Putting Everything In Its Place

March 9, 2010

I am not a naturally organized person. With two kids, two dogs, one cat, a home schooled family, a work at home job, and a husband that travels, I have no other choice but to find ways to keep our lives straight. Over the past few months, I have found small projects to create that helps to keep our laundry down, our paperwork in order, and our days a little bit less chaotic.

After a load of frustration last week with making sure that for each day’s appointments, each meeting or visit, we had everything that we needed, and for all of the letters that needed to be mailed, the coupons that were collected, and the registration forms that were supposed to be dropped off, I looked like a walking disaster of chaos.

I decided to try and make a quick project that would allow me to use the passenger seat of my car to store papers, etc. for each day’s appointments and work.

Below is a passenger seat organizer that has one large pocket, and three smaller ones, which I use to organize everything that we need for the following day’s activities. The larger pocket is used for file folders, magazines (for sitting in waiting rooms), notebooks, etc. The three smaller pockets are used for my creativity journal, which I am never without, coupon books that I always want to have with me, just in case, and a pocket for my cell phone or iPod.

I have loved having the space and ability to be organized, without having to try and carry yet one more big bag, or keep everything in my hands. Planning the night before, whether my kids clothes, my own clothing, our paperwork, etc. has been a life saver. Although I have a long way to go, these few changes have made huge differences.

I hope they do the same for you

Materials

4 Fat quarters in coordinating colors
1 yard of heavy fusible interfacing
Ribbon or bias tape (one large piece)
Matching thread

Choose three fat quarters for your two pockets, and one for the inside lining
Choose another fat quarter for your backing.

Decide how large you would like your pockets. For the small pocket, I cut mine at 8×22
For the larger pocket, at 15×22


Cut three pieces of your fusible webbing the same size as your two pockets, and one inner lining fat quarter.

Following manufacturer’s directions, fuse each piece of webbing to it’s coordinating pocket/fabric


On one long end of both of the two pockets, fold down 1/4″ and press, then fold again 3/4″ Top stitch for a clean edge.

Place the small pocket, wrong side up, on top of the larger pocket, also wrong side up. Pin in place. Using a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew all three sides. Trim the corners as close to the stitches as possible, without cutting through. Turn right side out.

Using a few items that you feel might be of use, lay them over the smaller pocket, and determine the length of each of the sub-pockets. I made three pockets for use. One for my journal, one for coupons or mail, and one for my cell phone or ipod.

Keep in mind that you will go through two other seam allowances before your project is completed, so allow extra room for the two end pockets.

Using a pin, mark the top of where you want the sewing lines to begin. Sew the line and create the pockets, being sure to back stitch at the top and bottom.

With wrong sides facing up, pin the two pockets to the larger inner lining. Using a 1/2 seam allowance, sew all the sides. Trim your corners, as well as any excess seam allowance.

Turn right side out. Using a knitting needle, or chopstick, push your corners out. Press

Take your ribbon out to your car, and determine the length that you want your organizer to hang. Be sure to leave a few extra inches room (explanation to follow).

Determine where your ribbon should be placed. We are making a ribbon loop, rather than ties.

With right sides together, pin your lining and outer fabric. Beginning in the middle of one side, with a 1/2″ seam allowance, sew around the entire piece, leaving a three inch opening

Again, trim corners, and excess seam allowance. Turn right sound out and press. Turn the opening in 1/2″, and press. Top stitch the length of the top of the organizer, making sure to sew the opening closed while doing so.

For those moments where your passenger seat is occupied, simply turn the bag around to hang in the back. These bags do also make great backseat organizers for the kiddos as well.

To ensure that the bag hangs in a way that supports the weight of all of it’s contents, draw the bag up the seat, and tie a knot in the back on the ribbon.

If you make this project, please let me know, I would love some feedback.

Enjoy!

Bernadette had a great suggestion to make this project with bias tape all around.

Cut your fabric as directed and apply the fusible interfacing. Place back of organizer wrong sides together and set aside. Place your pocket pieces for the large pocket right sides together and stitch along the top. Flip over so wrong sides are together and topstitch. Repeat with the small pocket.

Layer all of your pieces so the back of the organizer is on the bottom, then the large pocket, then the small pocket. Pin in place. Sew a basting stitch around all four sides. At this point you can use disappearing ink or chalk to mark your pockets. Stitch, being careful to only stitch through the two pockets, and not all the way through to the back side. Backstitch at both ends of your pocket divisions.

Now you can pin your double-fold bias tape around all four sides, and stitch in place. Then attach the ribbon as directed.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele March 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I have been thinking that I need something like this for my car too!! Seeing the beautiful colors in the fabrics you chose freshens up the space as well!!! Thanks for sharing, this will be the next project on my very long to-make list !

