Car Organiser tutorial

There are a lot of car organisers out there - mostly ones that hang all the way down the back of the car seats.
I made one for my girls like that a couple of years ago 
- or rather their Bratz dolls helped me make one!

Well we have quite a small car, and as our girls have grown, they need space in the car so the hanging pockets were taken out a while ago.  However, they still need somewhere to put a few little bits and pieces.
I've had this idea for a while, and finally got around to making them!  The girls are very happy with them and so am I!

Here's the tutorial so you can make your own!

Materials you will need:

Inner Fabric:
1 base: 30 x 10cm (12 x 4")
2 sides: 30 x 14cm (12 x 5.5")
2 ends: 10 x 14cm (4 x 5.5")

Outer Fabric 
1 base: 30 x 10cm (12 x 4")
2 sides: 30 x 14cm (12 x 5.5")
2 ends: 10 x 14cm (4 x 5.5")
1 base pocket: 30 x 15cm (12 x 6")
1 front pocket: 33 x 14cm (13 x 5.5")
 2 end pockets: 20 x 14cm (8 x 5.5")

1 x 28cm (11")
2 x 12cm (4.75")
1 x 8cm (3.25")

(I used a strap and clips from an old backpack)
1 x 36cm (14")
1 x 8cm (3.25")
1 x Clip 

1 plastic placemat!

Basically you are going to make 2 fabric baskets to fit one inside the other.  The inner fabric forms the lining, and the outer fabric has the pockets attached to it.

Step 1 - Make the inner lining

Lay out your inner fabric pieces like this: base in the middle, and the sides and ends around it, like a flattened out box.

Pin, then stitch the larger side pieces to the base - right sides together:

Followed by the other two  end pieces to the ends of the base, again right sides together:

Finally pin then stitch the four 'corner edges' of the box - right sides together:

And that is your inside finished!

Step 2 - Add the pockets to the outer fabric

Take the base piece of fabric, the base pocket piece and the
 8cm (3.25") piece of elastic.

Place the elastic about 3cm (1.25") from the short end of the pocket piece, on the wrong side of the fabric:

Then fold the end over the elastic and pin:

Repeat this with the other end of the elastic at the other side of the pocket piece.

Your pocket piece should look like this:

Then stitch the ends of the elastic to the fabric where you have pinned:

Then stretching the elastic, stitch along the whole length just under the elastic along the folded edge of the pocket.
(It helps if you pull the elastic taut from both ends as you stitch)

Your base pocket piece should look like this!

Now you need to pin your pocket piece to the base piece.  To fit the non elasticated end to the flat base piece, make a few folds in the fabric.

Pin and stitch around the edges of the pocket.
Your base pocket piece is now finished!

Repeat this process for the side pocket and two edge pockets.

Step 3 - Make the outer 'basket'

Lay your outer fabric pieces, complete with attached pockets, as you did the inner fabric pieces in step 1:

Pin then stitch the pieces, just as you did in step 1, to form another basket shape, turn right side out:

Step 4 - add the plastic 'stiffening' and join inner and outer baskets.

Here's where you need your plastic placemat. I have several of these my girls have grown out of, but you can buy them for around $1 each!

You need to cut the placemat into pieces to hold each side of the basket rigid.
Base: 26 x 8cm (10 x 3")
2 Sides:  26 x 12cm (10 x 4.5")
2 Ends: 12 x 8cm (4.5 x 3")
You may need to trim these pieces as you fit them in.
First place the base piece inside the outer basket and then the lining on top:

This part is quite fiddly!  You need to try to stitch a little of each seam on the 4 sides of the plastic base.  Try to line up the seams and place pins in the seam to hold in place.  Then stitch from the outside along the seam. (It doesn't matter so much if you go outside the seam on the inside as you won't see that). You also don't need to stitch right up to the corners, just a little on each of the 4 sides to stop the plastic from slipping.

Then stitch the seams together on the four corner edges in the same way.

Then slip the remaining 4 plastic pieces into the 4 sides, trimming where necessary.

Step 5 - Add the straps and finish!

Now take the straps - with the clip attached on either end.  
Fold the outer fabric and the inner fabric in towards the plastic pieces so the raw edges are hidden, and pin the strap pieces in the middle around 3cm (1.25") in from either edge of the back side:

Pin all around the top of the basket - with the raw edges folded in:

Then topstitch all around the edge, running several rows of stitching over the straps to secure!

And that's it! You're done!

All ready to hang in your car and fill up with bits and pieces!

The side pockets are perfect for a small water bottle or snacks...

The front pocket I designed for a small tissue box, but could also hold a book perhaps!

And underneath the base pocket can slip in a folding umbrella!

My girls love their new car baskets!  
I hope you enjoy making your own!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial!
For more tutorials do take a look at My Tutorials page.


  1. What a fantastic idea Jill!! Your tutorial looks very clear and easy to follow.

    Michelle :o)

  2. What a great idea! You can put so much stuff in there and it's so easy to access!

  3. OMG, this is just brilliant, I love the design of this one...just a thought, for privacy reasons, did you ever consider putting a flap over the top for those times when the car isn't in use???


    1. Thanks Naomi! Great idea to add a flap to the top!

  4. Such a smart idea! And your step by step tutorial is awesome. I think I'll put this on my 'to make' list as a gift for a couple of moms I know out there. I really hope you'll be linking this up at Etcetorize this week!

  5. Adorei esse organizador... Maravilhoso.

    O PAP está perfeito. Obrigada por compartilhar.

    Bjs e um Ótimo Final d Semana!

  6. This is lovely and I know my daughter in law would love it ! Now if I can just get around to making one hopefully for Mother's Day !

  7. Love this idea!

    Thanks for sharing @'Sew Cute Tuesday'.
    I'll be featuring you tomorrow, so be sure
    to stop by and grab a 'featured' button!

  8. Those are fantastic, Jill!!! I soooo need to make a couple of those!!!

  9. You could totally sell those on TV...

  10. I am so totally all over this project! We really need a few of these in our van. I featured this at today's party! :)

  11. Those are awesome! Thank you for the tutorial!

  12. i made two of these last night for my boys! perfect for the younger one to reach his stuff versus the old kind that fit all the way down the back of the car seat. i did have one question though, what width elastic did you use?? i used 1" and it seems to cut the height of the pocket down considerably.. i should have asked before i made them but i was excited!! haha! they turned out great! thank you for the tute!!

    1. Thanks krumbles! Always nice to hear of people using my tutorials! Glad they turned out well! The elastic I used was about 1cm wide (a little less than 0.5")

  13. Thanks so much for the feature!

  14. Throw away trash often. One empty water bottle or soda can on the floor might encourage you and others to continue that practice. Put a leak proof trash bag in the car and empty it at least once a week.

  15. this is beautiful but I do not see a PDF download for this item. Please email me at

  16. Great minds think alike! I have been planning one like that in my mind for a while as the summer is coming with long car trips and for us the hanging things won't work either. They are hard to use for kids quite often and it depends about the size of the car and kid if they work or not. The kids have small tables so I can place a bag like that on the table, it doesn't have to hang but it needs to be attached to the seat so it doesn't fall. Thank you for the tutorial, might pick couple tips from it. :)

    1. Thank you! I hope the tutorial helps you figure your organisers out. I think it's good to work on something that's perfect for what you know your kids will need and use!! So many possibilities and great to be able to custom make something like this!


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