of the top layer of your sandwich (the part that will be your bottom hem).  Place the elastic 1 1/2" from the bottom of the fabric like so:

Make sure you put the raw edge of your elastic out (that part gets tucked into your seam).  I left about 1 inch outside the raw edge of my material.  Pin well.  Do the same for the other side.

Now you should have your elastic pinned to either side of your organizer, and a bunch of it dangling around the middle.  Pin this to your fabric so that you don't accidentally sew through it in the wrong place.

Position your top layer back where it goes (over the elastic) and pin in place around the rest of the sides and the bottom.

Step 3:  Using a 1/2" seam allowance, sew down 1 side, across the bottom, and up the other side, leaving the top open.

Unpin and trim the batting, but not the elastic.

Step 4:  Fold back the elastic over the fabric and sew over the elastic just to the outside of your existing seam.  This will reinforce the seam.  Like this:

Step 5:  Trim corners, turn right side out, and press.

Now, you should have something that looks like this: 

Step 6:  Fold the top seam into itself 1/2".  Press.

Insert about 1" of the webbing into the top seam space 4" from either side.  Pin well.

Starting at the top left corner, topstitch all the way around the organizer using 1/4" seam allowance.  Go back over the webbing once to reinforce.

Unpin elastic so it will be out of your way when you attach the pockets.  Pockets are next, then you're done!

Step 7:  Prepare each pocket.  Fold in 1/2" on each side.  Press.  Fold in the bottom corners like this:

Fold the bottom up 1/2".  Press.  This makes a neat corner.

Create a 1/4" rolled hem for the top of the pocket.  Stitch the top hem.  Do this for both pockets.

Step 8:  Position your pockets onto the organizer.  The bottom of the bottom pocket should line up with the bottom seam of your organizer.  Pin the pocket in place.

Position the top pocket 3" down from the top of the car organizer.  Pin in place.

Step 9:  Now you can mark where you want the divisions to be for individual pockets within each large pocket.  You can pretty much do whatever you want here.  Here are the sizes that work well for us:

Top pocket:  Mark for a seam at 5" from the left, again at 10" from the left, and once more at 12" from the left.  This gives you 4 pockets approximately sized at 5", 5", 2", and 5".  Perfect for small notebooks, colored pencils, pens, etc.

Bottom pocket:  Mark for a seam at 6 1/2" from the left.  This gives you 2 pockets approximately sized at 6" and 11".  The bigger pocket holds a standard sized coloring book nicely.

Step 10:  Sew your pocket divisions.  Be sure to back tack at the top and bottom.

Guess what!!!  You're all done!

To hang it in your car, it helps to remove the headrest first.  Position the elastic over the seat, and wriggle it down all the way to the bottom.  Put the headrest back making sure the webbing is around the spokes. 

Fill it with stuff to occupy your kid for hours in the car.  You can modify this design to include different pocket sizes if you have smaller things you want to have room for like MP3 players and whatnot.


Jessie said...

So cute! I'm going to try this after Christmas!

Anna said...

great tutorial alayne. :) it took me forever to come check it out, sorry! I've always wanted to make a couple for our car - one of these days!!!

Riham H said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial :) I just made one for my car and I think I will make another one. Keep the good work. God bless you and your family!