Monday, August 1, 2011

On-The-Road Organization

Summer is the official road trip season for families, and the Homemade Mamas are no exception. We're getting ready to hit the road ourselves in a week and so we are doing out best to get organized. One memory of family road trips for Rebecca and Maggie is the backseat car organizer that Homemade Nana made (out of a lovely red, white, and blue funky plaid material!) that hung from the back of the front seats so that the kids in the back could store various art supplies, books, toys, and other things to keep busy with. Nana suggested we make one for our upcoming trip, and since we had all the supplies needed already on hand, we thought we'd give it a whirl!

We should mention that there are some great tutorials out there, we're sure. However, we decided to make this up as we went along, so if anything isn't clear, please let us know and we'll try to clarify!

What You Need:

  • 1 old sheet set (we think ours might have been a twin)

  • sewing machine

  • elastic

  • ribbon

  • ruler

  • pen/pencil

  • some fun things to stuff your organizer with when you're done!
First, measure the backs of the front seats of your car. Then trace and cut that size rectangle out of your flat sheet. We found that the backs of our car was about the same size as our cutting mat, so we just traced and cut around that, making two so we could have one for the back of each front seat.

Then pin and hem the raw edges. This is the base for your organizer.

Now it's time to think about pockets. After much pondering (and cursing) we realized that we could use the elastic edge from the fitted sheet to help the pockets hold in all the stuff our kids are bringing.

So starting with a large bottom pocket that is as wide as your base fabric (perfect for books and paper), measure on your fitted sheet how tall you want your pocket to go, making sure that the elastic trim will be at the top of the pocket. Then stretch your elastic a bit on both sides (we did about 3-4 inches) and draw diagonal lines down for the sides of the pockets. The end result is a trapezoidal-shaped pocket where the elastic top is wider than the base, which will allow for a more roomier pocket. (see the pic if the makes no sense).

Pin your pocket onto your base fabric and sew!

Next, onto the top pocket. Using the same technique as with the large bottom pocket, measure the dimensions for a top pocket that will also be as wide as your base fabric, making sure to again stretch the elastic on both sides a bit and making a trapezoid. Again, pin and sew it to the base fabric.
Don't worry about the wonky shape! The elastic on the pockets pulls it in, but it will lay flat when it's on your car's seats, we promise!

Now you can decide if you would like to make your one long top pocket into smaller pockets, by simply top stiching seam into it. We made on organizer that had two pockets on top, and one with three. It all depends on what kinds of things your kids will be storing.

Once your pockets are done, the hard work is behind you! All that's left is to make the straps that will attach your organizers to your seats. Using your cars seat measurements, cut two lengths of elastic and sew them onto your organizer - one and the top of the top pocket, and one at the top of the bottom pocket. The sew two lengths of ribbon to the top of your organizer so that you can tie it around the base of the head rest.

Now just slip it over your seats and you are ready to hit the road with the kids! We are amazed at how much stuff these hold. The elastic in the pockets really makes a difference! Now our kids are ready to face an 11 hour car trip with tons of toys, books, art supplies, as well as any treasures they find along the way! And the best part is that this whole project cost us absolutely nothing!
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  1. Great idea. I made some similar to this only I used old t-shirts. the shirts just slip over the seats. I wish I had used elastic though.

  2. I can't wait to try this. Our family is heading out on a road trip to Nags Head, NC in a few weeks and this will be perfect for keeping my 3 1/2 years olds snacks and toys organized. Thanks.