Car Organizer Tutorial

One of my dearest friends has the most fabulous sense of style.  She likes gifts – nothing perfect, just thoughtful.

She spends so much time driving I’m almost convinced she lives in her car. She’s constantly going to job sites and all her papers and stuff are often thrown around in a hurry to get to the next place.  I thought I found the perfect idea for her birthday present – a car organizer!

One problem – her birthday was in April.

I have finally gotten around to making it — just in time to start preparing for the NEXT birthday.

As I was making it I thought I would take pictures and share with you a nice little how-to in case you are either:
a) faced with a messy car
b) are as equally OCD as I am


Car Organizer

You will need:
Main Piece – 24 x 16.5 (2 of main fabric, 1 of interfacing)
Short pocket – 8 x 22 (cut 2)
Tall pocket – 11 x 20 (cut 2 of fabric, 1 of interfacing)
Straps – 4 x 40 in (cut 2) and 4 x 6 (cut 2)
Elastic – 15 in
4 “D” Rings

If you know how to sew or you just want the basic synopsis, here it is: Iron on interfacing, sew pockets together (don’t forget elastic!), sew pockets on main piece (with interfacing),  sew straps, pin straps on the main piece (with D rings on the short piece), and sew piece together. Top stitch.

Okay – now here’s the long version! 🙂

1. Mark your fabric and cut.

2. Cut out interfacing and iron on piece. I didn’t interface the elastic (short) pocket. I use Pellon 808 Craft Fuse for all of my projects, because I like an iron-on interfacing that is stiff and holds up well. This will give your organizer some body and will help it hold together better.  (Iron with a DRY iron on hottest setting – the interfacing comes with instructions)

3. After you have ironed on your interfacing (for the main piece and the large pocket), you need to make your pockets. The bottom (large/tall) pocket is easy. Sew or serge all sides, leaving about a 3ish inch gap un-sewn on any side but the top.  Always sew right sides together.  Clip your corners (cut the excess fabric on the corners close to the thread because this will help your corners look sharp) and turn fabric right side out. Use a pencil to help ease corners out and press your fabric.

For the short/elastic pocket: this is a little more involved.
a) sew your top and bottom fully, and sew up the sides, leaving at least 1-2 inch gap at the top of each side.

b) Turn your fabric right side out and sew along the top, making enough room for the elastic.

Then, insert your elastic. I like to pin a safety pin to one end of the elastic and use it as a guide to thread it through the fabric. When the unpinned end gets close to the edge, I use a straight pin to stop it from going through.

Do the same on the other side once the safety pin is fully through.

Okay. Pockets are made.

4. Pin your pockets to the fabric.
a) For the large pocket, I made pleats in the excess fabric and made 2 pockets – one large enough to put notebooks in, sewing a line between the two areas.

b) for the elastic pocket: pin the pocket down and divide it how you want. You can sew one or two lines to divide it into several smaller pockets – it’s up to you. I made 2 pockets on this one. Pleat excess fabric accordingly.

Sew pockets on. (This is how your open gaps in the fabric are closed.)

Now, it’s time to make the straps. ALMOST DONE!

5. STRAPS.  You have a couple of options. You can either sew the fabric inside-out and flip it and press, or you can do it the same way I sew straps for my diaper bags. This is what I did (option 2).

a) fold the inside edge in (I had a lot of inside edge) and press.

Then, fold the fabric in half and press.

Do the same with the short straps.

b) sew/top stitch the straps. Fold in the edge of one end of the strap in order to remove any rough edges.

I didn’t show this step: but do the same with the short straps and sew the D rings on the strap.  Insert 2 D Rings and sew.  If you need a video – here you go. I appreciate the demonstrator’s mullet.

6. Pin the finished straps on the main piece.

Then pin the other main piece to the fabric. Sew around it like you did with the pockets – but I left something around a 8-10 inch gap for easier turning.

Turn, press and top stitch around the whole thing to make it secure and lovely.

VOILA!  Done.

Now, go put it in your car.

Now… I need to make myself one!

Happy crafting!

More about April

5 thoughts on “Car Organizer Tutorial

  1. guest

    thanks, great tutorial!

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    […] Organizer Tidy the car with April’s Car Organizer from Red Dirt […]

  3. Janae Braden

    Very clear instructions, thank you for sharing.

  4. November 4 ~ Gifts for Organizers | Sew,Mama,Sew! Blog |

    […] Organizer Tidy the car with April’s Car Organizer from Red Dirt […]

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