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Kelly March 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

I am adding this to my “to sew queue” with my brand new to me sewing machine and my learning to sew self. I am also thinking that one hanging on the back of the seat would be the perfect place for my son to keep everything he “needs” (toy cars, camera, books, stuffed animals) and one for my daughter's seat for everything she needs too (diapers, wipes, pacifiers, clothes). I may have an organized car and everything I need on hand after all!!! Thanks for the great idea (and I will definitely let you know when I actually follow through with the plan).

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beth March 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

I have something like this in the car for my little boy. It hangs on the back of the passenger seat and has some cds and a water bottle and tapes in it. Yours is especially pretty and you have mixed patterns in a wonderful way! Great tutorial! love, Beth

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Michelle March 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I am so going to make this for my husbands vehicle! He is always complaining that he hasn't any space for anything. Thanks so much for the tutorial.

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pink and green mama March 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I absolutely LOVE this idea!! I need to make one for me and two more (one for each of my daughters) — I LOVE the fabrics you used. Thanks so much for sharing such a fantastic (and practical!) tutorial.

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Kelly March 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

what a great idea! I had thought about making this for the girls but never for my things.

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Andrea March 9, 2010 at 2:32 pm

What a great idea…and such pretty fabric. Love it!

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GinnySheller March 9, 2010 at 2:39 pm

I love this! My car is so trashed right now it's awful. I helped teach a group of ladies how to crochet last night and then last minute was asked to drive a couple of them (and their babies!) home. I had to explain that I have five kids and a dog and we had all gone fossil hunting that day and my car smelled bad. One of them women got in my car and laughed saying, “you were serious.” Aaaaah. So maybe I will make this and it will motivate me to get the van cleaned out. Projects always do that for me.

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Maeghan March 9, 2010 at 2:49 pm

I love this. I think this would be great in the back seat for the boys. I will try to make one this week. Thanks! Thank you also for your kind words yesterday. They meant a lot! :-)

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AG Ambroult March 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

gorgeous fabric! This looks like something even I could pull off. I know I could certainly use a little help organizing my car.

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kyndale March 9, 2010 at 3:58 pm

disorganization is my greatest enemy! : ) I love that you made this. The fabric you chose is beautiful! xo Kyndale

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NicoleFrontierDreams March 9, 2010 at 4:48 pm

This is JUST what I need!! Thank you!!!
Oh have any suggestions for pockets for my girlsin the back seats?I want to make something to store their car toys so the yare nto all over the place . xoxo

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wendyklinke March 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

hey that's your office in a bag! i lurve it!

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nicola March 9, 2010 at 5:12 pm

very cute! i made something similar for the back of our car seats for our kids!
here: http://whichname.blogspot.com/2009/12/tutorial-se
nicola
http://whichname.blogspot.com

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woowoomama March 9, 2010 at 6:16 pm

this is a wonderful project and i so appreciate your sharing it. i am always looking for more enjoyable ways to inspire myself to get organized. i was wondering if you might be willing to share more about your creativity journal? i tried to search your blog (i am a new reader) but didn't come up with anything.

thanks :)

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Valarie March 9, 2010 at 6:59 pm

This is so beautiful. Keep organized is always a chore. It doesn't get better with age. Everyone ends up having their own bag filled with all of the day's neccesities. I will give this a whirl and let you know how it goes. Thanks for this.

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sarah March 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

brilliant and pretty!
my passenger seat is filled with a nineteen year old these days…mostly for the radio!

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Joy March 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm

What a cute organizer. We have a similar bookholder on the back of one of our seats in the car, but it's just black and not very pretty. Yours is adorable!

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Sarah Jane March 9, 2010 at 8:30 pm

IMPRESSIVE! Again, I need to learn to sew. Love the fabric, too.

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E. Lindsey Hornkohl March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

That is so great! I like the idea for swinging it aroud the back, since my hubs and I are always in the car together. And I just got some fat quarters with which I was wondering what to do! Thanks, this was a great tutorial!

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natalie t March 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm

I am doing this ASAP! I even have a yard of that bottom Amy Butler fabric. So pretty. Thanks for the instructions…

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Imene March 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm

I am making this this afternoon!!!

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jessica March 9, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Just what I need! Working out of my car half of the day makes me ( a not normally organized person) need a little help! With such bright cheery fabric this is the solution!

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 5:12 pm

I just love bright cheery fabric, it makes the days so much better :) Love your shawl by the way, so pretty!

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Stephanie March 10, 2010 at 12:24 am

Great idea and beautifully done! I keep a box organizer that I made in my trunk that holds extra diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, a blanket, snacks, and a toy or two, for Jackson. I hate carrying a diaper bag if I'm just running a few quick errands, so it's great to have it always at hand. You'll get so much use out of your organizer. :)

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Stephanie, that is a great idea! I am going to have to borrow that one, especially if we are ever blessed with another little one. You are so right, why should we carry a diaper bag just to run around town???
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Marianna March 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

What a fabulous idea. The passenger seat of my car always looks like a very disorganized desk top, and anytime we all go anywhere things get relocated by dh which means I can't find them again when I need them!

