If you’re anything like me, than your car is a mess and you need a solution besides throwing it all on the floor or in the seats. Sophia is 3 and Liam is 1.5 so that means books, toys, crayons and whatever else they drag in accumulate really quickly! My car is a small 2 door Honda so space is definitely limited. I had some free time outside of sewing for work so I decided to whip one of these car seat organizers up. It took me maybe 1.5-2 hours from cutting to finishing the last seam. This isn’t a new idea, in fact if you Google “diy car seat organizer” TONS of these will pop up. I didn’t find one that looked appealing to me AND that was free so I thought I would write up the steps that I took in hopes that you can recreate it at home! Here’s to a more organized car and 2014 😉
This would be a GREAT beginner tutorial. All you need to know is how to straight stitch, measure and cut.
(Keep in mind that these are the measurements for my vehicle so you’ll want to get out and measure your seat.)
1.5 yds of fabric Quilters cotton, duck cloth, canvas, upholstery fabric, laminated cotton would be the best for spills and stains 🙂
.5 yds 1/4″ elastic yd
1.5 yds 1/2″ or wider elastic
large piece of cardboard or other stiffening material for inside. Like a nice thick stabilizer (pellon) used in handbags. I used cardboard because it was laying around!
Appropriate needle size for fabrics
Rotary cutter and mat
I generally leave my settings for my length and width at about 2.5 and 6. Tension is at a 4. Settings will vary with every machine!
Here is the drawing I made real quick. Between my headrest posts is approx. 8″. The length from top to bottom of my seat is approx 22″. Width is approx 20″. Write these down.
Get out your mat and scissors or rotary cutter. Lay out your material and based on your measurements you’ll want to cut out two pieces that are the same size for the front and back. My measurements are 22×20 so I cut mine 19×21 because I wanted it to be a little smaller than my seat. Cut out your stabilizer the same size or smaller and go ahead and baste it onto the back of your top piece that will have the pockets. If you’re using cardboard like I did, cut it 1-1.5″ smaller all the way around.
I cut the front then laid it on top of the fabric and cut around it so I wasn’t measuring twice.
This is where you’ll want to decide how many pockets can fit on yours or how many you want. I decided on one big one on the bottom and one on the top divided into three. So I made my first bottom pocket roughly 19.5″ x 8.5″. You will need enough fabric on the top, bottom and sides to turn under and sew down so add 1″ all the way around. Say you want your finished pocket to be 18″ x 7.5″, your CUTTING measurements will be 19″ x 8.5″. That leaves 1/2″ all the way around to turn under and hem.
In my drawing you will see the unfinished front piece. You will need to leave 1/2″ all the way around because this is your seam allowance for your back piece. Your pockets need to be at least 1″ away from the raw edges all the way around so you don’t catch them in your seam when you’re sewing the back piece on later.
Here are my pocket pieces:
I only made two. The top one isn’t as deep.
Now you’ll want to get out your 1/4″ elastic and cut it 1-2″ less than the length of your bottom pocket. So mine is 19.5″ long, I cut mine at 18.5″
Fold the top of your pocket under 1/4″ and iron. Fold under 1/2″ and iron. Then stitch all the way down close to the edge. You’re making the casing for your elastic.
(I’m not stitching my elastic on in this picture, its just to show you how big the casing needs to be for the elastic to go into.)
Next you’ll want to put a safety pin through one end of your elastic and feed it through the casing you just made. Sew one end of the elastic down in the opening. When you get to the end of the other side, you’ll want to pull it a little and sew it down. I pulled mine out and left about 1/4″ sticking out on both sides.
Your pocket should look somewhat like this.
Now you’ll want to fold in either sides and the bottom 1/4″ and 1/4″ again then iron. Take it to your front piece and pin it down all the way around.
Using a straight stitch, sew down the right side, along the bottom and up the left side. Make sure to backstitch well when you’re starting out and ending to secure the pocket really well. So things like heavy books won’t rip it off. You can also sew along the sides and bottoms twice for extra durability. *ETA, I would line these pocket pieces with some of the stabilizer to help them keep their shape better. Especially any larger pockets.
Now get your second pocket piece and iron the top, sides and bottom 1/4″ once and 1/4″ again.
Take it to your front piece and pin it down. Sew along the sides and bottom again. Making sure its really secure.
This is where you will decide how many pockets you want in the top pocket piece and measure them out. I wanted three so I sewed two different lines and made sure they were extra secure at the top.
Get out your 1″ wide or wider elastic and cut approx 2″+ less than the measurement all around your seat. I took this measurement around the bottom of the seat. So mine was 20″ wide, I doubled that (for front and back) and got 40″. My elastic was actually TOO WIDE and didn’t fit snugly around my seat so I’d suggest a few inches less. This is the piece that will hold it against the bottom of the back of the seat.
Pin it on either side above your bottom pocket and sew it down. Sew over this really well several times.
Now you’ll want to measure and cut out the ties that will go around the headrest. Better to be too long than too short. Mine were about 4″ by 20″ long. The length isn’t so important, like I said better to be too long 🙂
Fold one piece right sides together and sew along one end and side leaving one end open for turning.
Sew the second piece the same.
Find the middle of your front organizer piece and mark or place a pin. Then pin your ties down based on your measurements for your headrest. Mine was approx 8″ so I pinned them 3.5″ from the middle on both sides. Sew these down really well as they’ll be supporting the majority of the weight.
Here’s what you have so far:
Now pin the elastic inside and the ties down really well so they don’t get caught when you’re sewing the back on.
I stuffed mine into the pocket.
Take the back piece and place it right side down (right sides together) on top of the front piece. Pin all the way around leaving the bottom open. We will sew that later.
Sew all the way around using 1/2″ (or less) seam allowance leaving the bottom open.
Turn it right side out and unpin the ties and elastic.
Now cut a piece of cardboard about 1/2″ less than the finished width and 1″ less than the finished length.
Stuff inside your organizer. Using cardboard will not allow this to be washable so that’s why I recommend laminated cotton etc.
I recycled a box from Christmas for this 😉 Sorry for the poor picture quality! Was starting to get dark here.
Now this part is a little tricky, you’ll want to fold the bottom front and back pieces under and in as best as you can and pin down the length.
Sew it down as best as you can, back stitch, cut off your threads and VOILA!!! You are done! Go tie this in your car and admire how clean and organized it is!
🙂 Hope you enjoyed!
Ps. Please comment or email me if you have any questions or run into problems. Very happy to help! 🙂
Edited to add:
I would definitely suggest a stabilizer like these instead of cardboard to keep a nice flat stiff shape:
*** The link is not working properly but you can go to fabric.com and type in the search box: Peltex Sew-In Ultra Firm Stabilizer ***