"Mom, do you have any paper?" or"Mom, do you have a pencil?"
I do my best to always have a little notoepad in my purse for emergencies, but it's really not safe for me to be digging around in my purse while I'm driving. So, I wanted to make an organizer that would hang on the backseat that would be in easy reach of my oldest. She then, would be in charge of handing out the paper and pencil. So, here is what I came up with.
Remember, I am just learning how to sew. This is a very easy "1st" project if you are learning to sew too. Nothing too complicated.
This is what I came up with. I had 3 criteria for this organizer. 1.) Place for crayons, pencils 2.) place for the paper and 3.) place for the V-Tech Camera (LOVE this thing!)
Have you seen those crayon rolls? Here is a good tutorial from Skip to My Lou if you would like to make one. That was my inspiration for the top pocket.
First thing to do...Get Inspiration. I found some inspiration for design ideas from Amazon and a blog called "The May Fly".
HOW TO MAKE
I. Gathering Materials
1. Measure the back of seat to obtain desired size. I decided mine should be 24"x18".
2. Draw out your plan.
3.Decide how much fabric to cut.
BASE FABRIC: The base is just one piece of fabric that is hemmed all the way around. So, you will actually need to add an extra inch to the length and width. Therefore, my base fabric was 25"x19".
BOTTOM POCKET: Decide how tall you want your pocket to be. We know it is 18" across. I made mine 9" tall. Consider what you want to put in the pocket as you consider your height and how you might like to divide up this bigger pocket into smaller pockets. I wanted mine to have 2 pockets. One to hold a regular notebook or coloring book and the other to hold the V-Tech or some other toys or books. 8" for one and 10" for the other was a good choice.
You are also going to hem the pockets, so you will need to account for that before you cut your fabric. Add
1.5" to the height and 2" to the width.
TOP POCKET: I wanted my row to be able to hold crayons or colored pencils, so I had to add a little extra height to the pocket than what you would find on a crayola roll, as I mentioned earlier. I decided I needed my pocket to be at least 4" high.
You will hem this pocket as well. Add 1.5" to the height and 2" to the width.
SPACING: Consider also how much space you want between your top and bottom pockets. I used a 3" space between my 2 pockets.
MY CUT PIECES WERE AS FOLLOW:
BASE: 25" X 19"
BOTTOM POCKET: 10.5" X 20"
TOP POCKET: 5.5" X 20"
(Note: be sure to wash, dry and then iron your fabric before beginning this project)
Once you have all your fabric cut out it is time for the fun to begin!
Step 1) Hem the base fabric all the way around by folding all sides in 1/4" once and then again. Press with iron as you are folding and pin in place. Take it to the machine and sew all the way around. I use 1/8".
Step 2) Take the bottom pocket fabric and hem the "top" of what will be the pocket. hem by folding 1/4" over once, and then again. Press and pin the hem. Take it to the machine and sew just that top edge.
Step 3) Lay the pocket wrong side up in the exact spot you want it on the base fabric and begin folding the other 3 sides over by 1/2" once and then again. I like to have it lying on the base fabric to make sure my edges will match up exactly on the base. Flip over the pocket and begin to pin the sides and bottom edge to the base fabric. The top of the fabric should be left open. Take it to the machine and sew the pocket to the base.
Step 4) Refer back to your plan and measure out how you want this bottom pocket divided up. Use a disappearing marker to draw a line and then sew down that line from the top of your pocket all the way to the bottom. Make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end. I actually go over the ends about 3-4 times to make sure they are really strong. (May be overkill :) )
Step 5) You will treat the top pocket the same way. Hem the top section of the pocket first, folding 1/4" twice. Press, pin and sew. Lay out on your base and fold over the other 3 sides, folding 1/2" twice. Press, pin to base and then sew along sides and bottom only, leaving open the top.
Step 6) In order to hold a crayon or pencil, the larger pocket needs to be divided up into 1" sections. Measure with a ruler and mark with your disappearing marker again at every 1" mark. I like to draw the entire line b/c I like a road to sew on. Remember to backstitch a couple of times at the beginning and end.
(Just a side note. I decided to go with washable markers and colored pencils b/c I began to think about all the crayons that have melted in my car in the heat of the summer. NOT so nice. Just something to consider.)
Step 7) Create a heading:
As you can see, there is this big blank space above the pencils. Well, I had to do something about that! I checked out a book recently called Sew Wild by Alisa Burke. I LOVE her creations and she inspired me to try this next technique.
I first marked a line to know how far up the colored pencils would go, so my words would not be covered up. I then found some scrap fabric and wrote out the word create in block letters, cut them out and pinned them to my base fabric.
Now sew each letter in place with a contrasting thread and a closely spaced zigzag stitch, starting with the last letter. (The settings on my machinge were: Length @ 4 and Width @ .5). After I started sewing, I realized that it was easier to remove all the letters and just sew one letter at a time. The 2nd will lay over the previous letter just a little bit. Continue until they are all sewn on.
Step 8) Make and attach the handles.
ALMOST THERE! Take a break and grab another can of soda (Well, that's what I did.). We need to attach handles to the top and elastic to the bottom and then we will be finished.
I was not for sure how long my handles needed to be or even how I was going to attach this thing. I decided to make a long handle, attach one end and then go from there. Use my numbers as an approximation, but before sewing anything down, take it out to your car and make any necessary adjustments.
To make a handle, cut a strip that is 24" long and 2" wide. Fold the sides over to meet in the middle and press into place with an iron. (Note: 4" of this handle will be cut off to make a tab for the opposite side.)
Cut off 4" off the end now and zigzag the ends so they do not fray.
Attach one end of the the handle to the wrong side of the base by sewing a square and an X. Go over a LOT to secure. Slide on some type of hooking device and then sew down the other end right next to the first. (I know, my square IS pretty sloppy. I just need to sloooooow doooooown.)
Ugh, that left square is SO ugly, but I'm learning...I'm learning.
Step 9) Adding elastic to bottom. You will need about 15" of elastic at least.
You need to add elastic to the bottom so that it fits snug against the seat. I did not want it hanging down on my daughter's feet. To solve this problem, just grab any elastic you can find and while the organizer is hanging on the back of the seat, pin one side of the elastic to one corner. Then, wrap the elastic around the front of the seat and let it slip into the crack between the back and bottom of seat. Grab the elastic and make a mark as to where the elastic will reach the other corner and be able to wrap around a button. Place a pin to mark the spot where you will sew on your button.
This is a good beginner sewing project. Be creative and put your own spin on it!
Have you ever made one of these? Do you have any advice for people making one?
Next on my agenda????? I want to play more with the idea of letters on fabric and free-motion stitching. Maybe on a notebook cover????
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