Tuesday, March 11, 2014

custom car organizer

Remember this car organizer I made about a year ago?

Well, let's just say a year of car travel pretty much trashed it. It wasn't so much the dirt from the kids' feet that made me want to make new ones (I could have easily thrown them in the washer) but after time and children inserting their feet into the pockets instead of books of crayons, the stitching came undone. 

So I took Doodle to the fabric store with me to get some new material. I love this blue graphic design he choose. 

When I went to look up the pattern I used for the orange car organizer, I was horrified to learn that that blogger is no longer operating, so all of her great tutorials are no longer online. (I worry about this with Pinterest sometimes….I use it so often for recipes that if it ever disappeared, I'd be lost and hungry.)

So, I took things into my own hands and decided to custom make my own car organizer. 

Obviously the dimensions mentioned below are for my car seat dimensions…but you can use what I've done as a guide to custom make your own back of the seat car organizer / save your seat from dirty footprints. 

Custom Car Organizer

Step One: measure your car seat. 

Mine is 23" x 17" however, I had to add in the space right below my head rest (See image below) which was 4". Then I need to add 2 inches for seam allowance, so my finished tally is 25" x 19 "

Step Two: cut main material

In my case, I cut a 19" x 25" rectangle 

Step Three: cut pockets

In my case, I wanted four pockets. In this picture, the highlighted section represents the pockets. The blue line is the pocket seams. So, my top row of pockets are equal size, but on the bottom row, you'll notice that I left the right hand side a bit wider (to fit books and magazine) and the right hand side is narrow to fit pencils and markers. 

My pocket dimension are 19" x 6.75" and 19" x 9".

The 19" is in keeping with the width of the car seat, so if you're custom making your own, make sure the width of the pockets is equal to the car seat you are covering. 

Step Four: Iron pocket.

Now you'll want to iron the LONG sides of your pockets (so the 19 " sides) 1/2 inch and then another 1/2 inch for a total of one inch. Do this with both sides and both pockets. 

Step Five: Sew these ironed seams.

Step Six: Iron the very top of your BIG material (so the large 19" inch top) 1/2 inch and then another 1/2 inch. 

Step Seven: Sew this seam. 

Step Eight: Place and pin the pockets where you want them onto the big material. 

I places the lower pocket first, lining it up with the base of that 19" x 25" rectangle. Then I measure about two inches from the top of the bottom pocket and that's where I placed the base of the second pocket. 

Don't panic that there is TONS of material on the top end of your rectangle. Remember, that material ends up being hidden under your head rest. If you put your pockets too high, the kids won't be able to reach them. 

Step Nine: Once your pockets are pinned in place, sew your pockets the long way to the big rectangle. (see the red line below)

Step Ten: Flip the whole thing over so the wrong side is facing you and iron the perpendicular seams (so the 29") towards you twice. First 1/2 inch then another 1/2 inch. 

Step Eleven: sew these two seams. 

Step Twelve: Decide where you want your pocket seams to go. 
In the picture below, you can see where my pocket seams were sewn in blue. You just mark where you want the pockets to divide and then sew that line in your sewing machine. 

Step Thirteen: Cut any excess threads. 
You're almost done!!

Step Fourteen: Attach the material to your seat. 
In my car, I pulled up the driver's head rest. I them poked two holes in my material to match up to where the two poles of my head rest get inserted (I know everyone's head rest is different). I placed my material where it should rest in the car and then inserted my head rest back into my seat, thus holding the material up and in place. 

Step Fifteen: Measure from the bottom right of your rectangle AROUND THE BASE OF YOUR CAR SEAT and back to the bottom left of the triangle. (see arrows in green). 

I did this holding the elastic I was going to be using. The elastic will go all the way around the driver's seat (don't worry, the driver won't even notice it's there because it will be taut.)

In my case, I needed 49" of elastic. 

Step Sixteen: sew elastic.

Starting with the bottom right hand side, sew the elastic to the car cover. Sew the other end to the bottom left hand side. 

Step Seventeen: place cover on seat. 

Place elastic up and over driver's car seat. Shimmy it all the way down til it's in place. Then remove driver's head rest and place top of material over seat, returning head rest to its normal position, holding the material in place. 

Fill your car organizer with entertaining things and let the kids go crazy!!!


  1. Very nice tutorial! I am going to have to make one of these once my girl is older! Found you through WFMW (also - I totally agree about pinterest!)

  2. I love your car organizer! Haha little ones putting their feet in the pockets! LOL

  3. This is wonderful!! I definitely need one of these for our car. TFS!! Stopping by from Rae Gun Ramblings Block Party. Here is what I shared this week:

    Stop by my blog when you have a moment :-)

  4. Thank you for this great site, really variegated good and interesting ideas. Especially keep it up. Good luck
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