Car Organizer Tutorial

Resolved: To Be Organized.
(yes, even in the car.)

So a few weeks back, I pinned this cute car organizer. It came from this website here, and she has a tutorial for making the exact one on her blog, so you'll have two to make, if you like. Not long after pinning, a friend of mine asked if she could order one from me, made to fit her car and her kids' needs. And since it's such a great idea for anyone with kiddies, I thought I'd write up my own tutorial. And since it's for HER car, you don't need to see any hideous pictures of my car's backseat. Whew.

I am going to do this in two parts, but here is the final pic so you know where you're heading.

Here is the fabric my friend, Lindsay, picked, and I'm so in love with it. I used about a yard of the floral and a fat quarter (18"x 22") of the pink. And she said I could keep the leftovers. Which is why we are friends! ;) You'll also need some muslin, batting, cutting tools and all the usual sewing stuff.

I started with the straps. I don't particularly like making them, and I thought if I got them out of the way,   I wouldn't need to make them at the end when I was excited to be done. So, from them fat quarter, cut 4 strips, 1 1/2" wide by 22" long. 

For each strap: Fold in and press one short end.

Then fold in and press to the middle each long side. I do one side at a time. This picture shows me ironing the second side, so that both long sides meet in the middle.

Next, fold the strap in half, so that all the raw edges are encased and you have a thin strap. Starting at the open end, stitch along the entire length of the strap. 

Here are my four straps. The folded edge will be the part that shows, the raw edge will be enclosed in the final product.

Next decide on the size for the main part of your organizer. Lindsay has a 15" wide, by 14" tall space where she wants this to hang. So I cut two pieces of my main fabric 16" wide and 15" tall. That will take care of seam allowances.

 Next I cut pockets. You can customize these too. Lindsay wanted three divided pockets. Two taller ones for her kids' leapsters and headphones, and one shorter one for things like crayon boxes and such. So I cut three pieces of the main fabric: one piece is 16" wide (the width of the organizer) by 8" tall. One is 16" wide by 6" tall and the top one for the leapsters is 20" wide and 8" tall. The extra length will be taken care of with pleats, giving the leapsters more room in the pocket so they won't pull at the seams.

After I had my three front pocket pieces, I cut three pieces of muslin that were the same width as my front pieces, but 1/2" shorter. (That will help with raw edges later). For each pocket, layer the fabric as shown in the picture below: a piece of batting, the main fabric right side up, the piece of muslin. Pin across the top long side. You can see the extra 1/2" peeking out of the bottom. All normal, all normal.

Next, trim away the excess batting, and then sew across the pinned top, through all three layers, using a 1/2" seam. Do this for all three pocket pieces.

Once sewn, lift the muslin up above the main fabric.

Then flip the pocket over. You'll see the muslin, the batting and the seam. Open the seam and iron it open.

Then pull the muslin down, covering the batting and iron again, making sure the seam between the muslin and the front fabric is at the very top. There is extra batting there. Don't worry we'll take care of that later.

Flip the piece over again, showing the main fabric. You will have a fabric sandwich. Main fabric, batting, muslin. Press once again, and then stitch through all three layers, about 1/4" from the top seam. You can use a longer stitch.

When you're done, you'll have your two pieces of organizer, your pockets, and your straps. Next time we'll put it all together!



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