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Marianna I have the same problem with the front seat, and with husband relocating things. So often he will just take my pile, and it bring it back in to the house and lay in down in some random place. Some days, I never find it again :).
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Manon March 10, 2010 at 1:05 am

How inspiring! I'm right there; I need to get more organized. And how lovely it is to sew for that purpose! Thanks for this simple but fabulous idea!

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Jannette March 10, 2010 at 2:04 am

Love it! I made something similar for my girls that hang over the arms of the seats in my van that hold all their crayons and coloring books. After a 2 day trip in the car alone with my twins and crayons all over the van I woke up in the middle of the night with the design. I drew it out and started sewing. Now there are no more crayons all over the van. I love your fabric choices by the way!

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Jannette, I think that is such a great idea. I have a box that I made that is belted inbetween the boy's booster seats,mainly because they have trouble reaching to the back of our seats. I really love the idea of getting our cars organized, especially with the kiddos. I love the fact that you woke up in the middle of the night with your design. We really do process the things that we are thinking about through sleep.

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Crazy Sewing Love April 13, 2014 at 10:52 am

I do this as well. When I get and idea, I draw it in my note pad, by my bed before I forget. If I have nothing important on the next day I sometimes just get up and start to make it using the fabric that I have. It Doesn’t matter so much now because my children are all grown up, but I am going to make one for my niece and nephew. I think they are going to love it!!!!

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samthehamsmom March 10, 2010 at 2:16 am

Love the colors, great idea~thanks for sharing!

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AdirondackMama March 10, 2010 at 2:27 am

Thank you, Thank you Heather!

I spent 2 hours the other day cleaning out my car, vacuuming, shampooing, garbage throwing….And now, I will be making this to keep me and my sweet car as beautiful as it is now.

Thanks Again!

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Julia, I so know what you mean. I had spent hours doing the same a few weeks back, and it was killing me to see it get messy again. I would love to know how you like the project. Have a great day friend
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Jennifer March 10, 2010 at 3:37 am

I believe I need to make one of these for my desk. =)

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Jennifer, let me know how it goes. This is one I would love some feedback on :)
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Jennifer March 10, 2010 at 5:55 pm

You bet!

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Nina - Tabiboo March 9, 2010 at 8:58 pm

A fabulous organised idea and a well instructed tutorial – thank you Heather. Now if I could find the time to get organized……..that might be a bit more tricky.

Nina x

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Shivayamama March 10, 2010 at 5:32 pm

Nina, I so hear you about the time to get organized. I struggle with that as well. I have been trying to put most of the time that I set aside for creativity towards sewing for functional reasons. Just need a spring cleaning, and a good dose of getting everything in order right now :)
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Francesca March 10, 2010 at 6:17 am

I definitely could do with something to keep things more organized around here, but we have a small car, no spare seats and no space between my boys' knees and my daughter's feet and the back of the seats! I always love your choice of fabrics Heather. Very pretty.

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MamaBird March 10, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Oh, I live in my car in the afternoons – I've often referred to it as my office. I love this beautiful organizer. I want one. I do not sew yet, but I have a borrowed machine, a stack of fabric and a burning desire..this may be my first project. Thank you!

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Suzanne March 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm

That is awesome! I was just thinkng about making one for the back seats for my girls. That fabric is so …well…happy…LOL!

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larissa March 10, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Heather, that is the prettiest organizer ever! I have something similar at home but I still always forget to move things into the car – just yesterday i was upset as a i drove by the bank and realized that i had left all the checks at home. I sure could use this home office on the go!

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sarah March 11, 2010 at 1:13 am

This is a very smart project. I think we could really use two of these… one for Otto's side and one for Mae's side. Thank you for the tutorial!! I love organization.. will I ever get there?!

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5orangepotatoes March 13, 2010 at 3:53 am

You make it look awfully easy Heather. Might have to give this a whirl! I really have to work at organization too. I will start things in an organized manner, then it all goes downhill from there…….

lisa
Have a wonderful weekend.

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Naomi May 14, 2010 at 5:35 am

I hope I'm not the only one who'd like to know how you made (what I believe is) your journal cover please???? Hopefully other's want to know, but didn't want to be as rude as me and ask…lol I love that wavy look to it…..any chance you can tell/show me please? Hugs Naomi

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samthehamsmom June 11, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Heather…Julia made me one!~ I am so in love! Thanks for making this lovely tutorial. She did a great job. I blogged it on my blog!
” target=”_blank”>http://www.asmatteringoflaura.blogspot.com

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